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Resort Insider: Arinsal

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Tour Operator News 19-20

BY
Patrick Thorne

Arinsal is one of Andorra’s best-loved ski resorts. It has a mid-sized, family-friendly ski area that is linked by lifts and ski runs to neighbouring Pal in the ski area known as Vallnord. Although Vallnord is a little smaller than Andorra’s other ski region, Grandvalira, the lift ticket costs a little less. Like all of Andorra’s ski centres, it’s famous for well-priced food and drink compared to the Alps.

Off Piste? Although perhaps best known for its easy intermediate slopes, Arinsal ski resort has the longest on-piste run in Andorra: over 900m from Pic Alt de la Capa all the way down to Cota 1550, where the chairlift departs from.

Best Bar? It’s a close call, but Hunters tops the chart. For sports fans, there are big screens to watch the latest events; for foodies, the team of Peruvian chefs do great cuisine, including veggie and vegan options; and one punter was delighted you could text in your drinks order from the terrace. Happy hour in Arinsal generally starts at 4pm and ends around 7pm.

British Instructors? One of the big upsides of learning to ski in Arinsal is the very high standard of teaching for which the principality is famed, with a lot of English-speaking instructors from all over the world. Pal Arinsal Ski School is the only school in Andorra to have successfully achieved accreditation under the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) Ski School Quality Assurance Programme. They were first certified in 2014 and renewed in 2017 – it’s every 3 years, so next up 2020.

How Snowy? Although Vallnord doesn’t have a reputation for deep powder, the stats show that in every year for the past decade, at least one winter month has seen more than a metre of snowfall. There are 400 snow cannons standing by in case nature doesn’t cooperate.

Argentinian Food? Although Arinsal’s 40 or so eateries tend to specialise in Mediterranean and Spanish dishes as you’d expect, Argentinian cuisine is also offered in half a dozen locations. One of these, Ruta 40 (facebook.com/Ruta40arinsal), is rated the best restaurant in the resort by TripAdvisor reviewers.

Fab For Freestyle? Yes, it’s not all easy reds and blues; there’s a huge 40,000m2 terrain park that’s divided into three zones containing, between them, a permanent boardercross run, a large half pipe and an area with jumps, rails, spins and fun boxes.

vallnord.com/pal-arinsal