Snowboarding in Grandvalira, Andorra. Crash, Bang, Whallop

20 Feb 17  / Pete

That’s right, week 2 of my marathon training for Liverpool was upon me and I was spending it in the Pyranees mountains, attached to a piece of wood, firing myself down mountains in what was not always a controlled manner. Most of the time I was just praying for the best.

This would be a trip that involved me rubbing a lot of bruising cream on my back side and my neck. Now that’s what I call a holiday hahaha

Snowboarding in Andorra

My first time

That’s right, I was a snowboarding virgin prior to this week. Well, I had done my lessons at the Chill Factore in Manchester but I’d never been on a snowboarding holiday, so I thought that it was about time to go for it.

Traveling with friends

I was invited by 3 top quality people, 2 of whom I was friends with prior to the trip and one who I can now add to my wonderful bunch of mates. This is always my favourite thing about travel…the amazing friends that I get to make. Even the two lads that I knew prior to this, I hadn’t seen in a long time and it was great to get to know them better.
James, Nat and Chris, you’re all legends.

Snowboarding in Andorra

Snowboarding in Andorra
Good job these two were always looking at maps!

What did i think to Andorra?

Absolutely beautiful. The picture perfect setting of El Tarter, Grandvalira could occupy my eyes for a long time with its grand trees scaling the mountain range, sprinkled with stunning white snow as if I was in the aftermath of a used snow globe.

Ski lifts and runs in every direction that I glanced my eyes and once I was up any of the mountains, the ski runs and beauty just seemed to go on and on. It was Mother Nature’s vast playground of exercise, fun, craziness and beauty. I could see immediately that I was going to have some fun here.

Oh, this statement above counts for every area of Grandvalira except for Pas De La Casa. That was a bit of a tacky shit hole. Like a mini Blackpool with snow and a hideous giant car park that someone had built to ruin a gorgeous mountain. Everywhere else was lovely haha!

Snowboarding in Andorra
What a backdrop! How could we not take a photo?

My progress…My confidence…My awful fall

The first couple of days were going great. Sure, I was like Bambii on ice for a while as I tried to remember my lessons from several months back, but by day two I was really gaining some confidence…

Then I got a little too confident!

I was getting more comfortable with picking up good pace, so much so that I had clearly decided to see just how fast I could go and hold it. I overtook one of my friends at a good few mph, probably the fastest I’ve traveled on a big piece of wood. In his words as he looked back at the event…

“Crikey, this guy’s going fast. Bloody hell! That’s Pete. Pete definitely shouldn’t be going that fast.”

I was desperately trying to hold this pace on my toe edge. I was buzzing at the speed I was managing to hold. The adrenaline was pumping! Then, as if I’d been hit by a truck, I performed what can only be described as several cartwheels without using my arms.

“Fuck a duck! My neck! Ohhh… You bastard.”

I think these words were quite close to what I uttered out of my filthy mouth as I was on my hands and knees checking that my face was still attached to my head and that certain bones were still where they should be. I laugh now but at the time there was a second where I lost all control and my neck and head slammed into the ground at one heck of a speed. The £25 I had spent the week prior at Go Outdoors had totally saved my bacon. Thank God I decided to wear this every day. For anyone about to try snowboarding, for your own sake, please wear a helmet. If you’re a lunatic like me, it’ll pay for itself 🙂

Snowboarding in Andorra
Ah helmet…I put you through a lot this week. You took it like a champ! haha

Onwards and upwards

So, the good news is, I’m here to tell the tale of my brilliant crash. I really wish that someone had filmed it! But this crash will stick with me for a good while and teach me a few lessons along the way. It didn’t just knock me physically by giving me one heck of a stiff neck, but it also took a chunk out of my confidence.
I’ve not experienced a good kick in the confidence bollocks for a while when it comes to sport. Everything I do in running and fitness is to help build me up and make me a tougher cookie. I always believe that I can improve and get better at everything I do if I put in the hard work, but my progress dropped a lot on the slopes after this event and I feel the need to get stuck into my running the second I arrive home today to allow myself to feel in full control again. Having said that, it was still a fantastic week of snowboarding. I just had to take things a little easier and keep my daft mistakes down to one every couple of hours rather than every few minutes 🙂 I can’t cut them out entirely! Come on…this is me!

How do I feel physically?

Snowboarding for a week with just one day of rest is tough. It really takes it out of you. My legs were battered earlier in the week but by the end of it my shoulders, neck and tailbone had suffered the most. My back side? Christ! I feel like I’ve had the life smashed out of it! Haha.

Marathon training whilst snowboarding

After day 1, I went on a 35 minute run to keep my training going as planned. It was a tough run not only due to the 4.5 hours of snowboarding I’d just finished, but the gradient on the roads in this area was at least 8-9% with no let ups.

Could I continue marathon training during the week?

As day 2 came to a close we had done roughly 7 hours snowboarding that day. I decided that I should not be adding a fartlek running session on top of that! It would only be detrimental to my training in the long run, and not only that, it could have left me weak on the slopes which could have spelt disaster for me in the days to come. It wasn’t that training had come to a standstill, I was just training in a very different manner to my running plan. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done plenty of hill work for the week, which could be a great thing with my Beetham Tower stair case race coming up in 6 days time!

Snowboarding in Andorra

A great adventure

Overall, I’ve had a great time with 3 brilliant people. I’ve seen natural beauty that a picture can’t begin to do justice too and words can’t even come close to describing what I saw. I’ve shared laughs with friends as well as drinks and amounts of food that at times, was damn impressive 🙂

Two mains Pete

The night that I ordered 2 main meals consisting of a veggie burger and wedges, then 6 quesidillas. I even had an onion ring just to seal the deal. I should probably not have been so proud of myself upon finishing everything but I was. I really was.

Eating in Andorra
Two mains. I absolutely battered them! And this was on the rest day hahaha

Ciao Andorra!

It’s back to reality and the weekly grind for me. I’ve had a great time, my shoulders hurt, my neck aches and my arse is in tatters. That’s what I call a good holiday! Haha.

Thanks for reading my Mancunian drivel. You have yourself a damn fine day!!!


  • Old Fashioned Susie

    Sounds like a memorable holiday for so many reasons! Great post- I like your “voice” ?

    • Pete Nicholson

      It was great fun and most importantly, fantastic memories made.
      Thanks for your kind comments about my “voice”. I certainly try and write as I would speak. I do have to cut out the odd expletive though 🙂

  • Laura Heitzman

    I’d love to go on this type of holiday! Looks like you had a fab time despite the crash!

    Laura x

    • Pete Nicholson

      I always try my best to have a good time! It was a cracking experience and is always great to broaden the fitness regime 🙂