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Back Country Skiing in the Pyrenees

From £1698 pp

France, French Pyrenees

8 Days

Join a small group or go private

Back Country Skiing in the Pyrenees

What You'll Do

On this comprehensive back-country skiing course with a local expert in the French Pyrenees, keen skiers will learn the skills required to safely explore off-piste and away from busy ski resorts this winter, helping you get off the beaten track.

This small group retreat runs from 27th February - 6th March

It can also be booked as a Private group option (min. 2 people) between mid January and the end of March.

Learning to ski in the back-country, away from the same old slopes or the overcrowded routes, is your ticket to a unique skiing holiday.

This week-long course is a unique opportunity for keen skiers to learn all the skills and mountain craft necessary to safely ski both off-piste and in the unspoiled and peaceful back-country, far away from the busy pisted slopes.

The area of the Pyrenees in which this course takes place is blessed with wide-open and gently undulating slopes which provide the perfect terrain for the first time ski tourer to learn the necessary techniques without straying too far out of their comfort zone.

If you’re comfortable skiing red runs in-resort, then you are at the necessary level to tackle these enticing back-country slopes.

During your week, your qualified and experienced high mountain guide will teach you how to understand the winter mountain environment and stay safe.

Avalanche awareness skills are a key part of the week and will include analysing the snowpack to assess for avalanche risk and learning how to use essential safety equipment such as the ARVA, probe and shovel.

You’ll learn why monitoring the weather in the area in which you’ll be skiing is essential to your safety and what risks you need to look out for.

The course will include video analysis of your off-piste skiing skills, and tips on how to improve your technique so that you can comfortably ski on un-pisted snow.

You’ll learn the best back-country and off-piste skiing techniques before putting it all into practice on some sublime skiing experiences away from the crowds in the stunning Pyrenees.

At the end of the week, ski touring is sure to be your new winter obsession!

Experience
Highlights

Learn the skills that will get you off-piste and exploring pristine, untouched areas of the mountain

Soak in thermal baths to relax after a thrilling day of skiing

Stay in a gorgeous B&B and enjoy incredible food and wine every day

Your Local Host:

Penny

Penny first stumbled across the rugged and unspoiled mountains of the Pyrenees many years ago was instantly captivated.

Over the years she has curated exceptional local providers who provide truly meaningful experiences that introduce you to the beating heart of the Pyrenees.

Her aim is for you to return home from your holiday with a head full of amazing memories that will last a lifetime.

Experience Itinerary

Arrival Day

After your private transfer from Toulouse airport, you’ll settle in to your warm and welcoming B&B in the picturesque Louron Valley area of the central French Pyrenees.

In the evening you can look forward to a 3-course home-cooked evening meal made with local products and accompanied by whatever drinks you would prefer.

The guest house owner is also the instructor for your course so it’s a great opportunity to pick his brains about the week ahead.

 

Accommodation

Your cosy B&B

living space in the french pyrenees

Technical Lessons and Thermal Baths

After a leisurely, copious breakfast you’ll head up the valley to collect your ski touring equipment from the village and be transferred up to the Peyragudes ski resort. There, you’ll learn how to apply the skins to your skis before your first experience off-piste on a short climb up to the summit of the resort.

On your descent, your instructor will assess your level of technique off-piste, and offer feedback and guidance on what you need to work on to be a confident and competent off-piste skier.

Practice sessions will include refining your technique for skinning uphill, mastering kick turns, drills for skiing efficiency, and you’ll also receive a video assessment of your technique, with tips for changes you can make to adapt to off-piste skiing.

On your return to the valley, you can look forward to a 2h session in the pools of the fabulous Balnea thermal spa facility – just the tonic after your skiing exertions!

Accommodation

Your cosy B&B

bedroom in ski lodge in the french pyrenees

Mountain Craft and Safety Skills

Today you’ll learn the essential mountain craft skills necessary for your safety in the backcountry.

Practical sessions will include analysis of the snow pack and what you need to look out for, avalanche risk assessment skills, a mock search and rescue with your avalanche transceivers plus mountain navigation.

 

 

 

Accommodation

bedroom in ski lodge in the french pyrenees

Putting Your Skills to Practice

The following days will be a combination of a ski tour (which will vary in duration but expect at least 4 hours ascent each day) with off-piste ski technique tuition and group management in an off-piste environment.

You’ll have two more sessions in the pools of the Balnea thermal spa facility to look forward to, too.

By the end of the week, you’ll have got the bug for ski touring and will be impatient to put your new-found skills to good use on a proper ski touring hut to hut ski holiday next time.

 

Accommodation

Your cosy B&B

living space in the french pyrenees

Departure Day

After another delicious breakfast, you’ll be transferred back to Toulouse airport by minibus. We hope you’ve had fun and have enjoyed your week of learning new winter skills in this beautiful part of the world.

Location Information

Your accommodation is a cosy yet wonderfully spacious guest house in the village of Avajan in the beautiful Louron Valley area of the central French Pyrenees. It’s between the pretty medieval village of Arreau (the Thursday market is the best in the area!) and the authentic Pyrenean village of Loudenville and is surrounded by some spectacular mountain scenery. The Balnea spa facility and the gondola up to the Peyragudes ski resort are just 10 minutes up the valley.

 

  • Airport transfers from agreed flights
  • Local transfers
  • 7 nights B&B in single en suite rooms
  • Lunches
  • 6 x 4 course evening meals with all drinks included
  • Afternoon tea and cake
  • 6 days professional instruction
  • 3 x 2h entry to the pools of the Balnea thermal spa
  • Equipment rental

FAQs

Your accommodation is a cosy yet wonderfully spacious guest house in the village of Avajan in the beautiful Louron Valley. It’s owned and run by your tutor for the week, a BASI level 5 qualified skiing instructor and high mountain guide. Your hosts are passionate about welcoming guests into their home and in providing the most delicious home-cooked food both at breakfast and at dinner.

The property has been beautifully converted from an old barn and retains much of the old-worlde charm of the original structure such as old chestnut beams and exposed stone walls.

Guests have their own living/dining room as well as a cosy snug with masses of English language books and DVDs. The wood burning stoves and underfloor heating provide all the warmth you could need on a cold winter’s day.

The property has just 6 guest rooms all of which have super comfortable beds fitted with the best quality bed linen. The en suite bathrooms have spacious showers, washbasins and WC. Some have fabulous views up the valley to the mountains beyond.

The closest airport is Toulouse, you can fly here from Heathrow or Bristol. The transfer time to your accommodation is around 1 hour 45 mins drive.

Guests must be comfortable skiing red runs in resort.

A good level of general fitness is required as ski touring can be physically demanding.

We’ll provide a kit list and advice on clothing pre-trip.

Advise us of specific dietary requirements.

Course is not suitable for children under 16.

The trip will have a maximum of 6 people in the group. A minimum of 4 people are required for the trip to go ahead.