In the heart of the Aragon Valley, there are some of the ski slopes that make up one of the largest single skiable domains in the country, the 100K territory of Astún and Candanchú, and only surpassed in kilometers by Baqueira Beret, Formigal and Sierra Nevada. At least for the moment.
The resorts of Astún and Candanchú account for 12% of the ski market share. At present, following the model of some others in the Alps, they are separated by 3 kilometers (barely eight minutes) and have been permanently linked by a free shuttle service that has made this 100k territory possible. Something that is expected to improve when they are linked by ski lift in the next three years.
In any case, with the same ski pass and in the same area, a wide range of winter sports disciplines can be enjoyed: from alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, among others.
In total there are 101 skiable kilometers, with 102 marked slopes (15 green, 30 blue, 38 red, 19 black), but also many other options for enjoyment and learning: from the Astún snowpark, an extreme driving circuit, leisure for the little ones such as the Astún snow garden or Candanchulandia in Candanchú, as well as ski schools with private and group lessons. In fact, more than 80,000 schoolchildren from all over Spain pass through these schools every year in different groups for five days, generating a continuous flow on the slopes of Territorio 100K.
One of the main attractions that makes this territory special is Astún’s extreme driving circuit, the Ford Snow Driving, which allows 4×4 driving at 2,000 meters above sea level. It opened in 2018 and became the first snow circuit for cars in the Spanish and French Pyrenees that allows both to enjoy driving these vehicles on snowy ground, and to learn and face the challenge of braking, skidding or counter-steering in these conditions of minimum adherence.
Gastronomy has become essential in Territorio 100K, at the foot of the slopes or at altitudes of more than 2,000 meters, with terraces with spectacular views where you can enjoy a hot broth, sandwiches or more select cuisine. Also après ski from 4 pm when the slopes close.
An attraction for tourists from other parts of Spain, French, English and other skiing lovers
The Territorio 100K of Astún and Candanchú is an attraction for national skiers, especially for Basques and Navarrese, who account for half of the influx to the slopes. The second place is disputed by Aragonese and Madrid skiers, a profile that varies depending on the year.
But also for skiers from countries such as France, United Kingdom or Portugal, who come attracted not only by the skiing but also by the wide tourist offer.
According to Andrés Pita, deputy general manager of EIVASA Astún, since 2000 the Aragonese profile has remained stable at 20%, while the trend of the Madrileño has been on the rise. In 2015 they were at 12% and now they are around 20%,” he points out. “This is because they are looking for large ski areas, such as Andorra, Baqueira or Sierra Nevada, and with the joint ski pass of Candanchú and Astún they take us more into consideration,” explains Pita.
This will be definitively achieved with the union of resorts, which begins with the union of Astún and Candanchú with a 3-kilometer lift that will start from the lower part of Candanchú to the surroundings of La Raca, which will definitively join these two resorts. The union will continue with the annexation with Formigal (Aramon Group) by means of two chairlifts. This will mean more than 200 skiable km, which will put the Aragonese resorts on the international map.
“Tour operators have in their portfolio territories with more than 150 kilometers or 200 kilometers of slopes, as well as specific infrastructures: airports, a specific number of hotel beds… Separately in Aragon we do not meet the conditions, but if we are connected we do, because we have the airports of Zaragoza and Huesca and only between the Aragon Valley and the Tena Valley we have enough beds. At that moment we will enter the offer”, argues Andrés Pita.
Après ski in a privileged place
If the Territorio 100k of Astún and Candanchú is so successful among the national public, it is not only because of the ski slopes, but also because of the après ski offer in the Aragón Valley itself, with Jaca as the heart of the Central Pyrenees, an important commercial and economic center and the first capital of the ancient Kingdom of Aragón. Perhaps there is no other ski resort that offers such a complete après ski experience (apart from Andorra) as this valley, which stands out in terms of heritage, landscape and gastronomy.
Its temples, churches, monasteries, castles and fortresses are of incalculable value (Monastery of San Juan de la Peña, Cathedral of Jaca, Citadel of Jaca), as well as its museums (Diocesan Museum of Jaca, Museum of Military Miniatures of Jaca), but so is its natural environment.
When spring approaches and its mountains remain snowy for skiing, its trails and routes become a perfect complement to enjoy your stay. Visiting the renovated Canfranc ski resort after a day of skiing can be a must, as well as a shopping and tapas tour in Jaca. Even golf enthusiasts can enjoy Las Margas, in Sabiñánigo, 20 minutes from Jaca.