Head to the Hautes-Pyrenees for winter sports fun
3 September 2009
The Hautes-Pyrenees offer the winter sports enthusiast a really authentic, traditional and environmentally friendly skiing holiday.
With great snow this winter in these glorious mountains plus even easier access thanks to Ryanair flights from the UK to Pau and Lourdes, this is the time to plan a ski break – right into April, as forecasts are excellent through to the end of the season
The Pyrenean ski experience is seldom one of ugly hotel skyscrapers and long queues for the pistes. The Pyrenees combine a rich cultural heritage with a sensible tourist development that carefully respects the environment. Ski resorts at the foot of the pistes and traditional villages dot the landscape with their quaint wooden chalets.
Alpine skiing, snowboarding and cross-country, apres-ski relaxation in natural warm spa waters… the Pyrenees is a quiet and friendly place to unwind and enjoy the winter sport of preference. Between France and Spain, the Atlantic and Mediterranean, welcome to the southern mountains.
Skiing in the Pyrenees is based around twelve modern resorts, pioneers in terms of innovation and sustainable development: environmental certification, careful planning in working with the snow to preserve the natural resources, sharing knowledge on new techniques, inter-resort exchanges, complete transparency in development activities through frequent visits by both professionals and the public.
Each ski resort has its own individual identity and character and particular care is given to welcoming skiers with the aim of making their stay enjoyable. This includes 'hands free' lift passes, online and telephone reservation of lift passes, ski time automatically debited from visitor bank accounts, warming drinks offered on the pistes, security advice and so forth.
Sample package: Peyragudes Family Holiday
From about GBP857 per family (two adults and two children) for seven nights in a chalet including six days lift passes and an entrance to the Balnea thermal spa. Also included is a visit to the sled dogs centre.
There is lots of fun to be had in this lovely resort at the foot of the pistes. After skiing try a descent on an inflatable toboggan, or the magical experience of a torchlight descent. The curious will love visiting the sled dogs at their base and for a moment of perfect bliss head to Balnea, well-being and thermal spa centre with its American Indian setting, totems included!
Sample package: Long Weekend at the Domaine du Tourmalet resort
From about GBP28 per person based in a ten-person chalet which has views over the Pic du Midi from this crossroads of the Tour de France passes – Sainte Marie de Campan. The price includes three nights in the chalet and all booking fees.
The Domaine du Tourmalet, is the largest ski area in the Pyrenees: 100 km of pistes for skiers of all levels and it has a freestyle snowpark. Everything needed to enjoy the pistes is to hand, from a break at a high-altitude restaurant to enjoy the sunshine to the view of le Pic du Midi. For thrill seekers, go for the freeride ski descent of Pic du Midi and finish the day off with night skiing on the floodlit pistes of the la Mongie. After the skiing, relax at Aquensis, spa and well-being centre.
More time to ski, fewer restrictions, it all makes for a great ski holiday, and only in the Hautes Pyrenees!
For more information visit pyrenees-holiday.com.