La Massana Ski Holidays
The parish town of La Massana affords an excellent location to explore the Vallnord ski area, with a gondola up to the Pal sector, also linked to Arinsal by cable-car. It's also a good base to explore nearby Arcalis, which is around a 25-30 minute drive away. Apres ski in La Massana is much more low key than nearby Arinsal, and is more aimed at Spanish visitors.
Approximate Transfer TimesBarcelona - 3hrs 30 mins | Toulouse - 3hrs 30 mins | Lleida - 2hrs 30 mins
Skiing in La Massana
Ideally located in the heart of the Vallnord ski area, staying in La Massana provides you an excellent location to explore the Pal ski area, with a gondola up to the slopes where you will find some beautiful tree lined runs and more intermediate level terrain than neighbouring Arinsal which is linked to by cable-car. Ordino-Arcalis completes the trio of resorts that makes up the Vallnord ski area and is accessible by taking a free 40 minute bus ride.
La Massana offers a more local feel as it is a busy town as well as a holiday resort. Aimed at mostly Spanish visitors it has a much lower key après scene than nearby Arinsal and ideal for those who prefer a slower pace to their ski holidays.
Local Ski Area – La Massana
The local ski area of Pal is directly above the town of La Massana and is easily accessed by a large, modern gondola that departs from the town centre and straight into 63km of piste which is perfect for beginners and intermediates. The beauty of the Pal ski area is that much of the reds run alongside the blues so skiers of mixed abilities can easily get to the same place, at the about the same time.
The gondola from La Massana brings you into La Caubella, the main base of the resort that has some easy green runs for beginners and those just getting their ski legs back. Heading higher up the slopes to the Pic de Cubil at 2358 metres you can take La Serra which starts of a red and then into a gentler blue to take you back to La Cubella. There's only one black run at Pal, La Comellada, which is known to be a challenge with its moguls and if that isn’t enough then there is some excellent off piste and tree skiing at Pal along with four FIS approved slalom slopes.
Pal is a good area for families and groups of mixed abilities as the area is made up of mainly blues and reds but a greater selection of more challenging reds than you will find in Arinsal and a more diverse spread out ski area to explore.
Wider Ski Area – Vallnord
It’s very easy to ski from Arinsal across to the neighbouring resort of Pal, the resorts are linked by a 50 person cable car which runs across the valley from Coll de la Botella to Port Negre. Arinsal is a great base for beginners and improvers, the main slopes are located along a narrow open bowl, which keeps the layout compact and easy to navigate, great for families and groups who may want to do their own thing but not stray too far from each other.
There are some nice cruisy blues and easy reds with the upper part of the slopes offering some more challenging red runs as well as a couple of steeper blacks (which can be weather dependent) for more confident skiers and snowboarders as well as the snow park. One of the nicest slopes in Arinsal however has to be Les Marrades, a long and twisty tree lined run which leads all the way back down to the top of the village, it’s a picturesque blue run, but with plenty of nice spots where you can cut off-piste and enjoy the powder (weather permitting of course).
The lesser known sector of Ordino-Arcalis is a favourite amongst locals in Andorra and is just a great, unspoilt ski area with arguably the best skiing and conditions in the region. Ordino-Arcalis regularly hosts a stage of the Freeride World Tour and with the right weather conditions off-piste and freeride opportunities are abundant. During the week it’s generally a peaceful spot, away from the hustle and bustle of the busier resorts, with some great panoramic views across to France from the top of the Creussans lift.
Ski Extras in La Massana
In La Massana you can choose between the full area Vallnord pass, and a local area pass. There are two local area ski passes, one which provides acess to Pal-Arinsal, and the other Ordino-Arcalis. The full area Vallnord pass gives access to both areas including Pal, Arinsal and Arcalis.
Group ski lessons in the Pal sector (accessed from the La Massana gondola) start on Mondays for three to five days, and Saturdays for two days. The lessons are three hours per day and are within mixed-language groups.
We organise discounted ski and snowboard rental which is collected from Viladomat Esports, situated just next to the gondola building. They are a very experienced shop, and you can collect your equipment the afternoon before your rental starts.
We have a range of package offers including your lift pass, group lessons and equipment rental, and if you need all three then it's always cheaper to book a saver package. Just ask us for more details.
La Massana Resort Overview
La Massana is the largest of the villages in the valley and has a much more relaxed atmosphere and fewer crowds than other Andorran resorts. Arriving in La Massana isn’t like arriving in most ski resorts as it is an urban town with a sleek, modern looking lift station being the only clue to the ski area that is higher up the mountain. The gondola goes to 1950 metres which then opens up to the Pal ski area and the much larger Vallnord region
The resort itself caters for its large influx of Spanish visitors which enhances the Andorran feel of the area and also lends itself to a good array of restaurants and shops to match this need. There are plenty of supermarkets and local shops to pick up any necessities along with a bank and a collection of museums, if you want to get more of a feel for the Andorran culture.
