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Reviews for Vallnord / Arcalís

Read skier and snowboarder-submitted reviews on Vallnord / Arcalís that rank the ski resort and mountain town on a scale of one to five stars for attributes such as terrain, nightlife and family friendliness. See how Vallnord / Arcalís stacks up in the reviews, on and off the slopes, from skiing and family activities to the après scene. Read up on pros, cons and other comments in reviews left by fellow skiers and riders. Don't forget to submit your own Vallnord / Arcalís review! Scroll to the bottom of this page to let other travelers know about your skiing and resort experience. For more destination information, click Add to Compare to see a side-by-side comparison of Vallnord / Arcalís vs. other ski resorts (up to 10 total).

by: Giles - 30th January 2013

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 2Family Friendly
  • 1Aprés Ski
  • 2Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
off-piste, views, terrain, contiguous vertical
lift closures, poor service, access

Full review

This is my second review of Ordino-Arcalís(as I can't edit the first) and I felt driven to write a follow-up to express some reservations and disappointments. First off, the good and great: Arcalís is a snow sure spot, as far as the Pyrenees go, with one of the highest skiable summits and highest base levels. It's snow at Arcalís when it's raining at competitors, and the locals know it. This means a longer season, better snow quality and fewer yahoos(being harder to reach limits crowds). In fact, waiting in line at Arcalís is almost a lost concept. You've driven an extra hour past Grandvalira and the result is you won't be queuing, period. In addition, the lift-served Cruessans area is a freeride dream that will leave you salivating. The bad: I'm growing increasingly frustrated with Vallnord for the frequent closure of the Arcalís sector. With nearly any amount of wind blowing or snow falling, the station closes. Boom. Done. And if not the entire sector, then all upper lifts, meaning very, very limited choices. Plus, by comparison to other access roads, that of Arcalís is rather poorly maintained. Now, at first I considered this the price of skiing a hardcore mountain - but whilst skiing other resorts, of the same elevation, in the same storms/conditions - I find THEIR lifts open, and their roads clear. The frustration of paying for lodging near Arcalís, holding two day passes, and then being forced to ski the totally inferior Pal/Arinsal sectors is not justifiable in my view and entirely unacceptable. Furthermore, the service at Arcalís is terrible. Surly, understaffed employees either ignore you or run from place to place trying to keep up. Again, I put up with this bad service for the excellent terrain - but what if the terrain is constantly closing? That is when the "pros" of Arcalís begin to dwindle. At 3hrs from Barcelona, Arcalís-Ordino is a haul. Pas de la Casa can be accessed in 2hr 15min. Now, add in border crossing delays of over an hour on busy weekends, and you're talking at least 4hrs. And, at 4 hrs you can be in Boí Taull or even Baqueira-Beret. I've always been a huge Arcalís fan - it is(or was) the only place I would ski. But the poor management of the station has me looking at other options - and often.

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  • rphumphreys (23rd March 2018)

    Just spent a great week in Arinsal. Although my wife and I have ski'ed before we havent been for 10 years so...

  • Dee Bretnall (17th December 2015)

    I lived in Andorra some 20 years ago now (in my 20's!!). I now go every year with my teenage sons who,...

  • Giles (30th January 2013)

    This is my second review of Ordino-Arcalís(as I can't edit the first) and I felt driven to write a follow-up to express...

  • Giles (7th February 2011)

    Arcalís, is, at this point, my favorite resort in Andorra. It's a bit distant from ANYTHING, but we suffer for those we...

  • anonymous_user (3rd February 2007)

    Brillient family skiing including off piste. Recommended. Not over subscribed and often quiet in the week, getting busier at the weekend. Ski...

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