Grandvalira Resorts records 2,364,359 ski days sold in an unusual snow season
Grandvalira sold nearly 25,000 more ski days than last winter to make it one of the top European ski destinations
Pal Arinsal makes up for the lack of snow late in the season with a 19% increase in overall average spending per skier
Ordino Arcalís — boosted by its advantageous location that guarantees the best snow conditions — grows by 26% in its best season since joining Grandvalira Resorts
The first winter season of Andorra's resorts under the Grandvalira Resorts brand ended very positively with a total of 2,364,359 ski days sold, slightly exceeding last season’s figures. In a winter with scarce snowfall and a complicated economic and energy situation, the good result was partly due to investments made in snowmaking equipment in recent years, with over 60% of the skiable domain now covered by the artificial snow production network. This gave Grandvalira Resorts a competitive advantage over other Pyrenees resorts for practically the entire season, allowing Pal Arinsal and Ordino Arcalís to keep over 75% of their slopes open for a total of more than 100 skiable km in Grandvalira.
Grandvalira Resorts General Manager Juan Ramón Moreno notes that “it has been a good season in which we have hit our targets and accumulated employment figures above last winter’s levels, despite being an unusual season in terms of snowfall”. Moreno adds, “the hard work of the ground teams was crucial to guaranteeing conditions that were among the best of all Pyrenees resorts”.
Furthermore, the first season with the Andorra Pass, the Nord Pass and the Mountain Pass also ended with considerable success and growth in sales of the new season ski passes over last winter. The most popular option was the Andorra Pass, with 74% of customers buying the Season Ski Pass that includes unlimited access to all the resorts, while 23% of customers opted for the Nord Pass. The Mountain Pass accounted for 3% of all sales. “We are very satisfied with how the national ski pass was received. It was highly anticipated and received excellent ratings during its first year”, Moreno explains, recalling that “the Season Ski Passes are also accepted at the resorts during summer, including the world-famous Pal Arinsal Bike Park”.
Grandvalira grows to 1,747,333 ski days sold
The Grandvalira resort slightly exceeded last season’s figures with a total of 1,747,333 ski days sold on the 136 days it was open, which is 1.41% more than last season. The busiest day once again coincided with the Carnival festivities, specifically on Monday, 20 February, when there were 24,691 skiers. It was also the busiest day for Grandvalira Resorts as a whole, with 33,977 visitors.
Local markets performed very well once again, as they had last season. There was notable growth in other markets like Madrid, which grew significantly from last winter, and France, which saw a 46% increase in online sales. The British market has continued its upward trend and remains an important segment of Grandvalira clientèle, accounting for 14%. Other important markets included Scandinavia, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal and Israel. Finally, the increase in American customers deserves special mention, made possible thanks to the agreement between Grandvalira Resorts and Ikon Pass, the ski pass accepted at more than 50 resorts worldwide which included the Andorran resort for the first time this season.
Additionally, the dynamic pricing strategy continues strong, showing extraordinary sales growth through online channels. This year saw a 34.7% increase over last season, which in itself recorded a 137% jump in online sales. Lastly, groups also made significant gains this season, with sales 50% higher than last season.
A winter of unusual snowfall
With 320 centimetres of snowfall since November, this season saw the lowest snowfall in recent years. There was 33% less than last winter's 479 cm of snowfall. However, the excellent work of the ground teams — which spent 25,891 hours grooming and turned 1,250,000 m3 of water into artificial snow — was key for ensuring slope conditions, especially during the warmest moments of the season.
2023 World Cup Finals
The technical teams also played a very important role during the World Cup Finals, which were held in the Soldeu and El Tarter sections from 13 to 19 March. The event was an organisational success according to the best skiers in the world and their technical staffs, as well as FIS members.
The impact figures and good ratings of everyone involved have pushed the organisational committee to continue working their hardest on the candidacy of the 2029 Andorra World Championships, with the final vote to take place in May of 2024.
