Vallfosca Mountain Resort, Catalonia, Spain


The unfinished resort in the Vall Fosca (western Catalan Pyrenees), is a development project stopped since 2008 when the firm that was in charge went bankrupt, at the time that major consequences of the financial crisis affecting Europe, particularly the south, started to appear.

See more...
Basic Data
NameVallfosca Mountain Resort, Catalonia, Spain
SiteLa Torre de Cabdella
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Tourism Recreation
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific CommoditiesTourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project Details9-hole golf course (extendable to 18).

Ski facilities covering 3,400 hectares with capacity for 3,500 skiers.

7,400 additional beds distributed between hotel places (65%) and second residences (35%).

Other facilities: catering and commercial, sport facilities, conference room, wellness center.

2,200 underground parking spaces
Project Area (in hectares)3,414
Level of Investment (in USD)667,843,055
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population700
Start Date25/11/2003
Company Names or State EnterprisesMartinsa-Fadesa S.A. from Spain
Vallfosca Interllacs from Spain - Company leading the development until 2007
Relevant government actorsRegional Government: Generalitat de Catalunya.

Local Government: Ajuntament de la Torre de Cabdella.

Province Authority: Diputacio de Lleida.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersVall Fosca Activa



Mountain Wilderness
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
The construction company went bankrupt, leaving the project half-finished being its final completion uncertain.
Development of AlternativesAdvocate for a different type of development not based on speculation and big resorts. Diversification of activities and support for farmers dedicated to extensive livestock.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The courts fail to stop the project and the opposition was not strong enough. Damaged to the environment was caused and there was no compensation after works were abandoned.
Sources and Materials

Llei 12/2006, de 27 de juliol, de mesures en matèria de medi ambient
[click to view]

Decret 328/1992 pel qual s'aprova el Pla d'espais d'interès natural
[click to view]

Llei 12/1985 d'espais naturals
[click to view]


Barrachina, M. (2007). The effects of land use change on landscape: the case of Vall Fosca (Catalan Pyrenees). MAN IN THE LANDSCAPE ACROSS FRONTIERS – IGU-LUCC CENTRAL EUROPE CONFERENCE.
[click to view]

Ismael Vaccaro et Oriol Beltran, « The mountainous space as a commodity: the Pyrenees at the age of globalization », Revue de Géographie Alpine | Journal of Alpine Research [on-line], 97-3 | 2009.
[click to view]

Velasco, M. J. P. (Ed.). (2008). Naturbanization: new identities and processes for rural-natural areas. CRC Press.
[click to view]


Article in Spanish describing ski resort failed projects in the Pyrenees during the last years.
[click to view]

Contextualization of the development of the project in 2008 before its interruption (in Catalan). More descriptions from other years available in the same website.
[click to view]

Media Links

Documentary in Catalan about the village of Espui done by a woman who was born there and comes back to look for her roots and observe the state of the village after the resort project was abandoned.
[click to view]

Website with picture and descriptions in Spanish about the unfinished works of the resort project.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAlfred Burballa-Noria
Last update27/08/2014