Ax 3 Domaines, formerly called “Ax-Bonascre”, is a winter sports resort in the Pyrenees created in December 1955 and located in Ariège. The resort is located eight kilometers from Ax-les-Thermes on the heights of the village, in the heart of the Ax valley, in the Haute-Ariège valley. It is 30 kilometers from the border between France and Andorra to the south, 30 kilometers from Tarascon-sur-Ariège to the northwest, 20 kilometers from the Col de Pailhères to the east and 120 kilometers from Toulouse to the north.
History of the Ax les Thermes ski resort
The roots of Ax-les-Thermes go back to ancient Rome. Since this era, the unique location of Ax-les-Thermes and the existence of its multiple natural thermal springs were recognized. However, its development as a spa occured in the Middle Ages. The thermal springs, whose waters rich in sulfur and sodium are considered pure alkaline. The water spring out at high pressure from the granite massifs at temperatures between 23 and 77 ° C. Although they have been used for therapeutic purposes since the 13th century. At this time was also built the first hospital containing thermal baths.
Nowadays, these natural thermal water, flows from more than 63 sources. Witch temperatures between 33 and 38 ° C, they pour into the modern pools and thermal baths of Ax-les-Thermes; inviting to relaxation and self-regeneration.
At the very border with Spain and Andorra (located just 30 kilometers away), the Ax 3 Domaines ski resort, also sometimes called “Ax-Bonascre”, opens onto the most beautiful panoramas of the Ariège Pyrenees.
Two holiday destinations in one
Winter sports enthusiasts who stay at Ax-les-Thermes would benefit from two vacations in one. First of all, this picturesque little village is directly linked by a gondola to the Bonascre ski resort and to the slopes of the Ax 3 Domaines ski area. Thanks to its famous baths and renowned thermal springs, Ax-les-Thermes also offers a pleasant holiday devoted to relaxation and wellness.
The Ax ski area spans 3 sectors: Bonascre (between 1400 and 2000 meters above sea level), Saquet (between 1800 and 2300 meters) and Campels, which gives access to the resort’s summit (2400 meters above sea level).
To stay at Ax 3 Domaines, there is plenty of accommodation at the foot of the slopes. You can stay in a hotel, residence, holiday village or apartment) or in the small village of Ax les Thermes. Located 8 km by road or 10 minutes by gondola connecting the city to the resort. Indeed, during your stay, you will most certainly make a detour to the thermal spa of Ax les Thermes located below in the valley (at 720 m altitude). Its thermal establishments, skating rink, casino, and its numerous festivities make it an almost essential ski resort to visit.
Slopes and trails layout at Ax les Thermes
The Ax 3 Domaines resort builds its reputation around a positive image. The diversity of the facilities are considered success in terms of: proximity, privileged setting, quick access, and preparation of the slopes. It offers freedom, relaxation, and pleasure just 9 minutes from the town of Ax-les-Thermes, accessible by gondola.
Beginner areas, as well as more advanced level trails, the resort of Ax is divided in 3 areas:
– from 1400 to 2000 m, Bonascre offers a beautiful and safe gliding area in the middle of a preserved fir forest. Its 9 trails and 6 lifts (including 1 gondola and 2 chairlifts) are particularly suitable for beginners who can evolve on not very difficult trails.
– from 1900 to 2300 m the Saquet is perfect for the practice of “balade” skiing as well as more “sporty” sliding. Indeed, the 10 trails (including 3 green, 2 blue, 3 red and one black) and 7 lifts in this sector are aimed to all types of skiers (beginners as experienced) as well as freestyle enthusiasts since it the Ax snowpark is located in this sector.
– from 1700 to 2400 m the Campels sector offers immense areas and has 11 pistes served by 3 lifts. Its more technical red and black trails attract the most experienced skiers.
Since a couple years ago, Ax has guaranteed snow. Thanks to a network of snow cannons which ensures continuous snow cover on all of the resort’s main slopes.
Snow and fun parks
Another feature of Ax 3 Domaines: its snowpark called “Natural Forest Park” composed by different modules (bumps and rails) suitable for all levels; more than 10 modules, bumps and obstacles (border cross, big air, jibs area and a beginners area). In the middle of a forest, on the Saquet plateau and at the crossroads of the slopes, the snowpark welcomes all snowboarders and skiers.
This fun, lively, and friendly park at the heart of the domain, will suit both professional and professional freestylers as well as amateurs / beginners. Different activities are offered almost every weekend.
A new Air bag has been instaled on the slopes. In order to complete its Freestyle equipment and satisfy the expectations of skiers seeking for adrenaline. Financed by the ESF and the resort, the Air Bag offers the possibility of practicing all kinds of Freestyle jumps in complete safety. A practice, supervised or free, more exciting for guaranteed sensations.
Ax 3 Domaines Nordic ski area
Ax does not offer a Nordic area properly speaking (cross-country ski enthusiasts meet at the only slope available). On the other hand, for several years already, Ax 3 Domaines has been working together with the resorts of Chioula (located on the heights north of Ax-les-Thermes) and Plateau de Beille. Both renowned for the quality and diversity of their respective northern domains.
More than 2 million liters of water per day flow from the depths. Pouring into the many pools of the Thermes d’Ax and the thermal spa center Les Bains de Couloubret. The Thermes d’Ax its more than a ski resort. The thermal center offers natural remedies and medical care. It is mainly rheumatism and respiratory tract problems that are treated here. But health-conscious holidaymakers can also come and relax in the thermal pools and enjoy the treatments on offer for a day.
Visitors to Ax-les-Thermes who want to relax after the slopes are closed. Or just want to treat themselves for a whole day, everybody is wellcome. A complete program of relaxation and well-being is offered. They would find themselves at the thermal spa center Les Bains du Couloubret, which was built in 2009 in a reminiscent style from the Roman era.