Skiing is a beautiful sport, suitable for everyone. Its always fun to get yourself on the mountain and be surrounded by nature whether you are with your family, with friends or even by yourself. However, as an extreme sport, it entails some risk as well, that’s why it is very important to be careful at all times and respect the other skiers on the mountain. There are 10 golden rules that we must all know, and above all respect so that a snow day can be both safe and fun!
No matter what level you’re at, taking skiing or snowboarding lessons will always be a valuable experience. Whether you’re a first-time skier/snowboarder or an experienced rider with many years of winter holidays under your belt, there’s always new skills to learned and many ways to improve. (more…)
Is it your first time in Andorra and you don’t know where to start? Andorra has a total of 202 tracks, between 2 different resorts (Grandvalira and Vallnord). Which ones are the most suitable slopes for you? Don’t miss our guide to our favourite runs in Andorra classified by levels. (more…)
Fancy being a ski instructor?
Yeah in your dreams!
Well it doesn’t have to be a dream.
If you can execute tidy parallel turns on an intermediate piste and you’re over 15 years of age, then you CAN train to be a ski instructor.
The same applies if you’re a snowboarder – if you are able to demonstrate comfortable and safe riding skills on intermediate terrain you CAN train to be a Snowboarding Instructor.
For the last 17 years Instructor Academy has operated in Soldeu, Andorra, making available excellent value, high quality on snow courses as a licenced provider for the Canadian organisations C.S.I.A and C.A.S.I. Many thousands of young (and not so young!) snow addicts have made it through our system and now teach in Europe, Canada, New Zealand and all over the UK on artificial surfaces. (more…)
With the heat of summer getting to us we decided to visit Chill Factore in Manchester to get in some summer turns to make sure we don’t forget how to ski before winter! It was our first time skiing at an indoor slope so a pretty exciting day out!
The bright and spacious changing area has a fully equipped rental shop to get skis, snowboards and boots fitted, plus because they cater for absolute beginners as well as those who have been skiing before they have a full range of winter clothing which you can rent for your session. I checked the website before setting off which said to take warm clothing and even then I was surprised at how cold it is inside the slope. I know it sounds pretty obvious now but it really is a fridge, maybe even a freezer – minus 3°C to keep the snow in top condition throughout the day – so when you visit make sure you bring warm clothes and wrap up well! (more…)
An Introduction into the World of HD Helmet Cameras
If you’re considering purchasing an action camera this winter, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s never been a better time to do so. 2012 has been an exciting year where action cameras are concerned and competition between top manufacturers is fiercer than ever before.
But first things first, what makes an action camera any better for a winter sports excursion than the humble handycam?
Action cameras, as the name suggests are designed for action. They are built to withstand the harsh elements, which come with skiing or snowboarding, such as snow & ice, sub-zero temperatures, high speeds and physical impact. (more…)
If you’re currently looking to decide where you want to go skiing this winter, then look no further! Andorra has had the best start to a ski season for a number of years, with the base already up to almost a metre of snow, which has been topped up regularly since opening for business on December 1st. Snow has fallen regularly for the past three weeks now and more is forecast to continue falling for the next few days, with everyone’s fingers crossed for a white Christmas!
For those of you new to the idea of a holiday to the tiny country of Andorra, perhaps having visited other more well known areas, then you might be in for a bit of a surprise. Andorra boasts two fantastic ski areas, both with interconnected resorts covered on their lift respective lift passes. If you have beginners in your group then it’s definitely worth investigating options in and Arinsal as these both have lots of British ski instructors amongst their ranks which makes it much easier for people to learn when their instructor speaks their native language. For avid snowboarders you should look at Pas de la Casa as the resort has a very young party vibe with many snowboarders returning year after year.
But if you’re a hardened skier who thinks you won’t be challenged, then think again! This year the resort of Soldeu held both European and World Cup downhill racing on the women’s circuit for the first time, which is being followed in 2013 by European Cup racing on the men’s circuit. The famed Avet slope running to the centre of Soldeu has for some years now held FIS certification, and this year this has been joined by another FIS certified slope in neighboring El Tarter!
