A visit to Bolquère Pyrenees 2000 in the South of France can be a great supplement to holidays in Andorra – both in winter and in summer, says ski resort director Alain Luneau

Director of the Font-Romeu Pyrénées 2000 station, Alain Luneau, spoke to all-andorra.com about the resort’s infrastructure and activities in summer and winter, and expressed the opinion that a visit to the station can be an excellent supplement to a holiday in Andorra:

“The Bolquère Pyrenees 2000 resort is located on a rocky peak in the heart of the Catalan Pyrenees at more than 1800 meters above sea level. Here we have two ski resorts that offer 43 slopes within 52 kilometers, 28 lifts and 110 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. Currently, we have two cross-country skiing sites – one of them is located at the altitude of 2000-2100 m – “La Calme” – it has great views and is very sunny. Foreign ski clubs like to come here a lot. The other is easier and more suitable for families – “The Estanyols” – a path in the forest along the frozen river.

The manager of the Bolquère Pyrenees 2000 station is the private company Altiservice. The owners are the municipalities of Font Romeu (2500 inhabitants) and Bolquère (1200 inhabitants). A long time ago they came together to create the Syndicat Intercommunal à Vocation Unique (SIVU). So the SIVU is the owner of the ski lifts and some land, but not all – a part of the land belongs to the state.

SIVU’s annual budget is 11.5 million euros. There are approximately 3 million euros each year to repay investments. In total, since 2003, 32 million euros have been invested in lifts, tracks, snow cannons etc.

Normally, we are open from the beginning of December to the first week of April. As a result, it’s currently the time of year to reflect on the season.

I could say that this year was the best for us: the turnover was 12.5 million euros. According to preliminary calculations, the resort was visited by 490,000 skiers. We welcomed Spaniards (25%) (mostly Catalans),  English (1%), Portuguese (1.5%) and many French visitors.

This season, we held the Freestyle World Cup and we will try to have it again next year. After all, holding such events has a positive impact on the number of visitors.

It’s a fact that Andorra’s skiers do not come here yet. But the Andorrans came here to study our model. Vallnord Pal-Arinsal General Manager, Josep Marticella, came here with his colleagues to see what we do exactly with our investments. They have some 40 million euros for the near future to make investments and they want to use it in the best way possible.

As far as I know, in a year, there will be major changes made to the ski resorts of Andorra. Grandvalira will be divided into two, and Arcalis will have a new shareholder. Today, the undeniable advantage of Grandvalira is the size of the ski area. It is unfortunate that Grandvalira is losing its integrity and the attractiveness of the well-known brand in the world. But this may be a motivation for Andorran tourists to visit neighboring France: we are only 40 km from Andorra, and the journey passes along some beautiful roads.

As for our future development, there is an interesting project to make a link between Font Romeu and the station. It would be good for our tourists. Currently, there is a road that is not so accessible. But it’s not just about money. It’s much more complicated technically. The fact is that here there is a lot of sun. Most of our slopes are facing south. So it will always be necessary to make snow, which is quite expensive because of the cost of electricity. One cubic meter of snow costs 1,10 euro. We produce 900,000 cubic meters per year. So it takes a few hundred thousand euros. But the difficulty is also in the fact that we have to keep the snow that we have made. So we need to understand how to make this project profitable – that’s the question.

However, this is not the top priority issue right now. We are preparing for the summer season. The station will have three lifts that will allow visitors to reach the mountain lakes. There are 14 in total and all of them are glaciers.

Among the various forms of summer entertainment on offer here, fishing, mountain biking, and hiking are great for families. You can also join a tour to the summit of the Pyrenees Orientales on foot, and as for places for climbing, there are a few of them around. We are waiting for tourists all year round and I am sure that the summer holidays here are no less interesting and diverse than in the winter. “