I totally lucked out this month. Propellernet was invited on an educational winter visit to Andorra with Neilson Holidays and I, as the resident ski-nut, got the call-up.
Despite never visiting Andorra before, I had some preconceptions of the place. And I wasn’t alone. “Is skiing in Andorra any good?” is actually one of the most popular Google searches around the destination.*
After three days exploring the Grandvalira area, here are my seven reasons as to why skiing in Andorra isn’t just good, it’s brilliant:
Awesome Off-Piste: Neilson’s Mountain Experts showed us the best of Andorra’s off-piste. The terrain is amazingly flexible; choose from gentle bowls, turn-testing trees and steep run-offs. Best of all, the off-piste isn’t tracked out by 10am, and you can still make fresh lines well into the afternoon.
New snow: We tried out First Trax, an exclusive 8.30am pass which gets you on the lifts earlier than the masses. Perfect for tearing down the pistes without fear of bumping into a ski school!
Dogs: Husky Mushing in El Tarter is great fun. The Riba Escorxada circuit boasts incredible views of the Pyrenees, but more importantly you can frolic around with the CUTEST PUPPIES IN THE WORLD.
Onix wine: Bordering both Spain and France, I was particularly looking forward to the free wine-tasting hosted by our Hotel del Clos. Serious debate ensured as to which was best, but I was assured the Onix took it for those who like their reds full-bodied. Personally, I was mightily distracted by the impressive range of botanical gins behind the bar…
Restaurants: After a long morning, fill up on the chorizo, black pudding and rabbit mountain rice at Arroseria Pi De Mig Dia, or if the sun’s out soak up the idyllic views at Refugi del Llac de Pessons. For dinner, don’t miss the grill menu at Restaurant La Llar de L’artesa Borda Popaire in Soldeu (steaks the size of your face…)
Red runs: Whilst Grandvalira’s dreamy off-piste will stick in my mind for years, I am very partial to a cheeky red run. Our Neilson Mountain Expert took us down his favourite runs, two particularly tasty reds (called Torrallardona and Salvans) which definitely shouldn’t be missed in Espiolets 2250.
Airborne: Having never been in a chopper before, I slightly lost it when I found out we were going on a heli-tour of the area. With tours starting at just €75 per person I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s an exhilarating experience and if you can stop screaming in delight for long enough (apologies fellow passengers), it is also a fantastic way to get your head around the layout of the resort.
A big thank you to Lindsay, Iain, Rob, Stu and all the Neilson team in resort who made the trip so mind-blowing. Will be seeing you in Andorra again for sure!