A renowned skiing destination, Andorra is a country that draws its strength and attraction from what is most natural to it: its mountains. The “land of the Pyrenees”, aware of the new challenges, continues its development for a more sustainable mountain and proudly displays numerous projects for the future. As of this year, the Grandvalira Resorts brand has strengthened the link between the three ski areas of the territory, and is proposing a strong commercial offer on an international scale.
With ingenious and attractive agreements such as the single ski pass for skiing in all the country’s resorts, Grandvalira Resorts also forms part of the prestigious Ikon Pass circle. I Love Ski tells you more about the different areas, activities and competitions for which this ski country is famous.
Grandvalira Resorts, the largest ski area in the Pyrenees
Since July 2022, Grandvalira Resorts has brought together all the resorts in Andorra under a single, common brand. Today, all Andorra’s ski resorts are part of Grandvalira Resorts thanks to the recent arrivals of Ordino Arcalis and Pal Arinsal. In total, seven areas form part of Grandvalira: Pas de la Case, Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo, Encamp, Grau Roig and Peretol. This association allows the area to offer skiers no less than 303 kilometres of slopes.
Grandvalira Resorts in the Top 5 worldwide
Thanks to this partnership, Andorra has become one of the leading European destinations in terms of skiing area. With more than 2.5 million ski days sold last season, Andorra has built a reputation for quality and offers great skiing guarantees to its visitors. Grandvalira Resorts is now one of the top 5 resorts in the world.
A unique package for skiing in Andorra
What makes Grandvalira Resort and Andorra stand out in the world of skiing is also its unique ski pass that allows skiing on all Andorran slopes. Following the agreement between Pal Arinsal and Grandvalira in July 2022, a commercial strategy has resulted in a new national ski pass. This ski pass gives access to all 303 kilometres of ski slopes in Andorra. There is also the Nord ski pass which gives access to Ordino Arcalís and Pal Arinsal and includes up to four days of skiing in Grandvalira.
This has been followed by another. Grandvalira Resort has joined the Ikon Pass in autumn 2022. The Ikon Pass offers more than 50 destinations on different continents of the world. Owning this pass obviously brings with it many advantages. On the one hand, it is possible to ski at all resorts that are part of the Ikon Pass. On the other hand, it allows you to receive exclusive discounts, insurance and special offers to organise trips to the four corners of the world.
Grandvalira, Ordino-Arcalis and Pal-Arinsal: the winning trio
Grandvalira, 210 kilometres of linked slopes
Grandvalira was born in 2003, after the alliance of two Pyrenean resorts: Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig and Soldeu-El Tarter.
“Today, Grandvalira is the largest ski area in the Pyrenees, with 210 kilometres of fully communicated ski runs. It is a very commercial product and there is something for everyone”, says Juan Ramón Moreno, General Manager of Grandvalira Resorts.
Designed for skiing, the Grandvalira domain never ceases to surprise. Whether you’re a beginner or a “big kid” (!), you’ll enjoy discovering the playful and themed slopes that will immerse you in the atmosphere of the circus or the world of fairies.
If you like making turns, Grandvalira is the resort for you: its wide and perfectly groomed slopes are an incredible playground. Experts won’t be left out on the legendary Aliga piste, approved for FIS competitions. Here you can experience the thrill of strong emotions while enjoying the breathtaking panorama.
Ordino Arcalís, freeride skiing paradise
Ordino-Arcalis is one of the major areas belonging to Grandvalira Resorts. This resort is known above all for its extensive off-piste area. It is an ideal place for off-piste skiing, with numerous obstacles, jumps and turns in a breathtaking landscape. It is a real paradise and a reference for freeride skiers.
The resort has a dedicated freeride area with 3.4 km of marked routes and almost 120 km of unmarked routes. You can find different routes specially designed for freeriding. This choice allows you to opt for different skill levels, ranging from medium to expert. Ordino Arcalis also has a “Freeride Center” where you will find instructors who will give off-piste courses.
“ORDINO ARCALIS IS THE FIRST RESORT TO OPEN AND THE LAST TO CLOSE”.
“Ordino Arcalis is a resort with a wide range of off-piste possibilities. But it also welcomes many families. It is a very alpine resort, very authentic, pure mountain. The clientele is very loyal because the area offers very good snow quality thanks to its orientation and good altitude”, says Juan Ramón Moreno.
Pal Arinsal, a family resort
Another great resort that forms part of Grandvalira Resorts, Pal Arinsal, is a 100% family ski area. It is undoubtedly the easiest resort in Andorra to get to. It is made up of two sectors: Pal and Arinsal. In total, there are 63 km of slopes between 1,500 and 2,560 m.
The resort of Pal Arinsal has ski areas for children and beginners, gardens and clubs for babies and different courses adapted for everyone. Everything possible is done to ensure that children (and parents) have a great holiday. Family spirit is very important in Pal Arinsal.
The big news for next winter is that Pal and Arinsal will be connected from December 2023. “We are going to connect these two areas and the connection will first be made via a piste. Afterwards, there will be a lift to connect them. This connection will be very positive for skiers,” says Juan Ramón Moreno.
