The mountainous state of Andorra is a good choice for families who want to hone their skills on the slopes, says Lucy Huxley
Looking down from the gondola each morning at one of Andorra’s few black runs – Avet – I wondered if it was too much to hope that my two children would conquer it by the end of our week’s stay. Now 17 and 14, they have been skiing since they were four years old, but this was the first time there was no ski school included in their schedules.
Andorra had been chosen for our extended family trip to the slopes for its accessibility and wealth of green, blue and red runs that offer plenty of options for beginner and intermediate skiers looking to build up to the big one. We travelled with Inghams and stayed at the Park Piolets Mountain Resort & Spa in Soldeu, one of various high-end properties that help bust the myth that Andorra is a cheap and cheerful option.
The hotel was a great base, with constant transfers to the ski lifts and an incredible breakfast and dinner buffet, though I was surprised to see that access to the spa comes at an extra cost. Out on the slopes, the Easter-time conditions weren’t the best – certainly a consideration when clients are looking for a late-season getaway – but the mountain teams did a fantastic job of keeping the key runs open so people could still ski between resorts. And for a group of mixed abilities, including a 10-year-old and a three-year-old in ski school, the real selling point was the variety of options offered on one lift pass at the 210km Grandvalira resort.
Grandvalira was originally formed in 2003 when the neighbouring ski areas of Soldeu-El Tarter and Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig were combined, and since then it has expanded further. For my children and me, it offered plenty to keep us entertained and increasingly challenged as the children worked their way up from a mass of rolling blue runs, through some reds, and finally to the top of Avet, the slope used for the World Cup in 2019.
Fifteen minutes (and a couple of minor tumbles) later, they were at the foot, their first black run under their belts and struggling to contain their pride and excitement. Andorra had truly proven its worth.
A seven-night half-board stay at Park Piolets Mountain Resort & Spa in Soldeu starts at £1,099, based on two adults and two children sharing, and including transfers and flights from Bristol on March 17, 2024.
PICTURE: Marc Colomines