Ski station la Mongie. Photo by Tourisme Grand Tourmalet (Flickr: ESF de la Mongie) CC BY-SA 2.0, / Wikimedia Commons
Superb skiing without the crowds
Here in the Hautes-Pyrénées, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for both downhill and cross-country skiing without the crowds and high prices typical of skiing resorts in the Alps.
Le Bégué is just 20 minutes away from the largest cross-country skiing area in the Pyrénées – the Col du Soulor. This area links to the neighbouring Col de Couraduque, which gives skiers 100km of prepared marked pistes to choose from.
There are also circuits for snowshoe walking, with guides available if you want to head off to the more remote areas.
At the Col de Couraduque there’s a moving carpet to take the hard work out of tobogganing and a separate tobogganing area for very young children. There are also sundecks with deck chairs where you can relax and soak up the sun.
The café/restaurant, which has its own sun terrace with superb views across the Val d’Azun, serves local specialities such as garbure (a thick meat, bean and vegetable soup).
There is also an equipment hire shop which has a selection of good quality skis, boots, snow shoes and toboggans.
At the Col-du-Soulor there’s a 300m zip wire on which you can reach speeds of up to 60km an hour. Below the zip wire is the tobogganing piste. There are several cafes and restaurants and a hire shop for skis, boots, snowshoes and toboggans.
There are 5 downhill skiing resorts within easy driving distance of Le Bégué. The largest is Grand Tourmalet (45 mins away) with 100km of pistes, 40 lifts and 2 snow parks. The charming thermal resort of Cauterets is 40 minutes away. Then there are Luz Ardiden (65km of slopes) and Gavarnie Gedre with fantastic views and Europe’s longest green slope. Nearer to hand is the smaller family resort of Hautacam, suitable for beginners.
This means you can ski in a different resort each day. Whatever level of skiing you are looking for, you’ll find it here – from challenging blacks to gentle greens.
If you are not a skier, you might like to try dog-sledding or hire a snowmobile.
Then, of course, there are the thermal baths at Argeles Gazost, Cauterets or Bareges if you’re looking for a more relaxing time or a well-earned break after a hard day on the slopes.