With more than 100 km of pistes, the resort of Saint-Lary, the largest in the French Pyrenees, has managed to preserve all the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Located in the heart of the Pyrenees, at the gateway to the Pyrenees National Park, the ski area is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the region. It has to be said that the resort has many advantages. Here, nature is not just a slogan, a montage, but a state of mind, a real trademark.
Saint-Lary, at the gateway to the Néouvielle Nature Reserve and Pyrenees National Park
The Néouvielle reserve, which rises between 1800 and 3091 metres, is a “mountain in the heart of the Pyrenees”, where quaternary glaciers have shaped the landscape.
This reserve is famous for its lakes —there are 70 of them! The largest, the Aubert and Aumar lakes, are dam lakes, while the Laquettes lakes are a group of small lakes.
The nature reserve is the kingdom of the hooked pine, which grows at altitudes of up to 2,800 metres, and is a jewel of landscapes and habitats.
A lush biodiversity flourishes in landscapes shaped by grazing, forestry and hydroelectricity, the Néouvielle National Nature Reserve is now the site of a major tourist activity of discovery by hikers, both in summer and winter.
The Lac de l’Oule: an experience not to be missed
The Lac de l’Oule, located in the Néouvielle Natural Park, is undoubtedly one of the most easily accessible high-altitude lakes thanks to its hiking trail. But how about going there on skis, or better still… by chairlift? By this means you can go all the way to the Lac de l’Oule dam, where the chalet shelter with its cosy terrace awaits you.
Situated at an altitude of 1,820 metres on the shores of Lac de l’Oule, at the gateway to the Pyrenees National Park and at the western end of the Saint-Lary Soulan ski resort, you will be transported to another world. That of the pine trees clinging together and the peaks reflected in the blue of the lake. The Pyrenees National Park awaits you and offers you one of its most beautiful landscapes.
Pedestrians can also enjoy this magnificent site thanks to a pedestrian pass which allows easy access to the Lac de l’Oule via the ski lifts.
The Aulon Nature Reserve is home to all the typical habitats of the Pyrenean mountains.
The Aulon Nature Reserve, with its variety of environments, has long been a refuge for a large number of species.
A total of 115 animal species have been recorded here, such as the marmot, the bearded vulture, the red frog, etc. The fauna of the Reserve is characterised by a large number of taxa endemic to the Pyrenees: isards, Pyrenean lizards, etc. And by numerous species with an affinity with the mountains and altitude, including some of post-glacial heritage: the Alpine partridge, the Apollo butterfly…
Nature lovers, from the top of the Bouleaux chairlift, remember to raise your eyes to the sky because it is not rare to see a pair of bearded vultures flying over the domain. And sometimes they are accompanied by their winged congeners, such as griffon vultures in search of rising winds.
Saint-Lary relies on gentle mobility
The resort is increasingly involved in the search for alternatives to car travel between the village, Pla d’Adet and Espiaube. Free shuttles, gondolas and electric vehicles help to avoid the need for almost 1,500 cars a day.
The ski area offers several formulas dedicated to pedestrians. Numerous ski lifts allow you to discover breathtaking landscapes, such as the Lac de l’Oule, located at the foot of the Néouvielle Nature Reserve.
The eco-responsible commitment of the ski area
There are many commitments in terms of sustainable development to preserve and protect the area. Saint-Lary was one of the first 10 resorts in France, and particularly in the Pyrenees, to sign the charter for the sustainable development of mountain resorts.
This commitment has been translated into various actions: renewable energies, waste management and public awareness. As an extension of this approach, the resort has obtained ISO 14001 certification. This standard certifies the implementation of an effective environmental management system.
These landscapes are accessible to everyone, even non-skiers!
The Saint-Lary resort offers itineraries and packages specially designed for pedestrians – even if you don’t have your skis on, you can still enjoy the Saint-Lary ski area! There are several options available for strolling in a dreamlike setting, flying over the slopes and accessing the highest point of the resort like skiers. There are also services available to extend the day with a relaxing experience.
You can take the 6 ski lifts to join the skiers of the domain and discover the Lac de l’Oule lake, located at the foot of the Néouvielle nature reserve, by taking the Lac chairlift.
The Refuge de l’Oule, a unique intergenerational experience!
Let’s follow the Buisson family, Jeanne and Michel, the grandparents; Emma and Nicolas, their children; and Apolline, Léon, Lucien and Achille, their grandchildren.
Jeanne booked the night at the Refuge for the whole tribe, the grandchildren and their father skied all day. Jeanne, Emma and Michel, who are not skiers, put on their hiking boots and head for the Nature Reserve.
See you at the refuge!
When the slopes close, everyone gathers around the Brazier on the terrace of the hut – everyone has something to say! Lucien shows the video of his father jumping a bump in the Snow Park. “A blue one, dad, next time we’ll try the red one!” Michel, the grandfather, adds showing a photo of the doe and her fawn seen during their walk.
After sharing a Garbure Royale (local speciality), everyone falls asleep with the pictures in their heads!