Resort Insider - Vallnord
Vallnord is an incredibly popular choice for school ski trips, here is our insider guide to a resort which we at Ski Adaptable helped to pioneer for UK school ski trips. We spotted that it had had millions spent on developing the ski infrastructure, combined with some incredible value accommodation and ski passes available…the rest is history. With skiing over 2600m, 93km of skiing, over 1000m of vertical and great snow cover, is it time you looked closer at Vallnord?
Where is Vallnord?
Vallnord is a collective name for the area in the west of the tiny country of Andorra. Andorra sits directly on the Spanish-French border. This tiny country has a population of just 80,000 and as you would expect, is heavily influenced by both French and Spanish cultures, although it has its own unique way of doing things (in an entirely good way). The locatals speak Catalan, although many understand English perfectly well. The Euro is the currency used in Andorra, and here’s a top tip…it’s a tax haven meaning tax free shopping is a must-do activity. It’s also worth pointing out that crime is almost non-existent in this tiny country – meaning a safe environment for your groups.
How do we get there?
The closest airport is Toulouse which is served by Easyjet from a handful of UK airports. So your best option and usually the most cost effective flight is to Barcelona, which is around 3.5 hours drive to resort from there. Granted this is a long transfer compared to some, but the fact this resort is an affordable resort by air means 3.5 hours on coach is worth it if you can fly. Alternatively, if you coach to resort its actually a lot closer than you may think. It is around 14 hours from Calais, which when compared with other resorts in Italy or Austria, actually seems a good bet.
What about the skiing?
Vallnord is made up of 3 ski areas – Arinsal, Pal and Arcalis. The main areas you will ski are Arinsal and Pal, which are both linked via a cable car. The beginner area at Vallnord leads to good progression blues further up the mountain and toward Pal. When you get into Pal, there are a more blues and some more intermediate and advanced skiing available. Both areas offer something for all levels upto intermediate, and even a few blacks to keep the more advanced skier entertained.
Is the snow good?
When many resorts around Europe are struggling for snow, Vallnord nearly always comes out on top. The season usually begins in November, and stretches right through to Easter, no matter when Easter may be. Lack of snow is unlikely to be a problem in Vallnord (it never has been), and top-class snow-making slopes are topped up season-long.
Why is Vallnord so popular for school ski trips?
It's all of the reasons mentioned above and more! It's very cost-effective, it has high standard hotels on offer, it has a great range of skiing with some fantastic, modern infrastructure…and the après ski is great too.
What après ski can my group do?
In Vallnord itself there are some great options unique to Vallnord. One fun activity is tobogganing available on especially cordoned off area on the slopes. If you are looking for something different, the Vallnord ski school offer some great activities including igloo building, avalanche safety and survival and even a ride in their snow cat (with hot chocolate to finish off the trip). There is also a great pizzeria in Arinsal which our groups always give the thumbs up for a pizza night. Andorra also has ice skating, swimming, bowling, tax-free shopping evenings and a disco to offer your students. One of the most impressive visits for your students must be Caldea Spa, Europe’s largest thermal spa and set in an iconic glass pyramid type structure.
Ski Adaptable aim to take care of everything, whilst giving you flexibility of what you do and don’t want included in your package. We can offer packages by air or coach, and for 5 or 6 days skiing. Our ski packages include lift pass, ski hire (helmet always included as standard) and ski lessons (4 or 5 hours per day, you choose). We also include half board accommodation and hot lunch on the slopes. A rep will meet you in resort and look after you in resort and your students will receive a final presentation on their last days skiing. We offer additional add-ons allowing you to tailor-make your own package easily, such as insurance, hoodies, après ski activities and anything else you want to add to your trip.
Contact us today with your details and find out how cost-effective it could be for your group to ski in Vallnord.