Grandvalira Resorts invests €34.5 million for the 2023-2024 season
The stations have approved growth plans for the Pal Arinsal and Grandvalira areas worth €140 million starting in winter 2024-25
Grandvalira Resorts will grow to 308 skiable kilometres with the addition of 5 new kilometres of slopes in the Canillo sector of Grandvalira
The domains will launch 110 farmed snow machines to optimise the snowmaking network and continue to boost the snow guarantee
The Grandvalira Resorts Andorra stations have shared news this morning regarding the 2023-2024 winter season, which will start on 1 December and will last until 7 April, weather permitting. The general manager of Grandvalira Resorts, Juan Ramón Moreno, explained the investments for this season and its new features, as well as the growth plans planned for the coming years. In this regard, in the second joint season under the same umbrella, Ordino Arcalís, Pal Arinsal and Grandvalira demonstrate yet again their great ambition to improve their infrastructure and services to optimise the customer experience through a significant investment of 34.5 million euros. This amount practically doubles that of last season and is the highest amount in recent years. The main investments have focused on new infrastructure and facilities, with a new chairlift in Pal Arinsal and Grandvalira, a new multifunctional building, also in Grandvalira; as well as the optimisation of the snowmaking system across all the resorts. Moreover, a promise has again been made to diversify the offer with new experiences, improvements in restaurant services and the Ski and Snowboarding School. The commitment to sustainability has been further reinforced with the objectives of continuing to reduce CO2 emissions and increase the self-production of energy, among others.
Of the €34.5 million investment, €21.5 million correspond to Grandvalira, €11 million to Pal Arinsal and €2 million to Ordino Arcalís. Moreno wanted to highlight that "this is a historic investment, the highest in recent years. It's an example of the efforts that we continue to put into the stations with the commitment to optimise resources and continue to be a leader in the Pyrenees and southern Europe."
Future investments and growth plan
The Grandvalira Resorts stations have already approved two growth plans for the domains in the medium and long term, with a planned investment of 140 million euros in the coming years, a figure that does not take into account the investments made each season toward maintenance and domain improvement. On the one hand, the ski link between Pal and Arinsal has launched its first phase this winter with the new Port Negre chairlift, and from the 2024-2025 season it is planned that the ski link will be a reality with a new ski lift and red and black slopes. The link will add another 7 kilometres of tracks in Pal Arinsal, thus reaching the total 70 kilometres. In addition, between now and 2028 the creation of new green and blue slopes is planned in the Coll de la Botella area, which will become a new entrance to the resort with school and locker services. The amount that will be invested in these projects will be 40 million euros.
On the other hand, the new SAETDE concession for the operation of the Pas de la Casa – Grau Roig slopes for the next 50 years, approved by the Encamp Comú, provides foran injection of 100 million euros with an investment plan that includes the expansion of the ski area at the Maià peak as the main challenge. This also includes important improvements at the foot of the slopes in the Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig and Encamp sectors as well as sustainability measures.
Once again, the Grandvalira Resorts stations have made significant efforts to renew their facilities, services and slopes. The main novelty of the season in Grandvalira is the expansion of the domain with the creation of a new ski area in the Encampadana area of Canillo thanks to the installation of the Seig chairlift, which has allowed for 3 new red slopes that provide the resort with 5 more kilometres. Grandvalira thus now has a total of 215 kilometres, 140 slopes for all levels, and 76 lifts, while Grandvalira Resorts grows to 308 skiable kilometres. Plus, a new snow centre will also be opened in the same area, taking advantage of a nearby service building which increases the snowmaking capacity in the Canillo sector.
The Pas de la Casa has a new multifunctional building, Costa Rodona 2.222. The building includes a new point of sale, a ski storage room with 230 lockers, new rooms for ski clubs, a merchandising store and ski equipment rental, plus a new parking area with 10 new chargers for electric vehicles.
The Grandvalira snowmaking network has also received a significant boost with the installation of 88 new farmed snow machines that have allowed the snowmaking network to be optimised. One of the areas where special emphasis has been placed is on the Pla de les Pedres area that links together the Soldeu and Grau Roig sectors, which are a key point of the domain.
