The Western Pyrenees National Park is a favourite destination of hikers and mountain enthusiasts. The area is on the Tour de France’s route, and has popular ski resorts in Hautes-Pyrénées such as Barèges-La Mongie, Gavarnie, Luz-Ardiden, Cauterets, Hautacam, Piau-Engaly and Saint-Lary-Soulan.
There are some cracking events coming up in March, and here are seven reasons why you should be there.
1) Party at The Poney Session, St Lary
Coincide your holiday with The Poney Session in St Lary: Ride by day, electro party by night. 3 days of fun on and off the slopes – 50 riders compete in slopestyle events with cash prizes up for grabs. Also, returning for 2014, four snowboards will be painted live with charity auction at the end of the evening
2) Dash down the Derby du Pic du Midi
Take part in the “Derby du Pic du Mid” on Saturday 22 March 2014 – a huge race from the top of the Pic du Midi and the first to the bottom wins – anything goes, skis, telemark, snowboard etc. Limited to 100 entrants. Entrance free from 50E including access to Pic du Midi and Grand Tourmalet ski area, post-race meal in La Mongie
3) Piste basher Moonlit Ride
Climb aboard a piste basher at 17.30 for an adventure around the Grand Tourmalet ski area – ask questions and discuss with the driver the workings of the machines. End with a local aperitif at 19.00. Available twice weekly, Monday and Thursday. €27/adult, €22/child – €88/family (2 adults & 2 children).
4) Technique time with L’Ancienne Post
Beat the Easter crowds and prices and enjoy a week’s skiing in March staying at L’Ancienne Poste, a luxury ski lodge in the French Pyrenees. The lodge is within a ten-minute drive of three ski resorts; Val Louron , perfect for beginners, St. Lary, and Peyragudes. L’Ancienne Poste is a new 6-bedroomed chalet, originally built in 1864 and was the village post house until the late 40s. James Dealtry, an Englishman who is a fully-qualified French mountain guide and ski instructor began renovations in 2010 and it now runs as a luxury chalet in the heart of the French Pyrenees offering three hours of free tuition from James on four mornings of your holiday.
5) RIP Curl Cauterets
RIP CURL “Alive and Kickin” is a European Tour organized by Monster Energy with one of its 15 stops being in Cauterets – any age, boarders or skiers can hit the rails in the Snowpark. Fun barbeque for all, live music into the evening of 16 March.
6) Peyragudes new ski tour – first tracks, fresh tracks
For the first time, Peyragudes offers ski-touring to the top of the resort and descent for first tracks before the lifts open. The session starts at 08:30, at 1600m, with a member of the ski patrol. Climb on touring skis for just 30 minutes and the resort is your own to explore: FREE with a Peyragudes lift pass. The group holds up to 5 people max in a session and with pre-booked reservations only.
7) Ryanair shuttle service: Ski resort transfers made easy
After the success of its service last winter, Ryanair continues to offer a great value ski shuttle bus for just 15 Euros one way. All skiers travelling from the UK to Lourdes Pyrenees airport on Ryanair from London Stansted this winter – flights from just £40 – can transfer up to their chosen ski resort -Peyragudes, Saint Lary, Grand Tourmalet (La Mongie/Bareges), Luz-Saint-Sauveur and Cauterets on the shuttle bus. The service runs to 26 April 2014 and has been introduced by the Hautes-Pyrenees region to help reduce CO2 emissions and to encourage more skiers to the slopes. Book at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 00 33 5 62 32 92 22