The six mountain resorts of Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) have concluded the Christmas, New Year's Eve and Epiphany holidays with a growing offer of very diverse high mountain nature activities that have attracted a large number of visitors.
This holiday season has been marked by stable weather throughout the holiday period. This meant that a large number of people were able to enjoy the FGC Turisme facilities on mostly sunny days. FGC resorts have offered services and multiple alternative activities to skiing and snowboarding, which have been key to 161,250 people enjoying the high mountains.
The president of FGC, Toni Segarra i Barreto, has assessed the season "positively. Although we have not had the snow thicknesses we wanted, the good work that has been done in the resorts has allowed us to ski in good conditions in the available skiable areas. Having all six resorts open throughout the holidays has been a success, bearing in mind that this year there are many resorts on the peninsula that have not been able to open this winter".
Segarra confirms that "the task of diversifying our offer and having a large number of activities available to everyone has also been an important element of attraction for many people who have come to visit us and enjoy our facilities. This is our function in the territory: to promote and contribute to the economic and social dynamism of the mountain regions".
The balance, season by season
The mountain resort of Boí Taüll has been visited by many tourists who have been to the Alta Ribagorça and Vall de Boí. The resort has registered a high continuous flow of visitors from 22 December Christmas to Christmas and New Year's Eve, with a total of around 22,500 visitors.
The diversification of activities on offer at Boí Taüll has been the key to the large number of visitors to the resort. One of the highlights was the traditional Great Torchlight Descent, which was very well attended and attracted a large number of spectators and ended with a massive DJ music session at the Terrassa Cow Boí. The DJ sessions at this facility have been the absolute stars of après ski in Boí Taüll during the Christmas holidays. Other activities such as workshops and games for children have been a great success in terms of participation.
La Molina has ended the Christmas holidays in a fully wintry atmosphere and with a snowfall to welcome the Three Wise Men. During the Christmas holidays, the resort was the meeting point for 38,961 sports enthusiasts and high-mountain leisure activities. The resort has hosted up to 10 different events on its slopes to promote sport and allow visitors to enjoy outdoor activities, consolidating itself as a true sports and entertainment centre.
It should be noted that La Molina continues its sporting path that defines it as the "farmhouse of winter sports" as it has been one of the few resorts in Spain where it has been possible to train and compete in alpine ski races in the Catalan League calendar of the FCEH. The Solell and Els Plans stadiums have been at the disposal of the clubs.
During this period different events were held to promote sport among the youngest, such as the 73rd edition of the Descens infantil de La Molina on 1 January, with the participation of 125 children aged 0 to 6, accompanied by their parents. Other outstanding events were the Salomon X-Race on 3 January, and the 29th Trofeu Infantil La Molina alpine skiing competition for U14 athletes on 4 and 5 January with more than 200 participants.
During the Christmas season, the Espot Esquí and Port Ainé ski resorts have had a notable influx of visitors, with more than half of the ski area open and a full schedule of activities. The Hotel Port Ainé 2000***, at the foot of the slopes, was exceptionally busy, with 95% occupancy.
One of the keys to this success was the good snow conditions on the slopes that were open and the wide range of festive activities offered to the 18,254 visitors who came to Port Ainé and the 10,974 visitors to Espot. In Port Ainé, the Christmas festival included the traditional "cagada de la tronca", face-painting workshops, sledging competitions, magic shows and DJ sessions on the Clots terrace, creating a festive and welcoming atmosphere for the whole family. In Espot, with the activities in the play park, DJ sessions on the terrace and magic shows, there were parties for all ages.
The climax of the celebrations in Espot Esquí and Port Ainé was the arrival of the Three Wise Men, which was commemorated with a spectacular descent of torches and a chocolate party, a tradition that brought the festivities to a close.
For its part, Vall de Núria is the clear definition of a mountain resort with an active offer 365 days a year. With activities and attractions that make up for periods of low snowfall such as this one, where the number of visitors has fallen slightly compared to the same period last year. However, the annual closing balance is very positive, with 235,000 visitors accessing the resort in 2023 via the Rack Railway, an increase of 11% compared to 2022.
The range of activities that mean that Vall de Núria does not have to rely exclusively on snow means that there is a constant influx of visitors over the festive season, while all this variety of activities attracts visitors of all kinds, generating a significant economic impact on the area. This year there were 18,000 visitors over the Christmas period.
The mountain resort has been themed with Christmas motifs, with the figure of the Tió taking center stage. It was possible to ski in the beginners' and intermediate ski areas, and for those who wanted to see the panoramic views, they could visit the viewpoint of the hostel with the integration of the rack railway and cable car tickets. The usual visits to the Sanctuary and the permanent exhibitions (Rack railway, Memories of Snow, Interpretation Centre), as well as the leisure park and après-ski activities were very well received, and the new El Racó restaurant was consolidated, with seasonal mountain cuisine based on local produce.
During the Christmas holidays, Vallter has highlighted its character as a complete and diversified mountain resort, offering activities for everyone. With a special focus on skiing for beginners, the resort has promoted the campaign "3,2,1... Ski in Vallter," attracting 523 novice children to the sport. Festive activities have included diverse experiences: from participation in the Camprodon Christmas Market to the exciting 360° Ski Experience with virtual reality goggles, the 6,700 visitors this Christmas have enjoyed events that go beyond skiing and the toboggan run.
There have also been special activities for the little ones at the Club Fajol, competition training sessions and festive celebrations such as the Tio and the Grand Farewell Party in 2023. It should be added that, once the day's skiing was over, the activity moved every afternoon to the ice rink in Llanars to continue doing sport with family and friends.
Vallter has proved to be much more than a ski resort. It has established itself as a destination for leisure and celebration all year round, showing an adaptation and modernisation to offer memorable experiences to visitors.
The Montserrat rack railway and funiculars and the Parc Astronòmic del Montserrat and Parc Astronòmic del Montsec, with record figures
This Christmas season, the Montserrat rack railway and the Sant Joan and Santa Cova funiculars have brought up to 42,782 visitors to one of the most emblematic places in Catalonia, in the Montserrat Mountain Natural Park, confirming a positive trend that began in September and has shown monthly continuity until reaching this point. The good weather has been key and has allowed the figures to reach those of 2019, when the Montserrat rack railway reached its best ever record.
On the other hand, it is worth highlighting the fact that the number of visitors to the rack railway is one of the highest since it was launched 20 years ago. Whereas in 2019, 24.94% of visitors to Montserrat opted to take the rack railway, this percentage has risen to 26.17%, with very good prospects for the future.
The Parc Astronòmic del Montsec, meanwhile, also closes the 2023 Christmas season with the best figures recorded during its 15 seasons of existence. With the absolute success of the screening of Pink Floyd's The Dark side of the Moon, a new avenue has been opened for combined activities given the great reception, with figures of 100% occupancy in the 2023 sessions. Demand has been so high that screenings have had to be doubled compared to the initial forecast for the activity, with a total of 822 spectators so far. The Astronómic has registered 3,071 visitors during the month of December, 30% more than in 2022.
Facing the high season of competitions
At the end of January, Boí Taüll will be the venue for international competitions. The Alta Ribagorça resort will host two ski mountaineering World Cup events on 27 and 28 January 2024.
In the rest of the resorts, a full calendar with circuits of alpine skiing, mountain skiing and snowboarding competitions at Catalan and national league level is planned.
You can find images of the Christmas season at FGC stations at this Link.