The principality has hundreds of kilometres of ski runs and you can get as high as 2,640 metres above sea level at Andorra’s ski resorts. The same resorts have been known to host the final tournaments for the Speed Skiing World Cup and the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.
All of this might make you think that ski resorts in Andorra are only suited for seasoned experts and that beginners cannot benefit from them, but that’s not the case.
For decades, the ski schools in Andorra have prided themselves on being a great place to learn. Getting an introduction to the sport is one of the top reasons to visit Andorra.
Whether you’re looking to sign your kids up for their first tutorial or want special, private ski lessons while in Andorra, this guide will give you all the information you need.
Is Andorra a Good Place to Learn to Ski?
The experience of the last few decades gives a resounding “yes” to that question. Going way back, Andorra has been the place for Brits (and many others) to learn to ski. And that’s not just because the flight is short and it’s easier to find top accommodation for a reasonable price.
As with any type of education, the teachers are the key. Andorra does a particularly good job of attracting instructors from the U.K., Ireland and other countries with plenty of native English speakers.
In Arinsal, this includes a British instructor entirely dedicated to teaching adaptive skiing to those with mobility challenges.
If you don’t already know how to ski, you might not be ready to commit to buying all of the equipment. As we discuss in our post dedicated to the topic, there are plenty of ski hire options in Andorra.
Picking the Right Ski School in Andorra
Learning how to ski requires consistent training, the right terrain, and most importantly, patient instructors — Andorra has all of this and then some more.
In Andorra’s ski schools, the classes are organised into different types, each suitable for different levels of difficulty. It is important to establish your exact needs and find the right one for you. To do this, you can start by asking questions like:
- Do I want to learn quickly from a dedicated instructor? Private lessons are probably the way to go.
- Is cost important? Group lessons tend to be significantly cheaper than private ones.
- Am I part of a group who all want to learn together? Again, group lessons might be for you.
- Are you looking for kids’ lessons? How old are they? Some ski schools specialise in younger kids or have activities for children who won’t be able to ski all day.
We recommend booking your lift passes, hotel stay and ski extras in advance. The main benefit of doing this is easy availability, lots of open slots and discounts if you’re lucky.
Putting the Lessons Into Practice on the Slopes
The Andorran ski slopes attract people of all age groups and skill sets. With so many ski runs it makes sense that they should be divided according to varying levels of difficulty.
Compared to the standard ski slopes, beginner ski runs are typically easier to navigate, are less steep and provide plenty room for braking/slowing down. Here’s a quick glance at the beginner ski runs broken down by resort in Andorra:
- Grandvalira: 19 (five in Canillo, six in Soldeu)
- Pal-Arinsal: 7
- Ordino-Arcalis: 9
Once you’ve got your technique dialed in and you’ve gained a bit of confidence, it’s on to the blue pistes. Here is your menu of options for those runs:
- Grandvalira: 49 (spread throughout, but especially in El Tarter, Soldeu and Grau Roig)
- Pal-Arinsal: 16
- Ordino-Arcalis: 6
Where is the Best Andorra Ski School?
As with so many things, finding the “best” ski lessons is more about finding the one that suits your needs; what works for others might not work for you. Once you’ve established your learning goals, it’ll be easier to make a decision.
Here’s everything you need to know about the various options for learning to ski in the Pyrenees.
Arinsal Ski School
The ski school at Arinsal’s ski resort is one of the top choices in the Pyrenees. It is only one of two ski schools in Europe that have approved-ski-school status from BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors). Their specialties include:
- A family focus, including group lessons that include kids as young as four.
- Many native English-speaking instructors who return to Arinsal every ski season.
- Adaptive skiing lessons for those who have mobility challenges.
Specific offerings from the Arinsal ski school include:
- Group lessons for kids and adults (16+) with various time formats for those who want more flexibility.
- Private lessons that can be booked in one-, two- or three-hour blocks.
- A ski refresher for those who are comfortable on blue runs and have a bit of experience with reds but need a skills tune-up.
- The Snowpark instructors also offer lessons on freestyle skiing.
Prices at Arinsal’s ski school are quite reasonable with a three-day group lesson going for €117 and private lessons coming in at about €50 per hour.
Other Ski Schools at Vallnord
Vallnord is a ski resort in La Massana where you’ll find 63 kilometers of ski slopes; lessons are offered in different parts of the resort complex across Pal-Arinsal and Ordino-Arcalis.
At Arcalis, off-piste skiing is a very well-known specialty. Here groups up to 6 people can hire a specialised instructor/guide for a half-day experience with freeride skiing.
Ski Lessons at Grandvalira
There are seven separate ski schools spread across the various sections that make up Grandvalira. All offer instruction for various levels, including kids from 6 to 11 years old.
Some things to know about the ski schools at Grandvalira:
- Prices are comparable to those at Vallnord.
- Canillo is the only zone that doesn’t offer snowboarding lessons.
- Private lessons are also offered, but options are slightly less flexible than at Vallnord.
- For the most part, lessons start on Monday and run for the rest of the week (depending on what lesson package you purchase) or weekend lessons on Saturday.
Soldeu and El Tarter are generally acknowledged as the best sections for those looking to ease their way onto the slopes. You’ll find more intro hills and fewer wannabe Olympians making the hills treacherous for those going at an easy pace.
Ski Lessons for Families in Andorra
Families that ski together, stay together; it is an exciting outdoor activity and a cherished tradition for many families. The ski resorts of Andorra have plenty of services, specifically geared to making sure that kids have a great time — either with the rest of the family or while their parents enjoy a few advanced runs.
In Arinsal we have:
- A baby club for toddlers from 1 up to kids aged 4. This is essentially a babysitting service with organised activities like painting and storytelling to keep the toddlers occupied.
- Peke Parc, a snow garden where children aged 4 to 8 can have a great time outdoors playing in the snow. Fun is the name of the game at the snow park.
- A group ski school for kids from 4 right up to 15. Skill improvement is the focus here because kids of this age are usually quick learners.
At Grandvalira, there are a number of downhill circuits designed just for kids, including:
- Mon(t) Magic at Canillo: Young snow lovers ski through a forested circuit filled with creatures like goblins and fairies.
- Imaginarium at Grau Roig: Connected to the toy brand of the same and featuring visits from KicoNico.
- Bababoom Circus at El Tarter: Obstacles and tests here mirror the training that goes into all the magic of a circus performance.
The resort system at Grandvalira also offers nurseries for kids from 2 to 3 and snow gardens and programming for kids up to 5 years old.
Stay at Apartments Sant Moritz While Learning to Ski
If you’re going through the process of getting to Andorra in winter we hope you seize the opportunity to learn to ski! And whether you’re coming as a group of friends looking to sharpen your skill or a family keen on passing on a tradition we have the right accommodation for you.
Apartment-style suites in the heart of Arinsal are the best for your ski adventure. Book your stay with us now to secure the best rates.