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With fantastic après-ski and high, snow-sure slopes, Pas de la Casa is a great choice for holidaymakers on a budget...
Pas de la Casa ski holidays take place on the higher side of Andorra's Grand Valira ski area - which has been formed by its union with the neighbouring resorts of Soldeu and El Tarter.
Pas de la Casa is an old favourite of the budget-skiing scene, and its appeal has increased considerably since Grand Valira came into being, offering 193km of smooth, wide and intermediate-friendly pistes. Don't come expecting Alpine sophistication however: Pas de la Casa is a high, treeless, purpose-built ski resort, which can get pretty raucous at nights. Anyone who values their sleep should check into Soldeu, at the other end of Grand Valira, or pick another ski area altogether.
Pas de La Casa sits at an altitude of 2,100m, and its pistes rise to 2,570m. On a clear day, with good snow, Pas de la Casa is a great place to ski or snowboard, and the trip over to Soldeu is a blast - over undulating terrain, and across several valleys. Snow cannons provide lots of back up for the natural stuff, and the lifts are, for the most part, fast and efficient.
That's the good news. The bad news is that when the clouds come down you won't be able to see a thing. This is a common problem in resorts above the treeline - but in Pas de la Casa at least, provided the road over to Soldeu isn't closed, you can take a bus over to Soldeu and El Tarter, where the tree-lined pistes will give you a bit more visibility.
Bear in mind Andorra's climate too. Because it's so close to the Med and the Atlantic, the temperature tends to see-saw all over the place, and natural snowfall tends to come in cycles of feast or famine. As a result, the resort sometimes relies heavily on its man-made snow. Anyone in the market for deep, off-piste powder should only book a skiing holiday in Pas de la Casa at the last minute, when they know a storm is coming.
Two groups that are particularly well-served by Pas de la Casa are freestylers and beginners. The former can feed off the young, snowboard-friendly scene here - as well as an impressive array of facilities. The latter will love the ski school's English-speaking instructors.
It's a three-hour transfer to Pas de la Casa from Toulouse airport...
You can also drive up from Barcelona, which will take around three and a half hours.
Pas de la Casa, and the Grand Valira ski area, are perfect for beginners and snowboarders keen to practice their tricks...
Intermediate level skiers can also have a lot of fun here, although experts will struggle to find enough challenges.
With bars aplenty, but a bit of a dearth of good restaurants, Pas de la Casa caters best for those seeking alcohol-fuelled fun...
You'll either love the nightlife or hate it. Pas de la Casa has a full-throttle après scene, which is very British in style and atmosphere. It's hard sometimes to convince yourself you're not actually back home in Blighty. Two of the key bars are Underground and Milwaukee - busy from early till late - though there are plenty more to choose from. By contrast, the restaurant scene is seriously underdeveloped - reflecting the priorities of most of the resort's guests, for whom dinner is a simple act of refuelling between skiing and partying. However, you can get a great steak at the KSB, which turns into a club at midnight, and a more interesting menu at L'Husky.
Pas de la Casa has a leisure centre with a pool, bowling and a smattering of mountain activities. But unless you're happy to party all night and sleep all day - or commute down to the capital, Andorra La Vella, to shop - this is not a good resort for non-skiers. The purpose-built resort lacks charm, and doesn't have the underlying mountain or snow culture that makes places like Austria, Switzerland and Norway so interesting.
Andorra isn't quite the bargain basement it once was: but ski holidays here are still good value, considering many packages are half-board. Drinks are about the same price as they are in the UK.
On a sunny day, it's a lovely spot, fuelled by the joie de vivre of its guests, and the totally un-snobbish atmosphere on the slopes. That said, Pas de la Casa is no beauty, and the late-night partying isn't to everyone's taste.