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Pas de la Casa, Andorra. Has anyone been there?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We're looking at a couple of resorts we're unsure of to book in march this year. A few of us like the look of this one, could anyone comment on the resort and surroding area please. Thank you for any advice you could give
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
cathyalltwen, yes, I've been twice although not in the last 10 years.

Good bits:

Excellent extensive ski area for intermediates, shared with Soldeu. Snow generally very good, although one time I went (March 1998) it was terrible. Wouldn't have thought there was anything much to excite expert skiers though. Even the black runs were more like French reds. Pas is a large town, plenty of choice for eating, drinking and shopping. It's a bit cheaper than the main French resorts but probably comparable price-wise to many Austrian or Italian resorts. It's not quite the cheaper option it used to be.

Bad bits:

Pas itself is an ugly, noisy border town and seems to attract the rowdy crowds. There's an element of “Blackpool in the mountains” about it. The self-catering accommodation I stayed in was awful. Cramped shoebox apartments, two cooking rings, dirty showers and the lifts frequently didn't work. Shop around for decent accommodation and steer away from the cheap stuff. Long transfer from Toulouse airport (over three hours).
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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?
Hi Cathy

I'm out here at the moment, and it just depends what you want from your ski holiday. At the moment there's loads of snow, and Andorra has a great snow record for the end of season (something to do with Atlantic weather fronts at that time of year).

As for Pas, it's a very lively resort attracting lots of young groups. As QB points out, the town itself is quite ugly, however you'll probably get some fairly cheap accommodation although be careful where you choose. A couple of nicer hotels/apartments are the Magic Pas, the Alaska, and the Olimpiades.

If you're wanting something a little nicer, and less inclined to young groups then possibly consider Soldeu just down the road. You'll get the same access to Grandvalira so you can head over to Pas to ski too, although you'll probably want to spend most of your time on the mountain between El Tarter, Soldeu & Grau Roig.

Grandvalira has 193km of pistes, with a balanced variety of levels, including some excellent freestyle parks, so something for everybody. I've skied for 12 years now, and I really enjoy skiing in Grandvalira. It's true that the blacks probably aren't as challenging as some of the blacks in the Alps, but there are some very challenging runs to be had, plus next winter Soldeu is hostign a world cup event on Avet, the run to the village under the gondola, which I don't recommend to attempt with tired legs!

Just had an awesome day up on the mountain today, blue skies, sunshine and loads of powder right across Grandvalira!!

Steve Very Happy
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Have to agree with snowsteve.

We stayed in the Olympiades apartments which are right on the piste. Excellent ski in/out location. I remember enjoying eating and drinking in a Mexican bar further down the piste but can't remember its name - Esperados or something. I was obviously too involved with their happy hour to clock the name of the place.

The other benefit of Andorra (but Pas in particular) is its tax free status which means that every other shop is either an electronics emporium (although the gear seems to be a couple of years out of date) or a perfume shop with some great bargains to be had. Obviously booze is cheap too.

But as snowsteve says - it's great for beginners and intermediates to enjoy cruising around.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We've been to Pas at the end of March for the last few years and the conditions are always great. The resort is pretty empty in March too, so don't worry about it being too lively or too busy.

The runs are good for all but the most gnarly off pisters. Some very good skiing for everyone else and high enough to get good snow.
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Had my first ever week there in a S/C appartment with 5 other lads. Lost about a stone surviving on orangina and cheese!

It was fun although not very attractive - the "Blackpool in the Mountains" tag is probably fair... It all depends what you're after really!

I couldn't comment on the snow as I didn't know enough then to judge!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hi guys,
I'm off to Pas in a few short hours! I've been to Arinsal before but this is our first pas trip. There are 4 of us going, and we'll probably be one of those 'rowdy' groups mentioned above Wink

Just a quick question that I can't for the life of me remember the answer to - Can you drink the water in Andorra?

cheers,

Grim.
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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!
You can, but best avoid it and drink bottled as it's so cheap and just avoids any possible trouble!
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grimmy wrote:


Can you drink the water in Andorra?

cheers,

Grim.


as Rab C Nesbitt once said - what the hell is water ???
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Smokin Joe, agreed, you're going skiing, there are 4 things acceptable to drink on skiing holidays. Beer, wine, gluwein, jagerbombs!
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anotherproblem, seconded; and may I also add any choice of flavoured vodka as a fifth acceptable tipple?
Hang on! I can see this thread going way OT, as usually happens when we're at the bar of course Cool
So, cathyalltwen, here's a link to the official Grandvalira website for more info on Pas de la Casa; have a gander at the webcams tab on the right of their homepage, snow conditions are great right now.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Don't use on the pavements, walk on the roads instead. Chunks of snow and ice had a habit of dropping on the pavement from roof height when we went.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
If the snows good and pistes are reasonably quiet then its going to be good.

