The mayor of Font-Romeu, Alain Luneau, told us how the town was dealing with the energy crisis and shared the plans to improve the infrastructure of the ski resort:
“The tourism development strategy in the community of Font-Romeu bases to creation a top-of-the-range hotel with a performance hall, conference hall, and modern thermal center. Next to the future hotel, we plan to create luxury hotel residences with sufficient parking spaces.
Four-season tourism is in the spotlight. Our small town in the mountains has one big advantage – it is practically unaffected by seasonality. Winters here are sunny and snowy, while summers are not so hot due to the altitude.
Font-Romeu Pyrénées 2000 is not the largest ski area in the Pyrénées Orientales. However, it is the first one in terms of attendance and turnover. This year it could be number one of all the French Pyrenees ski areas. The energy crisis has affected the operation of the ski area by significantly increasing the lines relating to energy (electricity for the ski lifts and the production of artificial snow). The ski lifts operated until March 26, and this early closure enabled the operator to respond to government requests for a 10% reduction in energy consumption as part of an energy sobriety plan.
The reduction in the speed of the devices is adapted to the influx of customers. This practice is not new and has been in place for several years now.
In any case, there was no negative impact on the quality of skiing. The record figures achieved again this year in attendance and turnover are proof of this.
The ski area extends over two municipalities in the following proportion: one-third on the municipal land of Bolquère and two-thirds on the municipality of Font-Romeu. All the facilities belong to the Syndicat Intercommunal de Font-Romeu Pyrénées 2000, at least until the end of the contract in 2047 (Public Service Concession). Attached to the new contract, which began on May 1, 2022, is a multi-year investment plan for around 30 million euros. These investments concern ski lifts, the development of land and trails, as well as facilities likely to be operated in 4 seasons.
Regarding our latest news, a gondola which will connect the town with the ski resort will be in service in December 2023.
There are several ways to calculate the cost of a cubic meter of snow. Its production price is very variable depending on humidity and temperature conditions. Given the increase in the price of electrical energy, I would say that the price of the m3 of snow produced fluctuates between 1.5 euros and 4 euros, depending on the production conditions.
Electricity prices have increased according to various conditions (energy supplier, tariff negotiations, contract conditions and prices already negotiated over a certain period) and, therefore, vary. For our community, the energy budget is doubled.
Near the town, there is the Odeillo solar furnace. But it does not contribute in any way to the energy balance of the city. It is an establishment that only does experimental research: concentrated energy is used to work on the fusion of materials.
Some residents of Font Romeu install solar panels. But they are expensive and require town planning approbation that may not be granted.
The town does not provide grants for families in need. City authorities may interfere with water and electricity suppliers, but the cases are rare. Some municipal buildings, cinemas and casinos have undergone thermal insulation work. The budget exceeded 600,000 euros.
Font-Romeu – the land of the champions. As for the major sporting events planned for the 2023 summer season, the Font-Romeu Nature Trail contest will be on June 24 and 25. You will meet some excellent world athletes who have chosen this most beautiful trail environment for more than half a century with the panoramas of the Cerdan high plateau to recharge their batteries. There will be 7 km, 15 km, 26 km trails and a 45 km marathon.
The town is known for the STAPS university (Sciences of techniques, physical and sports activities). Currently, between 600 and 700 students are in Font-Romeu. University housing is one of our priorities. In the next three years, work on mobility in the pre-Olympic town should be completed to make life easier for our students. In addition, there is a campus that allows some students to pursue non-STAPS studies”.