Ski Touring holiday – Iconic Pyrenees
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.
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.
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Trips can 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.
7th April Haute Route CLASSIC – Chamonix Zermatt£1300
|20th January||Introduction to ski touring level I Centre (3* chalet) based in Jan – refuges closed||£1170|
|27th January||Iconic ski touring level II Centre (3* chalet) based in Jan – refuges closed||£1170|
|17th February||Introduction to ski touring level I||£1195|
|24th February||Iconic ski touring level II||£1220|
|3rd March||Introduction to ski touring level I||FULL|
|17th March||Iconic ski touring level II||£1220|
|24th March||Introduction to ski touring level I||£1195|
|24th March||Iconic ski touring level II||£1220|
|31st March||Introduction to ski touring level I||£1195|
|31st March||Iconic ski touring level II||£1220|
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, these can be arranged on your behalf)
- avalanche security equipment eg. avalanche transceiver, probe and snow shovel
The only extra costs would be:
- your ski hire; around 30€ a day which includes skis, boots, poles, skins and crampons
- one meal out in the week
- alcoholic drinks, snacks in the ski resort and refuges
- 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
- safety equipment
Not included in the price:
- Gear eg. skis, boots
- Lift passes
- last night meal.
Transfers/lifts may add up to 130€ depending on the mode of transport (taxi/train).