What’s new in the French Pyrenees

17th November 2010, by Chris Gill

St-Lary – worth a try?

St-Lary – worth a try?

It’s not only the major ski areas that have new developments ready for the season ahead ... In the French Hautes Pyrenees, resorts have made substantial investments to improve their attraction to visitors.

N’Py resorts is a collaboration of several ski areas, most fairly close to one another. These include: Peyragudes, the Domaine de Tourmalet, Cauterets, Luz-Ardiden and Piau-Engaly. Together they have introduced schemes, such as joint lift passes, to make it easier for visitors to experience more than one area during their stay; and to benefit from other attractions (such as spas and ski touring).

The Grand Ski lift pass is new and covers Tourmalet and Pic du Midi, Cauterets and Luz-Ardiden – over 200km pistes. To explore them for six days will cost from 155 euros per person.

Two resorts will boast new chairlifts this winter: Piau-Engaly and Domaine de Tourmalet (Barèges & La Mongie), both getting fast quads.

Cauterets is a popular spa and valley town, with a long gondola link up to its slopes. For 2010/11 the area will boast another huge spa facility (the resort now has six!). The Bains du Rocher covers 2500 square metres, with jade floors, glass beaded walls, mosaics, outdoor lagoon pool. The place is full of French old town charm too, and the thermal waters are a splendid relaxation therapy after a day on the hill.

Also in the Hautes Pyrenees is St-Lary-Soulan, one of the biggest Pyrenean areas, with about 100km pistes and a choice of typical French village or modern satellite station as a base. Lots of investment has been pumped the St-Lary way recently: a new gondola being the main addition. This winter the resort will also have a new boardercross course.

Being a popular region for families and non-skiers, St-Lary has recognised this by introducing special deals. The Family Plus Mountain Package is designed with convenience in mind, such as slopeside lodging, children’s play zone and inclusive non-skiers lift pass (for parents who don’t want to ski, but want to take their children up the mountain).

Finally ... if your fit and forty, Gavarnie ski area says you can ski for free this season. To celebrate its 40th birthday, the resort is giving away free lift passes to skiers and boarders also hitting the big 4-0!

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