Skiing is a wonderful winter pursuit. It offers unspoiled nature and breathtaking views, mixed with a bit of excitement, to those of all ages.
Getting outside, during the coldest months of the year, is part of the appeal, but for some, so is the equipment. Comparing popular brands, new materials, shapes and manufacturing all make skis the object of obsession for many hobbyists.
Whether you’re visiting and need a rental as a means to an end or want to try out a new piece of kit, these are your best ski hire options in Andorra.
Why is Andorra a Top Ski Destination?
Andorra offers the attractive combination of dependably solid ski conditions and generally sunny weather. There are two large ski regions, Grandvalia and Vallnord, further divided into several resorts.
Getting to Andorra involves a flight to a nearby airport in Barcelona or Toulouse and then a bus or car ride across the border. Obviously, you’re welcome to bring your own equipment, but that extra step might be the nudge you need to rent instead. Tuning and maintenance are important for ski and snowboard equipment — renting skis in Andorra also takes this to-do off your list.
What Do You Need for Skiing in Andorra?
At Andorran ski resort towns like Arinsal and Soldeu there are slopes at a wide range of difficulties. Arcalis, in the Ordino Valley, specialises in off-piste runs. You’ll do just fine on slopes here with a fairly standard kit, but take extra care to prepare for the weather.
How Does the Weather in Andorra Affect What I Need?
Even at the lowest point, Andorra is still nearly 1,000 metres above sea level. Up here in the mountains, we’re definitely subject to quickly changing weather. Because this can happen unpredictably — leave where you’re staying under sunny skies in the morning and return in an afternoon blizzard — it pays to dress in layers and make sure you’re equipped for nasty weather. That means:
- A base layer for warmth and absorbing moisture.
- Goggles to keep blowing snow out of your eyes.
- Ski pants or salopettes (overalls) to keep your legs dry, especially on warm spring days.
Of all Europe’s popular ski destinations, Andorra is one of the sunniest and most pleasant. You’re likely to have great weather for your vacation here, but it pays to prepare for a bit of snow and wind.
Helmets for Skiing in Andorra
It’s not absolutely mandatory that you wear a helmet on ski slopes in Andorra. But they have become more popular in the last five years and the majority of skiers and snowboarders now wear one.
Many options for ski rental packages include a helmet. Adding a helmet to your rental usually only costs a few extra Euros per day.
Vallnord Ski Hire: Arinsal, Pal and Ordino-Arcalis
If you want to hire skis in Arinsal, our team at Esports Sant Moritz are at three locations in convenient spots all over town. They are the go-to ski rental source for visitors to the popular Vallnord ski area. That means serving:
- Arinsal: With a village atmosphere and also plenty of nightlife options. Also, where we’re located!
- Pal: Connected to Arinsal by cable car.
- Ordino-Arcalis: Even more pristine and picturesque and a short drive away.
The main, central store is the largest and specialises in both ski hire and selling equipment. Black Crows, a French ski designer that is very well respected for their high altitude skis, is among the long list of brands featured here.
Esports Sant Moritz Pistas is in the Comallemple Building where the cable car from Pal arrives in Arinsal. With a location right on the slopes, the focus here, naturally, is on snowboard and ski rentals. Accessories, from sunglasses to helmet cameras, are also for sale. The on-site lockers are a convenient option for storing equipment rather than lugging it back to your hotel.
And the third location is right at the foot of the chairlift for the Les Marrades run. Equipment for both skiing and snowboarding is available to rent here. There is also a store that often has deep discounts on equipment for sale.
Ski Rentals near Grandvalira
Each of the towns and resorts in the Grandvalira ski area has several options for shops that handle ski equipment hires.
Popular options in specific places include:
- Canillo: Esports Elit, Edifici del Telecabina,
- Encamp: Esports Everest, Shusski, Pic Negre
- El Tarter: Sports Calbó, Nordic Sports, Esports Pirot, Viladomat
- Grau Roig: Viladomat, Pic Negre
- Soldeu: Shusski, Pic Negre, Sports Calbó
- Pas de la Casa: Casa Esqui, Ski Republic Snow Torb and Pic Negre (several locations)
Rather than picking one when you arrive and handling the rental in person, booking online ahead of time is also a good option.
Grandvalira coordinates booking through their own site — you book there but pick up the equipment at the individual ski hire shops. Prices for a ski rental package break down (roughly) as follows:
- Adult/junior basic equipment: €17 per day
- Adult/junior intermediate equipment: €22 per day
- Kids (up to 11) equipment: €14 per day
Packages include skis, boots and poles. Helmets and other equipment can be rented directly from the store. There is a surcharge for premium equipment, if available, that is paid directly to the store.
Other sites like AlpinResorts and Skiset also provide online booking for ski and snowboard equipment. These are a bit less straightforward and allow you to customise what equipment you want. Depending on your choices, there may also be a slight discount over booking directly with Grandvalira.
If you are particular about the brand or model of ski you rent, these sites are probably the way to go for online booking. They also make the most sense if you’re bringing some of your own equipment (e.g., your own boots) and don’t need a whole package. Most rental shops will allow you to hire the individual components; if you just want to hire ski poles, it shouldn’t be a problem!
Buying as an Option Over Renting Ski Equipment in Andorra
Renting isn’t for everyone and buying is definitely an option at ski resorts in Andorra. If you’re driving from a part of Europe that doesn’t have the obsession we do with hitting the slopes, Andorra is a convenient place to buy new skis or boots. Or maybe it’s time for a new mask or to update another part of your kit.
Especially at the end of the season, you might find new equipment at a steep discount over what you’d see at home. There may also be options to buy used or refurbished equipment or kit that has been used for rentals. Obviously, no discount is worth buying ski equipment that doesn’t fit properly.
Esports Sant Moritz and other shops that handle ski hire services will also sell new equipment. Major sports stores in Andorra la Vella and near the borders with Spain and France will also cater to cross-border shoppers who want to buy.
The Best Plan for Ski Hire in Andorra
Skiing is about getting outside and enjoying the natural environment, but a good time on the slopes is also dependent on well-designed and maintained equipment.
At Esports Sant Moritz, the staff members are eager to set you up with everything you need for an enjoyable vacation. Whether you’re an advanced veteran who wants to discuss cutting-edge technology or this is your first time and you’re not even sure what your boot size is, they’re there to help.
While you’re planning your trip, book your stay with us. We’re located conveniently close to the slopes in Arinsal and, if you decide to drive and bring your own equipment, have plenty of parking for our guests.