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WE'RE IN ANDORRA - Kisia Cove, Andorra
Saturday January 6, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

After a 10 year gap I wanted to find out what had changed in the tiny Principality in the Pyrenees. I downloaded an App to help me along.

 

 

The ski area of Grandvalira has changed enormously over the last 10 years.

There's been massive investment - last year alone Grandvalira pumped around €11 million into modernizing and extending the facilities at the slopes, and in the last 14 years they've invested over €130 million.

So with this sort of big money, there come big changes that we will be commenting on in a separate article.

In the meantime here's a snapshot of the weather and snow conditions over the last few days.

With all the wonderful powder snow its been a ball.

Read more here on Andorra what it has to offer - Andorra - What a Blast.

TUESDAY 9TH JANUARY

Another stunning morning in Andorra.

Just after it became light we were on our balcony, and this was the view straight ahead.

It was 8am and the gondola was already turning.

Once again the Crystal Explorers App was correct, as anticipated it was cold and in minus numbers depending on altitude.

What we hadn't anticipated was the wind.


It was a cold -5ºC at the top of the main gondola and somewhat windy.

Looking down towards Incles Valley - AndorraLooking down towards Incles Valley - Andorra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





MONDAY 8TH JANUARY

Well we woke up to clear blue skies, and a lot of snow.

The fabulous snowfall overnight brought between 30cm and 50cm of light powder snow.

The pisteurs were up early bombing dangerouos parts and in the very early hours of the morning when I got up to check if it was still snowing I could see the headlights of groomers as they trundled up and down the front face of the mountain.

According to the very detailed map at the bottom of the Soldeu gondola, the whole of the Grandvalira ski domaine was open for business and we were off skiing. The avalanche risk remained at 4/5.

The temperature on the mountain was between -10ºC and - 2ºC.

What a breathtaking day.

Here's a 'quick' peek at the conditions on the day.

Knee deep in places! Grandvalira Knee deep in places! Grandvalira

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandvalira 8th JanuaryGrandvalira 8th January

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cold, sunny Grandvalira 8th January Cold, sunny Grandvalira - 8th January

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Following a hard day skiing we swapped our skis for a vehicle on skis and had a stint on snowmobiles.

Read more here on Andorra what it has to offer - Andorra - What a Blast.

Exhilaration on a snowmobileExhilaration on a snowmobile















SUNDAY 7TH JANUARY

We flew into Barcelona where it was somewhat gloomy and wet, rather like a typical English day.

But as we drove up towards Andorra it soon became clear we were to arrive in snow.

As we slowly made our way up the mountain towards Sodeu the roads were snowy and as yet uncleared.

It was snowing!!

We'll report back with a longer update tomorrow, in the meantime this is Soldeu this evening. 😎

Have a look at the short video clips and photographs below.

And this poor chap had a bit of a work out clearing the snow off his car.


Soldeu, Grandvalira - 7 January 2018Soldeu, Grandvalira - 7 January 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 












Hotel Piolets, Soldeu, Grandvalira - 7 January 2018Hotel Piolets, Soldeu, Grandvalira - 7 January 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SATURDAY 6TH JANUARY

Here's the start of my next adventure.

I'm off skiing to the tiny Principality sandwiched between France and Spain - Andorra.

Andorra is known as a Principality as it is a monarchy headed by two co-princes - the Spanish/Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell and the President of France.

And on Saturday afternoon, as I was searching the internet for more information on conditions I found this short video.... the best thing it showed ... it was snowing ❄️  😎

What excitement!

Previous ski trips to Andorra had included visits to Pal, Arinsal and Arcalis, one of the more recent locations for the Freeride World Tour.

This time though, I was off to the Grandvalira area, that includes Soldeu and Pas de La Casa.

But it's been some 10 years since I've skied in Andorra and I was keen to know how much it had changed over the years.

I am travelling with Crystal, so I decided to download its much acclaimed Ski Explorers App to have a quick look at what's new in Andorra, to get a proper fix on the weather, and to see what else it offered.

I'm a bit of a ‘tech-geek', so I more or less got swallowed into the minute details of the App.....

I gravitated towards its 6-day weather forecast.

What joy, we were to arrive in a snowstorm with a welcome 16cm predicted snowfall.

And according to the forecast on the App, it seemed it was going to get very, very C O L D over the days, with an ever so-sunny Bluebird promised for Tuesday.

Way-hey! What a brilliant heads-up on kit requirements....

I now know I need to pack a lot of extra layers, not forgetting inner gloves, goggles, suntan cream and a new pair of sunnies.

Snow forecast - 16cm expected on Sunday ❄️ 👍Snow forecast on arrival - 16cm expected on Sunday ❄️ 👍

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cold -10ºC with sun on Tuesday 👍Cold -10ºC on Monday with some sun on Tuesday 👍

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Browsing through the App took me to ‘Things to do', that highlighted a lot of après-ski bars, clubs and yummy eateries along with the famous Caldea Spa THE MUST GO TO destination for relaxation and leisure in Andorra la Vella.

Though, I don't think Caldea was on our itinerary as that 'little luxury' would be for a completely snowed-in-day......  yet, you never know! 😎

With regard to the App, the only hitch I could forsee, is that Andorra is not one of the Feel at Home Destinations offered by Three, my mobile service provider.

The principality of Andorra is not in the EU, so I would incur the dreaded data roaming charges.

Nonetheless I decided to try the App in resort, and intend to use it when connected to WiFi, as I'm hopeful that restaurants and bars will be WiFi connected.

Here's a short video to show what the App can do:

Briefly, the App allows the skier to have a lot of fun On/Off the mountain and includes the following:

  • Route planner:  Where to next? Pick your destination and get the fastest route from A to B.
  • Recommended routes:  Our favourite routes, plotted out by our in-resort experts
  • My friends:  Lost your gang? Find your mates on the mountain with one tap
  • Ski tracking and history:  See your day's skiing, all mapped out
  • Mountain and resort points of interest:  Viewpoints, ski lockers, lunch spots and loos...
  • Piste and resort maps:  Guide the gang with detailed piste and resort maps at your fingertips
  • Resort guide:  Insider info on your resort, from hot spots to ski tips, food shops to pharmacies
  • Twitter notifications in app:  The latest resort news and advice from our team on the ground
  • Six-day snow and weather forecast:  Be in the know about the snow with conditions and forecasts
  • Live lift and slope info (selected resorts):  Make plans on the move with real-time info
  • Holiday itinerary:  All your holiday info and itinerary details, just a tap away
Happy times - I'll report back with more photos and videos once I get going on my travels, at least, fingers crossed, I'm going to be prepared for the harsh weather.

Andorra here I come! ⛷ 😎

PS: And just before going to bed I check Meteo Andorre again and this is what is happening at Grandvalira, where we are heading.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow!

Fact Box:

Crystal Ski Holidays (crystalski.co.uk; 020 8610 3123) offers a week's half board at the Hotel Piolets Park & Spa from £719 per person including flights from Gatwick to Toulouse and transfers departing during January 2018.

Departures from all major UK airports available (at a supplement starting from £25).

Explorer Ski App:
December 2017, Crystal released a new version (4.0) of the Ski Explorer App featuring over 125 ski resorts around the world introducing a number of features suggested by users last winter.

The app is designed as an overarching tool to help skiers and their friends to get the most out of their holiday.

Download the App either from the App Store or Google Play or follow this link http://crys.tl/2hecXbQ

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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