Font Romeu Ski Resort France
Font Romeu Ski Resort
Font Romeu ski resort in the French Pyrenees is renowned as the sunniest ski resort in the Pyrenees Mountain Range. That is a claim I certainly would not argue with, especially as on route we passed through the 'Tunnel du Puymorens' between Ax Les Thermes and Font Romeu to find that when exiting on the Font Romeu side of the tunnel the climate was definitely an order of magnitude sunnier than it was on the Ax Les Thermes side.
Not that this was exactly what we were looking for on this, our first visit to the resort, because the year I am talking about in this particular 'Font Romeu review' is 2011. For those in the know this year was not the best year the Pyrenees have ever had for snow. In fact looking at the snow reports most of the Pyrenees ski resorts were struggling for a full covering and many were not fully open, so on this particular occasion a few snow clouds would have been a welcome sight.
That said Font Romeu was being reported as 100% operational and we had seen a change in the weather the week before we set off, suggesting new snowfalls were likely. optimism then, was the flavour of the day and we were expecting to find some fabulous snow covered slopes.
So was our optimism to be rewarded or were we destined to be disappointed, read on to find out and all will be revealed.
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Font Romeu Town and Ski Resort - Font Romeu, Odeillo, Superbolquere and Pyrenees 2000
On arrival the first thing noticed was the lack of snow in the town, it was looking very thin on the ground. Also the usual problem was that we didn't actually know where anything was as this was our first trip to the resort. So here are a few tips:
- the telecabin up to the slopes is right behind the tourist information office, which is sign posted
- the ski passes can be bought from the building right next door to the tourist information office
- you cannot hire ski equipment up at the slopes, although the ski school is there
- you can drive up to the slopes, its up the hill past the tourist information office and turn left at the first roundabout
- Odeillo has nothing to do with the skiing, head for there and you are going away from the slopes
- There is a free multi-storey car park exactly opposite the tourist information office
So as you can see, a lot that is anything to do with getting started skiing is right next to the Font Romeu tourist information office. Add to that you can hire skis and ski equipment the other side of the tourist information office to the ticket office and you are pretty much set to park your car, get your ski pass, hire your ski equipment and get on the ski lift all within a 20 yard radius.
The reason I went to great pain to point all this out is because we arrived early afternoon with the intention to get our first skiing in that day. Unfortunately by the time we found the the ski station and realised we couldn't get our skis there and then had to go back to town to get kitted out, it was really a little bit late to start skiing. It did however give us the opportunity to have a good look around the town, find our hotel and check out the best ski hire deals. We ended up paying 11euros a day for ski hire and that was a nice set of fairly new carvers, so not bad at all really.
While we are on the subject of costs, we took a 3 day ski pass for 88euros each for adults, a single day would have been 31euros and a half day was 28,50euros. There were other deals available and the price reduced the more days you took, 6 days were 155 euros.
The town itself was very nice with plenty of hotels to choose from close to the telecabin. We stayed at the Hotel de la Poste, chosen because of its position. Which I have to say did not disappoint and neither did it's restaurant; very good food and lots of it. As for the room itself, well lets just say it was a good job it was only for sleeping in, very small, cramped and a little tired, shame really I really would have liked to been able to recommend the place. It was clean so I can say that for one of the less costly options and as long as you are not seeking luxury, then it was adequate.
We ate in a few restaurants in town and the hotel restaurant was very good, but our favourite was the Casino restaurant. The food was excellent and the service was also very good and it didn't cost any more than any of the others. It was a little quiet so all we could think was that people didn't realise how good it was, or perhaps went for the crowds as a recommendation. To be honest we didn't have a bad meal while we were there and the other place we ate that was pretty impressive was the Italian Pizzeria located down the street opposite the Casino called Le Cellier. We had pasta dishes and again they were both excellent.
Check the price of the beer in the bar before you buy it, we had 2 beers and they cost 12 euros which was a little bit of a surprise even though they were large. That was in the Sunshine Cafe, but it did have a very nice view and of course it got the evening sun.
In conclusion then, I would say overall Font Romeu gets a big thumbs up from us, a few little niggles but nothing life shattering and we are in the grumpy old (wo)man age bracket, so life wouldn't be worth living if we didn't have something to complain about. Can't ignore the fact either that the snow arrived in the bucket full the night we arrived which made the skiing while we were there very good indeed, there is nothing nicer than skiing on fresh snow in the sunshine.
Font Romeu Map - Font Romeu, Odeillo and Pyrenees 2000
The cable car from Font Romeu lifts you up from behind the tourist office to the 'Espace Ludique' where you can gain access to several more lift systems to reach the rest of the pistes on offer. You cannot ski all the way back to Font Romeu but you can ski all the way down to Pyrenees 2000 from Gallinera via Col Del Pam.
There are 3 airports that service Font Romeu from France, Perpignan, Toulouse and Carcassonne. From Spain you also have the options of Barcelona and Gerona. Visit Travel Advice for France for more information on flights and rail options, or of course driving.
The distances to major cities in France are
- 87 km from Perpignan (RN 116)
- 185 km from Toulouse (RN20)
- 900 km from Paris ( A9) exiting at "Perpignan sud"
Ski Gear on Amazon
Photos Of Font RomeuClick thumbnail to view full-size
Skiing in Font Romeu - Perfect for a family skiing holiday, beginners and intermediates
So what about the skiing? There were a lot of green and blue runs with a smattering of reds and blacks. There was also a pretty good snow park that would suit the snow borders and a few more advanced skiers. It is hard to see how an advanced skier would be challenged or entertained for more than a few hours, possibly a day, unless they were easy to satisfy.
But for a family skiing holiday, beginners and intermediates Font Romeu seemed like the perfect place. The highest peak was Roc de la Calme at 2213m, then Gallinera at 2127m. The longest run you can get is to start at Roc de la Calme and ski down to Pyrenees 2000 (at 1777m) via Gallinera and Col del Pam with a little bit of an interruption at Col del Pam for a quick drag lift to get you on route to Pyrenees 2000, you could try and ski that bit but most everyone we saw try this ended up with a little walk to get to the top of the next slope.
Most of the blacks are towards Col del Pam as well and they were quite steep in places with some short narrow sections, but not overly challenging and hence my statement that advanced levels may not find enough here to keep them occupied for any serious length of time.
The lift system is pretty good, lots of chairs compared to drag lifts, so for the older generation that gives you the opportunity to take a breather without actually stopping. When you do want to stop there are loads of cafe's and restaurants available strategically positioned close to the main lifts. The food we had at Col del Pam was brilliant, although it was extremely popular and during the main lunch period between 12.00 and 2.00p.m. it could be a struggle to get a table there. That was pretty much the same everywhere though thinking about it, so it might be better taking an early brunch or a later lunch to avoid the rush.
We didn't use the ski school but there were plenty of groups, individuals and children being led by their ski instructors, so clearly plenty of ski school options if you want them.
We loved Font Romeu, for us at intermediate there was plenty to do and we covered the whole range of pistes fairly comfortably and I don't remember any seriously long queues either. A very nice short skiing break and 3 days skiing was just about enough for these tired old legs.
Look here for a Font Romeu Snow Report.
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