Skier & Snowboarder-Submitted Reviews for Vallnord / Arcalís
Planning a ski trip to Vallnord / Arcalís? Browse our collection of visitor-generated reviews that rank the mountain and ski town on a scale of one to five stars in the following categories: Overall Rating, All-Mountain Terrain, Nightlife, Terrain Park and Family Friendly. See how Vallnord / Arcalís stacks up to others in terms of skiing and après, and read up on pros, cons and comments from fellow skiers and snowboarders. Don't forget to submit your own Vallnord / Arcalís review! Scroll to the bottom of this page to let other travelers know about your ski area experience.
Skier & Snowboarder-Submitted Reviews for Vallnord / Arcalís
A ski resort's overall star rating displayed here is not calculated based on a simple average but takes several factors, including the age of a review, into account.
All Mountain Terrain
Just spent a great week in Arinsal. Although my wife and I have ski'ed before we havent been for 10 years so opted for a beginner class to get our ski legs back. We were fortunate enough to get Dean who's patience and style of instruction was first class. Dean used lots of different techniques so everyone found something that worked for them. Despite having lessons previously this was by far the best instructor we have experienced.
Thanks Dean for helping us enjoy our week.... Full Review
I lived in Andorra some 20 years ago now (in my 20's!!). I now go every year with my teenage sons who, having skied France and Switzerland, prefer Andorra hands down every time. Arcalis is the best resort - you will always have snow there, over the 'north side'. this year the World Freeride Championships were held there..... Goes to show....
If you're an advanced skier - be prepared to ski off-piste or you'll get bored (try the Freeride course.....!!). Some awesome off-piste skiing - helicopters always on hand to air lift you... Good to see that, nowadays, some of our old favourite off-piste routes (of 20 years ago) are now pistes!!
I was in a TV commercial filmed there in 1991 for Spanish TV. We shot it in late April - masses of snow and blue skies. It was awesome. The resort has improved significantly - gone are the two man oh-so-very slow chair lifts, to be replaced with 6 man high speed lifts. You won't need to queue. Yes, you need a car to get there (unless you've got a Vallnord lift pass then you can get the ski bus for free but you are, clearly, restricted timewise).
Stay in Arinsal for nightlife - the best in Andorra - DJ's from Ibiza come to do guest slots in the winter... very much a young person's place. My sons love it!! I'm hanging onto my youth!!
And price. I paid £60 this year for a Vallnord pass which covered Pal, Arinsal (which are both linked) and Arcalis. The year before I paid 300Eur for a Swiss resort.... Apres ski, you won't be ripped off either. Arcalis holds a 'fun' day on a Friday - free vino caliente for the adults and hot choc for the kids. Ski Bars offer all drinks for one Euro (alcoholic included) and free toasties for each drink.
The sun always shines in Andorra - if it's snowing, wait a while and the sun will come out. a very happy positive and very pretty resort. I am still going 25 years on.....!!
... Full Review
This is my second review of Ordino-Arcalís(as I can't edit the first) and I felt driven to write a follow-up to express some reservations and disappointments.
First off, the good and great: Arcalís is a snow sure spot, as far as the Pyrenees go, with one of the highest skiable summits and highest base levels. It's snow at Arcalís when it's raining at competitors, and the locals know it. This means a longer season, better snow quality and fewer yahoos(being harder to reach limits crowds). In fact, waiting in line at Arcalís is almost a lost concept. You've driven an extra hour past Grandvalira and the result is you won't be queuing, period. In addition, the lift-served Cruessans area is a freeride dream that will leave you salivating.
The bad: I'm growing increasingly frustrated with Vallnord for the frequent closure of the Arcalís sector. With nearly any amount of wind blowing or snow falling, the station closes. Boom. Done. And if not the entire sector, then all upper lifts, meaning very, very limited choices. Plus, by comparison to other access roads, that of Arcalís is rather poorly maintained. Now, at first I considered this the price of skiing a hardcore mountain - but whilst skiing other resorts, of the same elevation, in the same storms/conditions - I find THEIR lifts open, and their roads clear. The frustration of paying for lodging near Arcalís, holding two day passes, and then being forced to ski the totally inferior Pal/Arinsal sectors is not justifiable in my view and entirely unacceptable.
Furthermore, the service at Arcalís is terrible. Surly, understaffed employees either ignore you or run from place to place trying to keep up. Again, I put up with this bad service for the excellent terrain - but what if the terrain is constantly closing? That is when the "pros" of Arcalís begin to dwindle.
At 3hrs from Barcelona, Arcalís-Ordino is a haul. Pas de la Casa can be accessed in 2hr 15min. Now, add in border crossing delays of over an hour on busy weekends, and you're talking at least 4hrs. And, at 4 hrs you can be in Boí Taull or even Baqueira-Beret. I've always been a huge Arcalís fan - it is(or was) the only place I would ski. But the poor management of the station has me looking at other options - and often.
... Full Review
Arcalís, is, at this point, my favorite resort in Andorra. It's a bit distant from ANYTHING, but we suffer for those we love. Such stunning terrain, in a stunning location. The access road terminates at this high elevation cirque. When Pal and Arinsal suffer rain or mixed precipitation, Arcalís is getting dumped on, hard. Yes, it's not near nightlife or any real town(Serrat is a speck; albeit a charming one), but if you want terrain, this is the place. On the other hand, an enclosed lift would be nice, considering some of the extreme weather, and I'm not jazzed that the lodges' eateries have been farmed out to chains. The branding of all Vallnord resorts really puts a damper on the "mountain experience". But, easy parking, miniscule crowds, good bargains, friendly staff and OUT OF SIGHT terrain - hard not to want to ski here everyday of my last breathing moments.... Full Review
Me encanta esta estación, es muy divertida, no suele tener mucha gente, muy buena calidad de nieve y pese a no ser muy grande, tiene un tamaño aceptable. Lo peor, que no tiene pie de pista (pero si una gran oferta de aptos y hoteles, que calidad precio supera con creces a Granvalira).... Full Review
Lo peor: cuando nieva mucho los accesos se cierran y hay que estar pendiente si se esta ya en la estación. Si piensa regresar a España después de la jornada de esquí, cuidado con el tráfico en la frontera, se puede hacer eterno por la retención.
Lo mejor: algunas pistas son bastante técnicas, pero podemos encontrar un poco de todo, incluso pista de esquí-cross.
Comer en la estación no es barato, pero como casi en todas.
Principalmente hay dos remontes (telesillas) que siempre tienen gente. Uno sube a la parte izquierda de la estación y otro a la parte superior, una vez en lo alto a disfrutar.
Si se va con familia es dificil perderse, casi todas las pistas de retorno dan al mismo sitio.... Full Review
Brillient family skiing including off piste. Recommended. Not over subscribed and often quiet in the week, getting busier at the weekend. Ski school have English speaking instructors. and is easy to book, often availability on the day. Approx 35 euros per hour.
Downside is that there is no apre ski in Arcalis as there is no village there. We stay in the village El Serrat a few Km below. It is an easy drive to Pals a nearby resort liked with Arinsal, vastly increasing terrain for varied skiing, and you can use the same lift passes as Arcalis. Good apre ski in arinsal.... Full Review
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