Open 10 months of the year, the Pal Arinsal resort bases its DNA on skiing and cycling. In summer, it has become a point of reference in the world of two wheels thanks to its Bike Park Vallnord La Massana.
Skiing but not only…
The longest snow tubing slope in Europe
Andorra and Grandvalira offer numerous activities. Firstly, you can discover snow tubing. This activity takes place outdoors and consists of sliding down snow slides sitting on a buoy. Snow tubing is an ideal and accessible activity for family fun. Moreover, Pas de la Case has the longest tubing slope in Europe, which measures 350 metres and allows you to reach speeds of up to 60 km/h.
Snake Gliss and dog sledges
You can also try Snake Gliss in Grandvalira. This is an activity that uses a set of articulated sledges to descend from Pla d’Espiolets to the village of Soldeu along the Astoret, Ós and Bosc Fosc slopes. This activity is available for ages 3 and up, an excellent idea for spending time with the family!
Finally, in Grandvalira there are dog sleds to have fun with friends and family. This activity will allow you to discover incredible landscapes in beautiful surroundings.
The Tristaina solar watchtower
Other new activities have appeared at Grandvalira Resort. This is the case of the Tristaina sunrise. This spherical platform, 25 metres in diameter, is suspended over the Peyreguils peak. As its name suggests, it also acts as a sundial, as its central pole shows the time on the circumference of the structure itself.
The Tristaina solar watchtower is located in the heart of the Ordino Biosphere Reserve. From here you can enjoy a 360° panoramic view of the Ordino valley and the Tristaina glacial cirque with its three lakes. It is located on the Peyriguils peak, at an altitude of 2,701 metres.
Some must-visit addresses, not to be missed under any circumstances
Grandvalira Resort has no less than 60 restaurants with different offers and quality service. Here are some recommendations for an extraordinary gastronomic experience.
The Abarset, an unmissable après-ski event in Andorra
Accessible from the slopes but also from the Grandvalira resort, the Abarset has become a fashionable place in Andorra. Its architecture and wooden decoration will not leave you indifferent. From the moment you enter, you are immersed in a popular and gastronomic atmosphere. This bistronomic restaurant is a festive space that offers quality in a welcoming and relaxing setting.
At the end of the day, music takes over at the Abarset and becomes the meeting point for après-ski. If there was one address to recommend (and try) this winter, it would definitely be the Abarset!
“Wine & Meat Bar” by Jean Leon
The “Wine & Meat Bar by Jean Leon” is located in the Grandvalira resort. This is a must-visit address, with a selection of quality wines, meats and sausages. It is a typical restaurant that offers its customers top quality sausages and cheeses from the “Best Obrador in France”.
At the wine bar, visitors can discover an original universe where it is possible to participate in the tasting of a selection of Penèdes wines from the house of Jean Leon.
The “Lac de Pesson” in Grau Roig
The third restaurant not to be missed is the “Lac de Pessons” in Grau Roig. It is one of the most beautiful places in Andorra with a very cosy restaurant offering quality mountain cuisine. There is also an outdoor terrace with magnificent views.
In Ordino Arcalis, the restaurant “La Coma” is located at 2200 metres above sea level. It is a perfect place to relax after a busy day of skiing. You can enjoy traditional cuisine with local sausages or grilled Andorran meats.
Finally, in Pal Arinsal you will find the restaurant ‘L’Expresso’. Visitors to the restaurant can enjoy the local cuisine. The restaurant has a terrace overlooking the slopes from where you can enjoy a beautiful view.
International skiing competitions in Andorra in 2023
Season after season, Grandvalira Resorts has established itself as a reference on an international scale, which is reflected in the organisation of world events.
Alpine Ski World Cup Finals 2023
From 13 to 19 March 2023 the final phase of the Ski World Cup will be held in Andorra. In fact, Grandvalira Resorts, with its 303 kilometres of slopes, has been selected to host the Alpine Ski World Cup Finals in 2023. Grandvalira Resorts has been awarded the organisation of this event because it has experience in hosting this type of competition. The resort has already organised the 2022 European Cup Finals and the 2019 World Cup Finals.
Launched Kilometre World Cup Finals
Another World Cup finals, this time in the Launched Kilometre, will take place in 2023 on the ski slopes of Andorra. These finals will take place in the Grau Roig sector and will be held from 28 to 31 March 2023. Thus, Andorra will see the best specialists in kilometre throwing on its slopes next March.
Ordino Arcalís hosts a stage of the Freeride World Tour
Numerous freeride competitions are held in Ordino-Arcalis. In the winter of 2023, the third round of the Freeride World Tour 2023 will be held for the ninth time. The resort of Ordino Arcalis is considered one of the temples of Pyrenean freeriding and is often the scene of an emotional spectacle. The competition will take place from 4 to 9 February 2023. Ordino Arcalis has also organised the Junior Freeride Championship and the Skiers’ Cup in recent years. Exceptional riders have taken part in these competitions.
ISMF Ski World Cup
The last major international ski competition to be held in Andorra in 2023, the ISMF Ski World Cup. The competition will take place in Pal Arinsal and more specifically in the Comapedrosa Natural Park. The competition will take place from 20 to 22 January 2023 and will start with the “individual race”, which is a high mountain event. The Verticale Race will follow on the 22nd.