Ordino Arcalis

Ordino Arcalis

Overall Rating

Ordino Arcalis

Ordino Arcalis4/51
Ordino Arcalis4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Bakhmaro Cat Skiing Powderproject
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Andorra Ski Resorts

Grandvalira
Pal Arinsal

     Ordino Arcalis Ski Trail Map
  • Ordino Arcalis Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,940m - 2,625m (685m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    Unknown (but the most in Andorra)
  • Lifts (16)
    1 Gondola
    4 Chairs
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Early December to Mid-April
    9:00am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 30km
    Longest run - 5km
    Advanced - 10%
    Intermediate - 48%
    Beginner - 42%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 21/22
    Adult – €41
    Child – €34.80
    Child u/6yr - Free
     Ordino Arcalis Freeride Zones Map
  • Ordino Arcalis Freeride Zones

Ordino Arcalis - Reviews

Ordino Arcalis - Reviews

Andorra's Best Snow & Freeride

12/08/2020

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    March
  • Admin Rating
    5

Andorra's Best Snow & Freeride

12/08/2020

The Powderhounds know we are at home in European ski resorts when the crowd lining up for first lifts are all equipped with fat skis, touring bindings & backpacks. It also means competition! Luckily, the competition is friendly, even though frenetic!

We arrived on what locals said was the busiest day of the year. In what had been a lean January & February we chanced a March day with deep fresh powder, a blue sky, no wind. The ‘first lift crowd’, albeit not large, went absolutely berserk off the resort’s main chair, La Basera. Skiers & boarders were hurtling down at warp factor 10 slashing lines in the 620m vertical of variable powder at a pace seen in only a few resorts in the world. Crazy super fun that left us breathless trying to keep up in unfamiliar territory. A few laps off-piste and we snuck over to the ‘O’ – the oversized symbol of the resort. One of our team scored a fresh line as the rest of us got suckered into some unsullied deliciousness just before it. By the time we returned, this classic run was thrashed & trashed, making it a reasonable challenge for the eventual photo shot.

Ordino Arcalís isn’t huge, but it is Andorra’s premier freeride ski resort (it is home to a Freeride World Tour event). The terrain is varied & studded with loads of natural jumps, rollers, woops & yips, plus trees to assist in upping the fun factor to 11. Its high altitude give it the best snow in the region adding significantly to its powder hound appeal.

On the piste, Ordino Arcalis is excellent for beginners & intermediates. A lovely long novice trail runs for 5km from the top of La Basera chair, all the way to the base area via La Coma. At La Coma, the high alpine base gets sun & has loads of snow in the rolling slopes of the bowl. In the main L’Hortell base all abilities are catered for. There are a couple of short piste trails for advanced riders, but who cares. That’s not what you came for, is it?

The lift accessed off-piste, whilst filled with fun natural elements, is relatively petite in scale when compared to the freeride behemoths of the Alps (think Chamonix, Verbier, Engelberg, Andermatt, La Grave et al). Nevertheless, when in Rome......! The backcountry is wide-ranging & easily accessed via short boot-packs or skins from the lifts. Tree skiing is great off the top of the L’Hortell T-Bar lift. Runs can take you on north or south-aspect slopes & to the other side of the road tunnel where a walk, or a hitch from one of the friendly locals, will get you back into the resort.

Skiers’ left of the La Coma Chair the wide bowl is lined with multiple couloirs. Access is relatively easy & a line was well and truly formed by 10.30am. The skiable vertical is relatively short, but powder filled couloirs are always sweeter when earned. We confirmed it to be true.

We were disappointed the Freeride chair (Creussans) didn’t open at all. It heads up to the highest lifted point in the resort allowing full vertical descents (685m) all the way to the base, but it appeared they had no intention of even trying. We do wonder about a resort management team that don’t open lifts in perfect snow & weather conditions on the season’s busiest day!

Lunch at the outdoor BBQ section of La Coma restaurant can allegedly be hit or miss, but for our large group it was an absolute hit. The Margret d’Anec (duck), Barbacoa Veggie amb Barrata de Bufala (grilled vegetables) & La ½ Espatila de Xie (lamb) were sensational & reasonably priced. Ignore the reserved signs on the empty tables – they are there to discourage picnickers taking the tables!

Another quality option is the mountaintop Refugi Les Portelles; a small establishment playing glorious hits of the pre-2000s, pleasing most, but bemusing others. Food is deliciously local & views are awesome.

As with everything in Andorra, getting up the hill is only a short drive, but it is to a reasonably high altitude (1,940m) on a shaded windy road that can be interesting to drive (to say the least). Unlike Pal-Arinsal (with the gondola from the centre of La Massana) or Grandvalira (with its Funicamp gondola), Ordino Arcalis has no such lift accessed luxury. The L6 bus is the safest bet if not willing or able to drive. Once there, all car parks are close to the lifts, with P2 the best for the lift bases & ticket office, and P4 ski-out ski-in further up the hill.

There is NO accommodation at Ordino Arcalis ski resort. One is best staying in the major valley town of La Massana. Not overly pretty & often without snow, La Massana not only has a range of great places to stay at, but also loads of shops, bars, restaurants & the gondola station up to Pal ski area all within walking distance. The nightlife score here refers to the combination of après ski on the hill, & the potential entertainment in the valley!

We had a fantastic visit to Ordino Arcalis. The resort has a fun & adventurous vibe, the crowd is way more pleasant than at Grandvalira, the terrain is weighted heavily toward off-piste & the price wont leave you without an arm or leg.

You can see our thoughts on the pros and cons on the Ordino Arcalis overview page and also see our European ski resort ratings page regarding how we score it compared to other skiing areas.

See our video here