Vallnord-Arinsal Resort Reviews
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Visitor reviews for Vallnord-Arinsal Ski Resort
February 25, 2016
Alan Williams from Australia
I've taken the opportunity of being in Barcelona for a conference to have a few days skiing in nearby Andorra. I'm glad I did a bit of research before I came. I have skied very extensively in the Alps, the US, Canada and Australia and to be honest was expecting Andorran skiing to be a bit like that in Australia with small resorts and limited vertical drop.
Well, in some ways it is. You can ski most runs in each resort in a single day. I have been to Arinsal/Pal, Arcalis and the Grandvalira area and that's about all there is. The vertical drops aren't particularly large but that doesn't mean they're bad resorts.
I'm staying in Erts, just below the main village of Arinsal. My hotel, the Palome, Relais de Silence, is absolutely superb. A true gem. It is an ultra-modern design hotel with lovely staff, great food and a lovely setting by the river. Being a little away from the main lifts it helps to have a car or just take the free skibus which is moderately regular.
Arinsal skiing is limited for experienced skiers and boarders, but good for beginners. The connection to Pal is quick and easy, though, and Pal is much more fun. The runs aren't long but there are entertaining reds and even a couple of black runs. Off-piste wasn't really practical when I was there but looks fun too. There are plenty of easy runs too and the setting within the trees is very pretty.
Arcalis, also part of Valnord and on the same pass, is altogether different. What a little beauty. With much better snow and a gorgeous situation it is the Andorran gem. For almost all levels except perhaps complete beginners it is brilliant. The whole mountain is pretty much skiable, so not much need to stay on the pistes if you are moderately confident. The only trouble is getting there which requires a car or a moderately long bus ride.
If you like cruisy ski touring on wide, mostly gentle, runs then Grandvalira is for you. A huge area, it is a bit disappointing since most of the runs are relatively short or alternatively long and fairly flat. It isn't a pretty resort - the villages are charmless (Arinsal is much prettier and it's no Zermatt) and the slopes mostly treeless and with a clutter of lifts in some places. It is great for linking together loads of runs though and many will love that.
Hope this helps. With 3 more days skiing I'll be enjoying Pal and Arcalis again.
Overall: 4.0. Based on 3 votes and 26 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Vallnord-Arinsal.
Public Transport: 4.0
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Vallnord-Arinsal, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Vallnord-Arinsal, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 4.3
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 3.7
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Vallnord-Arinsal.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.7
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Vallnord-Arinsal, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Vallnord-Arinsal is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Vallnord-Arinsal relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 4.7
(1) There are no snow groomers at Vallnord-Arinsal, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Vallnord-Arinsal are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Vallnord-Arinsal is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 4.7
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Vallnord-Arinsal, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 3.3
(1) Vallnord-Arinsal usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.7
(1) The staff at Vallnord-Arinsal are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Vallnord-Arinsal are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.7
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.7
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 3.7
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Vallnord-Arinsal has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Vallnord-Arinsal, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 4.0
(1) Not even a kicker at Vallnord-Arinsal, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Vallnord-Arinsal, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Vallnord-Arinsal has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 4.0
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 3.3
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 3.5
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 4.0
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 4.3
(1) Overall, Vallnord-Arinsal is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 4.0
(1) Overall, Vallnord-Arinsal is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
January 07, 2016
Glynis Gass from Ireland
Just back from a fabulous week in Arinsal skiing with the family.The snow fall was ok considering little snow had fallen in four weeks.That is all to change as it had already started to snow before we left. It is a great ski resort with runs for all levels and fab instructors (Michelle Reed, John, to name a few). Great pubs with good food (Molys especially good). We stayed in the St Gothard hotel just 10 mins walk down from the ski lifts. A good 3/4star hotel, good food, hot water fresh towels daily and a friendly atmosphere. Can't wait to go back.
December 29, 2015
Brad pope from United Kingdom
I am due to fly out to Andorra on the 10th January 2016 for a skiing holiday. I have been looking at weather reports but have seen the lack of snow. I just wondered if anyone could shed some light on a update if they live there or know anything.
[note from the editor: post will remain for a short time.]
