Grandvalira Resorts Andorra invests €17.5 million in the 2022-2023 season
The Andorran resorts are presenting new attractions for their first winter under the same brand with the country's national pass
The areas are committed to sustainability, with investments of up to €2.5 million in independent energy generation and energy saving measures
Andorra will be the setting for major international events, with the Alpine Ski World Cup Finals in Grandvalira, the Freeride World Tour in Ordino Arcalís and the ISMF Comapedrosa World Cup in Pal Arinsal
This morning, Grandvalira Resorts Andorra presented the new attractions for the 2022-2023 winter season - the first season in which all the resorts in the Principality have been grouped together under a single brand. Ordino Arcalís, Pal Arinsal and Grandvalira are planning to open on 2 December, weather permitting.
This season, Grandvalira Resorts Andorra has invested €17.5 million in total: €12.5 million in Grandvalira, €2.5 million in Pal Arinsal and €2.5 million in Ordino Arcalís. With this investment, they have improved slopes, infrastructure, facilities and services for the Ski and Snowboard School, and they have diversified the dining options. In addition, they have increased the activities on offer, in a season where major sporting events, as well as leisure and musical events, will once again be arriving. The main investments have gone towards sustainability, with €2.5 million invested in independent renewable energy generation and energy saving measures.
Types of Season Pass
The major new attraction in the Principality’s resorts this winter is the three new season passes. The Andorra Pass provides unlimited access to Ordino Arcalís, Pal Arinsal and Grandvalira, for a total of 303 km of skiing areas, 213 slopes and 123 ski lifts. The pass is also available as a multi-day pass to combine days of skiing at the different resorts. Furthermore, the Nord Pass allows for unlimited skiing at Pal Arinsal and Ordino Arcalís, and two days at Grandvalira. Both passes are valid in winter and in summer, including access to the prestigious Pal Arinsal Bike Park. The third pass is the Mountain Pass, which gives lovers of ski mountaineering and snowshoeing access to Grandvalira Resorts, and a total of 13 lifts, allowing one ascent and one descent per day. In addition, it includes the first aid service and transfer to the medical centre, and one day of skiing at any of the country’s resorts.
Furthermore, from this season onwards, Grandvalira Resorts will be part of the prestigious Ikon Pass. This pass originated in the United States, providing access to more than 50 destinations around the world, and it now includes Andorran areas. An opportunity to open up the American market.
Grandvalira Resorts is continuing the dynamic pricing strategy implemented last season, including Pal Arinsal. In this way, sales have been strengthened through their websites, where customers can acquire the passes at the minimum guaranteed price, and early purchases are rewarded with discounts of up to 15%. In this respect, the Grandvalira digital ecosystem is continuing to improve, with a new website and a renewed user experience, as well as new, more intuitive sales assistants. Meanwhile, the Pal Arinsal website will also be included in this ecosystem, with a new design, new navigation architecture and e-commerce integration.
Sustainability and environment
Grandvalira has made a strong commitment to independent energy generation this season, with the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in Pessons. It has a hydraulic turbine with a peak production capacity of 300 kW/h, which is equivalent to between 3 and 5% of the consumption of the Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig and Encamp sectors. At the same time, it has gone ahead with the installation of solar panels on the roofs of 8 buildings across the resort, specifically in the Grau Roig, Encamp and Soldeu sectors. These are capable of producing more than 500,000 kW/year. These new infrastructures, when added to those that have already been created in recent years at Ordino Arcalís, with the hydraulic mini power plant, and at Pal Arinsal, with the Planell de la Tosa Solar Farm, will allow around 25% of the annual energy consumed by the three Grandvalira Resorts to come from independent generation. In this respect, Ordino Arcalís has been 100% energy independent since 2016, as a result of the mini power plant, while Pal Arinsal is capable of generating 37% of its annual energy consumption independently with the solar farm that is located in Pal, which is the largest in Andorra, with a surface area of 22,000 m2. In turn, from this season onwards, Grandvalira will be generating 6% of its annual energy consumption.
In addition to independent generation, Grandvalira Resorts has taken action by adopting different energy-saving methods, with the goal of successfully reducing consumption by 15% in comparison to the previous season, while also maintaining the same level of service for skiers at all times. In this respect, the measures adopted include the optimisation of the operation of the lifts, to adapt to the influx of customers, paying attention to the flow of the queues in order to maximise occupancy, as well as the installation of more movement sensors and changing to LED bulbs, so as to have greater control over the consumption of the lighting, or the regulation of the temperature of heating systems in the buildings and the water temperature in the washbasin taps. In addition, the artificial snow system is continually being improved, making the most of new technologies to optimise its operation each year. Using information from sonar devices installed on the snow-grooming machines, which have been renovated with reduced consumption models, and a thickness control system with a depth radar, the production of artificial snow has been optimised, thus avoiding water and electricity waste and reducing CO2 emissions.
