Season with lots of snow and more skiers at Baqueira Beret
The Val d’Aran and Valls d’Àneu ski resort ended winter 2017-2018 on Sunday 8 April with an increase in the number of skiers it hosted compared to last season. The station opened the winter very early on Saturday 18 November and closed it on schedule to total 142 days in operation with 887,000 skiers.
The 2017-2018 season will be remembered as one of the best ever at Baqueira Beret. Overall there have been 63 days of snowfall with total depths before grooming of up to 10 m, twice as much as last season. In a nutshell, a tremendous winter which made it possible to open the resort a week earlier than planned on 18 November, with depths of up to 50 cm on the runs and almost 140 km of runs already open by the time of the December double bank holiday. The resort has outdone the figures achieved in 2016-2017 by almost 80,000 skiers.
The opening ratio for the resort’s 105 runs stood at 80%, 10 points higher than the one achieved last season. The most popular slopes continue to be in the Baqueira area, which is up by one point to accommodate 52.4% of the resort’s skiers. Next is Beret which has boosted its popularity by two points to host 30.8% of users, while the quietest and still undiscovered area for many Val d’Aran regulars is Bonaigua which has almost 18% of skiers.
With the 152 km of marked ski runs (without counting the 3 marked off-piste routes in the resort that add up to 5 km), the snow grooming machines have groomed approximately 70% of the routes on a daily basis. As for weather conditions, the season’s minimum temperature at Baqueira 1800 was -14.3º C and the average snow depth stood at 126 cm (almost half a metre more than the previous season). As an indicator of the amount of snowfall, snow making days have been cut by almost half.
Recreation, cuisine and sport
Baqueira Beret has continued to step up its events agenda with 45 music performances and over 60 sports events this season. The music performances have taken place across the resort’s bars which have a terrace, including DJ sessions at Baqueira Bar 1500 and Bar Er Audeth. The resort’s high-altitude restaurants have continued to thrive while the new Bosque cafeteria at Baqueira 1800 has also been a hit with a large capacity that has enabled skiers to take shelter from the frequent snowfalls.
As for sports competitions, cross-country skiing took centre stage with the FIS OPA Continental Cup Finals in March and the Marxa Beret in February. The Marxa is still the king of races at the resort and featured 850 cross-country skiers this winter at Pla de Beret who covered the 10, 21 and 42 km of their respective routes, with victory in the longest category going to the Catalan Sadurní Betriu and the Aranese Marta Cester. Other outstanding popular events included the 3rd BBB Ski Race Experience which coincided with World Snow Day in January. Its 300 participants were able to discover all the resort’s nooks and crannies in the course of this original competition. In January the Movistar Snowboardcross and Skicross Spanish Cup was held for the first time at Beret with a great atmosphere and almost 150 entrants. In December the popular Salomon Quest Challenge also called in at the resort for the fourth time with 500 registrations.
Furthermore, the alpine skiing CAEI-FIS Top was held in early March while on the 17th the fifth classic quattro Era Baishada in Beret took place after being postponed due to the heavy snowfalls in February. The second weekend in March was the setting for the Jesús Serra Foundation Trophy which celebrated its 11th edition by awarding study grants to the best skiers and raffling lots of gifts among all the participants.
The Era Marmota snowpark at Beret has become the meeting point for ski and snowboard freestylers and open competitions have been held for both sports including the end-of-season Expression Session.
As for activities run throughout the season, the well-established Audi Ski Kronos facility at Baqueira has once again been extremely successful. The stadium stands next to the 2200 cafeteria and allows visitors to compete on an easy timed giant slalom run while being recorded on video. Skiers can use their ski pass to access their times and videos on the Baqueira website and share them on social media.