When skiers talk about Andorra, they tend to talk about the great value it offers as a ski destination, with lively, affordable après-ski and a surprisingly extensive piste network, the biggest south of the Alps in fact, served by a huge queue-gobbling fleet of hi-tech, high-speed ski lifts.
What’s not so often talked about is Andorra’s rapidly growing freestyle scene. Of course, the huge amount of off-piste terrain has long been an open secret amongst locals, but it’s only in the past few years that the wider world has cottoned on to all the possibilities.
That has been helped in part by the arrival of the planet’s flagship competition series, the Freeride World Tour (FWT), in Andorra last season. Vallnord, the ski region shared by the resorts of Pal, Arinsal and Arcalis, will host the Tour again this winter from 10–16 February.
There are freeriding opportunities and expert guides and schools to take you to them across Andorra, but Arcalis in Vallnord has a particularly strong reputation and an awesome freeride zone with a dedicated lift, plus loads of off-piste areas to enjoy. On the Grandvalira side there’s now a dedicated Freeride Centre providing lessons and camps, endorsed by the FWT.
Vallnord is one of just five global stops for the Tour – the others being Chamonix, Verbier, the Austrian powder pocket of Fieberbrunn and famed extreme ski town Haines in Alaska. This illustrious company puts Vallnord’s status in the freeride world into context! It has also recently been confirmed that the Tour will be heading back for at least another three years.
And it’s not just Vallnord. Andorra’s other big ski region, Grandvalira, the largest ski area in the Pyrenees and one of the 20 biggest ski areas on the planet with more than 210km of runs, will again play host to the Junior Freeride World Championships this winter.
On 5 February 2017, Grandvalira will welcome more than 60 young riders aged 15–18 from more than 15 countries on four continents for the most prestigious junior freeride championships in the world.
Andorra Resorts are the experts in all things Andorra, not least all the freeriding opportunities. Ask them for any advice you need: andorraresorts.com / freerideworldtour.com