Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A weekend skiing in Andorra (part one)

I have just come back from a brilliant weekend mini break in Andorra, which my friend Sophie suggested last year that we went as she had been before and absolutely loved it. Personally I have never heard of Andorra and didn’t even realise where it was or that it was a separate country* (well, more of a mini state actually) so I really didn’t know what to expect.

As soon as we got there though we knew it was going to be a good weekend! We had an amazing time in Andorra, albeit it was just four days and three nights - I would definitely recommend coming here! The long transfer is a bugger though as it didn’t match up with our flight times very well but it was a sacrifice worth making.

beautiful slopes of Andorra
nothing like a chilled rose with lunch on the slopes! 

Landing from our 7am Gatwick to Toulouse flight and a 2 hour mini bus transfer with an angry driver bombing it up the mountain, we arrived bleary eyed to the “Pas de la Casa” resort of Andorra at about 2pm, and like any pro-skier, we decided as a group that the best thing to do was to check in, dump the bags and head out for crepes and cocktails!

our chosen spot for cocktails and crepes

Unfortunately we arrived on the 14th March which happened to be a national holiday of some sort, meaning a lot of shops, bars and restaurants were shut. Annoyingly also meaning that we couldn’t pop to the supermarket and make the most of the cheap alcohol on offer (3 litre Absolute vodka for 20 euro! Hello!) We didn’t do much better the next day either when we didn’t realise that the shops shut at 8pm.

We decided that with an early start and the need for a refresher lesson we would start our skiing Saturday morning and that Friday afternoon was best saved for chilling in the hotel spa and having a nap in our totally comfy beds.

Me (right) with Charlie on the ski lift

my housemate enjoying the sun and ski

Up and ready for a 9am ski lesson with Ferran from Barcelona, we took to the slopes excited and keen and were not disappointed with Andorra’s slopes. Powdery snow, pretty mountains and easy runs, this was perfect for us. The weather was amazing too – fresh, bright and sunny! I have even come back with bit of a tan! Face and arms only. 

clear blue skies all round 

Natalie enjoying the view

Even though I had a refresher lesson, I still managed to have some epic falls, even though we were only skiing for 2 and half days. Two years ago when in Italy, I managed to flip myself onto my back, unable to stop myself and sped down the mountain on my back head first all the way to the bottom. Since then “Alice’s upside down backwards skiing” has been bit of highlight but I surpassed that trick when I managed to backwards flip over a fence...

...Pas de la Casa has a snow park on offer, a kind of Skate Park but where the jumps are made of snow. This sounded pretty cool to us so Sophie took three of us there. Having arrived at 4.05pm we were bitterly disappointed that it closed 5 minutes ago but after a bit of begging and whingeing the guy said the three of us could go in.

In my excitement, as I got up, I didn’t realise that there was a meter drop behind me, which meant me falling back, luckily being stopped by the rope fence (kind of like a hammock) that surrounded the snow park but trapping me, my skis and poles in it like a tangled fish in a net.  At this point the guy turned to us and declared that we were no longer permitted to enter the snow park and were subsequently banned.

Unhappy with me getting us banned, Nat and Charlie decided that they weren’t going to help me and left me flapping about like a strangled pigeon in the netting. Finally freeing myself after a long 5 minutes, I was up and out and desperate to go. Exhaustion clearly had the better of me though, as putting my skis back on was so immensely difficulty I somehow double back flipped over the fence, in the snow park, and landed 5 metres down the hill. I think that trumps the upside down backward skiing.  Sometimes I amaze myself that I am still alive.
Back flips were the only party trick that I was showing off with... I also became a pro at falling forward... hitting a patch of ice, face planting and skiing on my chin and nose. Yes this does look cool and somewhat refreshing on a sunny days skiing but it also results in you losing a layer of skin which is actual pretty painful.

My housemate giving the holiday a thumbs up

I think I have shared enough embarrassing stories for this holiday so later on in the week I will share with you the rest of my holiday highlights and offer some recommendations to you!

X x X

*in case you are wondering, as was I, officially Andorra is “the Principality of Andorra”, also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, and is a landlocked microstate in Southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France.

Andorra is that tiny lump on the
border of Spain and France

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