Music triumphs in Grandvalira
While the World Cup Finals were the pinnacle of the season in terms of sport events, this winter also saw a boom in musical experiences on the slopes of Grandvalira. In its second year, the new L’Abarset continued to bring in top international acts, which has made it the best après-ski since day one. This season, more than 100,000 people came to this iconic spot in El Tarter, with 80,000 attending the parties and 20,000 dining at the restaurant. A great number of internationally acclaimed DJs played sets at L'Abarset, with big names like World Cup Finals headliner Wade, British producer Fatboy Slim, and Marco Carola to put the finishing touch on the end of the season. Also featured were DJs Viviana Casanova, Kristine Love, Michael Chenlo, Ricky Ahmed, WAFF, Soundboree, Blade, and Ben Sterling, among many others. Some of them were included in the line-ups of the special parties thrown during the season in partnership with sector leaders like Brunch-In, Greenworld, and BRESH.
The Snowrow festival was another of this season’s highly successful musical experiences at Grandvalira. The Grau Roig sector welcomed more than 8,000 people each day in the festival’s first edition, which was created with the internationally renowned brand elrow. The event also had a family section with daytime shows on the slopes for all ages, in addition to the afternoon party. More than 40 DJs from Andorra and abroad played at the festival, many of them world-famous. They included Snowrow headliners Jamie Jones from Wales and Paco Osuna from Spain. The event also featured packed shows in different areas of the resort, like the terraces of the Refugi de Pessons Restaurant and Coll Blanc, which became special stages during the four days of the festival.
B-Plus for Grandvalira
The resort once again scored well on the customer satisfaction surveys performed by an external consultant. Visitors rated the season's innovations very positively this year, giving Grandvalira a score of 8.40 out of 10. The friendliness and professionalism of the staff, the cleanliness and respect for the environment, and the wait time at ticket offices received the best scores. Customers also highly rated the work of the ground teams in grooming and preparing the slopes, despite the lack of snowfall.
The survey scores for restaurant services increased again, to 8.78, demonstrating that the constant improvement efforts are paying off. The ski and snowboarding school also received another very good score, with an 8.35. Finally, 95% of people surveyed said they would recommend the resort to friends.
With the slopes closed, Grandvalira is now getting ready for the summer season, which will come loaded with new offerings this year. The Mon(t) Magic Family Park in Canillo, the Golf Course in Soldeu, and the iconic Llac de Pessons Restaurant in Grau Roig will all open on 23 June.
Pal Arinsal, with 430,516 ski days sold
In its first winter under the Grandvalira Resorts brand, Pal Arinsal ended an unusual season complicated by low snowfall with a total of 430,516 ski days sold, which was 12% less than last winter. These figures were negatively affected by the general lack of snowfall in the Pyrenees during the season, as well as the above-average temperatures in the later days that forced the resort to close early and not operate as usual during Easter Week. However, this was offset by a 19% increase in average spending per customer. Plus, the investments made in improving the restaurants in the Arinsal sector this season bore fruit with improved service and significant business growth.
Half the snow of last season
The Massana resort was the most impacted by this season’s low snowfall. Specifically, the Pal sector recorded accumulated snowfall of 176 cm, half of what it was last winter, and the Arinsal sector had 276 cm of accumulated snow during the season, 43% below the 2021-2022 season. However, Pal Arinsal was able to keep over 75% of the skiable domain open during the vast majority of the days it was open thanks to the hard work of the grounds team and artificial snow production, with 278,581 m3 of water made into snow and 7,667 hours of grooming by the ground teams.
Growth of online sales channels and market recovery
The inclusion of Pal Arinsal in Grandvalira Resorts has made it possible to create annual passes like the Nord Pass, giving customers the great advantage to ski at both Pal Arinsal and Ordino Arcalís, and up to four days at Grandvalira. Including the Nord Pass, the resort’s direct sales through online channels grew by 28.3%.
Loyal customers of Pal Arinsal continued to arrive in great numbers this season, with 55% of the total coming from Spain and 19% from Andorra. The domain also recovered the British market, which accounted for 16% of customers. Organised groups visiting the resort also grew significantly this season, with more than double (+103%) compared to last winter.
Meanwhile, of the 122 days the resort was open, the busiest at Pal Arinsal was Saturday, 11 February, with a total of 6,628 skiers.
