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Soldeu – El Tarter, Andorra

Soldeu has a lot in common with other resorts in Andorra – low prices, great ski school, grim-looking village, lively bar-based nightlife. However, its local slopes are some of the best in the region. And thanks to the new link with Pas de la Casa/Grau Roig the ski area has more than doubled in size to 186km, as mentioned earlier.

El Tarter has grown over recent years to the point where it now seems no smaller than Soldeu; but it is quieter and there is no shortage of places to stay.

The main local slopes are on open mountainsides above the woods, though there are runs in the woods back to all of the resort lift bases.

The gondola rises over wooded, north-facing slopes to Espiolets, a broad shelf that is virtually a mini-resort – the ski school is based here, and there are extensive beginner areas. A gentle run to the east takes you to an area of long, easy runs served by one of Soldeu’s three six-packs. And beyond that is an extensive area of more varied slopes, served by a quad and another six-pack that overlaps with the Pas de la Casa area. Going west from Espiolets takes you to the open bowl of Riba Escorxada and the arrival point of the lift up from El Tarter. From here, the third six-pack serves sunny slopes on Tosa dels Espiolets, wile a slow quad leads off southwards towards surface lifts serving the high point of Tossal de la Llosada and the little used link with the slopes above Canillo.

The slopes above El Forn were developed for last season. The Riba Escorxada beginners’ area is being improved – a new quad is being added. There will also be a couple of new runs. The Espiolets beginner area is being further improved and a new surface lift installed. A new black run is planned for the Canillo slopes. The El Tarter terrain park is also being improved. New trail signing and information boards are also planned.

Soldeu enjoys fairly reliable snow. Most slopes are north-facing, with artificial snow on the descents to Soldeu. The snowmaking is expanded each year, but should runs to the village be incomplete, the area as a whole is not unduly affected. It’s a limited area for experts. There are short off-piste trails down the bowl beneath Llosada, and sometimes you can play in powder among the trees above El Tarter. The most direct of the wooded runs down to El Tarter and Soldeu are suitable for good intermediates, while those of moderate ability will enjoy the relatively long pistes from Llosada. Timid skiers have gentle cruises throughout the area. Riba Escorxada is a fine section for mixed ability groups, and the new link to Canillo/El Forn and newly created runs there allow for more cruising mileage. A new building here includes a ski school and restaurant.

This is a good resort for beginners. It is relatively snowsure, and there are numerous easy pistes to move on to. The Espiolets beginner area and playground has recently been new rope tows have been added. A bar, cafeteria, and beginner are soon to be located inside a new building there.

There’s a well-equipped fun-park and half-pipe for snowboarders, which is easier to get to due to a new six-seater chair.

The ski school has an excellent reputation for standards of English, quality of tuition and friendliness. Children aged three to ten can attend a non-ski beginner. Children’s ski school starts from six years old, but lunchtime supervision is not available.

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