Arinsal is a settlement in Andorra located between 1550 and 2560 meters above sea level, near to the border with Spain at Tor, Pallars. In the summer, Arinsal is a popular destination for hikers and cyclists, as well as those looking to unwind in the mountains. In the winter, it provides basic skiing and snowboarding, as well as a fair variety of intermediate lines.
In recent years, the twin ski resorts of Pal-Arinsal and Ordino-Acalis amalgamated to become Vallnord, a little ski conurbation with 66 slopes, 41 ski lifts, and 13 mountain eateries serviced by a single Vallnord ski pass.
It is situated at the apex of a valley. The historic hamlet is still visible, but since it is now a ski resort, it has developed significantly and has a large number of hotels catering to this trade. As a consequence, outside of the ski season, the area is mostly deserted, including several of the pubs and restaurants.
This resort is quite popular among English-speaking skiers.
The village itself is built around a main street that leads to the cable lift at the bottom of the ski slope and offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from self-catering chalets for those who prefer to do their own thing to half-board hotels for those who prefer to relax and enjoy the local cuisine. If you want to dine out, there are lots of restaurants that provide a range of fayre for families and couples, and the après ski in Andorra is known as the finest, whether you want a quiet drink with a chill ambiance or to make new people in a noisy bar. With a variety of activities available both during the day and at night, this well-established English-speaking ski resort offers something for everyone.
The Arinsal and Pal ski resorts are connected by a cable car and feature 63 kilometers of skiable terrain, including:
– 7 green slopes
– 14 blue slopes
– 17 red slopes
– 4 black runs
– 5 slaloms
– 2 freestyle areas
The green and blue slopes are especially well-regarded as great regions for novices, with most blue slopes readily accessible within a few days of beginning training. The two Arinsal Ski and Snowboard Schools, which have many English-speaking teachers, occupy most of the lower slopes and provide 19 hours of group training for beginners, with particular kids programs starting at the age of four. Over 4 hours, refresher courses are also provided, and the blue runs in Arinsal are hospitable slopes to renew your abilities, with individual lessons being available.
The season begins in mid-December, when the snow begins to have a solid base depth, and the finest skiing lasts until mid-March, when the early morning snow typically begins to fade. January typically brings the biggest snowfalls (28″ in 2017), and the season is open until mid-April if circumstances permit.
The resort ensures that half of its slopes will have snow at all times of the season thanks to around 300 snow cannons, and there are 30 ski lifts to get you around the pistes.
Arinsal info card
|Directions of Slopes||N/E, E|
Skiing in Arinsal
For the 2000-1 season, the skiing area was significantly expanded, with the new cable car providing access to the Pal region, which, with its lovely tree-lined slopes, is the ideal complement to Arinsal. Another new lift, the six-seater gondola, now takes just four minutes from Arinsal to Comallempla. If you choose, you may still get to this place by automobile.
In recent years, the Prat de la Coma Area for Beginners has been expanded and much upgraded. There are three novice tows to the right of the mid station, each having a big nursery area for first-timers. There are several wonderful long blue routes in Andorra – one of the longest courses in Andorra is La Solana, which begins at the top of the Pic Negre and carries you all the way down to Cota at the mountain’s foot.
Many people feel that novices should begin at Arinsal and subsequently proceed to the slopes at Pal. There are three slopeside cafes: the Obelix, the Iglu, and the Panoramix, which has one of the nicest and largest sun terraces in Andorra. There are more difficult red routes on the opposite side of the mountain, and specialists will discover three black runs at the summit. La Devesa, Andorra’s longest and steepest black slope, plunges under the chairlift that runs from the base station. With the deployment of additional snow cannons each season, snow cover becomes more dependable.
After a drive up the twisting road from the hamlet, skiers may enter Pal from four different spots. La Caubella, at 1950m, serves as the primary base, with ticket sales, ski rental, and a café. This location has all four green runs, with the novice section much upgraded in recent years. Beginners should usually start in the Arinsal section and then advance to the slopes at Pal as their confidence grows. This is mainly known as an intermediate resort, with four pretty long blue routes. It has a better selection of reds, making it an ideal area for intermediates to progress. La Serra is worth a try; it begins at the summit of the Pic de Cubil at 2358m, then descends in a more easy slope all the way to La Caubella.
Pal has just one black run, La Comellada, which leads to a blue back to Els Fontanals and may be difficult even for specialists depending on the snow conditions. The four FIS-approved slalom slopes are also available to experts. When the Seturia region was opened up in preparation for the new cable car connection to Arinsal, three kilometers of slopes were installed for 1999/2000. The one blue and two red slopes are served by an outstanding quad chairlift. Pal has some good off-piste and tree skiing, but if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain, it’s recommended to go with a guide or instructor. Now that the cable car is operational, with a 6-minute journey up to Font Negre and the Arinsal basin, it can only help to enhance what has to be Andorra’s most attractive resort.
Snowboarding in Arinsal
There is a clear preference for snowboarders in the Arinsal district, where investments have included a new, contemporary snow park for boarders, as well as the development of the big air half-pipe and jumps. Pal does not currently have a designated area for snowboarders. However, there are plenty of lengthy cruising blues and reds.
Arinsal Aprés Ski
Arinsal hosts nearly all of the off-piste action and is well-known for its nightlife, with several discos, restaurants, and pubs presenting a variety of atmospheres and music. The Red Rock, famed for its enormous measures, films, and burgers, is one of the busiest bars, although there are also Quo Vadis, the Surf Bar, Cisco’s, and Bar el Derbi. At night, the Rocky Mountain Bar comes alive with games, music, movies, refreshments, and delicious meals at reasonable pricing. Breakfast is served daily beginning at 9 a.m. The Viking in Massana, a neighbouring hamlet, is well worth a visit.