Being a bit of a snob, I had avoided Andorra when we used to ski in Europe. It had a reputation for average skiing, average food and lots of stag parties. However, on this trip it stood between us and Valencia, we had some skiing gear with us, an ability to get a free hotel using air miles and J knew just how much I had enjoyed Whistler, so we decided to give it a go.
Being the end of the season we expected sub-optimal snow but lots of sunshine. Imagine our surprise to find ourselves driving up the mountain in a blizzard, with snow settling on the road……and me with nothing better than normal tyres on the car and distant memories of driving on snowy Northumbrian roads 30 years ago. It was a nail bitting couple of hours.
Some of my preconceptions were right. Food was average and there were large groups of lads skiing in fancy dress, getting increasingly confident and drunk as the day wore on. They reminded me of how I used to ski with my friends; our confidence was hugely disproportional to our ability and we were loud and dangerous. I wondered how many people had looked at me and muttered ‘Twat’ as I barrelled past them at breakneck speed thinking I could ski. They may still mutter ‘twat’, but now it’s mainly those who know me.
Other than that I found that was easily enough terrain to keep me amused and challenged for a few days, there was cheap-ish booze and a couple of ok restaurants on the slopes. On day one, as the sun was shining and we stumbled across a bar with champagne at a reasonable price, we though fuck being good children and stretched both the budget and the calories in/calories out equation for a few days.
The other great thing was that there was a couple of good dumps of snow then sunny days so we had almost perfect conditions and empty slopes.
When I consider the expense of Whistler vs Andorra, I would have to say that for up to 5 days skiing, Andorra is a great VFM location and unless you are an expert skier who wants to ski 10 hours a day, I would say save the cash and hit Andorra. If we were still in Europe, we would certainly return.