Skiing in the French Pyrénées

Information on the primary ski resorts in the Pyrenees range with details on facilities for Alpine skiers, snowboarders, cross-country skiers and other snow sport enthusiasts...

The Pyrénées mountain range runs along the border between France and Spain, with the small country of Andorra nestling in the middle. It is 400 Km long and 70 Km wide. Although the Alps attract millions of tourists each winter season the Pyrénées tend to be less crowded and less expensive than some of the "premier" French resorts.

Did you know?

  • Andorra is the highest inhabited country in Europe, with no part of it lying below an elevation of 900m
  • Barèges is one of the oldest ski areas in France with its skiing history dating back to the 1930s
  • Napoleon III built a hospital in Barèges so his wounded soldiers could benefit from the thermal spring water
  • Moguls are the bumps created by skiers as they turn on the snow. Although many people dislike the bumps some runs are left "un-pisted" so they turn into mogul fields where the experts can brush up their technique
  • Snow parks, also known as terrain parks, board parks, freestyle parks, slide areas or simply just park, are areas on the mountain which are specially designed to cater for the freestyle skier or boarder. There are rails, jumps, slope-style, big-air and half-pipes for the more daring to try their skate inspired acrobatics
  • There are 200 summits over 2,000m in the Pyrénées; Pico d'Aneto (on the Spanish side) at 3,404m is the highest point

Ski Resorts in the Midi-Pyrénées

There are many small resorts in the area, therefore this list is not exhaustive. In total, the region is host to nearly 50 ski resorts and 1,000 Km of marked piste.

  • For a comprehensive guide to the Pyrenean resorts see website ePyrenees.com

Ariège (09)

Les Vallèes d'Ax

The Vallèe d'Ax is made up of four ski areas:

  1. Ax 3 Domaines
  2. Ascou-Pailheres
  3. la Chioula
  4. Beille

Ax 3 Domaines and Ascou-Pailhere provide tree-lined, downhill, Alpine skiing suitable for beginners and children. The other two areas, la Chioula and Beille, are popular for snowshoeing and provide extensive cross-country skiing pistes with Beille being the oldest Nordic ski resort in the Pyrénées.

Guzet

Guzet is a small resort (altitude 1,100-2,100m) with 40 Km of pistes running between 350 chalets. The resort has a ski school, ski rental, snow park for snowboarders and snowshoeing.

Mijanès-Donezan

Mijanès-Donezan ski resort (altitude 1,530-2,000m) is located 4 Km from the village of Mijanès. It caters for both cross- country and downhill skiers as well as snowshoers and sledgers.

Mont d'Olmes

Mont d'Olmes is a small resort just one hour from Carcassonne, with 23 Km of pistes and 300 hectares of skiable area. It has a children's area as well as a ski school, and it has a snow park for snow boarders. Snow mountain-biking and night skiing are also available.

Haute-Garonne (31)

Luchon Superbagnères

Luchon Superbagnères, is only 1 hour and 30 minutes by car from Toulouse. The resort is comprised of the Luchon ski area (altitude 630m) linked to the ski resort of Superbagnères (altitude 1,440-2,260m) by 17 Km of road or by a 10-minute gondola trip. There are 32 Km of pistes, organised into three sectors:

  1. Secteur Téchous: For beginners and children.
  2. Secteur du Lac: Trails through the forest.
  3. Secteur du Céciré: Long, winding trails from the highest altitudes.
  • For a trail map of Luchon Superbagnères: Click here

Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)

Gourette

Gourette is at an altitude of 1,400-2,450m and has a 1,000m vertical drop. The resort is open to skiers, snowboarders and handiskiers and beginners are well-catered for with seven hectares of dedicated facilities. The majority of slopes are served by snow cannons. There are two ski schools and two mountain restaurants.

La Pierre St-Martin

La Pierre St Martin lies at an elevation of 1,500-2,200m. It has 20 slopes, over 30 Km of cross-country ski terrain and 55 hectares of skiable pistes. The resort is available for both Nordic and Alpine skiing, snowboarding, handiskiing, sledging, snow VTT and snowshoeing, and lessons are available.

Peyragudes

Peyragudes is in the heart of the Pyrénées and offers a variety of activities for skiers and snow boarders including cross-country skiing, handiskiing, para skiing, snow-cat skiing, as well as sledging and dog-sledding. There are 60 Km of trails, high-speed lifts and one mountain restaurant. A ski school is available.

Hautes-Pyrénées (65)

Domaine du Tourmalet / Barèges - La Mongie

The Domaine du Tourmalet (altitude 1,400-2,500m), lies at the foot of the Pic du Midi and is the largest resort in the French Pyrénées. The domaine encompasses the villages of Barèges and La Mongie and has 125 Km of downhill slopes. There is also a wide variety of cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and dog sledding available.

Luz-Ardiden

Luz-Ardiden resort (altitude 1,680-2,500m) is a resort with 60 Km of downhill slopes, a snow park for snowboarders and 15 lifts.

Cauterets

Bordering the national park of the Pyrenees, the small Cauterets ski area (altitude 1,450-2,450m) is made up of two areas: Le Cirque du Lys and Le Pont d'Espagne. Le Cirque du Lys is dedicated to downhill skiing and boarding whereas Le Pont d'Espagne is a haven for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.

Gavarnie-Gèdre

The Gavarnie-Gedre ski area at 1,650-2,400m altitude has 29 downhill pistes. The resort also has Nordic trails and a children's park. It is the home of the longest green run (beginners' slope) in the Pyrénées. A shuttle service from Luz is available during school holidays in December and February.

Saint-Lary

Saint-Lary resort, at an altitude of 1,600-2,500m, has 100 Km of pistes covering 700 hectares of skiable area. Snowboarding, para skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, hiking, dog sledding and snowmobiling are available. The resort is spread across three areas:

  1. Saint-Lary village.
  2. Saint-Lary 1700 (Pla d'Adet).
  3. Saint-Lary 1900 (Espiaube).

Saint Lary village is a small Pyrénéan town at the foot of the slopes with accommodation, restaurants and other services.

Saint Lary 1700 (Pla d'Adet), is the family heart of the resort, with restaurants, lodging and entertainment available.

Saint Lary 1900 (Espiaube) is for the more experienced skier and is linked to 1700 by road and by pistes. It is also the starting point of the 3.6 Km "Mirabelle" piste, which is one of the longest runs in the Pyrénées.

Piau-Engely

Piau-Engely is the highest resort in the French Pyrénées, stretching from an altitude of 1,850m in the village to 2,560m at its highest point. The resort has 41 runs, a large space for beginners to learn and a freeride hill in the Vallée du Badet. There are two on-piste restaurants.

Across the Border in Spain

Baquiera-Beret (altitude 1,500-2,510m) just over the border in Spain, is on the north side of the Pyrénées and easily accessible from France. The resort has a vertical drop of 1,010m, over 120 Km of groomed slopes, 141 Km of slopes for snowboarders and a 7 Km Nordic skiing circuit.

Further Information

  • For general European skiing information, see the If You Ski website: Click here