Customer Reviews

Formigal Reviews

(10 Reviews)
The fun of Formigal - 11/12/2010

I have been skiing in Formigal since 1992 and what developments I have seen. I spent 2 full seasons there at one point and had a great time. I met some fantastic people and have made many friends there. I have worked closely with the development team of the resort and they have done a great job with the refurbishment and managed to retain the atmosphere of a great lively place to ski and expanded the runs along with the infrastructure. Its still great for families as well as the more advanced purists and well worth a visit. There are times of the season when it is also very cheapt ski and going as an independant is also easy.

Apres Ski: 5/5

paul taylor


A large part of the cost of a ski holiday is the lift-pass price. The Aragon Government, through an independent company ARAMON (Aragon Montanas), is promoting Formigal to the UK market, by offering FREE lift passes this season. This is additional to the 300 Million Euro investment in the latest Doppelmayr lifts and resort facilities over 3 years, or so. Passes are obtainable when booking via Iglu. I’ve just returned from assessing the facilities, benefits and short-comings on offer. For a large skier-group the Organisers and Leader must get the basics right. It’s the only way that the members of the group can get value for money. In the current financial misery everyone is counting the costs and cutting-back. My group has become tired of long transfer times and difficult access to slopes. The group is multi-level ability, consisting of babies/ children and young-to-old adults. Transfers, slope access, pistes spread ‘miles’ apart and clean toilets are ‘Hi-Key’ issues. Other items in any resort choice are ratings for experts, lower-upper intermediates and novices, as well as ‘first-timer’ pack offers. Crèches, qualified supervision, hours open and collections, kindergartens, ski schools, lockers, snow reliability, geographical slope aspects and skills needed to reach and enjoy them are critical to satisfying individuals and client-families. Not to mention restaurants/cafes and adequate seating, (including some for that packed lunch) and of course hot ‘chocolatiers’ or vin chaud, in abundance. We flew into the new airport Huesca from Gatwick, 2nd week of February, on a Monarch Airbus 1410hrs flight. No 0400hrs starts or over-nighting at Gatwick there, then! Monarch has been contracted for the season by Pyrenair, a new airline based at the new airport, Huesca. The transfer is just 1hr and 20mins sedate coach travel. No 4hrs from Toulouse, anymore? Our stay at the 3* Nieve Sol managed by a diamond named Martha. Huge fun watching the kids play and enjoy games room etc. Sergio (Bar) and Andreo Maitre-D (2- v.good Restaurants) are models of tranquilo efficiency. Ideal location for ski buses and Puffing-Billy road train to the slopes. There are other hotels close-by 3,4 & 5* to choose from. We found a good snow-base laid down pre-Christmas and again in January. Mid-week we received a 23 hour ‘dump’ of 40 cms on top of 180 cms existing, and skied throughout the day it snowed. Great for trying some basic ’bouncy’ off-piste skiing technique, while still on a firm piste under-base. Can’t see? “....when you lose your sense of sight......develop your sense of feel......through the soles of your feet and soft knees....! That huge dump gave the pisteurs/avalanche control one heck of a problem. They worked all-night through. Delaying lift opening time (0900 hrs) did cause queues, but with a 4 of 5 avalanche risk, as in most of Europe, no one could expect anything -else. Two sets of 4-piste-bashers, echelon-fashion plus single machines, soon cleared the way to safe skiing and we were off! The resort lay-out comprises 3 base Stations: Sextas, Anayet and Portalet. These effectively access 4-valleys. Then, 8, 6 and 4-man lifts spread-out like a fan to mid-mountain elevation. Sextas Zone appears the more difficult. Particularly up towards Tres Hombres-Huegas. 20 blacks/reds and not a blue in sight. Closed during our visit due to avalanche precautions. There are several good blues linking all 4-valleys at mid mountain level, prior to these lifts gaining height. The full spread is interspersed with the higher lifts providing extra height to drop blues (some), reds and blacks (single & double diamond) into the valleys and public facilities. This means novice/ lower intermediates are not ‘shanghaied’. For example, when trying to meet-up with the group at lunch-times. Anayet Zone; is reached by the “Anayet” run, a great wide blue ‘motorway’. Plus a couple of reds and moderate blacks striking off parallel with some easy mid-mountain runs. This provides good skiers/boarders with off-piste opportunities where they can ‘see’, well in front of them, what they are getting into! Boarders were killing the blacks in great powder. The Spanish love their food! There are 17 eateries on the mountain. They love taking a couple of hours socialising as well. This means the one-week a year, skiing-starved Brits can ski right through lunch on un-crowded pistes. Don’t even THINK about lunch before 1400hrs!! Eat a good breakfast. Then, hit the extensive Anayet Lodge. This consists of two cafes, two chocolatiers, two self-services, a burger-bar, an ice cream point, and two more formal restaurants both reasonable: 10-15 Euros for a 2- course ‘Plato’ of the day and small bottle of wine/beer ..