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Soldeu for a mixed ability group

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm wondering about Soldeu for a ski trip with a mixed ability group next year. The group will most likely include skiers who will ski any marked run (pisted or unpisted), those who are keen on blue and red groomers and a snowboarder who is just getting to grips with turning. I'm a bit concerned from what I've seen as to whether there are any runs left unpisted for those of us who like that? (Yes, I know there's always off-piste but not all of the group have the equipment, inclination or insurance to do that.) The piste map looks like there's a fair amount of variety, but no mention of how much is groomed from what I can see.

Also, what is Soldeu like as a base? And does anyone have any views on the hotels there. They look good value, especially compared to a reasonable hotel in Austria or a chalet in France.

In general most of the group (but not me) prefer catered chalets, so the benefits of Soldeu (including price) will need to be weighed against that. Resorts the group have enjoyed include Les Arcs, Serre Chevalier and Madonna di Campiglio.
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It has been some years since I went to Soldeu but I suspect the basic topography hasn't changed much (it takes significant geology to make slopes steeper). My observations are:

All pistes are bashed billiard table smooth, even the blacks.

There is not much steep terrain.

The blacks would be red or blue in the main tarrentaise resorts, for example Malgovert (a red) in Les Arcs is much more challenging than any run in Soldeu.

It is perfect for beginners or early intermediates.

The lift pass is suprisingly expensive (more than Les Arcs when I was there).

Though I know some people who really like Soldeu, if you have enjoyed Les Arcs and Serre Chevalier, Soldeu would be big dissapointment to the more advanced skiers.
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@johnE, hmm interesting. I was worried this might be the answer. We loved Malgovert. I'd love to find another resort with marked runs like that. Thanks for the response.
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+1 for @johnE, ‘s summary.
Not enough challenge for the more advanced adventurous in your group, I guess.

Considered the Dolomites?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sugarmoma666, I have never found a marked piste anywhere like Malgovert, nor, indeed, a red as challenging as Claire Blanc
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PeakyB wrote:
+1 for @johnE, ‘s summary.
Not enough challenge for the more advanced adventurous in your group, I guess.

Considered the Dolomites?

Yes, see opening post about what resorts we've enjoyed. From what I hear the Sella Ronda has the problem of everything being heavily groomed. Also, somewhere more compact or focused around a central area or bowl is better for a mixed ability group.

Unless someone pops up here to contradict JohnE, it sounds like I can rule out Soldeu.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
johnE wrote:
@sugarmoma666, I have never found a marked piste anywhere like Malgovert, nor, indeed, a red as challenging as Claire Blanc

Is Claire Blanc the one that seems to just drop off a ridge with no clear entrance? If so, it's the only marked run I've bottled in the last few years. I opted for the black to skiers right instead as it looked easier Embarassed
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@sugarmoma666, yes you have the right piste but the entrance is fairly clear and is signposted.the black, fond blanc is more or less the same difficulty but has a less stone entry and is much longer. It is best not to try either first thing on a spring morning.
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If you’re looking at the Pyrenees, how about Baquiera in Spain? There are quite a few tasty patrolled itineraries and easily accessible off piste and the layout of the pistes means red / blue run skiers get a good sense of travel. We stayed in a chalet with Ski Miguel, which was nice enough. There’s also a British instructor in the resort, called Tim, who ran a chalet too.
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Here’s something I wrote for Fall-Line a year or so ago about a trip to Andorra (caveat: was a free press trip): http://www.fall-line.co.uk/skiing-andorra-vs-the-alps/

I found the skiing pretty fun actually, and there’s plenty of challenge if you want it, including in controlled ‘freeride zones’.
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clarky999 wrote:
Here’s something I wrote for Fall-Line a year or so ago about a trip to Andorra (caveat: was a free press trip): http://www.fall-line.co.uk/skiing-andorra-vs-the-alps/

I found the skiing pretty fun actually, and there’s plenty of challenge if you want it, including in controlled ‘freeride zones’.


Hmm, interesting. That might put a different slant on things. By "controlled" do you men the 'freeride' zones are avalanche controlled?

It sounds like things might have moved on a bit in Soldeu over recent years.
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PeakyB wrote:
+1 for @johnE, ‘s summary.
Not enough challenge for the more advanced adventurous in your group, I guess.

Considered the Dolomites?


The Dolomites are every bit as bad as Soldeu for over grooming and no challenging marked pistes, one of the only ski areas where I almost fell asleep on my skis.

The only saving grace for advanced skiers in Soldeu is that the reds & blacks are frequently deserted so you can blast them at full carve using the whole width of the piste.

The problem is that grooming works like politics, if just 60% of people want everything groomed, then everything gets groomed and better skiers have to go off piste to find challenging skiing.
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