On the other hand, the construction of the ICÒNIC high-altitude sports performance centre stands out, which is located in Port d'Envalira and within the ski area. With an altitude of 2,500 metres and with capacity for 180 people, it is expected to open its doors in 2025 to become one of the leading centres in southern Europe for professional, federated and amateur athletes who wish to train at high altitudes to improve their performance.
Likewise, the resort continues to promote the offer of activities different from high-altitude sports, including a new mountain ski circuit and six new snowshoe circuits, with which Grandvalira expands the circuits for these respective disciplines by 5 kilometres and 15 kilometres, reaching a total of 53 kilometres of mountain ski circuits and 55 kilometres of snowshoe circuits.
The Pal Arinsal resort introduces a long-awaited renovation this season which represents the first step in the linking together of both sectors by slope: the renovation of the Port Negre chairlift, a detachable 6-seater chairlift that considerably improves access to the upper and lower portions of the Arinsal sector. The journey will be longer than the previous one, with departure in front of the El Niu restaurant and arrival at an altitude of 2,493 metres, closer to the cable car that connects with Pal. It will have a transport capacity of about 2,400 people per hour. Arinsal also has a new 700-metre blue slope, El Niu. In terms of snowmaking, Pal Arinsal has also made improvements to the network with 4 new farmed snow machines.
Also of note in Pal is the start of construction on the new national heliport project to be located in Caubella, which will bring great benefits to the resort once it is operational at the end of 2025. The infrastructure will host all the panoramic and tourist flights of Andorra, bringing a large number of people to the slopes. It will also make it easier for skiers to move between the Grandvalira Resorts domains and open the possibility of heli-skiing at any of the resorts in Andorra.
At Ordino Arcalís, after the great transformation that began last year, the Planells beginners area has been expanded this year from 3,500 m2 to 6,000 m2 and will have a new variant slope. The Sala Màgic has also been improved. The lockers have been expanded with more changing rooms and showers, and improvements have been made to the VIP parking, including 6 new chargers for electric vehicles with a capacity of 22 kW each.
To improve the efficiency of field equipment and optimise resources, the Ordino resort has renewed the fleet of snow groomers as well as 18 new farmed snow machines. Likewise, the Tristaina Cable Car opens 6 new cabins with which the transport capacity is expanded.
Sustainability and environment
The highest regard for the environment is a day-to-day priority for the mountain resorts. They strive to cause the least impact, always making use of necessary resources with an attitude of respect and conservation. For more than two decades, Andorra's resorts have been working to be more sustainable and to be more environmentally friendly with large investments aimed at projects to promote renewable energy, energy-saving measures and the self-production of energy, as well as the optimisation of snowmaking with farmed snow.
Grandvalira Resorts' initiatives encompass four lines of action: the self-production of energy, reduction of CO2 emissions, snowmaking and sustainable hydrological planning.
When it comes to the self-production of energy, the Grandvalira Resorts stations work with the objective of becoming self-sufficient in the coming years. They currently produce 25% of the energy they need throughout the year, with 100% self-sufficiency in Ordino Arcalís, 37% in Pal Arinsal and 6% in Grandvalira. This has been possible thanks to the development of infrastructures such as the Ordino Arcalís mini hydroelectric plant, inaugurated in 2016; the Pessons mini hydroelectric plant, in operation since last season; and the Planell de la Tosa Solar Park, featuring 22,000 m2 of solar panels. Every year, new photovoltaic panels are also installed on the roofs of the different buildings distributed throughout the resorts, such as the Grau Roig ski school, the Funicamp, the Gallo de Bosque restaurant, La Coma and the Massana cable car, among others. This year the roof of the Soldeu machine garage and the Soldeu Cable Car building and the La Coma building in Ordino Arcalís have been added to this list.
