Arinsal Ski AreaPart of the Vallnord complex, Arinsal’s immediate ski area is to be found up a steep slope above Arinsal in one of a number of glaciated hanging valleys that feed eventually into the Valira del Norte and flow down to Andorra La Vella.
Of the two sectors in Vallnord, the Pal – Arinsal sector (just 5km from Andorra la Vella) is the larger of the two with 63km of runs among 770 hectares of skiing and around 1,000m vertical from base up to 2,560m. With 4 green, 16 blue, 16 red and 5 black runs the Pal – Arinsal ski area is best for beginners and intermediate skiers and riders and includes designated areas for freestlye, free ride, slalom and bumps.
Skiing out of Arinsal begins at the main car using the Telecabine Orriols. This quickly transfers you to the main ski base from which it’s possible to take a sequence of four further lifts to the very top of Pic del Cubil for an exhilarating descent.
At the top of this relative plateau rises the Pic del Cubil (2,358m) one of the tallest skiable mountains in Vallnord. Near its summit a 70,000 sq m artificial lake has recently been constructed to feed the snow guns on the lower slopes, with 371 artificial snow cannons in Pal-Arinsal covering around 19km of the 63km ski area.
Above Arinsal itself there are 2 green runs and a snow playground, 9 blue runs, 6 red runs and 3 black runs. On the Pal side of the Pic del Cubil (but still accessible from Arinsal) there are a further 2 green runs and a snow playground, 8 blue runs, 10 red and one black.
Arinsal is the dominant partner in the “piste marriage” with Arcalis where there’s only 25 runs – 6 green, 6 blue, 11 red and 2 black runs – and just 26km of on-piste skiing among 442 hectares with 74 artificial snow cannons covering 12km out of 26km on-piste skiing. To be fair Arcalis does have the edge when it comes to off-piste skiing (around 310 hectares suitable for off-piste) but Arinsal is the best place to base yourself in Vallnord until you’re ready to go off-piste.
All the pistes have a name and number making piste maps easy to follow. The lifts are also numbered and navigating the ski area is easy. Besides skiing and snowboarding Vallnord has gone out of its way to promote other winter activities including snowmobiling, mushing (dogsledding), skibikes, snowshoeing, panoramic flights by helicopter or hang-glider and horse riding.