Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better!
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Driving to French Pyrenees with family - recommendations please!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

New to this forum, and am researching our first driving ski holiday for the family (children are 7 and 10 and beginners, me and the wife intermediate skiers).

We usually ski the Alps, and fly from England, but have recently moved to the west coast of France, and so driving to the Pyrenees is our easiest option this year.

I know nothing about the French Pyrenees, and have never driven to ski before. I'm thinking that having the car gives us more options (i.e. we don't have to stay right on top of the lifts), but don't really know.

Any tips / advice greatly appreciated. We're going over Christmas, and would prefer the west side of the Pyrenees just to keep travelling time down.

Thanks all!

Andrew
snow report     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Christmas snow is always a question of being in the right place. How far down the west coast are you based?
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
PS Welcome to Snowheads
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
We used to ski in Peyragudes, nr Bagneres de Luchon, and stay in Gouaux de Larboust, a quaint village just down the hill. Further West are St Lary and Cauterets - from memory, both also very appealing.
latest report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks both,

We're in the Vendee, so looking at about a 6hr drive to the closest resorts in the Pyrenees, I'd guess - nearer 9 hours to the ones over to the east, which is a bit too far without an overnight.

Been looking at Peyragudes and also St Lary - both look nice.

Was thinking we'd stay away from the centre of town and drive in to ski every day, just to keep the accommodation costs down a bit, but I don't know whether that would be a load of hassle - don't want to end up so far away from the resort that it's a chore, or worse still, impassable!
snow conditions     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
We've skied a couple of times in Barèges, staying with http://www.mountainbug.com. Nice skiing area and great value! We've driven up both times but not needed the car as there's an efficient ski bus up through the town to the ski area (although it's not so efficient when it's tipping down with snow!!) No idea what the Christmas snow conditions are like.
snow report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I'll check out Bareges, thanks homphomp!
latest report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I've only been there in summer so can't comment on the likely snow cover but St Lary is a lovely resort and easy to drive to (no hairpins). It is a short drive from Loudenvielle where there is a wonderful spa..look up the balnea.
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I wrote this on another site after visiting a couple of times in 2011 and 2012. The high temps were during an early easter trip.

Price Paid
N/A
Booked Trip Through
Organised ourselves
Times Visited
2-5 Times
Review Detail
My brother in law lived in Pau, and we made 3 trips over to visit Gourette from 2007-09.

Each time we stayed in Pau and drove up each day, about 45 minutes, so I don't know what accomodation is like or prices.

Parking was easy and copious, wit hplenty of buses up to the town centre. From there, it's a couple of hundred yards to the snow. Lift passes were relatively cheap compared to more mainstream resorts. It is mainly french locals there, with a few spanish. It's not the sort of place people generally fly to to spend a weeks holiday there. More a local resort for the odd weekend or day trip if you live nearby.

The first year we went there was very little snow, only about half the pistes were open and there was plenty of grass and rock showing through the snow. The last year they were having to dig trenches through the snow for some of the chair lifts to pass through!

It's mainly shorter blues with a reasonable number of greens and reds and a couple of blacks.

We went there after one previous week of boarding, so it was a great learning area. Several blues combined a bit of fun and twists and turns, with some flatter wider spaces ideal for linking big turns and practising your switch riding.

If you are an experienced boarder, looking to do a run once, then go to a new one, you will quickly run out of pistes.

It can also be hot in the Pyrenees. We had 16 degrees on the slopes. I was baking for one of our trips. Tends to mean by the afternoon the snow is slush. So first thing in the morning you ride on ice, about 10 am - 12 you get reasonable snow, then it all gets very soft again, so check the forecasts...


Overall it was great for convenient access, price and simplicity whilst learning, and we had some good lessons there too. But outgrown it now, and would look for bigger resorts with more to offer.

Although there is a lovely chalet style hotel on the slopes, about 300 yards from town, and if I could spend Christmas there for a lazy week of comfortable boarding, then I would be very tempted!
Strengths
Quieter,
Lots of space outside of school holidays,
Virtually no Brits!
Cheap for French snow.
Great for 2nd to 3rd week beginners/improvers.

Weaknesses
Relatively small for experienced riders.
Weather forecasts need careful checking for snow/temps, so don't book to far ahead.
latest report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
You can also pop into Andorra, Grandvalira if you wish, entering with the tunnel through to Pas de la Casa. Huge resort now, and good English-speaking instructors for the children if you wish.
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Just a quick comment to say that in the Pyrenees it's completely normal to drive to resort. On the French side, there is usually (always?) a gondola up from the village, so that you don't actually need to drive up the mountain itself. So staying somewhere cheaper out of town is a fine idea if you prefer to dine in with the family. I've not been, but I'm told that Luz-Saint-Sauveur is a rather lovely place to stay, and serves several resorts. I also like Sant-Lary, and I second the Balnea Spa recommendation!
latest report     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks everyone for the responses - like the sound of the spa! Looks like the kids might be booked onto some full-day lessons!

Lots to look at now, so will do some googling and see where we end up.

Thanks again - great forum!
snow report     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
(Duh, can't tell west from east - forget Andorra). Any reason you want to stay on the French side? That rules out some nice Spanish side resorts, I think Formigal looks like a good size.
latest report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
No reason really, just trying to keep journey time down.
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
OK, after lots of head-scratching and Googling, we've decided to go for an apartment in Luz Saint Sauveur which gives us access to Cauterets, Luz Ardiden and Bareges.

On snow watch now but it's looking good so far!

Thanks to all for your tips - it was really helpful, and I'll post some info once we've been.

Have a great season everyone,

Andrew
ski holidays     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy