Number of Travellers
Andorra is still relatively inexpensive compared to some of its other European cousins and together with the fact that it retains its duty free status we think Andorra is not only an attractive option to perhaps the more expensive alpine resorts but equally as good!

Grandvalira

Grandvalira

The Grandvalira is the largest ski area in the Pyrenees; with 66 lifts it connects five major resorts -Pas de la CasaSoldeuEl TarterCanillo and Encamp. The area has a network of 200km marked pistes catering for all abilities of skiers/boarders rising from 1500 mtrs to 2640 mtrs.

Absolutely Snow has carefully selected a number of  4 and 5 star hotels in each of the Grandvalira resorts that offer excellent facilities in superb locations. All our hotels are offered on a half board basis.

Val Nord is the collective name given to Pal, Arinsal and Arcalis which offers 100kms of marked piste, 45 fast modern lifts and a superb lift served freeride area - perhaps Vall Nord is one of the few ski areas that caters for every standard of skier from beginners right through to expert off piste freeriders!

 

5 Day Andorra Ski Pass

For those guests who want to experience all Andorra's ski areas then for 205€ you can buy a 5 day ski Andorra Ski Pass which is valid for all ski lifts throughout Andorra. This is included within our Andorra Explorer holiday.

Ten Good reasons to come to Andorra

  1. A whole country to ski. 303 km of runs in three skiable domains: GRANDVALIRA and VALLNORD.
  2. The highest density of ski lifts in the world: compared to the 468 km2 surface area of the country.
  3. There is Always a ski resort nearby. Wherever you stay, access to the ski resorts will always be close by. The distance between the capital and the farthermost slopes is only 28 km.
  4. Huge range of pistes, with 183 runs. Ski for all and the latest ski lift technology
  5. Guaranteed snow throughout the season. The altitude of the resorts ranges between 1,500 and 2,640 metres. Snow is guaranteed on 94% of the ski areas by more than 1,300 artificial snow cannons and great experience in grooming the runs.
  6. An exceptional accommodation offer. The best in the Pyrenees, with over 32,500 beds and excellent value for money.
  7. Great expertise. All the instructors in the ski schools and the majority of technical operators (ski patrollers, groomers, snow cannon operators) are fully qualified. Training, whatever the level of responsibilities, is one of the top-priorities in the Andorra ski resorts.
  8. Varied après-ski. Everyone in the family will be able to spend their free-time on different sports, or on cultural or leisure activities.
  9. The largest shopping centre in Europe, open 7 days a week. With more than 1,500 shops and boutiques, you are sure to find what you are looking for. Design and luxury, fashion, jewellery, electronic goods or pharmacy, everything is sold with lower tax.
  10. Consumers' vote with their skis. Since 1957 when the first ski resort was created in the Principality, skiers and snowboarders have remained loyal to Andorra returning year after year. They appreciate the professionalism and friendliness with which Andorran welcome their guests.

Andorra La Vielle

 

The main town of Andorra - Andorra La Vielle is less 15 minutes from both Vall Nord and Grandvalira. It is well worth a visit - even just to browse some of the 1500 duty free shops or if you prefer a relaxing spa visit www.caldea.com and www.inuu.com.

Regular buses connect the resorts with Andorra La Vielle.

Image result for caldea spa andorra

 

 

Grandvalira

Grandvalira is the largest ski area in Andorra. Over 210kms of marked pistes link Pas de la Casa at one end of the system to Canillo and Encamp at the other end with Soldeu and El Tarter in between. The area competes comfortably with well known Alpine Ski areas and hosts regular World Cup racing events including the 2019 World Cup finals in March. The 6 day Grandvalira ski now includes Arcalis. Arcalis is around 3 minutes away from Grandvalira but well worth a day's visit.

Pas de la Casa/Grau Roig

Pas de la Casa/Grau Roig are purpose built resorts at the southern end of the ski area and sits right on the French/Andorran border. It is the highest ski resort in the Pyrenees at 2100 metres. Pas de la Casa is a lively alpine resort with plenty of après ski. 
 
Pas de la Casa established itself as a ski resort when the first drag lift was built in 1957. Since then it has expanded its lift system regularly and now has eight quad chairs and three six seater chairlifts. The resort also has an FIS approved slalom stadium and has snow quality and quantity virtually guaranteed from mid November to mid May, all backed up with state of art snow making machines. 
 
