EL TARTER, Andorra — It's less than 20 miles from border to border. It has two heads of state — one a bishop from Spain and the other the president of France — but its official language is Catalan. Its mountains rise higher than 9,000 feet, and they're home to some 125 miles of ski slopes. This is Andorra, a tiny landlocked principality that's nearly all vertical, tucked in the eastern Pyrenees between France and Spain. Historically, it occupied important trade routes through the mountains, and it continues those trading ways today with duty-free goods. Splurge at Sin City's new $17 million mega buffet How to travel 'Gangnam style' Free stopovers lure travelers to Iceland 6 ways to keep your stomach safe on the road But in the winter, cheap liquor, cigarettes and perfume take second billing to snow. Andorra's mountains bring skiers from all over Europe and a handful from the U.S. A day on the lifts offers visitors the chance to practice French, Spanish, German, Catalan, Russian and other languages I couldn't decipher. Best of all, skiing usually lasts well into spring, with many resorts open until April if snow conditions cooperate. From the U.S., traveling to Andorra usually means landing in either Barcelona, Spain, or Toulouse, France, and renting a car or taking a bus. It's about 3 1/2 hours of driving from Barcelona through increasingly mountainous areas dotted with crumbling castles and soaring churches. Andorra has been a relatively inexpensive ski destination for Brits and other Europeans for years, but it wasn't very user-friendly the first time I visited in 2003. My wife and I stayed in the capital Andorra la Vela and found it difficult to get to the slopes via bus. Everyone smoked and maps and tourist information were scant.