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Young beginner ready for the slopes | © NEVASA

SKI SLOPES FOR BEGINNERS:  SOLDEU

Espiolets 2250
Escola, Estany, Espiolets, and Bassots are the names of the individual beginners' pistes on the busy Espiolets Plateau, spread out in front of the upper-terminal station of the Soldeu gondola. However, in practical terms, this whole area is just one huge pisted snowfield: with easy-to-use conveyor-belt surface lifts, rope tows, and button tows, all providing uplift to the top of these gentle and well-groomed slopes; all within easy reach of the gondola station and the cafés & restaurants at this buzzing mid-altitude services level.

The scale of this area could be a little intimidating for first-timers, but it is easy for them to see that beginners are in the majority here, so they can quickly relax and join in the fun with the crowds of other novices, surrounded by dozens of ski school classes strung out across this wide and often sunny plateau.

Children have their own dedicated Snow Garden, safely fenced off from the main slopes, with conveyor-belt surface lifts and colourful obstacles adding to the fun of the learning process.

The long Gall de Bosc run also flows across the Espiolets plateau, on its way towards El Tarter, providing an easy link towards the neighbouring Riba Escorxada services area. In the opposite direction, the wide Astoret & Paniquera pistes provide a seamless progression route out of the Espiolets area; once novices are confident enough to make their first forays out on these main pistes, they should then also be able to tackle the long Ós run all the way down to Soldeu village.
Riba Escorxada, El Tarter sector

EL TARTER SECTOR

Riba Escorxada 2100
El Tarter's buzzing Riba Escorxada plateau is home to this sector's beginners' zone, which occupies the wide Riba slope that flows gently down from the rear of the ski school office and lockers building.

This slope is served by the 2-seater Riba chairlift, and a handful of easy-to-use conveyor-belt surface lifts. The area is just a short stroll from the terraces of the Riba Escorxada services buildings, so beginners don't have to stray too far on their first few days.

The slow-moving 4-seater Pi de Migdia chairlift also departs from the base of the Riba slope, providing progressing novices with an easy way to make their first forays out on the main pistes. This chairlift is also useful for gaining height to reach the nearby upper terminal of the Tarter gondola, and for linking with the gentle cross-mountain Gall de Bosc route towards Soldeu.

Staying in the Riba Escorxada area, the wide Pardal piste runs from the top of the Pi de Migdia chairlift back down towards the beginners' zone, passing the entrance for the Children's Circuit adventure trail (for children only) and the gondola terminal before flowing towards the services buildings; you can also use the Pardal piste to connect more easily with the main lifts, or continue with it past the beginners' zone to link with the Esquirol piste for the long home run to El Tarter base station, which all beginners should be able to tackle by the end of their first week.

CANILLO SECTOR

El Forn 2000
Absolute beginners based in Canillo receive their first ski school lessons at El Forn, on a gently-sloping pisted snowfield tucked safely away from the main pistes, just next to the upper terminal of the Canillo gondola;  this beginners' slope shares its easy-to-use conveyor-belt surface lift with El Forn's tubing piste.

For young children, the ski school also has a separate Snow Garden, fenced-off in the area next to their crèche, close to El Forn's restaurants building.
The beginners' snowfield, the Snow Garden and the crèche are all easily accessible on foot, and only a short stroll away from the gondola.

The two main pistes at El Forn are also designated as a beginners' zone, running parallel down either side of the short 4-seater Junior chairlift;  this lift rises to the top of these pistes (2 minutes journey time) and provides an easy link back to the services buildings and the upper terminal of the Canillo gondola.

The piste nearest to the restaurant building is the Forn I piste, the upper section of which is also served by an easy-to-use conveyor-belt surface lift; its parallel twin to the skier's right is the Forn II piste. These two pistes share the same slope area, and merge together to flow down to the base terminals of this area's two chairlifts. The profile of this descent is mellow blue in character; it also provides the sole access route from the gondola and services hub level down to the Portella chairlift for the onward link into the neighbouring El Tarter sector. The Portella chairlift also serves the Canillo sector's other two pistes, one blue + one black:  the blue-graded Rossinyol piste provides novices with a readily accessible progression route when they are ready to move on from El Forn's green-graded slopes.
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