Arinsal has a family friendly traditional charm about it and proves very popular with returning guests each year so if you’re looking for a friendly resort with great skiing then maybe you should look here. A big benefit of spending your Andorra ski holiday in Arinsal is that Arcalis is also included on your lift pass, and this is often thought of by locals as the best skiing in the country, so well worth a visit.
So if we’ve whetted your appetite for Andorra then take a look at our holidays page, and maybe we’ll see you on the slopes here soon.
When it comes to booking a holiday you have a few ways to go about it – first of all you have the traditional package holiday where you pick your package from a brochure or online and it includes everything from the flights and transfers to your accommodation and ski extras, or the alternative is to put your own holiday together and come independently.
Booking all or part of your holiday independently means you have much more flexibility to meet your own requirements, whether that means you want to arrive on a particular day of the week, have a short/extended break or want to have a day off from skiing in the middle of the week. Our guide below will show you the various parts of the holiday that you will need to book.
Andorra doesn’t have it’s own airport however there are several airports available to choose from fairly close by. The most popular airport for independent holidaymakers is Barcelona as there are five daily shared transfers plus an extra service at weekends during the winter, however there are also shared transfers available from Toulouse and Girona. Other airports used less frequently are Reus and Carcassonne. Lleida is the closest airport with international flights although they are very limited.
Transfers or Car Hire
You need to decide how you’ll get from the airport to your resort, and this depends on a couple of factors – do you mind driving overseas? and how much do you want to spend?
It’s easy enough to rent a car, however if you go for this option before you book make sure that you can drive the car across the border into Andorra and also find out if you will be charged extra for this. We’ve previously used Europcar as they allow cross-border travel and don’t charge extra, but always check before you book.
For airport transfers if you’re flying to Barcelona, Girona or Toulouse you can have shared or private transfers, or from other airports it’s just private transfers. To book airport transfers a good website to try is www.andorraairporttransfers.com. Obviously a taxi transfer or private minibus is going to be more expensive than the shared option, but it means that you leave the airport as soon as your group have arrived.
Choose Your Resort
Andorra has two main ski areas, Grandvalira and Vallnord. Grandvalira is the largest skiable domain in the Pyrenees, not just Andorra, boasting 205km of linked pistes which means you have a huge range of slopes to keep you occupied throughout your holiday. The main resorts here are Pas de la Casa and Soldeu, and both offer completely different atmospheres albeit access to the same slopes. Pas de la Casa (or just Pas to locals) attracts quite a young crowd and is renowned for partying as much as it is for skiing and snowboarding, however Soldeu is much more family friendly although still has a few great bars for après ski. The other accesses to Grandvalira are Grau Roig, El Tarter, Canillo and Encamp but these aren’t as popular with tourists.
Vallnord is a smaller ski area with 93km of pistes but in my opinion this includes probably the best skiing in Andorra! The main tourist resort is Arinsal which is also linked by cable car to the Pal ski area, and it’s arguably the most picturesque of the Andorran ski resorts. The bars and restaurants are all family friendly but there are also a couple of nightclubs to keep younger ones entertained. Arinsal has a fantastic school for beginners, but Arcalis is the hidden gem of a ski area, and with no hotels it is usually much quieter than other areas, so it’s worth taking the free ski bus across to give it a go.
Whether you’ve arranged the whole of your holiday yourself or if you’ve booked a package for the main components, the most popular part of a skiing holiday to book independently is the ski extras: lift passes, lessons and ski hire. The main benefit of doing this “DIY” is that you can choose the standard of equipment you want, you can see which shop you’ll be collecting from beforehand, and you can also take advantage of special products such as the non-consecutive lift pass which allows either one or two days off from skiing or snowboarding.
The Next Step…
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or need help organising your holiday, or for links to all the relevant pages to plan and book your trip, visit our Andorra holidays page >>