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andorra in feb

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
HI. we are looking for somewhere for a family ski hol at feb half term. We have never skied half term but this year eldest is in exam year so prefer to stick to half term . We usually drive to france - 3V, PDS, Espace Killy, Paradiski. we are not going there as we will spent half our holiday in a queue ! so we are thinking maybe andorra as spain dont have half term hols and french will probably go to pyrenees resorts. I skied andorra for a weekend about 12 years ago so cant remember much and I was on my own so different requirements. We have recently mountain biked there in the summer in both soldeu and Arinsal. we have a fairly good knowledge of the general geography and think El Tarter is a good base due to having self catering and a huge car park at the gondolla (will fly and hire a car). We plan to drive to Vallnord resorts as well during our trip. I am looking for advice and experience regarding how busy the resort is likely to be and in particular lift queues. We usually go late jan / early feb and queues are non existent. obviously each persons experience is different but to get a general idea would be useful. thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We've skied Soldeu many times at half term, there is usually a massive queue for the gondola on Monday morning but this moves quickly or you can walk over the bridge to the chair lift. Through the week, the only significant queue is for the Pas De La Casa link lift (~20min)
I have no experience of anywhere else at half term but have seen much worse queuing elsewhere at other times.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I've stayed in both Arinsal and Pas De La Casa at half term without any real issues. Pas was fine, just the link back over from Soldeu which would get busy at the end of the day. The gondola at Arinsal on a morning and at around 5pm for decent was busy all week but fine once up on the mountain - you can use the 6 man chair at the top of the resort as an alternative. No issues over in Pal or on the link. The Arcalis area (on Arinsal lift pass) was actually quiet.
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Check out Grau Roig, it's just over the mountain from Pas and is family orientated. It's a part of Grandvalira
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Grandvalira would be a good option - with a good range of skiing to suit all abilities. There will be some pinch points in the system - especially (as tangowaggon has said) at the Pas/Grau links, but nothing major - try using the single rider queue to speed things up at this point. There are 2 uplift options in El tarter - either the main gondola, or park up behind the Nordic and just ski from the car park down to a 4 man chair lift where there is rarely a queue - this drops you off just a little above the gondola on a very easy green run. You will need to have purchased your pass either at the gondola station or at the ticket office half way between the gondola and the Hotel Nordic. There is no lift pass office at the Nordic car park, but easy to ski to below the hotel then just walk a couple of minutes to the lift office on your first day. There are several options to ski back down to either car park. Do have a day in Arcalis - pick a sunny day midweek, it is lovely!
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thanks very much for all the info. my gut feel says El Tarter due to self catering accommodation available away from the main road. just need to research supermarkets so we can eat ! flights looking sensibly priced to Carcasonne
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Been to El Tarter in January only and it is a quieter resort than Soldeu and Pas. The time we were there, the chair lift out of ET had no queues at all and the Nordic Ski shop next to the lift has ski lockers for hire. If you're after apres-ski, this isn't the place for you (although I'm presuming as you're going with the family, this isn't at the top of your list). As you're used to the French mega resorts, you may be a little disappointed by the rather flattering groomed pistes - even I managed black consistently and I'm far from being an expert. The upside is that, as it's more of a beginners resort, off piste and blacks runs were deserted(ish). The runs are also generally quite long.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Kennyboyo wrote:
Been to El Tarter in January [...] If you're after apres-ski, this isn't the place for you.


Indeed - with the honourable exception of the Abarset bar at the bottom of the El Tarter gondola on Friday and Saturday afternoons; it's one of the Pyrenees' few proper apres places. Soldeu is just about walkable (without ski boots) from El Tarter too, if that's a consideration.

You might be interested to know that an organization called Ski Andorra sell an all-of-Andorra 5-day lift pass, which would give you the freedom of chopping and changing between Vallnord and Grandvalira at will (albeit at the same cost as the standard 5-day Grandvalira pass, rather than the considerably cheaper Vallnord prices). Apparently you can buy it at any of the normal ticket offices. I've never personally used it, or even heard of anyone who has, but it's the same organization that arranges the all-of-Andorra season pass, which I have used, and so I'm sure it's a real thing! Looking at their webpage [ https://www.skiandorra.ad/en/ski-passes/5-day-ski-pass/ ] it would appear that they don't even need to be 5 consecutive days, which is nice. I think it only exists in an adult-prices version though.
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No need to research supermarkets for El Tarter - there is an amazing supermarket in the village selling everything from the basics to the weird and wonderful!
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Quote:

No need to research supermarkets for El Tarter - there is an amazing supermarket in the village selling everything from the basics to the weird and wonderful!

Yes, and lots of tasters too! Great supermarket Very Happy
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