Soldeu Ski Lifts & Passes

All the ski lifts in Grandvalira have both a code and a name. There are 64 ski lifts – 1 funitel (twin cable car), 3 cable cars, 14 detachable high-speed chair lifts, 16 fixe grip chair lifts, 16 ski lifts, 9 overhead cable lifts and 5 magic carpets with a combined transport capacity of the 99,600 skiers per hour.

Each ski lift has a numeric code as well as a name which is clearly marked on the piste map in capitals. The ski pistes themselves just have names, not numbers, some of which sound curious to Anglophones ("clot", "muflo". "llop", "cucut", "fagina" and "tubs") but you quickly get used to them.

The TSD6 Soldeu is a new 6-seater detachable chairlift that starts on the far side of the Valira river (crossed by a new bridge) and allows skiers to arrive at Pla d'Espiolets with their skis on. The TC8 Soldeu is an 8-person cable car from the village side of the river just behind The Villager pub.

From Espiolets there are a number of runs that will take you down to either TSF4 Assaladors or TSD 6 Llosada. Both of these lifts will get you on to Tossal de la Llosada from where it's possible to join the Grandvalira. You can either head south towards El Tarter and Canillo or north towards Grau Roig.

All the ski lifts are shown on the piste map in capital letters while the ski runs are in lower case.From Tossal de la Llosada there is a lift simply known as Cortals which takes you up on to the Solanells ridge. Because it is a button lift, it isn't prefixed by a number.

Ski passes in Soldeu are as for the rest of Grandvalira, range from around 35 euros (1 day) to around 180 euros (6 days) in high season and are only marginally (10%) cheaper in low season. Beginner ski passes are for Soldeu only and cost 22 euros, regardless of season or age.

The cartel which runs Grandvalira is putting a lot of money into developing the lift system (spurred on by its rivalry with Vallnord in the west of the country) so things are likely only to get better. There's a lot of money in Andorra and ski tourism is a major priority for the locals.

Lifts open at 9 am in the morning and officially close at 5pm although some (two above Grau, two above Soldeu, one above Canillo and one above Encamp) start closing from 4:15 pm onwards. There will be signs on the lifts in question warning you, but check in advance so not to be caught out.

Ski hire is available from Esqui Cablo (Tel +376 851 500) and Esports Pic Negre (Tel +376 851 580) both off the mains street and Serveis de Neu (Tel +376 869 570) in the basement of Ahotel Piolets. And to make access to the Grandvalira ski area as easy as possible you can buy your hands-free ski lift pass online - no queues, no waiting - and you can save money if you buy online.