January 27, 2010
Sat from United Kingdom
I went to Arinsal for my birthday in January. It is a small town with a lot of character. We stayed at The Husa Patagonia and had heard a few differing reviews of the hotel and place. However, the hotel was very good, with friendly service from staff and clean rooms (a little bit of dust in corners but overall very good). The snow was good and a chairlift located a minute away from our hotel. Arinsal is good for beginners (some might find the green slope a bit tougher than you would normally have on green slopes), experienced boarders would get bored with runs after a few days but overall alot of variety). The food and beer is cheap and the steaks are very good. There are a lot of deals going on in the day: happy hour being 4-7pm (most drinks around 1.50 euro a pint). Some of the best bars are El Surf, Quo Vadis etc and Sisco bar is a smokers paradise :), a lot of reps and instructors with a good vibe and lively atmosphere. They also do some great meals - a big shout out to Gemma, Mick and Jess. The people are very friendly and helpful in the town and I would recommend a visit to the spa in the Princess Park (12euros for 2 hrs in jazz, saunas, steam room etc). Good after a days boarding and nearby. Caldea is a big spa located in Andorra La Vella, however, I would only recommend a visit if you stay over a night and have some treatments as just a daily visit is over priced and a bit like a theme park with a big pool with Jazz etc, overlooked by bar but not as big as it appears in leaflets etc. There is not really a lot to do in La Vella as mainly shops and cheap fags, beers etc. Overall, Arinsal gave us a good, cheap and enjoyable holiday which I would recommend to others. Happy Boarding peeps.
October 14, 2009
SteveP from United Kingdom
We went to Arinsal in the last week of Feb 09. It is a nice resort with good snow. Arinsal is good for beginners although I found it limited for me being a higher intermediate boarder. The food was cheap and simple but enough to keep you going. The park was good. There are a couple of black runs at Arinsal but they were icy. I stayed at the Palerine at the bottom of the hill; what can I say about this hotel, wow, very friendly, superb food and a good range of entertainment in the evenings. I have now booked up for Soldeu/El Tarter. Happy boarding folks.
March 07, 2009
Karlos Lopez from Andorra
I am lucky enough to live in Andorra and enjoy the slopes at Arinsal every day. It's a great place to ski or board but suffers seriously in a few areas. Unlike France, all on-piste restaurants are run by the same company who don't seem bothered about offering terrible service and awful food. Year upon year it doesn't improve. At lunch time you have to queue for 20mins to order, pay and get a receipt and then, to add insult to injury, you have to queue again to give it to the guy who cooks it when they stand 2 meters away from each other behind the counter. Do not consume anything more than a hot chocolate on-piste would be my advise. Hopefully one day they'll get the message. The other area of annoyance lays with the fact that they close the pistes at Arinsal after more than a few inches of snow. Yesteday we had 7 inches and they closed the one lift that was open after 45 mins and another after 3 hours. You come to a ski resort to enjoy the snow not be held back from it. I seem to remember French resorts only opening late after more than a couple of feet.
Enjoy your future skiing holidays and choose your resort carefully. Sometimes it's worth paying a little more for a better service.
February 24, 2009
Charles from United Kingdom
Spent last week at Arinsal - absolutely marvelous. Friendly natives, perfect snow, no wind and beautiful blue cloudless skies. Arinsal is the perfect resort for beginners/intermediates but there are more challenging red and black runs if you want them. You can also ski back to top end of town (blue run) which is handy if you are staying in the Patogonia or Crest Hotel. Lift pass covers huge area including Arcalis. It would be difficult to get to know the area in a week. I concentrated on Pal and Arinsal itself. I will return.
January 31, 2009
Skier from United Kingdom
Just got back from Arinsal. The skiing in Arinsal itself is VERY limited; pretty much one blue run with a short black and a red at the top. If you get the gondola over to Pal it's a bit more varied and a lot more picturesque. You could probably do a day or so there if you're an expert skier and probably all week if you're learning.
If you are a good skier, you must go to Arcalis. It's about 30mins drive away and if I ever go back to Arinsal I will be going to Arcalis every day. It's full of locals and the standard of skiing/boarding is much higher. There are lots of hikes to do and loads of features to play with. It really was great fun.
January 24, 2009
Sue and David from United Kingdom
Got back from Arinsal last week. This is about my 6th time skiing there. Have skied in Austria and Italy but feel like this is home. As usual had a great time and find it a great place. Met up with the usual crowd of ski instructors and bar owners. Don't like to write reviews much as I don't want everyone going to my little country but it is fab. We stayed at Hotel Montane again; basic but friendly and great position although food this time round not as good as a couple of years ago. Have stayed in Princessa Park and St Gothard and St Mortize appartments and all good.
What can I say except hope to see everyone again in March.
October 04, 2008
Hans from Netherlands
Visited Plagne Soleil 8 times in Jan/Feb/Mar.
Going again in Jan '09.
Paradiski is great, after a week there are still slopes left! Ski domain La Plagne itself is also very large. Slopes are wide and well prepared. Due to the high altitude there is virtually always plenty of snow.
We drive down the mountain to a supermarket in Aime to get some serious supplies once or twice during our stay. There is a far greater choice in products and you get a bigger bang for your buck ;)