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Two resorts in a day
Monday March 25, 2013 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI has been in one of the great undiscovered ski areas of Europe; The Hautes Pyrenees. Undiscovered by the Brits that is. We have just skied 5 resorts in 5 days. Here is Day Three when we skied Bareges and La Monjie. And nursed a hangover.

The Pyrenees has a raw, untamed and barren feel about it. It is a huge mountain range stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean, separating northern and southern Europe.

It is something more akin to what mountain ranges should feel like rather than the overly commercial areas in some parts of the Alps.

The Pyrenees is altogether different.

When the idea of skiing in the French Pyrenees came up I jumped at the idea as I have been wishing to visit for a while.

I have skied extensively in Andorra and dipped into Spain, but never skied on the French side of the border.

There are a couple of dozen resorts and the main ones  are under an hour from each other - Saint-Lary, Bareges, La Monjie, Cauterets and Peyragudes.

I also had the misconceived idea that the resorts would be small and I might tire of them quickly - they are not and I didn't, but more of that later.

So an idea was born - a road trip. Five resorts in five days.

See here for Day One.

See here for Day Two

On the road againOn the road again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY THREE - Le Grand Tourmalet.

The first problem was that our hectic road trip hadn't allowed for hangovers.

Luckily I wasn't driving and I woke up in the resort of La Monjie with a vague recollection of getting up.

No packing was necessary obviously. I just shoved it all in a rucksack. Again.

Le Grand Tourmalet ski area comprises of the resorts of  Bareges and La Monjie. Bareges was the only resort I had actually heard about before setting off.

The two are opposites, but complement each other well. Bareges is a pretty Pyrenean resort with beautiful architecture and gentle tree-lined slopes above the village.

It has an old-fashioned feel to it where time goes slowly.

La Monjie on the other hand is purpose-built affair in a horseshoe shape with a larger building of typical French apartments just above town.

There were some great cafes and restaurants and a few market stalls.

ski or salami?ski or salami?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people were just chilling out in the sun.

Just chillingJust chilling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is only a few miles from Spain and there was a Spanish laid-back feel about the place. I was beginning to fall in love with the Haute Pyrenees.

I rented my skis from a ski shop with a bar in it.

I was offered a morning boost but my hangover made me decline.

Wimp!

The PlanetSKI idea of a ski shopThe PlanetSKI idea of a ski shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once on skis my hangover evaporated in the way it always does.

Thank You Lord.

I gave the area my all - bombing from La Monjie to Bareges as fast as I could. The pistes were wide fast and exhilarating.

The peaks spectacular and the snow awesome.

It has had one of its best winter's for snowfall in a generation and it was easy to see why.

The top of one lift was almost buried.

So much snowSo much snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is probably the best bet for the "average" British holidaymaker and one that the UK company, Ski Collection, is popular with its British visitors.

I met a British family on the lift and they were first time visitors and raved about the place.

As soon as I told them I was a journalist and writing about the resorts of the Haute Pyrenees they threatened to push me off the lift as it would encourage more people to come. I think they were joking.

But it was the night i was looking forward to.

I was going to be sleeping among the stars at the Pic du Midi Observatory at 2,900m. 

It is the highest working Observatory in Europe and I had a bed booked in the rooms reserved for the scientists.

I was promised a look through one of the telescopes, a guided tour and the following day I was intending to ski down from the top.

For a preview of what lies ahead, and a look at the journey so far, see the video below of 5 resorts in 5 days.

FACT BOX

James Cove was travelling with the British operator, Ski Collection, which is one of a handful of UK companies offering package holidays to the French Pyrenees. For further details see -  www.skicollection.co.uk

For more information about holidays in the Pyrennes see - www.pyrenees-holiday.com

For further details on La Monjie see here - http://www.skicollection.co.uk/Ski/La-Mongie.htm

For the spirit of the mountains

intersport

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