The aim is also to facilitate the use of renewable energies for users of the stations, with the installation each year of new charging points for electric vehicles. Currently, the Grandvalira Resorts stations have 65 chargers for electric vehicles at the foot of the slopes, including the 19 new units that have been installed in the Pas de la Casa and Grau Roig sectors of Grandvalira. This adds up to a total of 52 chargers in their car parks, with the 6 new chargers installed in Ordino Arcalís.
The snowmaking network is one of the pillars in which Grandvalira Resorts dedicates great efforts to continue offering the guarantee of 66% of the snow-covered areas. This winter, the stations have 110 new farmed snow machines, including those that replace previous models with state-of-the-art units that consume 90% less energy, and those that have been added to the snowmaking network to continue expanding the coverage of the slopes and optimising the snow guarantee.
Sustainable Hydrological Management Plan
Regarding the last line of action, hydrological management, the resorts of Andorra have recently received the conclusions of a study on hydrological management, which has been carried out through Ski Andorra in the last 4 years. The study has been carried out by the Professor at the University of Lleida and Doctor in Biological Sciences Antoni Palau, who has extensive experience in the field of applied limnology and hydrological planning. The study is focussed on two major points. On the one hand, the effects of the management of the water resources associated with the water catchments of the Grandvalira, Pal Arinsal and Ordino Arcalís ski resorts on the ecological status of the eight stretches of river where they have water catchments have been assessed. On the other hand, a Sustainable Hydrological Management Plan has been drawn up for each ski area, which should make it possible to improve and also accredit the responsible management of water resources and, by extension, of the natural heritage of the corresponding river basins. Hydrological modelling has also been carried out to assess the possible effects of climate change, under different scenarios, on water availability. The conclusions will be presented more fully in a presentation that will be held soon and will feature Antoni Palau.
Season of Anniversaries
This winter will be accompanied by the festive spirit of the Andorran resorts, which are celebrating. Firstly, we're celebrating 60 years of the creation of Soldeu - El Tarter, which began its activity in 1964 with the inauguration of the first chairlift in Andorra. Meanwhile, Arinsal celebrates the 50th anniversary of the resort's first lift installed in December 1973, forming the third resort that was launched in the Principality. Ordino Arcalís celebrates the 40th anniversary of the resort, which was operational for the first time during Holy Week in 1983 with 3 ski lifts and a chairlift, while the 1983-1984 season was the first to be fully operational. Finally, Grandvalira is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of its creation, thanks to the long-awaited merger of the operating companies of Pas de la Casa – Grau Roig and Soldeu – El Tarter in 2003. Thus the largest resort in the Pyrenees was born, which has not stopped growing since then in terms services, quality and leisure activities as well as international recognition, and which has positioned it as the landmark destination in southern Europe. One of the most important moments in its history is the creation of Grandvalira Resorts, which was born in 2018 with the integration of Ordino Arcalís into Grandvalira. Pal Arinsal joined in 2022, thus creating a 308-kilometre ski area with the option of being able to ski with a single countrywide ski pass. The domains will carry out different events during the season to celebrate their respective anniversaries.
Types of Ski Passes
Grandvalira Resorts maintains the three types of seasonal ski passes from last year. On the one hand, the Andorra Pass is the country's ski pass that includes unlimited access to the three resorts in the Principality: Grandvalira, Pal Arinsal and Ordino Arcalís, offering 308 skiable kilometres. On the other hand, the Nord Pass grants access to Pal Arinsal and Ordino Arcalís and also includes two days of skiing in Grandvalira for residents of Andorra and up to four days for non-residents.
Once again this year, the purchase of a season pass allows users to ski in a host of renowned ski resorts in Europe, America and Asia. The big news this year for the Andorra Pass are the French stations of Alpe d'Huez and Les 2 Alpes, as well as Mammoth (California). The three join destinations such as the American resorts of Deer Valley (Utah) and Steamboat (Colorado) and the Swiss station Verbier, among many others that form a wide range of international destinations that allow skiing all year round.
