SkiPallars is the umbrella brand that encompasses the mountain resorts of Pallars Sobirà. This brand evolved from the brand “GranPallars”. The resorts of Espot and Port Ainé are managed by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya and are focused on downhill skiing, although the increase of non-skiers and ski mountaineering visitors have brought them to create new products for this type of visitors. Tavascan and Virós Vallferrera are privately owned. Tavascan has downhill slopes, Nordic skiing circuits, ski touring and snowshoeing trails, DVA camp and a high-mountain hut. Virós Station offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and a high-mountain hut.
Espot and Port Ainé are resorts with an average skiable area of about 25 km. While Tavascan and Virós Vallferrera are rather small. The distinguishing feature is the nature that surrounds them, as they are areas of influence of both the National Park and the Natural Park and are stations certified as Family Travel Destinations, meaning all services are adapted to meet the needs of the whole family.
The director of SkiPallars, Xavier Bigordà, started as a worker in the world of snow in 1986, specifically in the year of the construction of the Port-Ainé station. He started as a ski lift maintenance technician, later he held various positions, head of lift maintenance, head of development and in 2013 the director of the two stations, Espot and Port Ainé. His job is to manage, coordinate and plan for the smooth running of the stations. He has talked with us about the main advantages and attractions of these stations:
“This season the most significant investments included replacement of the La Roca chair lift at the Espot station with a new 4-seater one of latest generation; in Port-Ainé the snowmaking with snow cannons, also of latest design, at the slopes Carena and Carrerada 1; moreover on both stations, we have implemented the “hands-free” automatic access control.
The SkiPallars day pass is valid for Espot, Port-Ainé and Tavascan and is €34 for adults, €26 for 7 to 14 years old children and €5 for younger children (less than 7 years old). The season ski pass price is €371 for adults, €315 for juniors, €278 for children and €55 for younger children, it is also valid for Tavascan and offers advantages when buying day passes for La Molina, Vall of Núria and Vallter. At both stations we have Leisure Park, available with an exclusive 3 hours pass, it includes activities such as sledging, tubing, snow garden, etc…
In addition throughout the season, we offer a series of activities such as torchlight descent on Three Kings Day, environmental education workshops for the youngest ones, children’s snowshoeing outings for the WSD (World Snow Day), product tastings of local wines, sausages, cheeses, snails, etc …
In Espot and Port Ainé, we do not offer the night ski service and we think it would not fit too well at our resorts considering their natural environment. You must keep in mind that Port Ainé is surrounded by the Alt Pirineu Natural Park and Espot Esquí is in the peripheral area of Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. The latter has recently been declared a Starlight Reserve due to the low light pollution. That is why our activities are aimed at caring for the environment and increasing visitor awareness of the natural environment.
This year in Espot we will set up an astronomical observation table at an altitude of 2,000 m a. s. l. and carry out astronomy workshops combined with high-altitude dinners, accessed in a snow groomer with a cabin.
For several seasons now, Espot is a testing location for the Catalan Federation, as well as the Spanish Federation and the International Federation FIS.
This season, moreover, the IPC Europe Cup will be held in Espot and the Catalan SlopeStyle Championships at the Snowpark in Port Ainé. In addition, Espot will also host the Espot Ski Trophy of Alpine Ski Interclubs and the Catalonia Mountain Ski Championships. Port Ainé will be the endpoint of the Cycling Tour of Catalonia again, as well as, the second edition of the Arctic Dog.
The big highlights of the Espot area are the view on the National Park, the Ecomuseum in Esterri d’Àneu and a wide gastronomic offer. In the surrounding area of Port Ainé, we have charming villages such as Rialp and the Vall d’Assua that offer high-quality Pallarsian cuisine of km0.
Last season we had over 175,000 visitors between the two stations. Mostly from Catalonia and the rest of Spain. To a lesser extent, we have French and British visitors. Obviously, all markets are interesting, but we believe that we have much work to do in the Catalan and Spanish markets. ”