Back from Soldeu in Andorra with Crystal Ski Holidays and all I can think about is those snowy mountains in the Grandvalria! Lots of people love the idea of visiting the mountains in winter time, the crisp bluebird skies, that fresh mountain air, those panoramic views and of course the perfect white snow enticing us in. Problem is that some people who can't ski or snowboard think they can't go, or they won't enjoy it because they can't do anything - well you are very wrong and after my recent trip I have certainly discovered the perks of all Andorra can offer.... regardless if you can ski or if you can board.
Andorra is a little place nuzzled right between France and Spain, I'd never been there before so I have certainly never skied there before. I was about to find out what this resort on the Eastern side of the Pyrenees was like.
I am a very spoilt girl when it comes to skiing, after living in the French alpine city of Val d'Isere I had many bluebird days. I could pick and choose when to ski or snowboard and I became fond of going at a leisurely pace. Fast forward a few years later and now I am a ski time holiday maker, and often we don't get a bluebird ski day, in fact when I went to Andorra we had such a big snow dump I could barely see.
I didn't ski on the first day because I hate nothing more than going up the mountain in a complete white out, but on the second I was straight up there shoop shooping my way down the piste. Lots of people will plan a ski trip where all they will do is piste bash, I do love a good distance to cover but at the same time I'm on holiday - I need to chill out.
As I say the first day was a complete whiteout so at my hotel in Soldeu, I indulged in the spa facilities and the gym of the Piolets Park and Spa Hotel. Whilst in their lavish spa facilities I enjoyed a 5k run looking out over the snowy scenes, followed by a swimming dip and long soak in the jacuzzi. Of course there was a steam room and a sauna for those achy muscles after a day on the slopes, along with a wellness centre for the added holiday indulgences.
There is also a huge spa in town you can visit which I heard was the best in town, I didn't get to go because I was very content with the one at my hotel. Although I kept hearing rave reviews about it. There is also an ice skating rink and a big enclosed shopping centre, again didn't get a chance to visit but if I'd of had more time I would of. There is a handy regular bus service you can use which takes you to El Tartar close by for more shops, but I must admit in the centre of Soldeu (a 2 minute walk from hotel) had plenty to keep you occupied.
Dog Sledding - can I keep one please?
I got to go dog sledding. I wanted to go dog sledding for absolutely years. I held back previously because of time and the fact I'd have to restrain myself from wanting to keep them all for my own! Firstly husband wouldn't perhaps be overwhelmed by the idea of 20 doggy additions to the family and secondly skiing always seem to take priority. With the bad weather it made me start to look at how a ski holiday could be enjoyed by those who can't ski. The answer? 20 dogs, lots of snow, a sleigh, a driver and a go pro!
Skidooing in style!
Regardless of whether you ski or not I do believe it is always good to break up your trip with some other activities. I took part in both skidding, as well as my dog adventure in the dog sledding experience. It was really refreshing to do something completely different to non-stop piste bashing. I had so much fun skidooing with the rest of the group, we zipped over the crisp white snow and at this point finally got to see the gorgeous blue skies and previously hidden surroundings of Andorra.
If you're looking for a ski experience but less of the ski and more of the experience? Check out the link on the Grandvalira website about the surrounding activities you can get involved with.
After a day of frantically checking the Crystal Ski App for all the latest on the local area, luckily the weather got better, (which was a big bonus) meaning I could make my way happily up the mountain. I had a ski lesson with the local ski school for a nice freshen up on my technique, and soon was back into the swing of things. As skiing goes I think this was by far the most relaxing experience I'd encountered. Whilst my heart with always belong to The Espace Killy, I would highly recommend Andorra for a more chilled ski experience or if you have little ones. The only draw back to my experience was the weather and the fact all the higher up slopes were closed so it meant more people were on the easier runs. Tiny little issue in the grand scheme of all the snow related fun!
Husband and I are already looking at both going back! Looking for a easy start to a ski experience? Then Andorra would be a very good option. You can also get to both France and Spain very easily from here.