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|Grandvalira ski area Andorra|
Grandvalira ski area Andorra
Updated 1 Dec 2013. The 2013/14 ski season news. Lots of snow in Grandvalira this season. The first snowfall in Grandvalira in Andorra was already in mid-November in 2013 with half metre of snow so Grandvalira opened on 30th November 2013 and is enjoying a great season with lots of snow and sunshine. Grandvalira in Andorra is the biggest ski area in Andorra and a super choice for great skiing near Barcelona with 70 lifts servicing 18 green pistes, 38 blue, 32 red and 22 black pistes bring the total to 110 pistes on a skiable area of 205 km.
Andorra is a small country entirely situated in the eastern Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain with two big ski areas which are Grandvalira and Vallnord which were created by combining a number small and previously unconnected ski areas. Now Andorra has one of the biggest combined ski areas in Europe. and from Barcelona skiing in Andorra is just a 3 hour drive north west.
> Book ski day tours to Grandvalira from Barcelona
> Pictures Grandvalira ski area Andorra
> Address and maps Grandvalira ski resort
> Webcams Grandvalira Andorra
Andorra has two big skiing areas called Grandvalira and Vallnord and has also invested in modern lifts and new facilities making this tiny country a great alternative to the Alps and a very popular skiing area near Barcelona. A big difference between Grandvalira and many ski resorts in the Alps is the size of the lift queues. Even at the weekend you can often ski for hours in Andorra without having to queue for more than a few minutes. Grandvalira Andorra will undoubtedly grow in popularity in the coming years and is ready in every way to cater for many more guests.
Of the two large ski areas in Andorra, Grandvalira is the biggest ski area and also one of the largest ski areas in the Pyrenees with 205 kilometers of pistes with 70 lifts servicing 110 ski slopes. Grandvalira also boasts the longest ski trail in the Pyrenees of 9.6 km with a vertical drop of 850m from Tossa de Llosada in the El Tarter sector at an altitude of 2,560 m down to the village of El Tarter at 1,710 m. The six ski areas in Andorra that are connected to form Grandvalira are called Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig, Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo and Encamp. The lowest of the five villages is Encamp at 1300 m above sea level, and the highest village is Pas de la Casa at 2100 m. Most of the mountain peaks in the Grandvalira area reach an altitude of 2500 metres, so many runs are long and wide with spectacular mountain views. Ski resorts at this altitude are almost guaranteed snow from December to Apri and all the Grandvalira ski sections are seamlessly connected by a modern express lift system to give you over 200 kilometres of alpine pistes. Grandvalira can definately compete with Europe’s top ski resorts and is among the top twenty ski resorts in the world.
The 110 pistes include 22 black runs and 32 red runs and many wide and inviting blue and green runs. Almost all runs are above the tree line. Many of the slopes have skiable freeride areas near the many prepared pistes, so the off-piste and freeriding possibilities are big and easily accessible, even to beginners. The area also offers 3 snowboard/freestyle parks and many exciting activities near the pistes. In the Soldeu and El Tarter basins you can enjoy trying or watching Audi 4-wheel drive cars accelarate up a steep mountain car piste, or 4-wheel drive buggies doing tight turns in the snow. Other activities at Grandvalira include dog-sledging, snow scooters, ice scuba diving, freestyle parks, speed skiing courses, mogul pistes and more.
The skiing in the Grandvalira area is comfortably varied. There are relaxed family runs in the Soldau area, and steeper and more challenging slopes over towards Pas de la Casa. There are red and black runs across the whole area and with fast lifts you can quickly ski to your favourite slopes. There are five freeride off-piste areas in Grandvalira. Three of the free areas - Canal de Encampadana - Canal de Les Solanelles - Bosc del Commellar - are accessible with the Encampadana ski lift in the El Tarter sector. In the Grau Roig sector there is a freeride area from the drag lift TK Pic Blanc and in the Canillo sector there are several freeride areas.
Andorra’s main revenue comes from the 10 million tourists that visit Andorra every year and Andorra is careful to re-invest some of that tourist income on the ski slopes to make sure the skiers and snowboarders keep coming. The lift system is new and fast and offers both express chair lifts and 4 person gondola cabin lifts. The longest gondola lift is an impressive 6.2 kilometre ride from the village of Encamp to the heart of the Grandvalira ski area, making it one of the longest gondola lifts in Europe.
All the restaurants in the Grandvalira area are modern and functional with both fast food and a la carte choices and stunning views. The quality is good and prices are reasonable. Andorra is not in the EU and has yet to pass any serious smoking laws. But it appears that a number of restaurants and other public areas are starting to impose non-smoking areas – or prohibit smoking indoors altogether. But this is still on a voluntary basis and you will probably at some stage during your stay see people smoking in places that are now banned in the rest of Europe.
