Crashing Andorra: Seth Hill’s adventure through a hidden land

March 7th, 2013 by

To start off I will assume that most of you don’t even know where Andorra is, not because I’m assuming you failed geography in school, just because I didn’t know myself until I went there for the first time last year. So to make things easy, let me tell you that Andorra is a tiny country on the edge of Spain and France, in the very middle of the Pyrenees Mountains.

Photos: Alba Pardo

And if you have heard of Andorra, you possibly have a misconception, not to say that the general consensus of a snooty tourist vibe can’t be found, but for the most part Andorra is filled with good people and an absolute love of snowboarding. At least this goes for basically everyone I’ve met out there.

andorra-map
Screen grab from Goggle Maps. View the full map here.

Now, remembering that trip from the distance, as it has now come to an end, I can say that in a week I’ve experienced every aspect of the snow scene there: Starting off with powder lines and rounding up with contest wins, hav ing had productive street sessions and fun park laps… I can’t help it but tell you every bit of my short, random and fun trip.

The week before I had arrived, the country as a whole received over 4-feet of snow in every town, village and resort. And on top of that I came on a weekday so the resorts were empty. From a casual 10- 4 we got knee to waist deep fresh tracks with legit blower snow, easily accessed by T-bar and chairlift. Unfortunately, due to high winds the top of the resort didn’t open, but that did not keep us from stacking shots and enjoying some fluffy powder.

Later that week, when the snow began to warm and get tracked, we decided to spread our time to the super fun, quickly lapped Vallnord snowpark built and designed by ASP snowparks (the SPT equivalent there in Andorra). With the sun shining and local filmer, Emilio, following closely, we lapped the park over and over while enjoying a perfect flowing jump line and fun boxes and rails.

seth-hill-andorra

I must say the park scene is a little different out there than in Breckenridge, where I frequent. It’s much more laid back: no lines, no ski patrol slowing you down and no need to hike seeing as the lap is so fast. Within a few hours we had stacked some clips, shot some photos and we were ready to head to the streets to expand our shot list.

Even though we spent most of our time in the Vallnord area, meaning “north valleys”, there is another very popular ski area in Andorra with a bit of an Aspen vibe called Grandvalira, which we hit up for an evening contest.

Once again, a super fun park, with a 30-second T-bar, made this place so quick to lap without any hassle. As Grandvalira is about a 40 minute drive from where we were staying, we only decided to head over there because of the contest called “Rails, Beers and Burgers”. With that name and knowing the organizers, we knew it was going to a be a cool contest with an “all about the fun kinda vibe,” which it totally was.

The contest was free to enter with one overall winner. There were four different features with prizes being awarded for tricks called out by the event organizers. As things wrapped up, Madrid homies Arturo Alonso, Chupe and myself were in a battle for the win. I sealed the deal with a blunt someway on the wall ride, and a BS 5 onto the flat down rail. Obviously stoked on the win, and the cash, I was ready to celebrate. So we checked out the nightlife and really got that “homie local connection” which was awesome being such an outsider crashing on their event.

As far as European snowboarding destinations go, I would say Andorra is a must. You can easily ride every type of terrain and conditions within a very short drive. On top of that, the cheap booze and tax-free shopping doesn’t hurt either.

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