FIS SKI: Andorra
Andorra has strong ties with the skiing world. The principality is one of Europe’s most important destinations and skiing is a basic cornerstone of the country’s economy. The relationship between Andorra and FIS SKI began in 1957 with the inauguration of the Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig ski resort, the first one in the country. Eight years later, alpine ski became a popular sport in Andorra and the second resort in the country, Soldeu-El Tarter, opened its doors in 1964.
Andorra’s sporting and competitive spirit is also shown thanks to its elite sportsmen and sportswomen. Currently the country has 28 Olympic skiers that have taken part in 10 Winter Olympic Game, the first being in Innsbruck 1976 with 5 alpine skiers.
The first international alpine ski competitions were held in Andorra in the 1970s and in 1974 the country hosted the first Alpine Ski European Cup in Pas de la Casa (Giant Slalom in Costa Rodona and Slalom in Pala Central, in Grau Roig). A year later, after the event’s success and its excellent organisation, the event took place again in the same location. Twenty years later, in the 90-91 season, Andorra hosted two women’s slalom events in El Mirador and Grau Roig. In 2003, the country was accepted into the European Cup circuit.
Since then, Andorra has organised 18 races for this european competition and the Àliga SG and Àliga SL slopes in Soldeu have been a regular fixture in all of the European Cups. These slopes have been chosen again for the FIS World Cup. , Looked at from above, they create an X-shape, just like the Grandvalira logo.
The competition stadium is located in Grandvalira-El Tarter and its layout, approved by FIS SKI, has been conditioned in the last few years to guarantee the safety of both racers and all fans. Renovation work on the old Àliga slope began in 2012 when the slope was re-designed. In 2013, the snow canons network was installed as well as all the security measures and necessary cables for timing, PA systems and TV to host elite international events. The work was completed in the summer of 2014 with the installation of more snow cannons on Àliga SG, a slope parallel to the SL one. The expenditure for this project totalled 3 million euros.
According to Janez Fleré, coordinator of the FIS European Cup, “the Àliga SG is a spectacular slope that has it all from a technical perspective: jumps, length, gradient, flats and walls”. “The slope has an easy start and it gets more difficult as it goes on. I cannot say anything other than it is excellent. It is a perfectly designed slope to host World Cup races”, – added Janez Fleré.
What is the Super-G?
The Super-G (SG) combines the speed of the Downhill and the necessary corner-turning precision of a Giant Slalom. The winner is the skier that gets to the finish in the least amount of time. A Super-G gate is made up of for poles, just like those in the Downhill and in the Giant Slalom. Two poles are used to fix the flag and the other two to mark the flag of the exterior gate. The distance between the interior and the exterior gates must be of at least 6 m and maximum 8 m. In the event at Grandvalira, there must be at least 36 gates in the whole track (a number that results from applying 6% to the 600 m of vertical drop). The distance between the turning poles in one gate and the other must always be of at least 25 m. The security system marked by yellow flags is also necessary for this event.
What is an Alpine Combined?
The Alpine Combined (SC) is a two-fold race that descends on an SG track at great speed and then a descent on a slalom track, the most technical event of them all. Both descents are done on the same day in single legs and the winner is the racer whose legs add up to the least amount of time. This competition respects the rules both of the Super-G and the Slalom for the respective legs. The Slalom is carried out on the shortest track of all alpine ski World Cup events and the track is marked by individual gates. The corners are very narrow, thus requiring special skills to string them together.
The decision by the FIS Commission put Andorra and Grandvalira on the ski map and we will become the 14th country to organise the Finals of the World Cup circuit since 1967. Furthermore, it will be the 33rd ski resort to host the prestigious World Cup races.