The third stop on our Pyrenees snowboard road trip was Peyragudes. We did not stay overnight but swung by on a day trip from St Lary. So this is just a Peyragudes snowboarding review, rather than a write up also about the town and accommodation etc.
Before we get any further a quick word of warning that could save you a lot of needless hassle. Peyragudes was created when the ski areas of Peyresourde and Agudes were joined together.
So if you are driving to ‘Peyragudes’ make sure you know which side of the ski area you should be heading to. And rather than following signs – or satnav – to Peyragudes, aim for either Peyresourde or Agudes accordingly.
On this Pyrenees snowboard road trip we visited five ski areas, drove to and from the airport in Toulouse, and visited a few other sites of interest. So we did not do too badly only going hideously wrong once – unfortunately it cost us nearly two hours of slope time.
We were told this is not an uncommon mistake to make…. You have been warned so don’t make the same mistake on your Pyrenees snowboard road trip!
When we eventually arrived in Peyresourde it was exceptionally warm. The temperature hit a balmy 25 degrees in the afternoon and well before lunch conditions were very warm and slushy.
Still the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was snow to slide on, so we were keen to explore the 60km of piste. The runs in Peyragudes rise from 1600 to 2400m and are pretty much all above the tree line.
Around a third of the runs are blue and a third red, the remaining third split between black and green with slightly more beginner slopes than experts. For a small ski area I was impressed that have two snow parks and a boardercross.
We began this Peyragudes snowboarding review by taking the Serias 6 seater chair, followed by the Val De Agudes run into Agudes. It took about fifteen minutes to get between the two towns on the slopes, compared to about 45 minutes by car (there were some very slow drivers!)
From here we took the long Cap de Pales four seater to near the top of the ski area where there are lots of options. There are fairly long runs down to either Peyresourde and Agudes. From Peyresourde the Privilege 4 seater chair brings you to the same spot.
From here you can also access the lifts on the far right or left of the ski area. It is on the left you’ll find the high point and some fun runs down to Serre Doumenge chair. This includes the Vallee Blanche – where have I heard that before – a long red that brings you out below Agudes and short a bus ride back to town.
As you can hopefully tell, Peyragudes is very easy to get around. Using just three lifts you can access pretty much anywhere on the mountain. There are 17 lifts in total offering great convenience to get around and minimal queueing.
As previously mentioned conditions were hot and the snow was slushy. It was the kind of day you can bomb around doing tricks and never worrying about hitting an icy patch or hurting yourself too much if you fall. So we headed to the park.
No Peyragudes snowboarding review would be complete without discussing the two snowparks – very impressive for a small ski area. And although neither of them are huge, there were enough jumps, rails and boxes to keep all but the most dedicated of park rats entertained.
The Flamme snow park has a good sequence of easy kickers which were fun to hit, plus a few boxes and easy rails. Over on the Aigles snow park there was a bigger kicker and more difficult rails to play on.
Both the parks are serviced by their own lifts. Flamme wins on this as it has a four seater chair – it’s exceptionally slow but it also gives you a run before and after the park. At Aigles there is a rope tow which is quick and convenient to lap the park, but sometimes it’s nice to sit down!
We stopped for lunch at Chez Manu at the bottom of the Serias chair. The food was exceptionally good for what looked like a nondescript take away joint. We sat outside in temperatures that back home would see us Brits flocking to the beach.
I had a homemade burger which was probably the best I have had in France. My mate had a salad – my first reaction was to ridicule him – but it came out with lashings of bacon and grilled local cheese. I would have had food envy were it not for the best burger in France!
They also serve pizzas that were large and looked really good. The food was all reasonably priced and if you didn’t fancy a full meal you could easily share one of the pizzas between two or three people.
No Pyrenees snowboard road trip would be complete without visiting a thermal spa. So on the way back to St Lary we stopped as the Balnea Spa in Genos Loudenvielle. I am not really much of a spa person, but without doubt it was the nicest spa I have ever visited.
Located in the stunning Louron Valley next to a beautiful lake it is a magnificent setting. There are four different zones – Roman, Japanese, American Indian and Inca – which provide a relaxing voyage to four corners of the world.
There are indoor pools galore, with jets, geysers and bubbles everywhere you look. There are cold pools, warm pools and hot pools. There are also two outdoor pools, one of which as three sections of ever increasing temperature, the hottest of which is 40 degrees.
In addition to the pools there are steam rooms, saunas, ice rooms, jacuzzis and areas for relaxation in each zone. We easily spent two hours in the spa which is more than double my normal limit. I felt good for it afterwards with tired, achy legs feeling much better.
Peyragudes was the biggest surprise of this Pyrenees snowboard road trip. After the frustration of arriving on the wrong side of the mountain, it won me over due to its ease of getting around and excellent freestyle facilities.
Although it is a fairly small ski area, I will conclude this Peyragudes snowboarding review by saying it punches above its weight. It does not feel small, runs are long and there is plenty of variety. Looking at the piste map i’d imagine there is some good backcountry too.
From the 17/18 ski season Peyragudes is part of the new 247 km Pyrenees 2 Valleys ski area. This links Saint-Lary, Val Louron, Piau-Engaly and Peyragudes by bus and combined lift pass deals. So there is no excuse not to visit if you are in the area.
Fancy a Pyrenees snowboard road trip? Then check out our other Pyrenees snowboarding reviews. We hope you found this Peyragudes snowboarding review useful, for more information head to: www.peyragudes.com