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Help on First time ski to Andorra

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leominster...
posts: 34
reviews: 24
Help on First time ski to Andorra

We are going to Soldeu for Xmas this year with 2 teenage sons, complete novices. My question is i am not skiing due to a neck injury , will i be able to watch the boys. Will i need a lift pass to get onto the slopes?? Thanks

Lisbon
Destination Expert
for Azores, Lisbon, Portugal
posts: 10,755
reviews: 46
1. Re: Help on First time ski to Andorra

Maybe if you register at SoldeuOnline - "This web site has been put together by Lisa and Simon who are past residents of Soldeu... when we first arrived in town, it took us a while to find our way around and find out what was where, so we thought we'd help the next vistors out!" - you get all the informations you need (not only this one). I've been in the Grandvalira area but I was skiing so I had a valuable pass for every resort.

New Forest National...
Destination Expert
for Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee
posts: 43,582
reviews: 91
2. Re: Help on First time ski to Andorra

Hi,

Non skiiers can buy a pass for the gondola ( telecabine) up to the slopes, but you cannot use chairlifts - so you will be able to travel in the gondola up to the skiing area with your sons. When you exit the gondola station at the top, the ski school building and lesson meeting points are to your right, so not far to walk.

As they are complete novices, they will be using the button lift and nursery slopes in this area, so you will be able to watch them and take photos and video if you wish from a distance. There are two restaurants here as well, with indoor and outdoor seating - one on the left of the gondola station, and one on the right near the ski school buildings.

It is a pretty plateau, so quite pleasant for a non skiier to sit and watch people, as long as it is not too cold. You will need warm snowboots and clothing of course, hat and gloves, and sunglasses. You may want to use snow walking poles.

You can choose to have morning or afternoon lessons in Soldeu - 10am to 1pm or 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Mornings are the most popular, so if you want this time, you need to go up on the first gondola on Monday morning to book your sons in. You cannot prebook your lesson time, you have to register at the ski school office on the slopes even if you have already booked ski school. Once mornings are full, people can only book afternoon lessons.

I have written some information for first timers in other posts here, including clothing, lockers, etc.

The gondola station is in the centre of Soldeu street, next to the Sport Village hotel. Soldeu is not a big town, so most hotels are within easy walking distance of the gondola. You can hire lockers for skis/ boards/ boots at the entrance to the gondola station, on the left hand side. One locker can take 4/5 pairs of boots with skis/ poles/ boards. Cost is about € 50 - 60 per locker.

Look in the Top Questions on the Soldeu forum and also the Andorra forum page.

These are useful links to read -

http://www.soldeu-andorra.com/ski-school.php

Photograph number 1 on this link shows the Sport Village hotel and gondola station on the side of it.

http://www.worldtravelguide.net/ski/soldeu

I have written reviews of the Sport Village, Piolets and Bruxelles hotels on TA, with some resort information.

Edited: 6:16 pm, December 04, 2010
New Forest National...
Destination Expert
for Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee
posts: 43,582
reviews: 91
3. Re: Help on First time ski to Andorra

If your sons progress quickly, they could be moved up to a higher class, and will then be skiing further away, so you will not be able to see them. Classes usually ski to El Tarter, and stop for a drink/ snack break at the restaurant/ cafes there.

El Tarter is not far from Soldeu, so you could catch the bus from Soldeu street, along to El Tarter, then go up in the telecabine there to watch skiing, and maybe meet your boys or watch them skiing on the slopes there. Check whether your non skiier telecabine pass will also cover the telecabine from the car park at El Tarter.

El Tarter is a good resort for watching, as there are two restaurants/ cafes where you can sit and watch skiiers coming down from various different directions and slopes.

Edited: 6:26 pm, December 04, 2010
leominster...
posts: 34
reviews: 24
4. Re: Help on First time ski to Andorra

Thank you for your help. Do you have any other suggestions for a non skier. I have heard there is a wellness centre in one of the hotels?

What about shopping locally?

What evening activities would you recommend in the area?

New Forest National...
Destination Expert
for Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallee
posts: 43,582
reviews: 91
5. Re: Help on First time ski to Andorra

There is a very nice spa/ pool/ wellness centre in the Sport Hermitage hotel, just along from the Sport Village, and opposite the Sport Hotel. You need to book this in advance when you are there - I think you canbook a 2or 3 hr session, but can also book various treatments and programmes lasting one to five days.

See this site.

www.sportwellness.ad

info@sportwellness.ad

It is quite expensive though, but guests of the Sport hotels get a discount. There is also a nice pool, steam room, outdoor jacuzzi at the Piolets Hotel, also near the gondola. Take flip flops and maybe a swimming hat with you in case they are required.

Soldeu is only a small resort, but has all the necessary shops like chemist, post office, small supermarkets, gift shop and of course skiwear/ equipment shops, bars and some restaurants.

Where are you staying? When we were there in February, we stayed in the small 2* Bruxelles hotel, which does not have a lounge area, so after dinner we went to a bar or one of the other hotels for the evenings. One of our party decided to have a day off skiing, so she relaxed in the Sport Village lounge, which is very spacious, smart and comfortable, with good views of people skiing back to resort.

You can catch a bus to Andorra La Vella if you wish, which is the capital of Andorra.

The main evening activity that we have done ( apart from apres ski drinking, listening to live music in the Aspen bar or Fat Alberts, or quiz nights in the hotels ) is the El Tarter by night sledging excursion. We booked this with our rep in resort, and caught a coach from Soldeu main street to the gondola at El Tarter. There were large tyres, circular teatrays, and bumboard sledges to use, and a piste basher for people to look at or sit inside. After sledging for a couple of hours, we had a BBQ type meal in one of the restaurants on the slope, so I think it ended around 10.30pm. Our boys thought it was quite fun and spooky going down in the gondola in the dark, seeing all the lights below. Everyone enjoyed this excursion.

There is a husky dog track at El Tarter, wher you can learn ' mushing' standing on the sledge behind the dogs. They are close to the main chairlifts and restaurants at the top of the gondola.

You can also do Parascending from El Tarter, if you are not scared of heights, harnessed to a professional.

To be honest, after we have been skiing all day, had a shower, then dinner, then a few drinks, we are ready for bed!

However, once our boys were teenagers, they were straight off to the bars ( mainly the Aspen, Fat Alberts, The Village Irish bar, or the Iceberg bar ) after dinner, meeting old friends and the ski instructors, and staying out until the early hours.

Soldeu is a very safe, small resort, so we never worried about them being out late. Many people return there year after year, so they often met friends and instructors from previous holidays.

It is not like large resorts eg. Alpe D'Huez, and other ski resorts in France, which have lots of shops, ice rink, outdoor pool etc, but being small it is far more personal and friendly. We have taken our boys to other ski resorts, but they still prefer Soldeu.

Edited: 10:11 am, December 05, 2010
6. Re: Help on First time ski to Andorra

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