(hic!). Other options if you want them. The second ski-school, ski hire/lockers and immaculate toilets are also here. As is a massive sun-terrace with huge seating including some picnic tables (I kid you not!). Take the kids (and yourself) for the longest moving carpet ride I’ve ever seen. There’s another at Sextas for the kids, by the way, great while you slope-off to the short Furco 4-man chair run; warming-up at the start of the day. Then it’s the 8-man up from Sextas and head for Anayet. Or, a good lunch can be had at Sextas at c.9.50 Euros, anyway. After taking the 'rays' at Anayet, have a poke at the off-piste mound in front of you. Never mind all those watching and laughing. AND, if your 'hard (good) enuf', remember where to branch-off that blue-motorway, next time down. Then cross-over the black (flat bit) and zoom up and over the mound down towards the Lodge, again. That ought to stop’em laughing? Do NOT arrive in a heap, until the next time you do it, having arranged for someone to wait down there to photograph you! Seriously, there are loads of places just off the mid mountain reds/blacks to ‘get some mileage -in’, off-piste. Only if fully insured, of course. Portalet Zone: The piste map shows this is a difficult part. Only one red, the rest blacks, single and double diamonds. We couldn’t test all of it due to avalanche precautions. I am assured reasonably competent intermediate skiers, in good conditions, can get-down ok? Apart from the Panorama viewing point at the top towards France THE Portalet attraction is the chance to go ‘Ratrack’ skiing! Up the 6-man to be pulled along a gentle red, behind the Ratrack with c.40 skiers. This is the ONLY way to reach to the Fine-Dining restaurant Cabana Glera for lunch. Reservations essential at night and you are then collected by cabin-Ratrack, no skis needed. From the menu I sighted it’s expensive. Have at least 50 Ackers to spare (evening) methinks. But, it’s a one-off apparently and it’s only money! From there you can ski down black or red (into blue) back into the Anayet Zone. I suspect that last bit of the red may be ‘interesting’. The whole concept of skiing 4-valleys needs close attention to abilities, if the group is to get the most out of it. The 137 kms of Formigal allows skiing all 4-vallys in a day together with sampling some of the facilities en-route, at a steady skiing/drinking pace. Further access by car is open to the Sarrios Zone at mid mountan level, between Sextas and Anayet. There is a sizeable car park and an excellent restaurant there, the ‘Gemsbock’. Also, this opens out to the free-ride areas, snow park, huskies, skidoos, timed slalom and the Callado 4-man to either Anayet, again, or down the great fast red ‘Collado’. This is my favourite run as the black there proved just too much snow for me. Best run for ‘cruisers’? Hang on! ‘Blue’, up the Sarrios 2-man, on up the Lanuza then down the blue through to Izas, on to the husky- sleds (drive one of those!). Up the 6-man ‘Cantel’, then down the blue Rio (river) as fast as conditions and safety allow i.e. “Quandío en Roma!” Then down Furco (also night skiing) onto Sextas. Have a large Carlos Uno Brandy.....go for a Heli-trip...... see/photo where you’ve been skiing....and tell the Brits when you get home! Overall, there’s a free 10 minute bus-service between the village (5 minutes or an easy walk down, minus skis) and the Base Stations. Additionally, the village-run is serviced by two 'Thomas-the-Tank- Engine’ trains, by road, great fun for kids (or adults). Downside? Well, one day soon the Elders will have to make the village traffic-free. The ski school will no doubt increase English speaking Instructors as the critical mass (no pun intended!) of Brits is achieved. We could do with a weather-shield on the 8-man, I think. Well done “Formidable” Formigal. Masterly skiing, with ‘Distinction’! As the Aussie girl said in their Tourist Office advert. ”....come on you Brits....where the b....y hell are you?...” Stay safe, Dave Williams

Dave Williams

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