Andorra has shot itself in the foot a bit over the past few years by hiking prices, building lots of big ugly hotels and then not really having the conditions to back it up. More recently lots of good deals have started to filter back through, but I would be a bit wary of snow conditions in march. Plus the usual hordes of screaming people and thumping music keeping you awake til 5am.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Just got back from a week in El Tarter, will post a trip report when I get a minute this evening.

Frankly, I wouldn't rate Pas as highly as the Blackpool of skiing. More like Whitley Bay of skiing IMO. Large numbers of groups out there who seem pretty keen on drinking themselves into the ground, and some very dodgy skiing and boarding - I had at least two heated discussions around leaving enough space for downhill skiiers and that was with experienced skiiers just being inconsiderate - not something I've ever seen or dealt with at other ski resorts.

On the upside it is cheap. I'll detail all the costs etc in my trip report, but lunch for two of us (main course and drinks) was coming out at between 20 and 25 Euros, even in the nice places. Granvalira seems to have at least worked that bit out, and there were loads of really good runs for us (intermediates happiest on blues in French resorts, enjoyed a lot of the Reds and Blacks in Andorra)

Also all the ski area is linked, and you really can ski right across from one end to the other, Pas gives you access to Gran Roig, Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo and the other little places around there, you will find somewhere that suits you - we really enjoyed the skiing towards Pas as we'd had a couple of powder days that made the runs really enjoyable with no chance of ice - this made even the steep runs good fun.

Other thing to bear in mind is that the star system seems to have passed Andorra by completely. 4 star hotel does not mean 4 star hotel. It means 2-3 star hotel. Factor that in when looking at prices, by comparison to the 3 star chalet we were in 2 weeks ago in Tignes I'd pay a lot more for that than the "4 star" hotel we were in last week.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

Just a quick question that I can't for the life of me remember the answer to - Can you drink the water in Andorra

Yes I do, several years ago (10+) there was a very real problem that a lab in Dublin reported Andorra to the WHO. Which did have the desired effect of speeding up the installation of water purification plants with capacity to cope in high season, but of course it is your choice.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
cathyalltwen, prefer Soldeu. Been there a few times though not in the past few years.
comment on star rating is true for some hotels. we've stayed in the sport village and pilloets (or however you spell it) The Sport is cheaper than the sport village and there are a few deals out there at present
also we always bought bottled water, though you can drink the water we thought it safer as were advised to avoid drinking the water on the hill.
Found Andoora works well for amixed group, but runs and lifts can get very busy and a bit pushy at weekends and holiday periods.
Ski school was good when we were there. snowHead
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cathyalltwen, Nobody has mentioned lessons yet - Pas ski school used to to have a good reputation for english speaking lessons - I learnt there in the mifd 90's and knowing no better, thought it was a fantastic place! snowHead and welcome to SH
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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?
Ski school in Soldeu is good as we learnt there. The only downside is it does try to push people at times to get onto harder slopes once you pass the basics. This can be a good thing but I know some people would prefer to take things slowly.
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Went there 17yrs ago so not really relevant now but a very lively resort then, I seem to recall my ski school group started off with around 10-11 but by the third day there were only 3 of us.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thank you to all of you for your advice and comments. At the time of reading this we have already made a booking, we think we got a good deal. Going to Pas on March 7th, staying in the Olimpiades appartments (SC) for 1 week, flight and transfers, ski equipment, pass and improver instructor each day for 3hrs all included in price, £540 per person. I wouldn't say we're a noisy bunch or party animals but the noise won't bother us, and as for it being an ugly place neither will that to be honest as we're just in it for the skiing, as long as there's snow, please please god Very Happy We've only ever been to pomporova (twice) so haven't got a lot to compare with anyway so i think we'll be ok. I'll report back when we get back in March, thank you all again.

