Introduction to ski touring – Pyrenees

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Introduction to ski touring

The Introduction to ski touring holiday is for experienced skiers, who are comfortable on red runs and have done some off-piste skiing but who now want to enhance their skills and leave the pistes behind. If you want to head into the mountains away from busy, noisy resorts then you will enjoy our “Introduction to ski touring” holidays in the Pyrenees. They allow you to get into the wild mountains, away from the pistes, and to see a true winter wonderland of untracked snow and silence.

Our introduction to ski touring week begins with tuition on-piste and practising your new skills, before you get away from it all and into the heart of the mountains.

Ski-touring to the Refuge de la breche.jpg

Accommodation

The first four nights, and last night, of your accommodation are based in the village of Barèges. Accommodation is at our 3-star catered Ski chalet les Cailloux.

The other two nights will be in mountain refuges as part of our hut to hut tour, so we can reach pure wilderness and empty mountains.

What the price includes

The price of your introduction to ski touring holiday includes:

  • 3-star ensuite accommodation at our traditional Pyrenees ski chalet, based on two people sharing
  • breakfast and evening meals
  • Minimum group size of 4, maximum 8
  • Mini bus transport during the ski-touring days
  • Qualified instructor and guide
  • avalanche transceiver, probe and snow shovel

What you will need to pay for out here:

  • Equipment hire, priced at around 25€ a day for touring skis, skins, crampons and boots
  • Lift passes for days in the ski resort are about 30€
  • Drinks, lunches and snacks in the ski resort and refuges.
Ski touring Pyrenees - lunch stop

Weather

As you’d expect the routes we’ll take will depend on the weather and snow conditions. Mountains are changeable things, so we could be ski-touring in blazing sunshine or in overcast, cold weather. We’d recommend you bring layers to wear so you can take them on and off as you move and cool down.

A typical week’s itinerary: Introduction to ski touring

Welcome to Bareges

Saturday – arrival

Arrange equipment and lift passes.

Sunday – learning and practice

We spend today in the local ski resort learning about off-piste skiing and familiarising ourselves with new equipment and a first introduction to ski touring techniques such as kick turns, skins, ski crampons and of course avalanche transceivers.

Taking the skins off in the Aygues Cluses

Using new equipment and techniques are the best way to master them, so we’ll spend some time in the resort practicing. Then we may try the legendary decent from the Pic du Midi (2877m) or take the lifts to the top and cross over the Pas de la Crabe into the magnificent Neouvielle nature reserve, descending the Aigues Cluses “clear waters” valley.

Monday- Plateau d’Aoube

We leave the resort and the ski lifts behind us and ascend into the beautiful, sunny bowl of the Plateau d’Aoube.

Ski-touring on the Plateaux d'Aoube

This is a wild area of rolling terrain, excellent for practicing touring techniques, off-piste skills and how to use the avalanche security equipment.

Tuesday – Cirque du Gavarnie

No trip to the Pyrenees is complete without visiting the UNESCO world heritage site of the Cirque du Gavarnie. But you’ll get to see it from a totally different view to the thousands of tourists that visit every year.

Gavarnie ski-touring

We climb the Pic St. Andre and admire the towering 3000m summits of the Spanish frontier. A day focusing on uphill techniques, kick turns and the use of skins.

Wednesday – begin our hut to hut tour

Today is the start of our three day hut to hut tour in the spectacular Pyrenees National Park.

Touring in the national park

We start with a gentle, picturesque ascent of the glacial “U” valley of the Marcadau, passing gnarled Scots pines and working our way up into an open grantic landscape.

We then spend the night at the historic refuge Wallon, the first ever refuge in the Pyrenees.

Thursday – Pic du Cambales

We have an early start for a challenging day, where we’ll climbing towards the Pic du Cambales and its ice locked attendant lakes.

Henri climbing in the national park

We’ll tour up an enchanted hanging valley towards the Pic du Cambales. Once at the top, the descent from the col du Cambales is both breathtakingly beautiful and great fun!

Friday- Marcadau valley

We wake up in the heart of the mountains for another full day’s ski touring, before returning to your accommodation , ready for hot showers and large meals!

Touring home

Today we return to the Marcadau valley via Pic Wallon and the hidden valley of Pouey Trenous. After enjoying the glorious scenery one last time, we then head back to Barèges for some well earned hot showers and 3 course meals.

Saturday – Depart

This is a typical ski-touring itinerary. Please note that your guide will choose your route according to the weather and snow conditions as well as the ability of your group, to ensure you have the most enjoyable and safe experience possible.

What's included in the price? - this is!

Ski-touring dates & prices

We are flexible on dates and for groups of 3 or more can arrange additional dates. Please contact us if there is a trip you would like to do or if you would like us to organise bespoke trip for you. Find full details of group size and minimum numbers below this calendar.

Dates Holidays Price
7th January Introduction to ski touring level I Centre based in Jan – refuges closed £1040
14th January Iconic ski touring level II Centre based in Jan – refuges closed £1060
18th February Introduction to ski touring level I £1040
25th February Iconic ski touring level II £1060
 4th March  Introduction to ski touring level I £1040
 11th March  Iconic ski touring level II £1060
 18th March  Introduction to ski touring level I £1040
 18th March  Iconic ski touring level II £1060
 25th March  Introduction to ski touring level I £1040
 25th March  Iconic ski touring level II £1060
 1st April  Introduction to ski touring level I £1040
 1st April  Iconic ski touring level II £1060
 8th April  Introduction to ski touring level I £1040
 8th April  Iconic ski touring level II £1060
 8th April  Haute Route CLASSIC – Chamonix Zermatt £1300

Price for guided ski-touring holidays, Introductory and Iconic include:

  • seven nights accommodation, including the cost of any mountain refuges
  • continental breakfasts, picnic lunches on skiing days, afternoon tea on home days, three course evening meals on six nights
  • six days guiding with a UIAGM mountain guide
  • local transport (but not airport transfers)
  • avalanche security equipment eg. avalanche transceiver, probe and snow shovel

The only extra costs would be:

  • your ski hire; around 25€ a day which includes skis, boots, poles, skins and crampons
  • one meal out in the week
  • alcoholic drinks, lunches and snacks in the ski resort and refuges
  • plus your travel costs to get to the Pyrenees
  • Lift passes for days in the ski resort are about 30€ per day.

Minimum numbers and group size:

  • We need a group size of 3 to confirm a trip.
  • Trips still run with less than minimum numbers. For groups of 2 within the trip price we will offer 3 and a half days of private guiding, leaving 2 free days for independent skiing/ski touring. For a single booking the included guiding element of the trip covers 2 days guiding. There is the option to add extra days at additional cost.
  • Small groups: Typical group sizes are 4 to 6. Maximum 8 guests per guide.

Price for the Special: The Haute Route (Classic route), Chamonix-Zermatt with Mont Blanc option

What the price includes:

  • All accommodation and food, including all huts and 2 hotel nights in Chamonix valley
  • Guiding
  • safety equipment

Not included in the price:

  • Gear eg. skis, boots
  • Lift passes
  • Taxi
  • last night meal.

Transfers/lifts may add up to 130€ depending on the mode of transport (taxi/train).