Planning the annual family ski break? Yes? Read on! No? Read on and you just might be tempted! If you’ve got a house full of teenagers and a long, cold winter stretching out ahead of you, a ski holiday is pretty much the only thing this time of year’s got going for it.
While we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to teen-friendly Alpine resorts in France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, there is another option you may not have considered: Andorra. And you’re going to love it…
Nobody Ever Got Bored in Vallnord!
The compact landlocked principality of Andorra is set between France and Spain, encompassing a good portion of the dramatic Pyrenees, and is well known for its excellent ski resorts. Vallnord is a domain made up of Pal, Arinsal and Ordino-Arcalis and, while it is renowned for its diverse skiing across the board, it’s particularly family friendly – catering well to beginners and intermediates. And if you can make your teenagers happy it’s going to be a much better holiday for you. You know it’s true.
What’s On Offer?
As well as fabulous skiing (we’ll get to that in a minute) there are plenty of other activities to keep the teens’ attention span in check here. These are just a few:
- Speed riding – for older teens, this is a cross between hang-gliding and skiing.
- Helicopter flights – for experienced skiers this can include being dropped on a
mountain and skiing back down!
- Ski biking – as much fun as it sounds, because it’s skiing… on bikes
- Airboard – basically, this is inflatable sledging on a giant mattress
- Laser combat – a pain- (and paint) free version of paintballing
- Bungee Trampoline – no explanation needed, surely?
The linked Vallnord ski area comprises 90km of groomed pistes as well as an excellent snow park with slalom, freestyle and boardercross. For teens, this means that whatever standard their skills are at, there’s plenty of room to challenge and extend those skills at their own pace.
Ski Schools: The Vallnord ski school covers all three resorts (one in each area), with experienced English speaking instructors offering lessons in snowboarding, skiing, telemarking and other disciplines. Private and group lessons are available.
Pal Ski School: tel +376 878 050
Arinsal Ski School: tel +376 737 029
Arcalis Ski School: tel +376 739 622
The Pal-Arinsal Sector: Perfect for skiers of all levels, Pal-Arinsal’s 42 slopes (over 63 kms) take in pretty tree-lined runs with plenty of green, blue and red runs as well as a handful of blacks. The Mountain Park also has some fantastic freeriding, freestyle and slalom facilities throughout its 40,000m2 area and offers loads of other activities like orienteering, snow biking and all the others mentioned above!
The Ordino-Arcalis Sector: As the highest ski area in the Pyrenees, you can rely on consistently excellent snow conditions over the 25 slopes of this north-facing sector, and it’s backed up by 74 snow cannons just to make sure. Made up of mainly blue and red intermediate runs, there are also a few greens and blacks to cover the spectrum. The views are absolutely jaw dropping and if your teens are experienced, confident skiers there are some amazing off-piste opportunities to be enjoyed with a guide. There’s also a 15,000m2 snowboarding park for those who prefer a board, and a slalom stadium.
Ski Pass: The Vallnord Ski Pass affords access across all three of the resorts and starts at around €70 for a 2-day pass. Family passes come down to around €250 (2 adults and 2 children).
So, what’s it to be? An endless loop of re-runs of Game of Thrones for the winter, or a high-octane, low stress ski break in Andorra? I’ll leave you with it…
Tip: If your family falls in love with Andorra, you might want to consider coming back in summer…
How to Get to Andorra
With a choice of several airports in France or Spain, you can fly in to Reus, Toulouse, Girona or Barcelona when visiting Andorra. Budget airlines including British Airways and easyJet offer great deals on regular scheduled flights, especially during the busy ski season.
Whichever airport you choose, the fastest and most convenient way of getting the rest of the way to Vallnord is on a pre-booked, fixed price transfer with Shuttle Direct. If your family is travelling with their own ski equipment, mention it at the time of booking and it will be transported for free.
If you want to turn your ski holiday into a family rail adventure, from Paris you can connect with regional train services to Gare Andorre L’Hospitalet, then book a Shuttle Direct transfer to take you the rest of the way.
Where to Stay:
Apartments Giberga – Just a short distance from the ski slopes, Apartments Giberga offer spacious, family sized apartments with free Wi-Fi, self-catering facilities and a free shuttle straight to the ski lifts. It’s the perfect budget friendly accommodation that won’t make you feel like you’re on a budget.
Hotel Spa Princesa Parc – Just 100 metres from the cable car in Arinsal, the Hotel Spa Princesa Parc offers family rooms with free Wi-Fi, a bowling alley with billiard tables and a spa with sauna, hot tubs and Hammam for the parents. Enjoy the cost savings and convenience of the hotel’s all-inclusive option and make it a family holiday to remember for all the right reasons.
Hotel Spa Diana Parc – Who says bringing the family on a ski holiday can’t be done in luxury? At the fantastic Hotel Spa Diana Parc there’s all the pampering of the spa and wellness centre for parents, along with free Wi-Fi and an onsite bowling alley for the teens! Just three minutes from the Arinsal ski lifts, the spacious, well-facilitated family rooms mean everyone gets to have a holiday their way.
About Shuttle Direct:
With a reputation as the most trusted name in Europe for airport transfers, Shuttle Direct offers a convenient range of shared and private services to suit every budget and group size.
Shuttle Direct has a wealth of experience providing winter transfers throughout resorts in Andorra and the Italian, French and Austrian Alps. If you’re travelling with your own ski equipment, just advise at the time of booking and it will be included in the price of your family transfer.
For a fast, affordable transfer to your ski resort in Andorra, Shuttle Direct’s expert team will provide a professional service to take the stress out of organising your travel arrangements.