There are a number of Restaurants in the village serving excellent traditional Catalan food. Visitors will find the bars relaxed, friendly and informal with the drinks very reasonably priced.

Soldeu/El Tarter

Soldeu is a modern dynamic resort set in picturesque scenery whilst El Tarter, situated just a few km away from Soldeu, is a more traditional resort. Soldeu /El Tarter are one of the more dynamic sectors of the Grandvalira's ski area, with a superb, lively atmosphere. 
 
The snow park provides a practice area for those wishing to defy gravity, whilst Mickey's Snow club will look after and entertain the children allowing parents to explore the ski area. From Soldeu, a Gondola takes skiers up to Espiolets slopes. From El Tarter you have a choice of two ski lifts accessing the Pla de Riba Escerxada slopes. From here there are a number of lifts that whisk both intermediates and advanced skiers quickly up into the Grandvalira.

Grandvalira

Canillo

Canillo is an excellent resort for beginners, for families and for those guests who look for the comfort of a tranquil town without crowds. Situated on the main Grandvalira's mountain pass, the village lies just below the El Forn valley and the skiing here rises from 1500 metres to 2640 metres. 
 
The Ski area is accessed easily and quickly via a modern eight seater gondola lift. The gondola runs from the centre of the town and within minutes drops skiers at an altitude of 2000metres in the heart of the El Forn valley.

Encamp

Encamp is a traditional Andorran town, with plenty of activities for skiers and non skiers alike. 
 
There are some high quality restaurants and bars with regional food in the town all at a very reasonable price. Other facilities in the village include two museums - the National Automobile museum and the Museum of Sacred Art, and a large sports complex with gym, swimming pool and Sauna. Visits to the Romanesque church and the stunning scenery at the Engolasters lake are also must do's whilst on holiday in Encamp. 
 
The Funicamp gondola takes you up into the heart of the Grandvalira's ski area, where the skiing possibilities are broad for all levels. Encamp also caters well for boarders with a board park and a half pipe.


The Skiing

Grandvalira

The ski area is the largest in the Pyrenees with over 200kms of marked piste and 66 lifts connecting six resorts ranging from Encamp at 1300m to Pas de la Casa at 2100m. The ski area extends from 1700m up to 2640m and now rivals many of the traditional great Alpine resorts in terms of quality of skiing, ski lifts and ski schools.
 
Encamp is the prettiest unspoilt resort. The funival bubble lift which carries 16 persons at a time rises swiftly up from the centre of Encamp to Cortals at 2502m high above the main Soldeu / El Tarter ski area.
 
The bubble lift from Canillo rises 500m up to El Forn - a beautiful valley. A chairlift and drag tow serve an excellent nursery area - perfect for beginners and children. The Portella chairlift rises up to the summit of Portella at 2465m; from here there are a choice of runs back down to El Forn - Rossinyol - a delightful blue, Gaig an interesting black to the left of the chair as you ski down; alternatively there are a couple of freeride pistes that are marked but not patrolled or groomed which dive off the Rossinyol blue. From the summit the Daina blue run forms the link to the rest of the ski area. There is a north facing bowl designated as 'off piste' or 'free-ride' down to Riba Escorxada at 2100. Alternatively pick up the Llosada chairlift to Tosa de la Llousada at 2560m for a choice of runs.
 
From El Tarter at 1710m two lifts - a bubble lift and a high speed chair lift rise to Riba Escorxada at 2100. Here there are nursery areas, cafes, ski school, crèches. The 6 man chair up to Tosa de la Llousada opens up a number of runs  back down to Riba Escorxada. Llop is a steepish red which swings underneath the chair lift before joining the gentler Guineu blue run. There are two options to ski back to El Tarter - the picturesque Esquiel blue which follows the summer mountain road, or the north facing Aliga black which drops straight down the fallline. Back up to  Riba Escorxada the 6 man Espiolets chairlift opens up a number of north facing blacks; or take the quad Migdia chair and then the blue run - Gali de Bosc - half way down this run splits you can either bare left down to El Tarter or right down to Soldeu. 
 
