Grandvalira asks the FIS if it can continue to host Alpine Ski World Cup races
Through the FAE and encouraged by the international federation itself, the resort has made a formal request to host trials again, as well as some more Finals and longer term World Championships
Blanch highlights the image of "seriousness, efficiency and professionalism" that Andorra has shown throughout the week
Nearly 25,000 people watched the races live and 440 media professionals broadcast the event to the world
After seven intense days of training and races on the Àliga pistes in the El Tarter and Avet section of Soldeu de Grandvalira, this Monday it was time to take stock of the FIS Ski World Cup Finals Andorra 2019. The resort received the praise of the International Ski Federation (FIS), the technical teams and the competitors who took part in the events, as explained by David Hidalgo, Director of Grandvalira-Ensisa.
Andorra has projected to the world an image of "seriousness, efficiency and professionalism" that will allow it to continue aspiring to new challenges in terms of organising winter events, added the Director of the Organising Committee, Conrad Blanch. This is exactly why, under encouragement from the FIS itself after they made public their satisfaction with how the Finals went, this Monday a letter was sent requesting that the agency continue taking into account the Pyrenean country when it comes to hosting World Cup competitions. The President of the Andorran Ski Federation (FAE), Josep Pintat, explained that the goal is to host new races in the next few years (preferably the male technical disciplines in Avet), and even host another Finals. All this with a view to bidding for the World Alpine Ski Championships, an event comparable only to holding a winter Olympic Games.
The FIS will meet this May to continue arranging the competitions calendar up to 2023. At this meeting, the organisation will assess whether to include Grandvalira in its race schedule. It certainly seems like they will, since the feedback received once the Finals ended was that "Andorra has established itself as a top-level destination", according to Hidalgo, even surpassing initial predictions. FIS technicians proved particularly satisfied with Avet, one of the best pistes for technical disciplines in the entire circuit.
After the two World Cup trials in 2012 and 2016, the Finals bordered on perfection. The weather was unbeatable, with sunshine and mild temperatures, but with excellent piste conditions, at the very top level, demonstrating that a World Cup venue can count on "winter conditions and spring weather", according to the athletes themselves.
All this was made possible thanks to the preparatory work done by the resort's staff (up to 130 people worked to make the event possible, including pisteurs, machinists, avalanche blasters, netting teams, patrol teams, human resources and quality teams). Not to forget the help of around 350 volunteers, who did the work of "3,500" people, according to Hidalgo. Another highly praised aspect was the service offered by the Hospitality Teams at the racer care centres.
In sports, 228 runners from 19 countries, both male and female, competed for the four disciplines (Giant Slalom, Slalom, Supergiant and Descent), plus the Alpine Team Event, the team trial held on Friday in which the Andorran team took part.
The race director, Jordi Pujol, highlighted the hours of machines and months of hard work from the team in order to prepare the two slopes, and the fact that, despite the high temperatures and absence of snowfall in the last weeks, the snow has held up and all safety conditions have been guaranteed.
Throughout the week, record numbers have come to see the events, with around 25,000 people there to cheer on the riders on the slopes, and up to 6,000 in a single day during the weekend. In fact, the organisation of the Finals has seen an unprecedented number of people involved, with the total reaching almost 2,500 people taking part in the organisation, staffing, volunteers, logistics teams, media (with 440 accredited media professionals) and sportspersons. As for attracting visitors, during the weekend, hotel occupation in some points of the country reached 90%. Up to 27 hotels in the country have been involved in the event.
In addition, more than 40 trips have been made between the airport of Barcelona and Andorra, and the free internal transport service has proved a success in getting spectators up to the slopes.
On that note, Mikaela Shiffrin, one of the great protagonists of the Finals, thanked the organisation in a note she left alongside a small gift before leaving Andorra.
Aside from being a success in terms of sports and public involvement, we have also succeeded in offering a great image of Andorra to the outside world. This is the type of advertisement for our country and its values that traditional channels can't offer. At the same time, we have shown that our team is capable of preparing high-level events; they’ve been the true stars of the slopes.
For all this and more, Blanch assured the audience that this collective effort has made the Andorra 2019 Finals a “great festival of sports”. He concludes that, if in 2012 we said “Soldeu was world class”, in 2019 we can now boast that “the whole of Andorra is world class”.