Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Skiing In Andorra - An Introduction

Andorra is a tiny principality in the eastern region of the Pyrenees Mountains, which run across the border between France and Spain. It is a very mountainous country where they speak Catalan, Spanish, French, and their own local dialect. English is widely understood if not spoken. The co-rulers of Andorra are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell.

The people of Andorra have the second highest life expectancy in the world. Although Andorra is not in the European Union, it makes use of the Euro because it is easier for everyone. Andorra is a very prosperous nation because it is a tax haven and its 85,000 inhabitants are hosts to more than 10, 0000, 0000 tourists per year.

Most of those tourists are skiers or are interested in skiing. Therefore, it is understood that the quality of skiing in Andorra is of excellent proportions. For people who are not interested in skiing, the views are breath taking and the clean mountain air is a tonic, which makes Andorra popular with ramblers and hikers. If you are touring the region, you can visit France or Spain from Andorra within a number of hours, depending on the weather.

The skiing industry in Andorra has come a long way since the first ski lift was installed in 1956. Most of the skiing tourists come from France, Spain, and Britain. Although nowhere in the south of France can be called cheap, Andorra levies hardly any tax on goods so this reduces the costs quite a bit. Perfume, cigarettes, and alcohol are especially cheap compared with its neighbors.

The largest skiing resort by far in Andorra is Grandvalira, which has 193 ski slopes serviced by 66 ski lifts. Andorra in general and Grandvalira in particular has a reputation of being ideal for beginners and families. This is because many of the slopes are quite gentle and the area specializes in ski schools and training. Grandvalira alone has 7 separate training centers and over 450 qualified skiing instructors. Snowboarding is also taught at many of these schools.

Vallnord is another of Andorra's famous resorts. Vallnord has perhaps a wider range of ski slopes than Grandvalira, since it also caters for the experienced skier. It is smaller than Grandvalira with only 50 different slopes and 30 ski lifts, but that assists give it a more intimate, isolated ambiance than its enormous competitor.

There are also training schools at Vallnord and it is a centre from which you can sightsee and tour. If you would like to ski, but also travel around, it is best not to take your own skis. You can travel by bus or by car, although you really should have some experience before driving through snowy mountains, where the weather can become treacherous at the blink of an eye.

If you travel by coach, you can hire skiing apparatus and clothing wherever you choose to stop off. Nowhere is far from anywhere in Andorra as the whole principality covers less than 200 square miles, but the weather can become a hazard to drivers who are not used to mountain weather conditions.


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