Spain Guide

 

Formigal Ski Resort

The ski resort of Formigal is located at the heart of the Spanish Pyrenean Mountains in the region of Aragon. It's a lively purpose built resort suitable for beginners, intermediate skiers and families. You don't come here to rub shoulders with the rich and famous but it's a friendly and relaxed resort with good facilities provided at considerably lower prices than in the better known winter playgrounds of the Alps.

The village of El Formigal is 170 kilometres north of Zaragoza's international airport and about 380 kilometres north west of the bigger airport at Barcelona which serves all the major European capitals with charter and schedule flights. It's just eight kilometres from the French border and shares the Tena Valley with the neighbouring resort of Candanchu.

There are 57 kilometres of marked runs consisting of four greens, 13 blues and 24 reds. More than 21,000 skiers per hour can be transported via the resort's 22 lifts (one gondola, five chair lifts and 16 drag lifts). Expert skiers have the option of going off piste or heading for the more challenging resort of Candanchu which has steep, tough blacks to rival the hardest Alpine slopes.

 

The resort's ski school has more than 50 instructors and there are 109 snow cannons at the ready to keep the pistes open when nature fails to come up with the goods. There's a slalom course, a half pipe for snowboarders and the chance to try your hand at snowcatting or heli ski ing. Harassed parents can make use of the resort's Guarderia which takes children from four months to five years of age between the hours of 8am and 7pm. If you're a non skier, though, be warned that there's not a great deal to do in the village while your partner (or party) is on the slopes.

Good quality, cheap food and drink is available at several bars and restaurants on and off the pistes. The fixed price "menu del dia" is exceptionally good value compared with the kind of prices you have to pay in the more exclusive Swiss and French resorts. Restaurante Gemsbock is a Tyrolean style restaurant serving typical Alpine dishes including a special "fondue and flambé coffee" dinner for parties of night skiers.

There's a good range of hotels and self catering apartments in and around the resort including four 4 star hotels in the village itself. The 4 star hotels include the 125 room Hotel Formigal which has excellent facilities and wonderful mountain views from many of the bedroom balconies. There's a big sun terrace overlooking the Pyrenees, an indoor heated swimming pool, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and massage service. The large number of hotels, bars and clubs in the resort ensure a lively après ski scene until the small hours.

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