Skiing in Andorra
I’ve spent the last two winter half term breaks in Andorra skiing with my daughter and some neighbours. It’s been great both times.
Arinsal is very much a beginner resort, which was fine for my daughter just starting out, but I was pretty bored of it after a week (and I’d worked my way through most of connected Pal) so although I loved the town, and its restaurants etc. I’m not in any rush to go back (though I never got the bus link over to Arcalis to try that out).
Pas De La Casa is just the opposite. It needs confidence on red runs to get around it (and a willingness to take on blacks to get full advantage of the place). We were able to ski out pretty much all of the Pas and Grau Roig sectors, but the bottleneck of the Cubil lift out of Grau Roig meant that we left a good chunk of Soldeu and El Tarter sectors untouched.
Transfers are available from Barcelona and Toulouse airports. I went via Barcelona both times due to better timings and prices for flights. Shared buses can be booked at Arinsal.co.uk and take about four hours each way (though the border crossing back to Spain can cause delays, especially later in the day – my neighbours missed their flight home last year).
I stayed at the Hotel Arinsal on the first trip, which was absolutely made by receptionist and barman Danny (and would likely be a totally different experience without him).
For the Pas trip I went with the Hotel Les Truites, which certainly lived up to it’s #1 billing on TripAdvisor. My neighbours stayed at Hotel Camelot, which seemed OK, and had a decent bar (and happy hour) for getting together apres ski. Dinner at the Camelot wasn’t great though – we only used it once because of a ski injury to one of our group making it hard to go further afield. Some friends stayed at the very fancy Hotel Kandahar, which they loved (not least for its well appointed but surprisingly reasonable bar).
For both trips I ordered ski passes and ski/boot/helmet hire from Arinsal.co.uk, and both times around I treated myself to the top of the range ski package. In Arinsal I got Racetiger SC Uvo, which were excellent, but nowhere near as good as the brand new pair of Lacroix Mach Carbon I had last week- easily the most fantastic skis I’ve ever had the pleasure of using
I found Arinsal surprisingly inexpensive (after spending most of my previous ski trips in Alpine French resorts). Pas seemed a little more expensive, but not so much that it changed any behaviour – it wasn’t pocket breaking to eat out on the slopes every day for lunch and the town restaurants every night for dinner.
Arinsal was ideal for my daughter to learn to ski, but it lacks variety for more experienced skiers. I’d go back to Pas again, though maybe I’d be better off choosing El Tarter or Soldeu for an alternative entry point to the Grandvalira area.
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Tags: Andorra, Arinsal, Pas De La Casa, skiing, skis