From Soldeu at 1800 m the 8 man bubble lift or 6 man express chairlift rises up to Espiolets at 2250m. A gentle ski through the nursery slopes opens then on to the Escola chairlift. From the top of the ridge this south facing bowl has some delightful reds and blue runs to keep everyone happy. The 6 man Solana chairlift then the 4 man Assaladors chair lift takes you back to the top of Tosa de la Llosada - either head back towards Portella and Canillo, or head back down the Obaga blue run to the 4 man Solamelles chairlift which goes up to the Col de les Solamelles at 2458m. From here there are some wide open meadow runs from 2150 up to Cortals at 2502m. From Cortals the Funival bubble lift descents over 1200m back to Encamp. But if you take the Colibril red or the Enlac blue over to the 4 man Llac del Cubil chair lift you access the glorious Grau Roig bowl. 
 
Grau Roig is a fabulous bowl to play in - good amenities, great cafes, and a selection of blues, reds and blacks on north, east and south facing slopes. On the north facing side the Antenes, Riberal and Pic Blanc chairlifts not only access Pase de la Casa but also open up some steep reds and blacks. At either end of the north facing bowl are two lovely blue runs back down to Grau Roig. The Pic Blanc drag tow goes up to the highest point at 2650m. From here a delightful blue run - Portella swings round a quite almost hidden valley to then pop out back in to the Grau Roig bowl. But baring right from the top of the Pic Blanc drag tow opens up another freeride area. Back down at the bottom of Grau Roig, the Monnalus Chair is a must - one side a sunny red the other side a cold steep north facing black. The Cubii chairlift heads back towards Soldeu, but also opens up some lovely high mountain pasture skiing with a choice of 2 reds, a blue and 2 blacks back down to Grau Roig.
 
Pas de la Casa is accessed by nipping over the Col Blanc - 400 vertical metres below with a choice of blue, blacks and reds lies Pase de la Casa. A new chairlift up the left side of the valley opens up the Abelletes nursery area and also the stunning Coll des Isards chairlift which gives beginners a true understanding of what it is like to explore the mountain on skis and boards. The runs off the 6 man chair Font Negre are 'interesting' the red being a lovely carving run down while the black is surprisingly 'black'! The rest of the ski area is accessed by taking either the Font Negre , Pas de la Casa or the Costa Rodona Chairlifts up to the ridge and heading north.

The Grandvalira ski area is dotted with bars, mountain restaurants, freeride areas, parks for those who want air underneath their skis and boards, timed slalom runs, snow mobiling, snow buggies, crèches and ski schools.

Technical File

Altitude band 930 m. (2.640 m -1.710 m)
Skiable area 1.926 Ha
Transport capacity 100.400 skiers/hour
Marked runs 210 km 120 pistes
  18 green
  38 blue
  32 red
  22 black
Automatic snow 1008 Snow cannons
Artificial Innivation 78 km (40.4% of the skiable domain)
66 lifts 1 funitel
  3 cable cars
  15 declutchable chair lifts
  15 fixed chair lifts
  17 ski lifts
  8 overhead cable lifts
  7 mats
4 Ratrack ski courses (off-piste)
2 competition stadiums standardised by the I.S.F (International Ski Federation)
3 freestyle areas Snowpark El Tarter (high level)
  Snowpark Pas,Pas de la Casa (intermediate-beginner's level)
  Circuit freestyle Grau Roig (intermediate level)
2 permanent boardercross Sector Soldeu
  Sector Pas de la Casa
2 children's Mickey Snow Club circuits
1 Adventure Activities centre 1 cross-country circuit
  7 snowshoes circuits
  3 dog-drawn sleigh circuits
  2 snowmobile circuits
  1 multi-adventure circuit
  1 paragliding flight base
  2 helicopter flight bases
Ski and snowboard schools 450 licensed instructors
  7 centres
  5 Snow gardens
  4 Nurseries
  5 Medical Centres
  37 Food & Beverage points

 

Grandvalira Ski Map

Vall Nord 

Vall Nord is the collective name for 2 ski resorts in Andorra - Pal and Arinsal (there used to be a third - Arcalis but in 2019 Arcalis comes under the Grandvalira brand). For a number of years we have ignored Vall Nord - what an error this has been! We ignored the area because we didn't understand how it all fitted together - where the hotels were, how you go to the lifts and so on. 

