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Soldeu ski resort celebrates its 60th anniversary today, February 8.

Published: Feb 8, 2024
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On February 8, 1964, exactly 60 years ago today, the Soldeu ski resort, managed by the company Deportes de Nieve Soldeu Incles SA (ENSISA), opened its doors. It did so with the premiere of the first chairlift in Andorra, with two places, a ski lift in Pla d'Espiolets and 10 kilometers of slopes spread over three runs. The promoters of the initiative were three ski enthusiasts from Escaldes-Engordany, Miquel Baró, Martí Salvans and Josep Torrallardona, and with the support of Crèdit Andorrà, who in 1959 obtained from the Comú de Canillo the concession to exploit the land.

 

Lluís Viu, who was director of the resort between 1969 and 1972, emphasizes that the three promoters were "very optimistic and very daring, and they gambled everything to be able to build the resort". He also remarks the great growth which ENSISA has experienced over the years:

 

"At that time the slopes which would later be opened were already projected, but we never thought that we would become so big and have the number of skiers we have today".

 

The first Soldeu bridge and the ski lift with which Soldeu was inaugurated in 1964.

 

The director of this new stage, Conrad Blanch, who was at the helm of the resort from 1993 to 2017, recalls the turning point it represented:

 

"Historically the resort had been very focused on the technical part, and at that time we made a change of chip to focus on customer needs, becoming pioneers in quality and innovation."

 

Throughout these years, the modernization of Soldeu-el Tarter has been unstoppable until it has become a ski resort of worldwide reference. Among the key moments in ENSISA's history, the following stand out:

 

-1971: the acquisition of the first snow groomer in Andorra,
-1981: the year in which the resort extended its ski area to El Tarter.
-1987: the first snow cannons were installed,
-1993: the Comú de Canillo and Creand Crèdit Andorrà became the majority shareholders of the company, which meant an important investment to improve the infrastructure.
-1996: the access to Soldeu was remodeled and the first eight-people gondola lift in the Pyrenees was inaugurated.
-1999: the ski area was extended to the Pla de les Pedres area.
-2000: the Canillo ski area was inaugurated.


The recent history of the resort has been marked by the birth of Grandvalira in 2003, which meant that Soldeu El Tarter became part of the largest ski area in southern Europe, as well as the great commitment to become a World Cup resort.

 

Since 2012, when the first event of the circuit was hosted, the international projection of the resort has been unstoppable, which has allowed it to open up to new markets. It has also continued with the constant improvement of services and infrastructures, among which the reform of the foot of Soldeu slopes with the construction of a large platform in 2019 stands out. In the last 30 years, ENSISA has invested around 224 million euros in the resort, half of them in the last 10 years.

 

Competition has been in Soldeu's DNA since its beginnings.

 

Apart from the competitive side, David Hidalgo, CEO since 2017, also highlights as a major milestone in recent years the creation of SETAP, the holding company that brings together ENSISA and EMAP

 

"which has helped the creation of a country forfait, a long-awaited goal. ENSISA's 60th anniversary is the demonstration of the solidity of the snow ski area and of the fact that it has continued to grow, especially with quality".

 

The commemoration of this 60th anniversary will coincide, as it could not be otherwise, with the Women's Alpine Ski World Cup which will be held in Soldeu this weekend.

 

This Saturday, February 10, between the first and second tasks of the giant slalom, there will be an act of celebration in the World Cup Village, located on the Soldeu platform. The commemoration will be attended by people who have had an outstanding link throughout the history of the resort, and will include a giant cake and a toast.

 

The fir tree that gives its name to the Avet World Cup slope in Soldeu.

 

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