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San Isidro

Imagen: sanisidro.net
Spain | Región: Cantabrian Mountains

The San Isidro ski resort, inaugurated in 1974, is located in the homonymous port of the Cantabrian mountain range. In the northern part of León, autonomous community of Castilla and León, Spain. Its facilities are located in the villages of Puebla de Lillo and Valdelugueros, which belongs to the Alto Porma and Alto Curueño valleys. It is owned by the Provincial Government of León, which is responsible of its management, like Leitariegos.

History of the San Isidro ski resort

The history of San Isidro begins when, in the 1960s, the Leonese government decided to enter the snow business, reserving funds for invest in the Pajares winter resort. The beginnings were not without controversy, which led the Pajares resort to get more attention. In the late 1970s, the San Isidro resort inaugurated its first ski lift in the Salencias area. It was nothing more than a ski lift powered by a gasoline engine, with only two hangers.

The decade of the eighties marked a true golden era for the resort, as a large number of new facilities were opened in San Isidro. At the beginning of the decade, in 1980, the first ski lift in Riopinos was installed; the existing one in Cebolledo was lengthened, and during this decade, it was proposed to extend the Requejines lift. Thanks to these new lifts, the resort covered the entire current ski domain.

Nowadays it has 24,8 kilometers of slopes. But some of those kilometers, must not be counted as  the slopes of the Silencio valley have never been open.

Union with Fuentes de Invierno

A rapprochement of positions between Asturias and León has enabled a principle of agreement for the union of the San Isidro and Fuentes de Invierno ski resorts. This union will first start with the completion of the underground power line. From the Leon side, it will supply electricity to both resorts.

There has not been a marked date yet to officially call this a union. The construction of a ski lift between both resorts is planed; a ski lift in San Isidro that will be placed in the Riopinos domain, on the Curueño side. The objective of this union is to offer a resort at the same level at the same level as any other Pyrenees resort. And to consolidate itself as the most important in the Cantabrian Mountains, since the expansion of San Isidro by 8 km, up to 32, the resort would pass 40 kilometers or 52 with the maximum spread of Fuentes de Invierno.

Distribution of the slopes in San Isidro

Salencias, which is the first area of the resort we find on arrival, was the first one to be built (1972). This area is located at 1500 meters of altitude, in the lower area of San Isidro. It has 4 ski lifts, and a total of 9 trails. The Salencias area is isolated from the rest of the resort. It is linked to the others by bus. From this area, you can easily access the neighboring Fuentes de Invierno resort by skiing.

Cebolledo is considered to be the central area of the resort. It consists of several trails of all levels, from a beginner’s trail, with a magic carpet, to a black trail, as well as several off-tracks. This area currently has 5 lifts, 1 ski lift, 2 magic carpets, a two-seater chairlift and a detachable chairlift. The ski lift has been in disuse for several years, despite of appearing on the resort plans to fix or renew it. As for trails, the crowdest is the crossing trail. It is the central track of Cebolledo, the only one that has cannons, and the only blue trail as well.

The Requejines sector is the one with the highest altitude, with levels between 1800 to 2100 meters. This area has 4 lifts, a magic carpet, two ski lifts, and a four-seater chairlift. First, when accessing this area, we pass through the beginners area of this sector, a green track with little slope and short length. It has a small ski lift and a magic carpet that provides service.

Riopinos consists of 3 lifts, a magic carpet, a ski lift and a two-seater chairlift. From the access to Riopinos, and practically from all points in this area,  one of the Fuentes de Invierno chair lifts is visible. Starting already the descent through this area, we have 4 options of slopes to go down, on the left, the black trail of “Los Cazadores”. This trail runs practically parallel to the Riopinos ski lift.

Leisure offer at San Isidro ski resort

In the recent years, San Isidro was experiencing a period of expansion. With a sustained increase in forfaits sold and an improvement in the number of days the resort is open. This is also one of the resort that has grown the most in terms of number of users. And is one of the best season pass sellers in all Spain.

All this means that the future of the San Isidro resort is currently going through the expansion of hotel beds in the area. Its currently being carried out, despite a certain standstill due to problems with the power line that supplies the facilities. With 400 new hotel beds at the foot of the slopes, 200 correspond to a five-star hotel.

Along with this, deseasonalization is also important, something that the Diputación proposed at the time with a sports center and a golf course. Activities that, however, were paralyzed by legal problems in the first case and political ones in the second. However, the most important thing for the resort is the increase in ski lifts, artificial snow systems and the ski area; without forgetting the connection with the Asturian resort of Fuentes de Invierno.