Great-value skiing, off-piste adventuring and après-ski partying in the peaks of the Pyrenees
For the past 18 months, we have been waiting to get back to the mountains to do what we all love to do best: go skiing. We didn’t need blue skies, or deep powder – to make turns was simply enough.
But, like some reward for our patience and perseverance to get sliding again, Andorra dished out one of the best starts to the season on record. The conditions remained good and ensured that thousands of skiers could get their fix of both powder and piste.
Visitors have been enjoying some epic bluebird days in-between the snowfalls, too. Because it faces the Mediterranean, Andorra is one of Europe’s sunniest ski destinations. Yes, great snow AND sunshine… what’s not to love?
Long known as a cheap and cheerful skiing destination (thanks to its duty free status), the tiny principality of Andorra, located in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, has spent much of the last decade rebranding itself as a more upmarket ski destination. A mega £112 million has been spent on improving the facilities and accommodation across Andorra’s resorts. There has been a huge investment in new lifts and pistes – Andorra now offers over 300km of hugely varied pistes, served by 99 lifts across two large domains: Grandvalira and Vallnord. Despite all this, it still remains great value.
So, where to ski?
PISTES, PARTIES AND POWDER
Grandvalira is Andorra’s biggest ski area that spans across seven different resorts. There are pistes for everyone, from mellow blues to challenging blacks, and everything in between. Lifts rise to an impressive 2640m and much of the terrain is north-aspect, guaranteeing decent snow coverage throughout the season.
Soldeu offers direct access to the entire Grandvalira ski area and makes for a great base for those looking to splash out. It boasts some excellent 4-5* hotels – complete with kids’ clubs, pools and spas – which are close to the lifts, some even ski-in/ski-out.
Meanwhile, Grandvalira’s party capital, Pas de la Casa, which lies just over the pass from Soldeu, offers full-throttle après-ski from dusk till dawn. From a bar where you can serve yourself your own beer to a myriad of nightclubs, it really is party central.
For skiers who come here not for the vast network of pistes, nor the après, nor the fancy hotels, but to explore the area’s off-piste terrain, they won’t be disappointed: there are numerous controlled freeride zones to explore. And, to ensure you can find them all easily, Grandvalira has created a dedicated freeride map with all the zones clearly marked.
Play in the open bowls up on the Piolet sector at Grau Roig, or make your way towards El Tarter where there are six lift-served unpisted itinerary runs. Fun guaranteed.
BOOK AND TRAVEL WITH CONFIDENCE
Soldeu or Pas de la Casa. Pistes, powder or après-ski partying. The choice is yours. In fact, with over 100 resorts on offer across Europe and North America, accessible from more than 15 UK airports, Crystal is all about choice. And with three ways to book (online, via phone or in one of Crystal’s hubs), getting your dream trip nailed down is easy.
Crystal is all about value, too. All holiday packages include flights, transfers and accommodation, so you don’t need to spend hours trawling the internet looking for deals – which leaves you more time to plan the fun stuff, like which swimsuit you are going to pack for that hotel spa…
If you book a package holiday, you’re protected under the package holiday refund guarantee, too. This means that if Crystal needs to cancel your holiday, for whatever reason, you’ll be able to change your booking to another Crystal holiday fee-free, or you can opt for a full refund. And of course, your holiday will be protected by ABTA and ATOL.
This season has proven that Andorra can provide a pretty sweet ride, so get your bookings in for Winter 2022/23!