Andorra sits between France and Spain, at the heart of the Pyrenees. This tiny principality has 62 peaks that reach over 2000 metres and it hosts the largest ski area in the Pyrenees. Resorts sit between 1550m and 2660m above sea level. The southerly position means mild summers and lots of sunny days and whilst being further south can mean unreliable snowfall, Andorra has tackled this issue with ample provision for snow making.
Who visits Andorra?
Andorra has a population of around 77,000 people so it’s no surprise that the bulk of its skiers come from overseas. International visitors account for 92% of the country's skiers. Most come from France and Spain, with the remainder being made up of visitors from the British Isles or Russia. There’s no airport in Andorra, but connections with international airports in France and Spain are good.
How many ski resorts are in Andorra?
Small but mighty, Andorra has just three ski resorts, each has its own character and plays host to various world class ski events.
Grandvalira is the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees. It’s set in the south east of the principality and combines Le Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig and Soldeu-El Tarter. The resort has 71 lifts, 128 runs and 210 kilometres of skiing. There are 1032 snow cannons in Grandvalira, which means 65% of the slopes have snow making capacity. Skiers enjoy a reasonable variety of runs,with the longest being just under 7 kilometres. There are some good options for off-piste and freeriders as well as excellent family facilities and beginner runs. The Grandvalira Ski Pass can also be used in Ordino Arcalis.
Ordino Arcalis has a different character - it’s known for expansive freeriding and off-piste touring terrain and hosts the world Freeride championships. Ordino Arcalis has 30km of pistes on trails that offer 700m of skiable verticals. It’s also the proud owner of UNESCO designated biosphere status and renowned for delicious traditional cuisine like Escuallada ( a hearty stew) or delectable wild mushrooms.
Set below the highest peak of Andorra, Pic de Coma Pedrosa (2,943 m) Vallnord-Pal Arinsal offers 63 kilometres of trails over 49 runs along with 31 lifts and excellent facilities for skiers of all abilities. It’s the closest resort to the capital, Andorra-la-Vella, which means easy access for those who wish to indulge in Andorra’s famous tax free shopping. Vallnord-Pal Arinsal is particularly popular with families, and offers a large children's area as well as snow gardens and baby clubs.
Challenges for Andorra ski resorts
Andorra has a huge amount of appeal - great slopes, unique character, a reputation for being affordable - all these things bring almost 2 million visitors to the slopes each year. There are challenges in the form of a strong reliance on overseas guests, as well as what Laurent Vanat describes as an “image deficit” - Andorra doesn’t have the appeal of the alps - at least not for the traditional ski market.
Reliance on overseas visitors
The reliance on overseas visitors does mean Andorra’s influx of skiers varies. The 2008 crash for example saw huge drops in visitor numbers. It seems to be an area that bounces back though, and by the 2019/20 season figures were 20% higher than the previous average. From an investor point of view, ski property may pose a little more risk, but lower initial outlay and being part of a unique year round resort offset this risk somewhat.
Sustainability and potential for a different demographic
The “image deficit” poses a different set of problems - after all you cannot change where the country is, and you cannot change the reputation held by the alps. What Andorra does have is a strong sense of individuality and this may be its secret to success. A focus on sustainability, being home to the Ordino Biosphere and being known as the home of some of the best free-riding in Europe means Andorra has a strong appeal for less traditional skiers and a whole new potential market. Combine this with a luxury retail that rivals Switzerland, superb nightlife and a burgeoning gourmet scene and Andorra shows signs of being a perfect year round resort for a new generation of skiers.
Find your perfect Andorra ski property
If the idea of being part of a clutch of resorts that champion sustainability, and do things a little differently to their alpine cousins appeals, then Andorra may be the perfect place to invest. There’s plenty of potential for those seeking to expand their rental portfolio, and the family focus of the many resorts means a ski property in Andorra could be a perfect holiday retreat. This principality has true dual season appeal.
To help you find your perfect home in Andorra, we offer a property alert system. You can tailor your search to specific requirements and get regular updates of new properties.
SnowOnly is a ski property portal, which means you have access to a host of agents and private sellers, without the pain of trawling dozens of separate websites, so you save time and can be sure of staying right up to date with the Andorra ski property market.