Where to stay in Grandvalira?
The fashionable areas to stay are Soldeu and El Tarter. The biggest village is Pas de la Casa, which is also popular due to the many great pistes and high altitude, whereas smaller villages like Canillo and Encamp are quieter and perfect for families. Grau Roig only has one hotel, so that is a bit isolated and undisturbed and the hotel is excellent.
Hotels in Grandvalira ski sectors
> Hotels in Grandvalira sector Pas de la Casa
> Hotels in Grandvalira sector El Tarter
> Hotels in Grandvalira sector Soldeu
> Hotels in Grandvalira sector Encamp
> Hotels in Grandvalira sector Grau Roig
Grau Roig sector of Grandvalira
Grau Roig is a small ski station in the Grandvalira area that connects the Pas de la Casa sector with the Soldeu sector and the rest of the Grandvalira ski area. If you are driving up to Grandvalira from Barcelona, then Grau Roig is an excellent base camp choice because of the two big free car parks and many fast chairlifts. The ski lifts go in two directions with most heading up towards Coll Blanc peak overlooking Pas de la Casa sector and town, but you can also take a chair lift in the opposite direction towards the Soldeu and El Tarter ski areas. The Grau Roig sector offers skiing for all levels, including various black runs, lots of long red runs and some blue runs. There is a ski school area by the parking place and a freestyle park. In addition there is a good deal of off-piste or freeride skiing that can be enjoyed by everyone, as the many freeride slopes are mostly next to the marked pistes. Grau Roig is also the starting point for a number of alternative winter sport activities including snow scooter tours, snowshoe walking tours, sledge rides and mushing. Please note that Grau Roig is not actually a town or resort, but there is one hotel aptly named Hotel Grau Roig, and an very well stocked ski shop where you can rent skis. If you need to rent skis at Grau Roig, then a good tip is to come a little early, as there can be queues for renting skis in the morning. You can buy ski passes for the whole area at the ticket office, making Grau Roig an excellent base camp choice for people coming for day trips to the Grandvalira ski area – or if you are staying in hotels outside the Grandvalira ski area. To get to Grau Roig keep driving towards Soldeu when you get to Pas de le Casa. The fastest way to to take the 3 km tunnel called "Tunel D’Envalira" which takes you almost directly through the mountain from Pas de la Casa to Grau Roig with a toll charge of just over 6 Euro. This money is well spent if it is snowing or has just snowed. The alternative is the long and windy route almost 10km over the mountain which is cheaper and has great mountain pass views so it's worth the extra kilometres on a sunny day but in bad weather you will need a 4-wheel drive or snow chains to make this journey.
Grandvalira Igloo Hotel
If you want a real ski-in-ski-out experience then check out the Grandvalira Igloo Hotel at 2300m altitude. The Igloo hotel is a collection of igloos made entirely of ice and snow in the Grau Roig sector of Grandvalira has three rooms to choose from. The standard room sleeps a maximum of six people and is ideal for groups of friends keen to try a really different experience and two double rooms for couples looking for a romantic and different experience. All comforts and conveniences are provided with decoration inspired by Romanesque art and featuring ice sculptures. Some facitlities of the Igloo Hotel are open to the public inlcuding a restaurant area that serves fondue dinners and lounge terrace with chill-out music. Facilities include a guided night walk with snowshoes, a hot-tub jacuzzi also inside an igloo. Guests are given a warm sleeping bags
Useful information Grandvalira ski area
Lift opening times
Lifts open at 09:00 and close at 17:00.
Please check the times of the last lifts you will need to get back to your sector.
+376872900 Encamp - Grau Roig - Pas de la Casa
+376890500 Canillo - El Tarter - Soldeu
Information telephone numbers
+376 891 818 in Andorra
+34 902550435 in Spain
FIS ski slopes in Grandvalira
Antenes slope in Grau Roig sector
Avet slope in Soldeu sector
Grandvalira has 4 crèches with qualified carers for children from 12 months to 4 years. They are in Canillo, El Tarter, Soldeu and Grau Roig. Please note that the kindergartens at Soldeu, El Tarter and Canillo only accept children over 24 months old. Children from 12 to 24 months old should go to the Grau Roig kindergarten. Prices and information
> Book ski day tours to Grandvalira from Barcelona
> Photos Grandvalira ski area Andorra
> How to get to Grandvalira ski resort
> Ski and snowboard areas near Barcelona
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