The sharp increase in the cost of electricity will not translate into significant cuts in services this 2022-2023 season in Spanish ski resorts. Opening hours will not be shortened or ski areas will be closed. At least that is the starting intention: to save expenses without the customer noticing. For example, slowing down the speed of the lifts when there is little influx of skiers or stopping those that are duplicated and serve the same slopes. Actually, these are measures that have already been taken for some years. Also, producing and managing snow in a more efficient and less expensive way with the latest generation cannons and thickness control using the radar incorporated into the machines. piste piste or satellite measurement systems.
This season the prices of ski passes they have risen in some cases up to 7%; in return, the skiers will open a gondola in Valgrande-Pajares (Asturias), a chairlift in Baqueira Beret (Lleida) and two in Sierra Nevada (Granada), among other surprises. Those who go up the mountain this winter should look at the competition calendar because the best world specialists in speed, freeride, ski mountaineering and snowboard cross will be seen on the Spanish slopes.
cantabrian mountain range
Rarely do the resorts in the Cantabrian mountain range start the season with such important news as on this occasion. Valgrande-Pajares, in the Principality of Asturias (22.5 kilometers of slopes), opens this December a cable car that will connect the base of the station with the highest point in Cuitu Negru. The new installation covers a distance of 1,750 meters in five and a half minutes, almost twelve less than the old ski lift. The gondola lift is part of a modernization plan that includes the removal of the old Hoya de Cuitu Negru and Les Patines chairlifts, the La Hoya and Arroyo chairlifts and the shortening of the Brañillín chairlift.
Valgrande-Pajares, bordering the Las Ubiñas-La Mesa natural park, is the oldest station in the Cantabrian mountain range and the third in Spain. This year it keeps the prices of ski passes (day pass: 29 euros for adults, 25 euros for children), like Fuentes de Invierno, both dependent on the Government of Asturias.
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The project to join Candanchú and Astún, in the Aragón river valley, with Formigal, in the Tena valley, by means of a cable car could be ready by 2026, according to industry sources, and will mean the creation of a ski area of almost 300 kilometers if the tracks of nearby Panticosa are added, connected in this case by bus. Waiting for the birth of this great ski area, Formigal-Panticosa (182 kilometers of slopes between the two areas; ski pass by day: 52.6 euros for adults, 42.5 euros for children and veterans) this winter reinforces the entrance to the station through Sarrios, direct access to the Izas valley where last year no less than three chairlifts were released, converting this zone in the axis of the station. Among other novelties, here you can find a new equipment rental service. Improvements are also announced in the rental of Sextas, the main gateway to the slopes. Next April, a test of the Thrown Kilometer World Cup (Speed Ski) will be held on a track that starts from Pico Tres Hombres that will allow competitors to reach up to 200 kilometers per hour.
This winter it will also be time to ski on the four slopes created last season in Cerler, in the Benasque valley (80 kilometers of slopes; ski pass by day: 48.5 euros for adults, 38.8 euros for children and veterans), in the Castanesa area and which were practically unused due to lack of rainfall. The installation of snow cannons has also been completed and windbreaks have been placed to ensure snowfall on those slopes.
In the Aragón Valley, Astún and Candanchú, connected by bus, offer a ski pass unique for its 100 kilometers of slopes for 50 euros for adults and 42 euros for children.
The first to open this season, on November 26, was Baqueira Beret, in the Arán Valley (170 kilometers of slopes; ski pass by day with the Baqueira Pass: 59 euros for adults, 39 for children). This is the largest station in Spain. This winter, a detachable six-seater chairlift is inaugurated in Dossau, replacing the old one installed in 1985; reducing travel time by more than four minutes. From the top of this lift, a new medium-level track opens, Montgarri, 2.5 kilometers long, partly through forest and with excellent views. The very easy descents of Passada d’Auba, in the Marimanha pass, and Tortuga 2, which facilitates the descent to the base at 1,500 meters, will also be new. With the largest investment in the history of this winter resort, snow production (85% of the covered surface) and the park of machines have also been expanded piste piste. For the second consecutive year, one of the most important extreme ski events on the calendar, the Freeride World Tour, will be held here from January 28 to February 2.
A step away from Baqueira, but on the south side of the mountain range, Boí Taüll (45 kilometers of slopes; ski pass by day: 42 euros for adults, 35.50 for children) the season begins with its large paved car park and two new slopes: Regalèssia, a suitable descent for novice skiers from one of the highest levels, and Carreretes. From February 26 to March 4, the Ski Mountaineering World Championships will be held.
Very strong emotions promise the reopened slope of La Molina, in La Cerdanya (71 kilometers of slopes; ski pass day: 47 euros adults, 40 for children). It is an old renovated layout, almost five kilometers long, with maximum slopes above 60%. The descent leads the skier from the Niu de l’Àliga, at 2,537 meters, to the base of the Cadí-Moixeró gondola.
La Molina and Masella (74 kilometers of slopes; ski pass by day, 49 euros for adults, 39 for children) are physically united in the Tosa d’Alp (2,536 meters) forming one of the largest ski areas in the Pyrenees. This winter, its 935-meter drop can be enjoyed using ski passes to the letter; there are specific ones for the season, workdays, afternoon, night or for companies. In Pallars Sobirà, the Port Ainé station will have its paved car park, and Espot will have a new 140-meter long tubing track. In addition, in Ripollés, Vall de Núria, the station that can only be accessed by rack railway, offers a special Christmas programme.
This season the Granada resort of Sierra Nevada (111.4 kilometers of slopes; ski pass by day: between 46.55 and 57 euros for adults, 30.26 euros for children) has made the largest investment in ski lifts in its recent history: it opens two detachable six-seater chairlifts —Emile Allais and Alhambra— that replace two old ski lifts and they will serve to rearrange the middle area of the domain, especially the initiation tracks in Borreguiles, and improve connections with other areas. It is also progressing in the snowfall of its slopes with 105 new cannons and in user care with a public service center open 10 hours a day.
Sierra Nevada prides itself on having the highest skiable elevation on the Peninsula ―almost 3,300 meters at Pico Veleta― and on offering the longest easy track in Spain ―K12―, from that altitude to the base in Pradollano. On March 11 and 12 the Snowboard Cross World Cup will be held here.
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