The European Cup comes to Grandvalira, featuring several of the world’s top 30 skiers
Grandvalira is set to host events in the Men’s Alpine Ski European Cup this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, the Avet slope will provide the venue for two Giant Slalom (GS) events in which 80 skiers from 17 countries are due to take part. The national teams participating are Andorra, Spain, Germany, Austria, Canada, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. Some delegations, including those from Andorra, Spain, Sweden and Finland, have already arrived in Soldeu and trained on the competition course this morning.
Those registered to take part include several skiers in the Giant Slalom (GS) world top 30. Amongst them are the Austrian skier Marcel Mathis (12th in the GS rankings), the Italian Florian Eisath (23rd) and the US competitor Tim Jitloff (27th). In fact, these last two skiers are currently competing for the European crown with another Frenchman, Thomas Frey, the current European Cup leader.
Grandvalira will also welcome the 19-year-old Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, one of the most promising young skiers of the moment, fresh from some brilliant performances on the international circuit. Kristoffersen’s enormous talent and potential have led some to compare him with another historic Norwegian skiing great, Kjetil André Aamodt.
The teams praise Avet
Meanwhile, preparations continue on the Avet slope. After the snowfalls last weekend, the Grandvalira technical team has worked against the clock to remove excess snow from the competition scene. According to race director Jordi Pujol, “70% of the slope is now in perfect condition, but we’ll have to work this coming night to get all the snow off the walls”. The outlook is excellent and, although water injection equipment is on hand at Grandvalira to finish hardening the surface, this will probably not be necessary due to the good condition of the slope. “We’ll take our final decision depending on how the skiers now training here feel”, says Pujol, adding that, “For the moment, they tell us they like the slope a lot, and that it is in very good condition”. The teams from Andorra, Spain, Sweden and Finland trained at the Avet slope this morning, and the course will be closed to the public from tomorrow, Wednesday, to allow the work of preparing the venue for competition to be completed. On Thursday and Friday, the teams will train at the Eslàlom slope in the Soldeu sector and the Esparver slope in El Tarter.
“Media star” skier comes to Grandvalira
One of the skiers training at Soldeu today is Jon Olsson, very much the darling of the media these days. Having won 9 medals and 11 podiums at the X Games, the Swede is considered one of the world’s most outstanding freestylers. Though very much a specialist in this discipline, he returned to Alpine ski in 2008, achieving good results in the Giant Slalom. Today, Jon Olsson is focusing his efforts on becoming the first skier in history to take part in both the Freestyle and Alpine Ski events at a single Games, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (Russia).
This weekend, Grandvalira will be operating at full capacity, with 100% of slopes and ski lifts open. After the snow that has fallen in recent weeks, moreover, winter sports lovers will find everything in perfect condition at the largest skiable area in southern Europe (210 km). Powder snow will be at a minimum depth of 140 cm, rising to 250 cm higher up. The weekend weather forecast is equally promising: sunshine, with a slight rise in temperatures towards the end of the week.
The best music, and live football
As part of the activities organised parallel to the European Cup, this Sunday, March 3 will feature a live music session with DJs on the terrace of L’Abarset restaurant in El Tarter sector. Weather permitting, the Après Ski party will take place from 4 to 8 pm.
On the Saturday, moreover, L’Abarset will also host an outstanding event, with a live broadcast by Andorra1 Ràdio Flaix from 10 am to 12 noon. At 4 pm, patrons will also be able to watch the Madrid-Barça match live, followed by the best après ski with the Què Flaix Session party.
Featuring a session by DJ Bruno Alexandre Demato, the party will continue until 9 pm.
As every Saturday, our younger visitors are invited to have fun at Restaurant El Forn in the Canillo sector. There, from 12 noon to 3 pm, restaurant patrons will find a children’s entertainer ready to organise workshops in a range of activities: balloon modelling, painting, games, snowman building…
This weekend, Grandvalira will also host the 7th Francesc Viladomat-FIS Trophy. This competition, organised by the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation and the Catalan Winter Sports Federation, will take place in the Pas de la Casa sector at the resort and will be open to the women’s and men’s Junior I and II and senior categories. Governed by International Ski Federation (FIS) rules, the events taking place in all categories will be the Slalom and the Giant Slalom. The deadline for entries for these events is 8 pm on Tuesday, February 26.