Skiing in the Pyrenees: Three Outstanding Mountains in Three Countries


photo by CC user libargutxi on Flickr

When the topic of snow holidays is brought up in relation to Europe, most conversation revolves around the Alps, which is the massive mountain ranges that winds its way across much of the continent. Equally breathtaking, but much less talked about are the resorts that dot the Pyrenees, which is the range that divides France and the rest of Europe from the Iberian Peninsula.

While it is not as glamorous a place as the Alps, those seeking a more authentic and affordable snow holiday will love skiing in the Pyrenees (or snowboarding, as the case may be). If you are seeking a trip along these lines, these three resorts in three separate nations will make this winter the most memorable yet!

France: Cauterets

Located far away from the Alps not just in distance but in attitude as well, the laid back slopes of Cauterets in the French Pyrenees will charm you where the often impersonal mega resorts fall short of the mark.

Recent winters have seen an abundance of snow fall in these hills, so do not be fooled by this resort’s southerly location in France. While pistes here are tamer than in the steeper Alps, Cauterets more than makes up for this with the absence of crowds available to pillage the powder caches that build up through the course of an average winter here.

Being known primarily throughout France as a spa town, the perfect apres ski activity awaits physically exhausted skiers and boarders, as the hot springs that dot the area will sooth your aching muscles after a day of inspired exertion.

Andorra: Pas de la Casa

Never touched a ski or snowboard in your life, but want to change that this winter? A little short of money after blowing your wad updating your wardrobe for the upcoming cold season? If so, a ski holiday at Pas de la Casa will be of great interest to you.

Being the biggest ski area in this micro mountain nation, this resort has the facilities to serve you well, but the tame slope gradients make it a friendly place for neophytes, novices and intermediate snowsports enthusiasts to build and upgrade their skills without fear of getting seriously hurt.

Spain: Formigal

Being one of the more southerly nations in Europe, Spain’s name does not get mentioned as much in skiing and snowboarding circles, but with the mighty heights of the Pyrenees on its northern border, it does have its share of ski resorts for those looking to make the most of the snow in winter here.

One of the most fun of these resorts in Formigal, and while its relative obscurity compared to the rest of Europe ensures that the dominant language here is Spanish, it allows you to pair your ski holiday with an opportunity for a cultural exchange with native Spaniards that come here enjoy the snowy tops of some of their haughtiest peaks.


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