Lovers of alternative snow sports can opt for the Mountain Pass, which puts at their disposal Grandvalira Resorts' 83 kilometres of mountain skiing and 83.5 km of snowshoeing circuits along with a total of 13 lifts with one ascent and one descent per day included.
Starting this season, Grandvalira Resorts manages the extracurricular ski season passes designed for schoolchildren, university students and companions. Passes can be purchased on the Grandvalira, Pal Arinsal and Ordino Arcalís websites, and at the physical points of sale at the stations.
It should be noted that the Andorra Pass, Nord Pass and all extracurricular ski passes will also be valid during the 2024 summer season and will allow access to Grandvalira Resorts’ operational lifts, including those for the Pal Arinsal Bike Park.
As for the day passes, the dynamic prices that reward advance purchase through the Grandvalira Resorts websites at lower prices will be maintained.
High altitude cuisine
A day at Grandvalira Resorts is not complete if it doesn't come with a visit to one of the more than 87 restaurant points at the different stations, where the great atmosphere of the terraces with music and the surprising gourmet proposals that are constantly renewed stand out. This winter again comes brimming with new proposals and renovations in establishments of all the stations.
Grandvalira is opening a new San Miguel terrace in the Pas de la Casa sector, a 300 m2 facility at the base of the sector. There's also the new Bulthaup restaurant in the Grau Roig sector a space in the shape of a glass tube and capacity for 16 people which will offer a menu during the day and exclusive dinners with prior reservation during the night. The prestigious furniture brand Bulthaup will also decorate the Racó de Solanelles in the Encamp sector, which incorporates 3 new spaces: the Solanelles Tent (ideal for celebrations), the Solanelles Creperie, and the Solanelles Solarium (to enjoy the sun in a good hammock).
The In The Snow Veuve Clicquot, in the El Tarter sector, presents a renovation of the reserve with a new culinary point: the Petit Bistró Clicquot. Meanwhile, the Wine & Meat Bar by Jean Leon also brings new features, since starting this Christmas the restaurant will offer guests the opportunity to have dinner every Saturday. The restaurant will be organising Jazz Leon Days, which will bring together wine, food, drink, fire and jazz.
For lighter meals, the Refugi del Llac de Pessons in the Grau Roig sector will have a new food truck outside, and MyCorner will debut its largest location in Andorra next to the Grau Roig car park. In addition, two new Gofretti spaces have been created: one in Grau Roig and another in Funicamp, both of which are ideal for lovers of crepes and waffles.
Pal Arinsal also brings new features to its gastronomic offer. The Terroir restaurant culminates its transformation with a new bistronomic proposal characterised by local and family cuisine. El Niu, which was completely renovated last year, returns this season to be one of the hot spots of the resort with a new dynamisation of the terrace with music and a DJ. The Caubella terrace, in Pal, opens a new Fast Good Food area which is aimed at offering good food quickly. On the other hand, the Coll de la Botella will once again be the ideal place to enjoy its unique rice dishes and stone-grilled meats in the light under the Masa night with Starlight dinners.
Night-time meals continue to be one of the culinary attractions on offer at Ordino Arcalís as well. Thus, it is possible to spend a most magical night at the Refugio de Sorteny, which has a special menu on full moon nights, or take a caterpillar vehicle to the La Coma restaurant to enjoy dinner in a unique high-altitude atmosphere. This restaurant has completed an extensive renovation with elegant new decor and a new area for large reservations.
Après-ski and Music
The iconic L'Abarset returns this season with a strong debut and an incredible agenda, making the venue in the El Tarter sector once again destined to be the meeting point par excellence for après-ski in the Pyrenees. After having received more than 100,000 people last winter, L'Abarset is preparing a peak season in which top international DJs and parties with leading promoters will return. Thus, this year 4 parties with Brunch-In and 2 Bresh parties have already been confirmed. The establishment has carried out a series of investments to improve the acoustic quality that will increase the customer experience while minimising its impact on the environment. The restaurant, for its part, maintains the essence of its cuisine with a bistronomic proposal both during the day and at night, which makes L'Abarset a mandatory stop within the Grandvalira experience.
