Ski tourism. One of the winter tourist attractions.

Snow sports are consolidating their position as one of the main attractions, with an infinite number of ways to have fun.

The mountainous system of the Pyrenees concentrates 61.2% of visitors to ski resorts. The 2021-2022 season started with high expectations after the first snowfalls in early December. Following a Christmas period with very variable weather, during which not all tracks and lifts were operational, expectations are high in January due to new snow forecasts. These forecasts are expected to help recover the level of visitors and practitioners from before the pandemic.

Ski tourism has become one of the main resources for the winter season and is particularly significant in the Girona Pyrenees, which has five ski resorts offering more than 200 kilometres of slopes and first-rate facilities and equipment. Alpine skiing, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, sledging… there are many activities available. Due to their location, tradition, conditions and services, the counties of Ripollès and Cerdanya offer an enormous range of possibilities and have become a natural territory for all those who want to make the most of the snow and this sport. They are very family-oriented ski resorts and work to link skiing with sport and leisure in a natural way. Their range of activities is so extensive that you will need days to enjoy them all. La Molina, Masella, Vallter 2000 and Vall de Núria are the benchmark for alpine skiing, and Guils Fontanera is the favourite resort for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts. The five resorts have become a point of reference, especially for the quality of their facilities and services. In addition, the connection between La Molina and Masella, with more than 135 kilometres of ski slopes, forms the most important ski area in the Pyrenees, while Vallter 2000 and Vall de Núria are the paradigm of family ski resorts, which perfectly combine attention to their users with careful preparation of their ski slopes and complementary activities. And Guils Fontanera, for its part, is highly appreciated by its skiers, who know how to appreciate the exceptional nature of a unique area that allows them to enjoy the snow in a different way, with more contact with nature and at a more leisurely pace.

Thanks to their proximity to the Costa Brava, the ski resorts of the Girona Pyrenees enjoy a mild climate and mostly clear, sunny skies, a circumstance that makes them unique in Europe and constitutes a real added value for the most comfortable skiing, and now also with all the necessary safety measures to ensure that this winter you can breathe nature safely.

Due to their uniqueness and ease of access, Girona’s ski resorts are also the venue for international competitions, such as the World Ski Championships, and are a training centre for many athletes who find in this mountain range the ideal place to prepare in the best conditions for the demanding races on the competitive calendar

More than a century of history and the future in your hands

At the beginning of the 20th century, skiing became a new leisure and sporting activity, and La Molina has been one of the great protagonists of these one hundred years, being the oldest ski resort in Spain. This has been followed by the other resorts in Girona, which have always worked to innovate and improve the services they offer, and to provide mountain tourism with added value. Today, the ski resorts of the Girona Pyrenees have modern mobile applications that allow users to keep up to date and be well informed about everything there is to do, and there is no shortage of things to do.  We’re not just talking about weather information and the state of the slopes, but also about the endless possibilities for fun in the different ski resorts in the Girona Pyrenees..

Active Tourism and Nature Activities in Winter Season

When winter arrives, a significant part of tourism in Catalonia concentrates in snowy areas. This is when activity in the entire Pyrenees region is diverse. The network of ski resorts in the northern part of the country is extensive and becomes the engine for a multitude of offers for all types of visitors. In winter, snow-related activities emerge in places like the Vall de Núria, where intense activities include exploring the surroundings of Puigmal peak practicing mountain skiing or walking with snowshoes. The same activities are possible in the Camprodón valley, surrounded by peaks bordering three thousand meters in height, such as Gra de Fajol, Pic de Bastiments, Coll de la Geganta, or Pic de la Dona.

In the Cerdanya, egion, trails that are passable for hikers in summer can also be traversed with snowshoes, sliding on mountain skis, or driving a snowmobile, as long as the amount of fallen snow allows it. Still in Cerdanya, you’ll find a variety of routes for Nordic skiing in different ski resorts located among black pine forests with splendid views of the Cadí range.

In Pallars Sobirà, under the gaze of Pic de l’Orri, at the PortAiné resort, you can practice modalities such as skiercross or boardercross, a snowboarding discipline. The area of the Aigüestortes i l’Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, usually covered in white in winter, is a magnificent setting for snowshoeing. The effect of the weather freezes the two hundred lakes in the area, allowing passage if the temperature is low enough. In winter, equipped with snowshoes, you can follow routes like the Carros de Fuego, with stops at various mountain shelters, or take a weekend snowshoeing route around the Espot ski resort, particularly attractive for children.

Other activities are also possible, such as snowmobiling at night on well-marked mountain paths or sleeping in a tipi at the Espot camp, at an altitude of two thousand meters. Outdoor snow activities combine various activities such as snowshoe hiking, horseback riding in the snow, igloo building, high mountain orientation courses, and the use of ARVA, a device for searching for people. Finally, it’s worth noting that in January, the Nova Pirena is celebrated, currently Snow Race by Gos Àrtic, a sled race stage event that, in 2019, took over from the legendary Pirena, the white route through the Pyrenees that was held for 22 years (it was canceled in 2013 due to lack of funding). It returns to the official calendar this winter after three years without being held for various reasons

The great biodiversity of the Catalan landscape extends the tourist season from winter sports, especially skiing in all its variants, to activities for the rest of the year, such as rafting, sailing near the sea or in rivers, canyoning, hang gliding or hot air ballooning, and climbing, to name a few. Catalonia has become a privileged destination for nature tourism and ecotourism, another activity that allows immersion in either of the two biosphere reserves the territory has (Terres de l’Ebre and Montseny).

In Catalonia there are different organisations and associations that promote activities in contact with nature. Nordic walking has recently become very well-known due to the increase in the number of people practising it. There are different companies and organisations that carry out leisure activities and activities to improve technique to practice Nordic walking. This sporting activity was initiated by Finnish skiers who used the technique of cross-country skiing, which they put into practice during the summer to train and be in better shape for the winter season. Cross-country skiing is recognised as one of the most health-promoting sports. Its main function is to walk. It incorporates specially designed poles for propulsion that help to walk with more speed, activating almost 90% of the body’s musculature. As technique is very important to get the most out of both the activity and the health benefits, it is necessary to practice beforehand with some classes or technical sessions in which a qualified and accredited instructor or technician provides the necessary knowledge.

In addition, different activities and outings are organised that allow you to fully enjoy Nordic walking. Among them, Bendhora has a programme of activities every season, together with practice and learning sessions or competition days. The International Nordic Walking Federation was created in Finland in 2000. In Spain, the first entity was registered in 2005, with its headquarters in Catalonia, under the name of Associacio Esportiva Nordic Walking Catalunya, currently based in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona). Cycling, water sports, hiking, horse riding and hot air balloon flights are other proposals for active tourism in contact with nature.

Through EBusinessCarsto share these sports, leisure, or business programmes either in a group or with the family.

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