Pal and Arinsal are linked together by cable car to form the Vallnord Ski Area. Both resorts offer good skiing for the novice and intermediate skier. Pal Arinsal is different from Soldeu or Pas de la Casa in that it has quite a few full time residents and the villages are ‘year round’ while the others are fairly seasonal.
Pal and Arinsal have had a connecting lift since 2000. The village of La Massana has also had a 12-seater gondola installed to connect it to the Arinsal-Pal lift system.
Arinsal Ski Resort.
Arinsal is an attractive, compact ski resort. For non skiers Arinsal has little to offer during the day but there is a frequent bus to Andorra la Vella, a mecca for tax-free, shopaholics.
Arinsal’s small local ski area is a narrow, east-facing bowl of mainly open slopes. Suitable for beginners, children and unadventurous intermediates. Almost all the runs lead straight back towards the mid-station area. This makes it ideal for parents to keep a watchful eye on children.
With most runs above 1950m and a fair number of snow cannon, snow reliability is assured. Most lifts above the mid-station are drags, keeping the mountain open when it’s windy.
Although it claims to have the steepest black runs in Andorra, experts won’t find much of interest. But some runs are not entirely easy and are suitable for intermediates who don’t mind a limited area. Piste maintenance is good.
Arinsal is well-suited to near-beginners or early intermediates. The beginner slopes are gentle, away from the main area and well covered by snow-guns. But they can get very crowded at peak times.
Pal Ski Resort.
The picturesque mountain village of Pal is quieter with less queues then Arinsal, it is well suited to both beginners and intermediates, the pistes are short, wide and tree lined, with a range of off piste skiing in the forests.
Pal is the most wooded of the Andorran resorts, and is surprisingly different from Arinsal, which is tall and narrow with no trees; Pal is short and wide, and covered with greenery.
The only thing to attract experts will be fresh snowfall, when access to off-piste through well-spaced trees is best. Tree cover is so sparse in other Andorran resorts that Pal is the only option for this.
Intermediate skiers should go high, where the well pisted reds come down from the summit to the mid-station area. There are a couple of quite steep reds leading off to the Col de la Botella, one of which can grow moguls.
Beginners start off on the very gentle slopes just in front of the base lodge, and progress to the short blues that are accessed by longer lifts starting from the same spot.
Lift queues are not generally a problem, and mid-week the slopes are often deserted. The ample car parking space does make it popular with the locals at the weekend and by mid-season, they really do make their presence felt, but by the end of the season the Spanish are already making for the seaside!
Vallnord is one of the Best Ski Resorts for…
Skiing in Vallnord.
By Plane, Nearest Airports.
There are no international airports in Andorra, the nearest to Vallnord are in:
Spain: Barcelona (BCN – 200km/over 3hours), Lleida-Alguaire (ILD) or Reus (REU).
France: Perpignan-Rivesaltes Airport (PGF), Toulouse-Blagnac (TLS – 150km/2.5hours ) or Carcassonne (CCF).
By Train, Nearest Railway Stations.
There are no trains in Andorra. The nearest train station is L’Hospitalet on the French side of its border.
International trains go to Latour de Carol or Aix les Thermes (50km/1hour) in France or Lleida and Puig Cerda in Spain.
By Road, Driving, Bus and Transfers.
Mountainous roads exist over the Envalira pass from France via Perpignan, Tarbes and Toulouse. From Spain roads exist from Barcelona and Lérida. Car hire companies, taxis and shared transfer companies operate from the transport hubs in both France and Spain.
International buses run from Spain; Barcelona, Lleida, Tarragona, Valencia and Madrid; and France; Toulouse. Buses also enter Andorra from L’Hospitalet and Latour de Carol.
A seasonal service runs from Aix-les-Thermes in France and from Seo de Urgel in Spain.