In addition, in Pal Arinsal, in the context of energy saving measures, there have been electrical renovations in the Pla de la Cot building, banks of capacitors have been installed in the Oriols cable car and in the Seturia and Cubil chairlifts, in addition to a speed regulator on the Sierra II chairlift.
Furthermore, Grandvalira Soldeu – El Tarter has received the FEDA Green Light seal, which certifies that 100% of the electrical energy consumed comes from a renewable source. This allows the CO2 emissions generated to be reduced, and represents a 50% reduction in the carbon footprint of Grandvalira Soldeu – El Tarter.
What’s new on the slopes
One of the main new attractions is located in the Pas de la Casa and Grau Roig sectors, where the Port d’Envalira and Antenes area has been energised by the new Pont-Grau slope, which crosses the road and links the Port d’Envalira area to the Bordes area. With the construction of this slope, which is suitable for all levels, the skiable area has been extended by 14 hectares. In addition, the Pastora slope has been re-profiled to make it more comfortable for skiers, modifying the landing of the Pas de la Casa TSD4, and a rope tow has also been installed, which will allow access to the new area.
The Pas de la Casa and El Tarter beginner's areas have been improved. In Pas de la Casa, the Abelletes platter lift was introduced, replacing the old rope tow. For El Tarter, one more tower has been added to the Riba platter lift, and the exit point is located 60 metres further down. In addition, the final section of the slope has been modified to reduce the slope.
The Encamp, Pas de la Casa and Grau Roig children's circuits have also been improved and new attractions have been added for the little ones to enjoy. In addition, the XCROSS circuit in the Coma III area has been improved. In this respect, the Soldeu sector has three new Fun Cross circuits, the Oso Fun Cross Ride, the Astor Fun Cross Ride and the Lechuza Fun Cross, in addition to the Zorro Fun Cross and the Marmota Junior Fun Cross, which were introduced last season and were very well received. These circuits have fast corners, jumps, dubbies, tunnels and many more obstacles, so fun is guaranteed.
In terms of disciplines other than alpine skiing, this year there is a new ski mountaineering circuit on the Forn “Cap de Rep” in Canillo, and a new circuit that will make it easier to ascend Soldeu a Espiolets on snowshoes.
Furthermore, the Cubil car park in Grau Roig has been improved, with 30 new electric vehicle charging points, as part of works that were carried out in collaboration with the Catalan multinational Wallbox, a leading company in the sector.
In turn, Pal Arinsal has received competition approval from the IFS for the Corpalanca slope, located in the Pal sector. In relation to the facilities, the Les Marrades slope has changed its artificial snow system, with 8 new lines of low pressure cannons, while in the Pal sector, the air system has been renewed, replacing 4 old compressors with one new one, and the installation of 10 high pressure HP cannons.
Furthermore, in collaboration with Andorra Research and Innovation, a control centre with drones will be installed in Coll de la Botella, allowing the use of the slopes’ snowcat to be controlled and, therefore, optimised. This new technology is added to the system which already allowed the areas that the snowploughs had passed over to be controlled, adding information on the existing snow thickness in order to know whether the area needs to be worked more or not. Improvements have also been introduced in relation to the collection of water for artificial snow production, with the renovation of the Río Pollós water collection, located in Arinsal, and the new water collection in Río Comallemple, with the aim of improving it and ensuring ecological flows.
Ordino Arcalís has undergone a full renovation of the Planells beginner's area, with the installation of a new platter lift, the renovation of the beginner snow carpet and the Vailets Platter Lift. The artificial snow system has also been reinforced with the installation of new cannons. In turn, the Ordino Arcalís Ski and Snowboard school is introducing service buildings, which also include the shop and the hire service, which has 700 new pieces of equipment, as well as a new Top Class area. The interior of the crèche has been remodelled, and the Kids Forest children's circuits have been improved. In addition, the Planells area will have a new space for learning to drive mini snowmobiles.
Excitement and adrenaline with new activities
One of the greatest new attractions for the season is Snowtubbing by Doots in the Pas de la Casa sector. At 350 metres long, it is now the longest tubbing track in Europe and you will be able to achieve speeds of almost 60 km/h. The circuit is made up of numerous turns, and two tunnels that pass under the tracks. It also has lighting, so that, together with night-time skiing, it extends the options for play and sport in the town of Pas de la Casa, both in the winter nights and the summer months.
In turn, the Soldeu platform is introducing the Space Gliss area, which will energise the space with new activities. The Mini-Snake Gliss, sleds and tubbing are all mainly aimed at a family audience.
