Ski Touring holiday – Iconic Pyrenees

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Central Pyrenees iconic Ski touring holiday

This ski touring holiday is aimed at people with previous ski touring and/or off-piste experience and a reasonable level of fitness. It will be a mixture of day tours and a mountain refuge expedition deep into the Pyrenees National Park, with the chance to try some longer and more challenging routes and peaks such as the Vignemale, Breche de Roland, the Grande Fache, and the Neouvielle.

Refuge de la breche

Accommodation

Mountainbug ski touring holidays are based from the mountain spa village and ski resort of Barèges, at our own very comfortable 3-star, ensuite, catered chalet les Cailloux. For the hut to hut tours, we’ll be staying in catered, mountain refuges.

Pyrenees ski-touring

What the price includes

The price of your ski-touring holiday includes:

  • 3-star ensuite accommodation at either our chalet les Cailloux, based on two people sharing
  • hut fees where your trip involves a night in a refuge
  • breakfast and evening meals
  • Minimum group size of 4, maximum 8
  • Transfers during the ski-touring week
  • Qualified instructor / guide
  • Avalanche transceiver, probe and snow shovel

Not included:

  • Equipment hire, priced at around 25€ a day for touring skis, skins, crampons and boots
  • Lift passes for any days in the ski resort – about 45€
  • Drinks and snacks in the ski resort and at refuges
Summit climb

Weather

As you would expect, this high mountain ski touring trip is very dependent on the weather and snow conditions. The weather, visibility and temperature can change rapidly and we recommend that you wear layers so that you can easily adapt to changing temperatures. Good quality, lightweight kit (including full waterproofs) is strongly advised for the hut-to-hut tour.

A typical week’s itinerary

The exact itinerary will depend on the weather and snow conditions during the week.

The refuge expedition will either be exploring the Pyrenees National Park locally to us, which is one of the most spectacular regions of the Pyrenees and could include an ascent of the Vignemale – the highest peak in the French Pyrenees. Or we might go to the Encantats in the Spanish Pyrenees. This is a rolling, high granitic massif with an excellent network of comfortable refuges.

Lone ski-tourer (Henri Nogue)

There are many options for hut-to-hut touring and typically very reliable snow conditions throughout April. We’re keeping our itinerary flexible at the moment. The options are:

  • two-day tours, with two trips out to spend one night at a refuge, returning to our home base in between, staying on the French side,
  • depending on conditions, a multi-day hut-to-hut tour, spending the beginning and end of the week with us here in Barèges and three or four consecutive nights out at refuges as part of a longer expedition here in France or over on the Spanish side.
Welcome to Bareges

Saturday – arrival

After your arrival in Barèges, we’ll arrange your equipment hire and lift passes.

Sunday- learning and practice

We spend today in the local ski resort getting ourselves back up to speed with on and off-piste skiing and familiarising ourselves with new equipment. Time will be taken to refresh ski touring techniques such as kick turns, skins, ski crampons, avalanche transceivers and techniques for off-piste skiing.

Iconic ski-touring day 1

After spending some time in the resort practicing on and off the pistes we will try out some of the many short tour options available to us from the Grand Tourmalet resort: Routes on the Pic du Midi (2877m) and/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 – Pyrenees National park expedition

We start our 2 day tour in the Pyrenees National park.

Bowl at top of the national park

Today we appraoch the Eastern arret and glacier of the Vignemale. Once there, we’ll spend the night in the highest manned refuge in the Pyrenees, the Baysellance.

Tuesday – Vignemale and Pic St Andre

Today we’ll ascend the Vignemale (3298m), before tackling a ridge route towards the Gavarnie ski area.

Ski-touring by Pic Andre Gavarnie

Today’s ascent of the Vignemale (3 298 m), allows us to reach the highest peak and jewel of the Hautes Pyrenees via its main Eastern glacier.

We’re then further rewarded by a fabulous ridege route and descent towards the Gavarnie ski resort via the Pic St Andre.

Wednesday – Spain, Refuge Restanca

Today we’ll transfer to the Encantats National park, Spain, and spend the afternoon touring up to Refuge Restanca.

Touring uphill in Spain

We’ll enjoy the change of scenery on the Spanish side as we ski-tour up to Restanca, a comfortable refuge perched by a lake at the foot of the Montardo (2.826 m).

Thursday – Montardo, 2826m

After an early start to ascend the Pic, we do a fabulous descent to the Refuge Ventosa I Calvell.

Peak ascent on skis

We leave our bags at the Refuge, so we can make a second foray up into the high granite cirques in this magical playground of peaks, ridges and hidden corrie lakes.

Friday – return to Barèges

We get in as much ski touring as we can on our last day, enjoying the Spanish Pyrenees before our evening transfer back to Barèges.

Couloir decent optional

We’ll make the most of our last day, returning down the valley towards the Baquiera Beret ski resort via the famous Cirque des Colomers and its refuge. In the evening we have a transfer back to Barèges.

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.

Pyrenees ski-touring

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).