Erts, Andorra

Photo: Hotel Palomé
Photo: Hotel Palomé

Not quite ready to give up on the ski season yet? You shouldn’t. It may be the middle of March, but the mountains are still covered in powder. After a cold, snowy winter, there will be plenty of spring skiing this year. Especially in the Pyrenees, which might remain snowcapped until the beginning of summer. So off to Andorra!

Andorra might be one of the smallest countries in the world, but it shouldn’t be overlooked as a ski destination, since it’s full of mountains. There are 65 mountain peaks, 110 ski lifts, and more than 300 kilometers of downhill trails within its only 181 square miles. Andorra la Vella is the highest capital in Europe. While gondolas link tiny villages to the slopes high above them.

After arriving in Andorra la Vella, drive northwest to La Massana. The parish, which borders Spain, is home to stone churches, thermal baths, and Coma Pedrosa, the highest peak in Andorra. You opt to start on an easier mountain, though. Ride the gondola from the village of La Massana up to Pal. The family friendly mountain offers snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides. But you head right to the forest slalom trails to break in your rental skis. Then, in the afternoon, ride another gondola to nearby Arinsal for the steeper slopes.

Photo: Hotel Palomé
Photo: Hotel Palomé

Fast snow and bright sunshine kept you on the trails all day, but now your legs are exhausted. Follow a vineyard-lined road to the little village of Erts. You’re staying just outside of town at Hotel Palomé. The stone-and-wood hotel sits near the Pollós River, which is already rushing with early melted snow. Enter the design hotel to find an iron staircase, leather couches, and a fire roaring in the hearth. Stash your skis in the ski locker. Check out your mountain-view room, where the steel and the leather are softened with light-wood furniture. Then, after a quick shower, go back downstairs for a glass of Andorran wine—perhaps a Pinot Noir-Syrah blend—at Emo.

Hotel Palomé is just a quick walk, or an even faster drive, from Borda d’Erts, where you’re eating dinner tonight. The traditional stone restaurant serves hearty meats—beef, duck, and lamb—on open grills. Between the fireplaces and the sizzling meats, it’s quite toasty inside. Despite being stuffed, you accept a warm brownie at the end of the meal.

Don’t worry, you’ll quickly work off the huge dinner and the unnecessary dessert tomorrow. You plan to ski at Arcalis, the country’s most-beautiful mountain. From Arcalis’ even steeper slopes, you’ll have a gorgeous view of Andorra’s highest peaks and the narrow valleys in between them. Everything is still covered in white. With all this snow, it certainly doesn’t seem like winter is close to being over.

Advertisements

One thought on “Erts, Andorra

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s