Grandvalira is a large linked ski area with seven different resorts: Encamp, Canillo, El Tarter, Soldeu, Grau Roig and Pas de la Casa. The biggest and best-known are Pas de la Casa and Soldeu, and together they promote themselves as a world-class destination for serious skiers. However, it’s worth remembering that snow conditions here and in the rest of the Pyrenees are entirely different from those in the Alps. It’s a shorter ski season, with the best conditions running from December until the end of March.
The first drag-lift was built here in 1957. Since then Grandvalira Pas de la Casa has expanded its lift system regularly and now has eight quad-chairs and three six-seater chair-lifts. Mountain access from the town is by a choice of chairs that take you up to the ridge overlooking the hamlet of Grau Roig. From here you can either explore the lift-served terrain on either side of the ridge, or take the Cubil quad-chair and work your way across to the wooded slopes above Soldeu.
There are easy nursery slopes right in the resort centre, and at the next stage there are plenty of wide, relatively undemanding blue runs to practise on.
A tempting prospect for intermediates
The terrain is best suited to intermediates who are looking for undemanding, high-speed cruising, and the highly efficient snow-making here means that, even in poor snow years, almost all the runs open. Pas de la Casa is also the highest resort in Andorra. Grandvalira Pas de la Casa is a good ski area for intermediates, with lots of red runs. More advanced skiers can try the off-piste in Grau Roig, or the bumps on the Llebre and Avet runs going down towards Soldeu. The resort also has an FIS slalom stadium.
The snowboarding opportunities
As well as Isards Park in Pas de la Casa, which is for beginners, the area has two further parks: Snowpark Tarter (for all standards) and the popular Snowpark Xavi at Grau-Roig. There are plenty of off-piste opportunities through the trees, especially after a new snowfall.