Après-ski in L’Abarset
The coldest nights will get warmer with the L’Abarset après-ski, which is returning with energy to strengthen itself and surpass the success of last winter, during which more than 50,000 people visited the new space. And it is doing so with some new attractions. On the one hand, the Velvedere Shot Bar is opening. This is a new concept that will offer the most original of shots, in collaboration with the partner Belvedere. They will be the perfect complement to the drinks and cocktails of L’Abarset, in an elegant space that is suitable for the occasion. In addition, The Club L’Abarset is being introduced. At the same time as these new attractions, L’Abarset is keeping its essence, which goes beyond après-ski. It has a magnificent gourmet bistro restaurant offering, with lunches and dinners, which make L’Abarset an essential step in the Grandvalira experience.
First Snowrow Festival in Andorra
From 30 March to 2 April, Grandvalira will host the first year of the Snowrow: a music and sport festival organised together with “elrow”, a company that organises macrofestivals with original themes. This unique, innovative event will be organised around a four-day programme full of music, immersive shows, pop ups, competitions and all types of offerings, aimed both at a family audience during the day, and an adult audience at night, with international DJ concerts, “secret parties” and other après-ski offerings. It will take place in different spaces in the Pas de la Casa and Grau Roug sectors, and it will offer activities each day from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Gastronomy and Premium Experiences
The resorts have made renewed efforts to provide new gastronomic offerings, with complete renovations and themed terraces. In Grandvalira, Snack Bar 1960, in the El Peretol sector, has been converted into the Bordes 1957 Vermutería, while in the In The Snow Veuve Clicquot, the Petroni terrace and the Rincón de Solanelles have had multiple improvements. In addition, the Coll Blanc terrace will introduce a new San Miguel outside bar, while the Coma III and Pla de les Pedres restaurants have extended the San Miguel terraces. In relation to Arinsal, the old Obélix bar, one of the most emblematic restaurants in Arinsal, is returning with renovations, and changing its name to el Niu. In addition, the restaurant located on the Comallemple building's terrace has been reopened, and is changing its name to the new Terroir, and the Xiri Snowbar is becoming the Piccolo. Lastly, the reopening of the emblematic La Coma Restaurant is one of the most important new additions in relation to gastronomy in Ordino Arcalís, having been fully renovated with new, elegant décor. The Planells Restaurant has also had its décor changed, and it will have new, 100% ecological products.
For those who want extra exclusivity and service, there will be new additions to the Premium experiences. At Grandvalira, the Soldeu-El Tarter Mountain Club was extended and the Pas de la Casa – Grau Roig sectors are being added, where the Pas de la Casa – Grau Roig Mountain Club will be. Both will offer their members an exclusive experience with a personalised service and a lot of luxuries, such as access to the VIP rooms of the resort, the changing rooms and ticket offices, or the VIP parking and its electric chargers. In addition, members will enjoy priority access to gastronomic days at the Gourmet Snow Club and the Gourmet Experience.
In relation to competitions, Grandvalira Resorts will, once again, be the setting for high level national and international competitions:
- The Alpine Ski World Cup Finals (from 13 to 19 March): for the second time, the Soldeu – El Tarter sectors will host this event, the most prestigious and important in the world of alpine skiing, after the Olympics and the World Championships. Over the course of this week, the 25 best skiers in the world from the disciplines of slalom, giant slalom, Super-G and downhill will meet in Grandvalira, making it the world’s epicentre for this sport.
- The Speed Skiing World Cup (from 28 to 30 March): this speed skiing event will now be the last in the discipline’s calendar, where the athletes will compete to win the Crystal Globes. The races will take place on the Grau Roig Riberal KL slope, which is 1,050 m in length and has a vertical difference of 200 m.
- The ISMF Comapedrosa Andorra Ski Mountaineering World Cup (from 19 to 22 January): Arinsal will host the two races that are now traditional: the Individual Race, which includes 3 different routes with entrances and exits at the Arinsal Xalet Igloo, and the Vertical Race, which has 2 routes, to which the Open category has been added this year. This option is for other ski mountaineering participants, and is valid for the ski mountaineering Park Piolets Andorra Cup.
- Freeride World Tour (from 4 to 9 February): for the ninth consecutive year, Ordino Arcalís is hosting the third event for the Freeride World Tour, the most important international circuit for this category, in which the riders will compete to move on to the next stages.
- Freeride Junior Tour (4 and 5 February, Ordino Arcalís).
- Jam Extrem Freeride World Qualifier (from 30 March to 2 April, Ordino Arcalís).
- Borrufa Trophy (from 16 to 19 February): Ordino Arcalís will host the 31st year of one of the most important alpine ski competitions for young people between the ages of 11 and 16: the perfect opportunity to see future ski stars live.
- Andorra Skimo, the mountain refuge crossing (4 and 5 March, Grandvalira and Ordino Arcalís).
Andorra 2029 candidacy
Andorra is once again committed to becoming the venue for the Alpine Ski World Championships: the most important event in the world for this sport. The experience acquired by Andorra in recent years, together with the organisational success of the 2019 World Cup Finals, and other high level competitions, has allowed the country to once again take on the challenge of applying to host the 2029 Alpine Ski World Championships.