New Activities and Premium Experiences
The Grandvalira experience goes far beyond skiing, with original gastronomic and après-ski proposals, but also with exclusive overnight stay options and attractive activities for adults and children.
Epic Andorra’s exclusive accommodation will offer new activities this season to complement and make your experience even more memorable thanks to the collaboration with Roc Roi. Those staying in the Piolet hut, Domo Lodge or Niu del Pla de les Pedres can also enjoy mushing or snowmobiling.
A new activity designed for the most athletic guests is ice climbing in La Coma de Arcalís. If the conditions are good, the waterfall is transformed, offering three ice pitches, different goulottes and even some mixed sections. The help of the Grandvalira Mountain Guides (GMG) will allow you to enjoy it to the fullest with the new ice climbing improvement courses.
Improvements in the Digital Ecosystem
With the incorporation of Pal Arinsal at Grandvalira Resorts last season, the group is carrying out a strong renovation of its virtual world with the main objective of building a stable and customer-focused technological environment that maintains the identity of each of the resorts. One of the main changes has been the new Pal Arinsal website, which has been completely renewed to align with the Ordino Arcalís and Grandvalira sites mainly at the level of design and corporate image, plus incorporating functionalities that it did not have until now, such as access to the My GrandSki profile, among others.
Also launching this season is the new multi-resort mobile app, which unites the old apps of each resort into one. Everything that Grandvalira Resorts offers in the same space and with the same My Grandski login. With a very intuitive and functional interface, it includes features such as the status of the slopes in real time, the possibility of reserving the resort's services, access to slope maps with GPS positioning, ski registration and statistics, and the purchase of both daily and seasonal ski passes.
The season pass sales websites are also unified under the domain of www.grandvaliraresorts.com, where you can obtain all the Grandvalira Resorts season passes.
In relation to competitions, Grandvalira Resorts will, once again, be the setting for high level national and international competitions:
- Audi FIS Ski World Cup (10 and 11 February 2024): the women's alpine skiing World Cup returns to Soldeu for the third time (2012 and 2016), just one year after hosting the World Cup Finals for the second time. The Avet track will host the slalom and giant slalom events. Moreover, the FIS has placed Grandvalira on the provisional list of the 2026 Men's World Cup calendar.
- Speed Skiing World Cup (from 12 to 15 March 2024): this speed skiing event returns to Grau Roig. The stage will once again be the Riberal KL track, which has a length of 1,050 metres and a gradient of 200 metres, to which must be added the exit ramp that allows athletes to reach top speeds that are close to 200 km/h.
- The ISMF Comapedrosa Andorra Ski Mountaineering World Cup (from 19 to 21 January 2024): Arinsal will host the two traditional events: the Individual Race, which includes 3 different routes starting and finishing at the Chalet Igloo in Arinsal; and the Vertical Race, which has 2 routes.
- Freeride World Tour (between 1 and 7 February 2024): for the tenth consecutive year, Ordino Arcalís will receive a test of the Freeride World Tour, the largest international circuit of this modality with the best riders in the world.
- Freeride Junior Tour (3 or 4 February 2024, Ordino Arcalís).
- Jam Extreme Freeride World Qualifier (between 14 and 17 March 2024, Ordino Arcalís).
- Borrufa Trophy (from 22 to 25 January 2024): Ordino Arcalís will host the 32nd 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.
- UCI MTB World Championships (from 27 August to 1 September 2024): Pal Arinsal will be the venue for the second time (2015) of the most important MTB event in the world, an event the resort has long been working for given the magnitude of its impact.
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 and 2023 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 World Championships.
If Andorra is chosen, it will have a budget of around 46 million euros that will be fully financed by the FIS from television and marketing rights, ticket sales and merchandising, so it will not entail any expenses to public entities. Furthermore, its celebration estimates an economic impact of 45 million euros. The vote to choose the headquarters will take place in Reykjavík (Iceland) on 4 June and the other stations that are vying for it are Val Gardena (Italy) and Narvik (Norway).