Vall NordBasically Pal and Arinsal is one ski area. La Manssana at 1230m is the resort that services the Pal sector. A bubble lift rises from the centre of the resort up to La Caubella at 1950m. Further up the valley is Arinsal at 1475m. From Arinsal there is a choice of bubble lift or chairlift to access the ski area. 

At the end of the valley is Arcalis. Arcalis is a ski area without an actual resort. A regular free ski bus runs from Andorra La Vielle through La Manssana and Arinsal up to Arcalis every 30 minutes. Arcalis is definitely worth the effort of a bus ride. The ski area has won all sorts of awards over the last few years and it is easy to see why. However Arcalis is no longer part of the VAll Nord ski pass (now under Grandvalira) but definately worth a trip to visit!

 

Skiing at Val Nord

 

Pal and Arinsal Sectors

Pal is a unique ski area - high so very snow sure but also tree lined. Green, blue and red runs criss cross the mountain side from the main bubble lift station at La Caubella over Pla de la Cot at 2052m on to the highest point in the sector at Pic del Cubil - 2358m. From Pic de; Cubil wide blues and reds drop down to Coll de la Botella - years ago a old smugglers route to Spain! From the col a new cable car rises up to Pic Negre and links in to Arinsal at just over 2500m.

Vall Nord

The Arinsal sector is a wide bowl sweeping down to Comallemple at 1950m From Arinsal a bubble lift rises up from the centre of the resort to Comallemple, or if you are staying in then there is a fast 6 man chairlift right by the hotel which again ends up at Comallemple. The British influenced ski school meets here every morning. The whole Arinal bowl offers lovely long blue and red runs access by a series of fast 6 man and 4 man chair lifts as well as a hand full of drag tows.

Beginners

Vall Nord

Beginners (both adults and children) staying in Arinsal will be taught by some of the UKs best ski instructors in the Vall Nord Ski School. If you stay in La Manssana, the ski school starts at La Caubella every morning and like Arinsal there are many British instructors. Under careful guidance beginners will soon gain the confidence to use the chairlifts and start exploring the area on the wide blue runs. After 2 or 3 days there is no reason why a confident beginner can't make it over to Pal and La Taberna at La Caubella for lunch. At the end of the week beginners show make the effort to get up to Arcalis where they will be rewarded by wide long open blues - El Tunel from the top back to the base station is a long wide gentle run taking in some gorgeous high mountain scenery.

Intermediates

Intermediate skiers will thrive in Val Nord - start the week cruising then blues are red runs in Pal and Arinsal - try the FIS Slalom run down to Coll de la Botella; perhaps brave the black runs at Arinsal? Let the skis run down La Solana in Arinsal then carve up the wide tree lined reds over in Pal. It is definitely worth taking the bus up to Arcalis - you'll love the wide open pistes accessed by fast chairlifts. La Portella del Mig is a long sweeping red from Les Portelles back down to the base station - head right as you come down to the base station to try the steep FIS race pistes, or back up to Les Portelles and the fabulous La Balma and Ls Canaleta reds which swoop back down to the valley. Take the Cota chair for your first taste of Freeride skiing!!

Advanced

First things first - don't be put off by the piste map - we were initially put off and it is something that we regret! While Pal and Arinsal are generally better know as beginner / intermediate resorts you will be surprised - let you skis carve up the long perfectly groomed reds - Corpalance, Fontanals and Cubil in the trees over in Pal are fabulous while heading over to Coll de la Botella opens up longer reds and the FIS race piste. Have a crack at La Comellade - a steepish black through the trees down to Els Fontanals. 
Vall Nord
Over in Arinsal head up La Capa - a short sharp drag tow to the summit - La Capa is a black run down the face, but also you'll often find some untracked off piste up here. The Tub de Coll drag serves a couple of steep reds and a black - otherwise swoop down the reds and blues at pace down to the main lift station at Comallemple.

You'll should spend a few days up at Arcalis - Arcalis is fast becoming a freeride mecca of European skiing and the ski area has won all sorts of awards as well as hosting a round of the Freeride World Tour - other rounds are held in Chamonix, Alaska and Verbier - which just shows what high regard the freeride community have of Arcalis.

