Pas de la Casa ski resort
About Pas de la Casa
Pas de la Casa's ski area merged with neighbouring resort Soldeu in 2004 to form the giant Grandvalira area, opening up more than 200km (124 miles) of piste that's served by a huge network of state-of-the-art, high-speed lifts.
It's the largest ski area in the Pyrenees by some distance and has become one of the world's leading ski regions. In fact it has grown so big that pistes have been extended over the border into France.
But as big as the ski area is, it's the village's border location, duty free status and snow sure altitude that have been, and continue to be, the key ingredients of Pas de la Casa's success. The resort also benefits from often warmer, sunnier conditions than centres in the Alps, thanks to its southerly latitude and relative proximity to the Mediterranean.
Despite a gradual move upmarket and increasing amalgamation into the Grandvalira ski area, the resort maintains its strong independent identity and reputation as a base for hardcore snow sports fans and après-ski devotees; perhaps more than any other Andorran ski village.
Pas de la Casa ski resort is part of the Grandvalira ski area, which takes up much of the northeastern region of the small principality of Andorra. Andorra is sandwiched between Spain to the west and France to the east in the Pyrenees mountains, and is about 160km (100 miles) north of the Mediterranean Sea.
Pas de la CasaResort Elevation: 1710m
Top Elevation: 2640m
Base Elevation: 1710m
On the slopes
Pas de la Casa has an excellent English-speaking ski school and wide, sunny slopes on which to learn; so it's a good choice for beginners. Once those first turns have been mastered, there are numerous easy green runs on which to totter around. The largely easy-to-ride high-speed detachable chairlifts or walk-in gondolas take beginner skiers back up the slopes without needing to master the dreaded drag lift too early on.
Progressing on to the wider Grandvalira area, roughly two-thirds of the terrain is in the form of wide, fast blues and reds above the treeline, which are perfect for confident intermediates.
Experts, meanwhile, have more than two dozen black runs, including the toughest run, the 2km-long (1.2 miles) Avet No Fifteem. Accomplished skiers can also try heli-skiing, or an off-piste powder course with the ski school when snow conditions are right.
Despite its southerly latitude, the high altitude of the Grandvalira ski area, its mostly north-facing slopes, and its extensive snowmaking have been proven to provide snow cover over much of the terrain even in poor snow years. The ski season in Pas de la Casa typically runs from early December until late April.
Grandvalira and the other Andorran ski area, Vallnord (which covers three resort bases at two other ski areas), participate in the Ski Andorra lift pass, which is valid at any ski area in the principality.