The village is good for families and couples looking for a quieter, more chilled out vibe after spending a day on the slopes.
Restaurants & Bars
There is a good selection of bars and restaurants scattered across this resort with a strong emphasis on tapas. Taverna de Pal, is a good place to enjoy some tapas while sitting on the terrace after a day on the slopes. Argentinian steak houses are also a popular choice in the resort so great for a meal outside of the hotel.
Just down the road in Erts there are quite a few bordas where you can sample some Andorran cuisine.
With the urban feel to the resort it is no wonder some of the bars reflect this theme. Behemi (which translates as My Bohemian) is a quirky bar with retro TV’s and board games to keep you entertained.
Just below La Caubella is Pal La Border which specialises in Andorran cuisine and also offers a doughnut bar known as DonkiNauta and a sandwich bar known as Frankfurt Joan's. There's also a bar, buffet and a self-service restaurant up there with a children's playground.
Above Coll de La Botella near the Arinsal sector there is an outdoor barbeque on the slopes of Pic del Cubil and if you ski down to Pla de la Cot there is Italian food at Bella Italia.
La Massana is a relatively quiet resort where après centres around enjoying some tapas and wine as you come off the mountain. There is a very lovely family feel to the resort and the locals are friendly and accommodating.
If you do want to experience somewhere a bit livelier then many people will ski over to Soldeu to enjoy après there before getting last lifts or more sensibly the local bus back to resort.
Many of the mountain based activities take place in the Pal sector where you will find two different activity centres, El Planell is located near the top of the gondola from La Massana, and Coll de la Botella is located near the cable car which links Pal to Arinsal. If you are able to ski at an intermediate level, then you can ski across (via the cable car) alternatively you can take a bus or a taxi.
There are lots of activities to keep you busy on the mountain aside from skiing including, sledging/tubing, skidoos, mushing, snowshoes and paragliding.
La Massana has a limited offering for non-skiers, but if you have a car or are prepared to make use of the efficient local bus service, then you can certainly get around and fill a few days with other activities.
If you take the short trip down to the capital Andorra La Vella, you can take advantage of Andorra's duty-free shopping or visit Caldea, Europe's largest thermal spa and has a great range of relaxing facilities including indoor & outdoor lagoons, jacuzzi, steam room, saunas, an Icelandic bath, and much more.
There are numerous small (and somewhat quirky) museums throughout Andorra (check the opening times in winter). Naturlandia adventure park is approx. 40 minutes away and home to a number of outdoor activities, including Tobotronc, the longest nature toboggan in the world at 5.3 km.
Map of La Massana
Our resort map of La Massana will be coming soon (summer 2018).
Who is La Massana Suitable For?
With the laid back feel of the resort, La Massana is a great place for families. The gondola up to the slopes has a central location in the town and take you straight up to a central point where you will find ski school, a snow garden and links across the Pal sector and on to Arinsal. This gives families with mixed abilities a great option of being able to explore the more intermediate slopes while others are at ski school and have a central meeting point for lunch.
Andorra has a reputation for having some of the best ski schools in Europe due to the large number of native English ski instructors, making lessons less daunting for beginners. There are some lovely greens and blues that are accessible straight from the gondola in La Massana which are great for learning on or just building confidence if it has been a while since you wore skis. The wider Vallnord ski area is also great for beginners as can be accessed by cable car and has lots of crusiey blues and reds to help you progress up a level.
Non skiers have various options to fill their time including taking the gondola up to La Caubella where they can enjoy some lovely views, have lunch and watch the little ones in the snow garden. Off the slopes there are many cultural and historical museums to visit or a short bus will take you to the capital Andorra La Vella, where you can take advantage of the duty free shopping or enjoy spending time at Caldea, Europe’s largest thermal spa.
La Massana Weather Forecast
Here's the most up-to-date weather forecast for Pal, accessed from La Massana...
La Massana Webcam (Pal)
Have a look at the latest conditions on the slopes...
Spotlight: Ecrin Blanc 4* CourchevelA blog from Seren... Looking to book your next Courchevel ski holiday? Destination Ski is pleased to present a brand new hotel in the Three…
A Season In MorzineA blog from Joe... If you’re considering visiting the French Alps for your next ski holiday, Destination Ski’s team of ski specialist are h…