On behalf of the Andorra Resorts in-resort team I would like to extend a warm welcome to all those visiting Andorra this winter. The season has got off to a flying start so far with lots of fresh snow and great conditions up on the mountains.
Based in Andorra, we have a team of four Andorra experts situated in Vallnord and Grandvalira, who are there to ensure that all our customers have a stress-free and enjoyable time whilst in resort. Ian, Sofia, Esther and me (Ellen) all have various years of experience working in the travel industry and all share a love of snowsports, travel, people, and of course – Andorra!
Every day we are up on the mountain checking out the slopes, taking photographs, recording live videos and writing regular snow reports so that we can update you on the current conditions in Vallnord and Grandvalira. We work hard with our suppliers to ensure that everything runs smoothly for our customers from the moment they step foot in resort until they leave Andorra with great memories, having had the best time!
Most of all though, we love to share our passion and knowledge of Andorra with all those we come into contact with, which is why in this blog we’ve decided to share with you our insights and love for Andorra, including our opinions about the best places on the mountain to go, and our favourite things to do when we’re not skiing.
What brings you back to Andorra?
Ian: For me it’s a combination of many things, the people, the mountain and the culture. When I first worked here 10 years ago I felt so welcomed by the community and have never looked back since. It’s pretty special to say you get paid to come and work in the mountains, doing something that you love. Also it’s just a few hours’ drive from Barcelona so I often get to go and see a few football games in a season so that’s an added bonus.
Sofia: What brings me back to Andorra is that now it feels like home, the people are very kind, they look after each other. It’s a great community and the atmosphere is always welcoming, you get to meet new people all the time and continue building relationships with the ones you already know.
Esther: Of course: The snow! But also the friendly people, the good atmosphere and I just love being in the nature surrounded by mountains.
Ellen: This is the first season I have spent in Andorra and already I have felt overwhelmed by the genuine kindness and warm welcome of locals, seasonaires and holiday makers alike. Andorra has such a friendly atmosphere, and I love the snowboarding here too – there’s so much variety so every day I’m able to choose different runs and the other sectors of Grandvalira. Not to mention, the mountain views are absolutely stunning!
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not skiing?
Ian: Hands down, table football. It’s considered by most to be the official sport of Andorra and is taken very seriously. You’ll find a table in most pubs and bars and it’s always winner stays on. Selecting your table football partner at the start of the season is a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly as if you get beaten 11-0 there are some quite embarrassing consequences!
Sofia: My favourite thing to do when I am not skiing is go hiking and discover all the hidden gems in Andorra, but if the weather isn’t the best I always enjoy meeting for a bit of après or going to the gym/pool/spa to relax after a hard day working/skiing. .
Esther: I love doing yoga to stretch after all day skiing on the mountain and playing table football to stretch the wrists after all day snowboarding.
Ellen: I spend most of my spare-time up on the mountain always striving to improve on my snowboarding, however, when I’m not doing this then I like to relax with a good book or unwind in one of Soldeu’s café’s or bars – notably Café Del Bosc or The Harp depending on which mood I am in! Occasionally I’ll take a trip to Andorra la Vella for some window shopping/retail therapy, and lately I’ve been trying to learn a little bit of Spanish via the Duolingo App to help me get by.
In your opinion, where is the best place to ski/snowboard in Andorra and why?
Ian: Arcalis is I think a hidden gem. A small resort hidden past the village of Ordino, it’s often very quiet as there are no hotels there – the only access is by car or bus. It’s really high, so holds great snow throughout the season and if you catch it on a bluebird powder day it’s just sublime. My favourite piste is La Coma, a nice wide blue that has a few steeper drops to build up your speed and then flattens out for a nice relaxing ski.
Sofia: My favourite place to ski is everywhere in Andorra! It’s not about skiing only, it’s about the people you go with, they are the ones that make you enjoy every bit of a run, but I guess if I have to choose would be Soldeu and Grau Roig – Soldeu for the amazing off-piste opportunities you can find, and Grau Roig because runs are a bit more difficult and also the stunning views.
Esther: My favourite resort to ski in Andorra is definitely Arcalís. Not many people know about it – that’s why I love it, as the slopes are always quiet, and the quality of the snow exceptional. My favourite run is Creussans, it is not actually a run, but a freeride area. I was shocked first time I got this chairlift and when I arrived to the top I realized there were no runs, just kilometres of off-piste all around. Also, I love the views from the top where you can actually see the border between Andorra and France.
Ellen: Grau Roig has to be my favourite place to snowboard in Andorra because the views are incredible and the snow there is absolutely awesome. A little further afield from Pas de la Casa and Soldeu, the slopes in Grau Roig are often quieter too, meaning that it’s a great place to challenge yourself on harder runs and try riding a little off-piste too. In general though, Grandvalira is an awesome place to snowboard as it’s just so big.
When, or what, is your favourite part of the winter season?
Ian: Being in constant amazement of your surroundings, you would think that the snowfall or mountain views get really old and you would get used to them, but you really don’t. I feel very privileged to be able to work in such a beautiful place and get to wake up to this scenery every morning. Commuting to work on a chairlift will never get boring!
Sofia: My favourite part of the winter season is the beginning when you get to see all the people returning year after year, it reminds me of when I was a kid coming back from summer holidays and seeing all your friends again, also I have to mention that Patrick’s Day in Soldeu is absolutely brilliant, the town is painted in green and the atmosphere is superb!
Esther: My favourite part of the winter season is around March, when the busy month of February has finished but the quality of the snow still great, the slopes are quiet the weather is warm enough to ski in just a sweater and the days are longer than ever.
Ellen: My favourite part of the winter season is actually towards the end when the weather gets a little warmer and there’s lots of ‘bluebird’ days – blue skies, sunshine, and lots of fresh snow. You don’t have to layer up quite so much and you don’t have to contend with chapped lips and dry skin. The atmosphere in ski resorts at this time of year is great too as there’s lots of good aprés opportunities in the sun and outside on the terraces. The only downside is that you have to be careful not to end up with a goggle tan this time of the season!
If you have any questions for the In-Resort team, please just get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.