Comapedrosa World Cup
In terms of sport, the ISMF Comapedrosa Andorra Mountain Ski World Cup was one of the highpoints of the season. Over 120 athletes from 20 different countries participated in the event, in addition to more than 150 participants in the Open modality for non-professional athletes, which this year also included the Individual Race.
The tough weather conditions that weekend once again demonstrated the value of the work of volunteers and special units, as well as the organisation’s adaptability, without which the competition wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.
Customer satisfaction nearly outstanding
Skiers rated the resort with a nearly outstanding overall satisfaction score of 8.55, according to surveys performed by an external consultant. The best-rated areas — with scores above 9 — were the wait time at ticket offices, the provision of parking areas, and respect for the environment. Customers also highly rated the wait time at lifts and the signposting of slopes and facilities. Finally, 97% of customers said they would recommend skiing at Pal Arinsal.
Start of the summer season
The resort will start the summer season on 9 June with all its attractions for visitors to enjoy the areas surrounding La Massana, like the Mountain Park. The prestigious Bike Park in Pal Arinsal — which accepts the Andorra Pass and Nord Pass Season Ski Passes — is its biggest claim to fame. It will also be hosting the upcoming edition of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from 22 to 27 August, bringing together the most important bikers in the world. Plus, the event is expected to grow in magnitude thanks to the new agreement between the UCI and Discovery Channel — which will be broadcasting the competition.
Ordino Arcalís has 26% more ski days
Ordino Arcalís' privileged location — which allows for thicker snow cover and better snow quality — was good for the domain, making it the top choice for skiers seeking guaranteed snow. The resort had its best season since it joined Grandvalira Resorts with a total of 186,510 ski days sold, a 26% increase over last season. Additionally, thanks to the good conditions late in the season, the Ordino resort’s figure for the total number of lift rides increased to 199,641, largely due to skiers coming from Grandvalira sectors and resorts that were forced to close early.
Ordino Arcalís had the longest season, in which it was able to keep its facilities open for its entire schedule, a total of 137 days. The busiest day was 4 April with 3,402 skiers, during Easter week.
The resort had 375 cm of accumulated snow during the season, which was 17% under last year’s figure. The ground teams spent nearly 3,000 hours grooming and made 100,500 m3 of water into artificial snow to be able to offer skiers the best experience.
Increase in online sales and groups
Like the rest of Grandvalira Resorts, Ordino Arcalís saw sales growth through online channels, specifically 40.6%. There was also an increase in organised groups, which saw a 137.7% gain this year, and growth in family customers thanks to successful investments made in improving the beginners’ area in Planells, renovating the services building of the Ski and Snowboarding School, remodelling the snow garden and the nursery, and improving the Kids Forest children’s circuit.
Skiers coming to Ordino Arcalís are largely loyal customers from local markets, led by Spain with 65% — with 50% from Catalonia — followed by Andorra with 25%.
Top-level freeride show
The lack of snowfall in the Pyrenees didn’t stop the resort from following through on its commitments to off-piste competition. The Freeride World Tour stopped at the resort for the ninth consecutive year and the best riders in the world came back to put on a great show. The up-and-comers in the sport did the same during the Freeride Junior Tour a few days later, and did the competitors on the Freeride Qualifier Tour 3-star circuit at JAM Extreme.
Meanwhile, the Borrufa Trophy held its 31st edition with the big addition of bringing back all its social events. The competition included over 200 racers from 25 different countries like France, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan, to name just a few.
Great rating and customer satisfaction
People who skied at Ordino Arcalís rated the resort very highly, with an overall satisfaction score of 8.41. According to the surveys performed by an external consultant, the highest-scoring aspects were the cleanliness and respect for the environment, and the friendliness and professionalism of the staff, with scores of nearly 9 out of 10, as well as the grooming and preparation of the slopes. The restaurant options — one of the points the resort worked hard to improve this year — also received some of the best ratings. Finally, 96% of the customers who came to Ordino Arcalís this year said they intend to return next year.
The pause between the winter and summer seasons at Ordino Arcalís will be short once again this year. Starting 3 June, the Mirador Solar de Tristaina lookout point will be accessible by the Creussans chairlift and the Tristaina Cable Car, taking visitors up to what has now become one of Andorra’s summer tourism hotspots in just two years.