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Visitor reviews for Vallnord-Arinsal Ski Resort
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.
Based on 3 votes. 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.
Based on 3 votes. Vote
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 ;)
October 03, 2008
Papa Benedicto from Holy See (Vatican City State)
And on the 8th day god made Cypress. great fun, and with the new lodge this year and loads of comps going on at the aerials/pipe/bdr-x areas this yr its ramping up for 2010.
The views are second to none. Where else can you watch the sea, the city, Mt Baker (stunning), islands, ferries, within 20 mins of downtown Vancouver. When the sun goes down it really is something else, the lights in town start twinkling and the sky turns red! gasp I hear you say!
October 02, 2008
Valodja from Czech Republic
Small but decent resort for beginners to intermediates. It is positioned quite low, but they have ever improved snow making facilities, so the snow-conditions are not so bad. For the season, they are rebuilding everything massively, the runs will be 1-1,5km long, 200m of drop, good for carving and served by modern 4 chairlifts - so, perhaps good-bye to the queues? Huge ski-school with nice lifts for children.
October 02, 2008
Valodja from Czech Republic
I was in Madesimo for the second time in the second part of March ´08 and it was really beautiful. I´ve tried all the runs, even the challenging looong freerides Canalone and Camoscio. The best for fun carving was the powdery Val di Lei in the spring sunshine! Great week, great resort, great value! I will try to get my friends together and get there even this year. In 08 season, they had powder until half April!
October 02, 2008
Lisa from Ireland
Going to Pas in January again, was there last year and had an awesome time. As we are a group of 12 girls we had the times of our lives, good boarding even though we where beginners, good apres, lots of fit blokes. Fab holiday.
Can not wait to go back. First stop will definitely be Paddys Bar, it has the friendliest staff, the best vibe and by far is the most social bar. After we will see you all in Bilboard for a good nights dancing. see you all January
February 16, 2008
Helen from United Kingdom
Me , hubby and daughter were there the same week; 3rd Feb. We stayed in the Hotel Princesa Park. Very good value for money, good food in restaurant for 6 out of 7 days. 1st time in Arinsal and, hopefully, will be returning. We traveled 1st time with Inghams and found them good too.
Could have snowed a bit more though as by the time we left all the snow on the mountains had mostly disappeared. However, they have tons of snow cannons. Also not much choice of food in bars/cafes on pistes. All in all, a good holiday.
February 14, 2008
Alex from Belgium
Arrived in Arinsal on the 3rd Feb, stayed in the Patagonia hotel next to Peters' Crest hotel. Snow on the first day, excellent weather for the remainder of the week. nothing to add to Peters' comments in regard to 'ski-arrangements' (slopes, quality of snow etc etc..) - Patagonia hotel offers good quality for the price you pay, (big rooms, fresh towels, cleaning, beds done etc etc..), minor points being that the 'happy hour' does not include soft drinks for the kids (being there with 4 kids adds up..), and the restaurant in the evening only opens at 19.30hr, which is too late for kids having spent a whole day on the slopes.. choice of food and quality, however, is good, staff are friendly. I will definitely go back at the end of the year to Arinsal, it's an ideal place for families with (4) kids..
February 12, 2008
Peter from United Kingdom
Spent a week in Arinsal from 3rd Feb 08. It snowed the night I arrived which saved the week and made it good. Stayed at the Crest, yards from the lift. Clean room, friendly staff, more than adequate food. Skied on Arinsal but found it small in area - but excellent for someone to learn on all week. (Half kilometre walk down to the village and then same distance back - but then up the steep hill). Got to Encamp and caught the 'Funicamp' up to the very large area of Grand Valari which covers the northern ski area. That is excellent for any level of skier! The weather was hot and sunny all week and the snow was maintained only on the pistes in Arinsal with Grand Valari getting noticeably thinner in places. My advice - stay at Soldeu or similar to gain from the larger ski area. It was an excellent week to at a friendly area of the world!
January 14, 2008
Young Family from United Kingdom
6 Jan, 2008
Just got back, skiing was great, slopes in very good condition (not all open), some great skiing in PAL.
Hotel Princessa Parc was great, great food!!
Make sure you leave your skis up at the ski centre at the top, saves carrying skis each day, cost 54 Euro for locker which holds 4 X skis (well worth it). Also, ask at ski lift for Vallnord card, it gives you between 10 to 20% off at shops etc. See you in March; going back out.
