World best ski resorts: Andorra
According to the World Ski Awards – Andorra’s European ski resorts are in the TOP 1o ski resorts in the world. Andorra has strong ties with the skiing world. The Principality is one of Europe’s most important destinations and skiing is a basic cornerstone of the country’s economy. This relationship between Andorra and FIS SKI (International SKI Federation) began in 1957 with the inauguration of the Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig ski resort, the first one in the country.
Andorra is the sunniest winter ski resort in Europe. The season here starts in December and lasts until mid-April. During winter nights the temperature is usually below zero, and in the daytime rises up to + 10C. The depth of snow cover varies from 50 to 300 cm. The peculiarity of the Andorran winter is that you can come across snow in the mountains and at the same time blooming flowers in the capital Andorra la Vella, which is located within a 10-minute drive. Grandvalira and Vallnord (the second of the largest ski resorts in Andorra) have 182 ski slopes at their disposal as well as several zones for other winter sports and extreme activities. Thus, winter holidays in Andorra offer a wide range of skiing options for diversified guests: from beginners to the most experienced skiers.
During the ski season of 2003/2004 Grandvalira Pas de la Casa – Grau Roig and Soldeu – El Tarter resorts signed a commercial agreement to launch a unified ski zone “Grandvalira”. Thus, besides the fact that Andorra has got the largest skiing area in the Pyrenees, it is also one of the principal ski resorts in Southern Europe.
Mountain ski resort of Grandvalira is divided into 6 sectors: Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig, Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo and Encamp, encompassing an area of 1,926 hectares with 112 slopes and with a capacity of 100,700 skiers per hour.
During the ski season of 2004/2005 the resorts Pal – Arinsal and Ordino – Arcalis merged their commercial interests under the name of Vallnord. With a universal ski pass visitors have access to the slopes of both resorts. Today the resort VALLNORD encompasses an area of 67 slopes and has the capacity to hold 55,690 skiers per hour.
Naturlandia – La Rabassa: cross-country ski resort. Family ski resort Naturlandia is located in Sant Julia de Loria. It occupies over 100 hectares and is divided into two sectors, which are located at an altitude of 1,600 and 2,000 meters respectively. The themed ecopark offers 15 km of marked slopes and alongside this there are zones for family leisure and activities. The choice of activities is extremely wide: highlands tours, several cycling routes, quad biking, pony riding, mushing. A new attraction AIR-TREKK was launched a few years ago. Unifying a sense of thrill and adventure, the construction consists of ten towers and 3 levels of varying height, linked rope elements and wire lines. Air-Trekk is the largest and highest attraction in Europe.
The park also has the longest alpine toboggan in Europe (Tobotronc). Its length is more than 5,300 meters with 400 meters of altitude differences. The system has 1,700m of ascents and 3,600m of descents. The ride takes about 30 minutes.
The Animal Park (Annimalier Parc) was created in Naturlandia to diversify the touristic offer. Here, visitors can enjoy watching bears, wolves and birds of prey.