What better way to beat the post Christmas winter blues than a cheeky ski trip to Andorra?

After half heartedly coming up with the idea way back in October we found an amazing deal with Neilson to Arinsal, Andorra for everything minus lunch and alcohol for less than £600. So we gathered the snow lovers of the family and friends and hopped on the plane to Lleida. 

When we arrived in Lleida it was cold but clear and there was no snow in sight. Soon though we were climbing through the Andorran mountains towards Arinsal. I have NEVER seen so much snow in my life, it was amazing. The transfer is a good 3 hours but totally worthwhile and there is so much to see along the way (if you don't often see snow, hah).

Our hotel (Hotel Montane) was situated directly opposite the gondola, key for those early morning starts up the mountain. We couldn't fault it. Simple but just what we needed. As a larger party we liked a round table by the window and the staff managed to seat us there every night. The food was fantastic, great portion sizes and good range of options to suit whatever you might fancy. The staff were equally as lovely and very good company!

Just outside the hotel door!

It was about time I pushed myself out of my comfort zone a bit more so I decided not to go the easy route of skiing (as I can already ski) and instead try snowboarding which I have been wanting to try for so long. I was also the only snowboarder in our group so all the more reason for my bravery and going it alone...

After a little play in the snow we began the holiday properly with drinks at one of the local bars which soon became my favourite, Cisco's, followed closely by The Derby

Then it was up early for breaky and our first lessons of the week. My instructors Norbert and Rosie from the Vallnord ski school were absolutely fantastic, I could not have wished for a better pair. 

Snowboarding is definitely a lot more difficult to start with than skiing. You spend a lot of time on the floor (what we like to call taking a 'planned rest'). But by the third day the confidence is building which is absolutely key to snowboarding. Confidence and making sure you are relaxed! 

We enjoyed lunches together up the mountain before heading back onto the slopes to practice.

The first few days visibility wasn't brilliant but this meant that we got loads of snow and then the second half of the week was brilliant sunshine. Best of both worlds really.

On the Wednesday we decided to go night tobogganing which was so much fun and we warmed up afterwards with mulled wine. Due to high winds the gondola back down was closed so we had to wait for a bus but it wasn't all bad as this meant more mulled wine!

Arinsal is such a lovely resort. It is perfect for beginners but there aren't too many more challenging slopes however your ski pass covers 2 other resorts as well, Pal and Archilles which offer plenty more exciting runs. The apres ski and night life is also awesome and SO much cheaper than the Alps.

As there are quite a few pictures I've split our week into 2! Check out the second part here.

Have any of you been to Andorra? Or are you planning on learning to snowboard? I'd love to hear!

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