December 07, 2007
Josephine Staunton from Ireland
I just love Andorra!! It's so homely. I've been in 2005 and 2006 and going again Jan 13th 2008. It's such a pretty village - not too big - but loads of choice of hotels, bars and restaurants. Stayed at the St. Gothard in 2005. Great hotel with lovely spacious rooms and fantastic food. Only problem was that it was situated at the end of the village so the walk back from the village centre, at night, was too much. Princessa Parc in 2006 - utter luxury. Love Ciscos Bar for apres-ski. Snacks are served and there is great music. As for the skiing; fantastic for beginners and intermediates. I have to say that you couldn't have a better week than a week in Andorra.
November 06, 2006
Big bad boarder brad from United Kingdom
As a family we've been skiing and snowboarding for 7 years. At first when my wife started to look at Arinsal I thought she was joking!! It's a shame about the transfer as it was around 4 hours long. When we arrived there was only a tiny amount of snow in the village. But this resort is great! I LOVE IT!!! The apres ski is fab I recommend El Cau for a drink (well we got there about 5.30 and didn't leave till 10) All 'round this resort is great!! Give it a visit!!
April 01, 2006
Dave Gilbert from United Kingdom
Got back yesterday. Snow's just about gone. It was +15 to +20 degrees C up the mountain each day. That said, I STILL enjoyed this break much more than ski holidays in Austria or the Three Valleys. Why? Here, for the price of a beer in happy hour at either other place, you get a round (2 Guiness, 1 Estrella, three vodka shots and a packet of crisps €12). You can sit down with the missus without worrying if you'll get change out of €50. The party really is a party where the 19 year olds don't seem to stare at you and you forget you're 50. In France and Austria £400 per person per week gets you a place where the choice of meal is Hobson's choice and sure, you can have a clean room, if you do it yourself. The towels have to last all week and you have to have wet boots each morning because you're invited to leave them in a damp basement cupboard (maybe I've always been unlucky). Here, in Arinsal, for the princly sum of €5 a day you get a large, dry locker, up the mountain, 20 meters from the lift (if they can do it, why can't everyone?). There's a new fast lift this year. No queueing in someone else's smoke or armpit here. Oh, the hotel, £325 got the Missus, the boy and me 4 nights in the Diana Park......bed made every day, towels changed every day, quiet, TV, minibar, swirly bath, dressing gown and slippers.......excellent baby sitter, choice of about six or eight things each meal......they could not do enough for you. You do not feel like you are paying to be a trespasser on their mountain. I know it's my second review, but even with poor snow, this place takes away your stress rather than making you feel stupid for being there.
January 26, 2006
Kathie Phelps from United Kingdom
I agree, the best place for learners - every way is down! If you're learning all week, stow your kit in a locker up at the station on your first day, and travel up & down the cable in your soft boots. The best apres ski anywhere, go self-catering and after your English cuppa with your feet up, hit those bars. Much cheaper than paying a hotel for indifferent food. There's at least three supermarkets. Snack bars and restaurants galore. A night bus is free up (and down, if you're lazy) the hill. Don't be put off by poor snow. If you buy your passes in Andorra, not from your tour rep, grab the local bus and go to Encamp. Catch the Funicamp cable car and ski in Grand Valira, a huge range just the other side of the country, all of 20Km away. Go in your soft boots, carry your skiboots and stow your shoes in a locker at Funicamp. Then return to Arinsal for a great evening out.
February 04, 2005
wendy from United Kingdom
Great holiday in Arinsal just after the New Year, a few down side though, mainly the weather which was lacking a vital part of a sking holiday, namely snow!! Hotel great-Crest, warm, clean and welcoming though like all catered sking hols food aimed to fill an re fuel rather than win prizes. Would recommend but aim for a time when weather more predicable. Happy ski-ing
October 20, 2004
John from Ireland
Family of four with two teenage boys. We ski'ed there in Feb 03, our first time skiing. The tuition was great, we all made great progress, skiing reds by the end of the week. Hooked on skiing after our week there. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to learn to ski.
October 31, 2003
Dave Gilbert from United Kingdom
I agree with Bob. I've never had disappointing snow, but on the rare no skiing days (high winds or fog) there's plenty to see and do in nearby Andorra City. While extreme skiers and boarders would find little of sporting interest, I think it's fair to say that beginners, of all ages, will find that if you can't learn here, you won't learn anywhere. Plenty of more challenging runs and off-piste is a gondola ride away in the sister resort of Pal (all covered on your lift pass). Very few lift queue probs and generally excellent banter on the slopes. Variety of bars to suit most tastes with very reasonable prices. In short, if you don't like Arinsal then you don't like snow sports.
October 16, 2003
bob from United Kingdom
Cracking little resort, i learnt to snowboard there 3 years ago and have never looked back, good schools and cheap prices in short i would recommend it to first timers.