Cathy
xxx
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P.s If the snow is poor in Pas is there still a chance of one of the other resorts being ok, maybe at the same time?

xxx
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
cathyalltwen, dont worry - March is a great time to ski in Andorra
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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!
cathyalltwen, I'll be honest, I was really disappointed by Andorra. Have been there and to resorts in France and I'd pick France every time. I know people say that French resorts can be charmless but Andorra takes that to a whole other level.
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Olimpiades apartments are really nice - just had a complete makeover during the summer too! Great bar/restaurant downstairs, plus ski in/ski out.
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OOO mixed reviews then Puzzled , guess i'll just have to wait and see, thank you all though. As long as there's snow i think we'll love it, anywhere is good enough if there is plenty of snow Very Happy P.s anyone know how much a pint may cost at the moment out in andorra, boys have asked me to ask you all Embarassed

Cathy

xxx
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You can get free beer at The Underground bar from this site: http://www.pasdelacasa-andorra.com/winter/en/pas-de-la-casa-discount-vouchers.html but usually anything from €2-€4, or look out for lots of happy hours with 2 for 1 drinks etc.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
cathyalltwen, You are a girl.... there are like 10men to every woman.... dont buy your own drinks
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Going with hubby and 2 mates so prob won't have to buy my own anyway but thanks for the advice Very Happy It's the hubby he's obsessed with the price of beer wherever we go, i'm sure he can remember every price he's ever paid anywhere in the world!!! Mad Madeye-Smiley And thank you Snowsteve for the link i will check it out for them now

xxx
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You know it makes sense.
cathyalltwen, this is not mad, this is man! We can all remember the price of beer everywhere to within 20p! If he like a drink, it can be a major factor when deciding where you go! Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
He he Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars etc etc etc Laughing I'll get off his case then about the price of a pint, It's important Shocked

Cathy

xxx
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi Tiger2,

could you tell me if the olimpiades have a balcony in each room. I'm a bit confussed as i've visited a couple of sites in search of the appartments and seem to be getting different images for those appartments. I'm sure i've read somewhere that they do have a balcony?

Thanks

Cathy
xxx
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
cathyalltwen, I stayed in one right at the top of the building so only had large velux windows and no balcony I'm afraid. I don't recall the building having balconys actually though. Sorry.
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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?
cathyalltwen, Some, but not all of the apartments have baconys. IIRC the apartments that overlook the piste do have them. I've been 3 times in March, we had great snow each time. You'll have an excellent time.
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We stayed in Soldeu last April, skiing right up to 19th April when everything was still open in all the area, just slushy near the bottom at the end of the day. We had coffee in Pas that morning and the snow was great.

I remember going shopping one day - my shopping basket had

1 litre Pastis (strong, alcoholic)
1 small tube toothpaste
1 large packet crisps
1 pack chewing gum

The cheapest item was the Pastis at 2.05 euros, the most expensive the toothpaste at about 2.40.

The biggest cost all week was bottled water with dinner in the hotel - a ridulous price. It lead to some great fun though finding different ways of getting tap water to the table without the chief of the dining room catching us Laughing
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
cathyalltwen, We stayed in Olimpiades last two winters, brilliant place. Most rooms are spacious, the ones facing the piste had balconies, but there was some talk of refurbishment for this season. Its location, right on the piste, is it's strength and a great bar to chill in when the lifts close. Madeye-Smiley We're limited to going out at February half term and unfortunately the Olipmpiades was fully booked. We could ony get the Manzano, just up the road, but we'll still eat in the Olimpiades as food there was great. Ski area is big, plenty for the cruisers, but not much to stretch the daredevils amongst us! Even during half term week lift queues were not excessive. Don't worry about the transfer time, it was only 2 and half hours from Toulouse.
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Ah that sounds perfect thanks mel and dave, so excited now can't wait to go. Hope you have a brilliant holiday x
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We are off to Andorra in a weeks time to Vallnord.... they have a discount card that you can get which gives you 10% off lift passes, lessons, ski hire etc n All you need is your passport and it is free from ski pass place. Not sure if they have the same thing in Pas but worth asking - know they don't advertise in Vallnord but we stay with friends so they sorted us out.
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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!
Will quite probably be heading out to Pas for Easter, staying at Magic Pas. I'm not too bothered about the ugly town thing as long as the skiing is good for us, Jnr and I are intermediates, the OH is an advanced skier - but not on the look out for thrills or excitement any more (she claims she gave that up when she had Jnr!).

The party town thing worries me a little with Jnr, we don't go out partying and are usually tucked up by 11pm, but would prefer him not to have to see most of the things that happen in every town centre on a Saturday night!
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Yeah I've been and enjoyed it. It's nice, sunny, it's not too expensive. The skiing's probably better suited to beginners (I don't know if that fits you or not) but apparently there's good snowboarding for those that want.
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Thanks Sambers85. This will only be my third week away, and Jnr's, the OH has been loads of times. I'm sure there'll be plenty to keep us two amused if not the OH!
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