Vall Nord

The pistes are all long wide and well groomed - great for warming up. Then start on L'Hortell - to the left of the draglift there are some wonderful steep gullies - be careful not to go too far to the left or you'll end up on the main road waiting for the free ski bus to get back to the lifts. Jump on the fast 6 man chair up to Les Portelles - take La Balma a flying red to the exclusive Freeride Drag tow - all the terrain from the top of the drag is off piste with variously routes either back to the base station or down to the La Canaleta red piste. But the real attraction here is La Cota - a quad chairlift up to 2625m which opens up one big freeride mountain - go anyway but be careful - the mountain is patrolled but it is off-piste! Oh and did we mention Heli Skiing? Yes Heli Skiing is available in Andorra with drops available all over the principality from Arcalis.

Family Skiing

Vall Nord

Val Nord is perfect for skiing with the family - British run ski schools, wide open slopes, some technical slopes to keep the faster skiers happy and of course Arcalis - while a bus ride away the skiing for all levels is fabulous - kids revel in the long wide pistes, trying to beat Mum and Dad back down to the bottom! Over at Arinsal all runs come back to the Comallemple so there is no chance of anyone getting lost even if they take a different run down. Pal offers the protection of skiing in the trees - wide gentle runs, fast chairlifts.

Ski Schools

Vall Nord has three ski schools - one in each sector and employs over 250 instructors. Many are British and the influence of BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) is very apparent throughout the ski schools. Class sizes are no more than 10 and all levels are catered for. Private lessons, guiding and off piste freeride are also available.

Heli Skiing and Speed Riding

Heli Skiing is available throughout Andorra - bookable with the ski schools or - groups of no more than 8 per guide explore some of the hidden off-piste terrain Andorra has to offer. Or have a go a speed riding - a cross between skiing and paragliding - point your skis down hill, inflate your speed glider (bigger than a kite small than a paraglider) and jump float land, skim your way down the mountain

Ski Hire

We recommend SchSki/Pic Neigre for all our guests ski hire. They have shops in both La Massana and Arinsal and offer a high level of service with the latest skis and boards available for rent

Free Ski Bus

Vall Nord operates a free ski bus that connects Andorra La Vielle (the capital of Andorra) with La Massana (to ski in Pal) and Arinsal. The ski bus runs every 15 minutes between Andorra La Vielle, La Massana and Arinsal. There is also an evening bus down to and from Andorra La Vielle - for shopping and to visit Caldea - the fabulous spa swimming pool. The Ski bus to Arcalis runs every 30 minutes from 8.15 through to 10.15 then the return is from 15.15 through to 17.15.

La Massana

La Massana is a vibrant resort town situated in the valley below the Pal ski area. The ski area is connected by a fast gondola ski lift from the centre of the resort. The resort has grown quickly over the last few years and now has a wide range of shops, bars and restaurants. The capital town of Andorra La Vielle with its vast range of duty free shops and wonderful spa Caldea is just 10 to 15 minutes away.

Arinsal

Vall Nord

Arinsal is one of the original Andorran resorts - spread along the main road up to Arcalis, Arinsal is renowned for good après ski - the Surf at the bottom of the gondola , British owned El Moli through to an authentic Irish Bar - El Derby . Over the years the resort has become a lot tamer and family friendly. There are a whole host of shops, bars and restaurants to keep everyone happy. Andorra La Vielle connect by regular bus services is around 30 minutes away and well worth a visit.

Vall Nord Piste Map

Arcalis

Situated at the head of the valley Arcalis is unique fabulous and fast becoming one of our favourite ski areas!

Vall Nord

From the base station at 1940m chairlifts rise up on the left hand side to 2332m accessing some steeper pistes along with the FIS race course - though come right off the chair to some wide open blue runs than meander back down to the base station. The fast 6 man chairlift up to Les Portelles at 2552m opens up Arcalis' secret - ski down to Coma del Forat and jump on the Creussans 4 man chair - up to 2625m at Cota - this lift serves one freeride mountain - no pistes just suggestions of where to go - off piste freeride skiing at its best - lift served and patrolled! A new person bubble lift 'Tristania' opened for the 2018/19 season offering quick and easy access to La Coma and the free ride area off The Creuss chairlift.

Image result for arcalis piste map 2019

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