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Skiing in Andorra

What’s a holiday in Andorra without skiing? Sure, dog-sledding, snowshoeing, and snowboarding have their merits. Building an igloo, ice-skating, or riding a snow-bicycle can also be fun. But there’s nothing like the rush of the crisp, cool wind on your cheeks as you slalom down the slopes.

Andorra is perched on the Pyrenees Mountains, right between France and Spain. Because of its altitude, ski season runs from December to summer. One of the most popular ski areas is Grandvalira, home to seven ski schools and 450 instructors.

Grandvalira is divided into sectors, and one of these is Encamp, where a few museums and an old mediaeval complex are located. Canillo is all forests and mountains, and within lies the Santuario de Meritxell, a remarkable structure dedicated to Andorra’s patron saint. Pas de la Casa is probably the liveliest, bursting with discos and shopping districts. No worries about daycare facilities; tots will enjoy Disney’s Mickey Snow Club.

In Vallnord, there are three sectors: Arcalis, Arinsal, and Pal. Woodlands, untouched zones, and powdery passes are just the thing for ardent skiers. There are endless free-riding areas for uninhibited fun, where skiers can weave in and out of trees or zoom down a steep incline.

After a day of rigorous activity, the thermal baths in Caldea are a perfect place to soothe aching muscles. Guests can take their pick of indoor and outdoor lagoons, Indo-Roman baths, and an outdoor Jacuzzi. There is even a nightly multimedia show, “Mondaigua,” a spectacle of light and water, at the indoor lagoon. Vinotherapy, featuring a wine wrap, and chocotherapy, featuring a cocoa scrub, are other offerings, as well as an entire selection of “Massages of the World.”

No wonder Andorran citizens are expected to live up to 85 years old.

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