Ski Touring in the Pyrenees
Andorra: Ski Paradise on Earth
Perfect snow, charming towns and ski touring adventures in one of the smallest countries of Europe. Meet Andorra, Country of the Pyrenees.
Do you know the tiny little country of Andorra, which is probably smaller than the town you live in? I bet you won’t be able to forget about it after you’ve been there. “Country of the Pyrenees”, Andorra is a perfect place for any kind of skiing adventures. How about ski touring and snowshoeing in the valleys of Ordino and Canillo? Fontblanca (2,904 m) and El Sarrera (2,913 m) are among the classics of the region. If you wanna be super cool, you stay for an extra day and try heli skiing as well.
Just 2 hours from Barcelona, Andorra will charm you with its fascinating scenery, lovely towns, and exquisite cuisine. Oh, and with its duty-free shops. You won’t be wondering why the people of Andorra have the highest life expectancy in the world.
Further InfoIt can be your first high mountain trip in winter conditions, but you need good skiing skills (if you choose that option over snowshoeing.) If you prefer to hire a pair of skis (included in the price), please send us your shoe size and your body height.
Is this trip for you?
Day 1: Arrival to Andorra (through Barcelona)
Arrival in Barcelona airport and transfer to Andorra, to your accommodation. It will be a short and scenic ride, not longer than 2-3 hours. If there’s enough time, we’ll take a short walk in Andorra la Vella, the capital of the country. Before dinner, the guide will give you a short intro about the program of the week (activities, everyday schedule, safety rules on the mountain — if you want, he can teach you some Catalan). Based on your level and preferences, he will propose your 4-day itinerary (below is an easy/intermediate program).
Day 2: Catapedrís (2,806 m) & Pic d’Arcalís (2,776 m)
In Ordino Valley, our summits for today are Catapedrís (2,806 m) and Pic d’Arcalís (2,776 m), which is 800 m of elevation. Although we climb two summits, this day is among the physically less demanding ones, because the elevation change is small and we are always close to the ski resort. It’s gonna be your “the warm up” for the rest of the week.
Day 3: Fontblanca (2,904 m)
Today our schedule is Fontblanca (2,904 m), the expected elevation is 1,050 m. Fontblanca is one of the most classical ascents of the country and maybe of all the Eastern Pyrenees. It is a must for ski lovers in Andorra.
Day 4: El Sarrera (2,913 m)
We move to the East side of the country, to the Valley of Canillo. We will climb El Sarrera, another classic summit, crowded every weekend. You’ll be enchanted by the view, practically overseeing the whole country, because it is almost in the middle of it.
Day 5: Pic de la Cabaneta (2,863m)
Our last trip, let’s say, the icing on the cake, is a delightful ascension over the Pic de la Cabaneta, usually in perfect conditions for skiers. Once in the car, we’ll drive back to the airport in Barcelona and fly back home.
But no. You wanna stay for more? How about a little bit of heli skiing? If you want to prolong your stay and try something awesome, let us know.
Equipment and Info
Andorra is a micro country in the Southwest of Europe, between France and Spain. The entire territory of the country is in the Pyrenees; no wonder that its average elevation is around 2,000 m. The capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital in Europe with its 1,024 m.
This is an introductory trip and everyone leading a sporty lifestyle (ie: exercising 3 times a week for at least an hour, working up a sweat) can manage the trip. However, it is important that you arrive well rested and know how to ski. Based on your needs, the guide will take you to easy, moderate or difficult routes as well.
It’s the middle of the winter, so you need to prepare yourself for snow and cold (-5-10 degrees in the morning). If you need advice on clothing and equipment, let us know. We are more than happy to help.
The price includes equipment hire, so you need not worry about technical gear (ski touring skis, ski touring boots, skins, or snowshoes). Please let us know about your shoe size and your body height. Of course, you can bring your own gear if you prefer — let us know and we can give some discount. What you do need to bring is good climbing boots broken in, so they won’t hurt your feet.
Here is a list that may be helpful to get yourself organized before the trip:
- trekking socks
- trekking/ski poles
- rucksack – 25 liters
- waterproof pants – make sure you treat them with water-repellent prior to your trip
- waterproof jacket/softshell – make sure you treat it with water-repellent prior to your trip
- two pairs of gloves
- warm hat
- bandana/cap against the sun
- sunscreen (min. factor 30) and lip balm
- fleece sweaters/vest
- hiking/ski boots
- you can buy warm food and drinks in the towns (euros accepted)
- a coke/beer would be around 2-3 euro, while a lunch/dinner is around 12-15 euro
- you need to bring sandwiches/energy bars/candy bars for the climbs
- make sure to have 2 litres of water every day
Andorra is located 198 km from Barcelona. Barcelona has an international airport (El Prat), which is the destination of several low cost airlines. From Barcelona, your guide will take you to Andorra in a 3-hour scenic ride.
- insurance (we can give you a hand with this)
- food and drinks
- your trip to/from Barcelona