Grand Tourmalet - Pic du Midi
Grand Tourmalet covers the two slopes of the Col de Tourmalet, La Mongie and Bareges, making up one of the largest ski areas in the Pyrenees. It is a high, varied ski area with many possibilities for freeriding with wide sectors and forests to protect ourselves and long itineraries to get lost.
The Grand Tourmalet domain extends through two main valleys, Campan and Gave de Pau, communicated by the "Col" of the same name at 2115 m altitude, famous thanks to the Tour of France. In each of these valleys are located the main centers of the ski resort: the village of La Mongie at 1800 m, and Bareges at 1250 m, both very close to Tarbes and Pau, with very easy access from San Sebastian.
The Bareges sector is wide and has a beautiful forest area; while La Mongie has more rugged corners. Dominating this set, every time we look up, the superb profile of Pic du Midi de Bigorre, 2877 m high, appears.
The ski resort has a modern web of ski lifts, 17 green, 23 blue, 21 red, and 6 black pistes; with a total of more than 100 km located between 1250 and 2500 meters high. In addition, from the bottom station, we can do numerous mountain itineraries with different levels of difficulty.
The main sectors of this Grand Tourmalet side are:
Sector 1800. In the lower area of La Mongie, next to the buildings, we find wide and easy slopes perfect for learning .The cable car that leads to the Pic du Midi de Bigorre is also here.
Pourteilh. It is located on the other side of the valley, on its northern slope, so here powder snow is preserved longer.
Tourmalet Col. In this sector predominates the pistes of medium difficulty, all of them wide and facing south. From here is where we access the Bareges Valley.
Quatre Termes. A Fantastic and beautiful area, where we find the glacier circus formed between the Pic de Quatre Termes and the Pic d'Espade.
The main sectors of this ski area are:
The Caubere Sector, limited by the black and red pistes of Caubere, with wide slopes and a mountainous orography.
Piquette In the lower area of Bareges offers a sheltered ski zone by a beautiful forest. Skiing around the Laquette or Ayrè area is a pure
pleasure. It is perfect to ski in bad weather days.
PIC DU MIDI DE BIGORRE
The Pic du Midi cable car is located at the heart of La Mongie station. The lift takes us in just 15 minutes to 2877 meters of altitude: a spectacular
ascent to the high mountain in two stages, with a cabin change to 2341 meters, in the Pic du Taoulet. At the top, in this breathtaking spot, in
1873, they built up a small observatory.
Nowhere else in the Pyrenees can we observe the brightness of the stars like in the Astronomical Observatory of the "Pic du Midi de Bigorre", at 2877 m altitude.
Nowadays, the use of the cable car is permitted for skiing, cycling or walking (summer). The price is not included in the ski pass. The facilities
are open almost all year, but it is recommendable to check their website first.
Freeriding in the Pic du Midi is possible since the 2013-2014 winter season. Now, like in l'Aiguille du Midi (Chamonix) or La Grave, skiers can descend freely without a guide. Of course, as the information panels explain, it is a high mountain sector that involves dangers where the skier acts at his own risk.
With the two sections of the Pic du Midi cable car, you can access an area entirely of high mountain, which means that it is not controlled, or
prepared. The presence of a guide is always recommendable. In addition, it is mandatory to be equipped with a rescue kit (arva, shovel and probe).
From the intermediate station of Le Taoulet, at 2341 meters, the routes marked by a color, such as "La Jaune", "La Verte", "La Violete" or "La
Blanche" extend the possibilities of freeride descents of the Pic du Midi.
Some of those itineraries that get your adrenaline pumping and leave a mark on the memory of your mythical descents are South face of Midi de Bigorre and Southeast face of Midi de Bigorre. With many meters of unevenness and descents for all tastes: from the less complicated to the most dizzying. And among the latter, the ones of the northeast face.
In Grand Tourmalet you will find a pleasant atmosphere in the bars and restaurants and a great gastronomic variety with special attention to local food..