La Mongie – Grand Tourmalet is a ski resort nestled in the French Pyrenees. It is located in the Hautes-Pyrénées department, in Occitania.
History and layout of the Grand Tourmalet ski resort
Considered the largest ski area in the French Pyrenees, Grand Tourmalet is the merge of 2 villages: Barèges and La Mongie. The rurality and traditions of Barèges and the modernity of Mongie located at the foot of the slopes, make the resort a unique combination; not only in the Pyrenees, but among every French resorts.
One of the keys to the development of the resort was the construction of the Pic du Midi observatory, built during the 19th century; the setting of a ski lift divided into two sections, from La Mongie to Taoulet was also an important steep forward that allowed skiers to visit the area. The main works at the resort took place between 1945 and 1953, which granted the resort with an electrical and water network.
In 1951, Albert Bidabé setted up “La Carrière” ski lift where construction materials were extracted. During this decade, no other relevant event would occur but the building of the “Petit Sapins” ski lift. Thanks to these improvements, the resort became popular, which led to the arrival of many more visitors. With the economic improvements, the design and facilites of the resort were constantly evolving. The merge with Barèges through the Col du Tourmalet was completed in 1973.
The Grand Tourmalet slopes are for everyone
Beginners have at their disposal more than 11 km of green and blue trails that connect the two ends of the area. The modules distributed by the play parks will also allow them to have fun while improving their tecnique.
Those seeking for adrenaline will have at their disposal 5 black trails, 16 red trails, plus the freestyle area “Stars Park” (“le Park des Étoiles”); to give a twist by trying something different between descent and descent. Freeriders have many areas around the resort at their disposal; ” les Dômes ”, the Aygues Cluses valley or the slopes of the Pic du Midi, accessible through cable car.
Le Grand Tourmalet is built off of two resorts, each one of them with their own atmosphere and character: Barèges as a typical Pyrenean village and La Mongie directly placed at the foot of the slopes.
One of the largest skiable areas in the Pyrenees
With more than 100 kilometers of trails stretching among 1400 and 2500 meters above sea level, the Grand Tourmalet ski area is considered the largest in the French Pyrenees.
Its 68 slopes will suit both beginners and pro-skiers, families and grand skiing enthusiasts. Whether we choose the blue or the red slopes, we will cross a forest that will make us appreciate the high mountain environment offered by the Pic du Midi de Bigorre.
Although we rather admire the views before descending at full speed, the resort has numerous viewpoints. The magnificent panoramas to be discovered before your very eyes span 4 Termes, Taoulet (on the Mongie side), Col du Tourmalet and Ayré (on the Barèges side).
The Pic du Midi summit (accessible by gondola from La Mongie) opens its tracks in a high mountain area, where we can make turns and enjoy wide trails. Clean air, breath taking views and unique sensations for all lovers of descent, from the 2877 m summit.
Nordic skiing and high mountain activities in Grand Tourmalet
The Grand Tourmalet, apart from being an ideal place for alpine skiing, is also a domain that offers generous Nordic skiing.
– In Payolle, 50 km of marked trails (classic and skating) are preferred by many skiers for long routes in a wonderful domain at the edge of the forest and around a lake.
– The Lienz plateau (Barèges side), a preserved natural area, aimed by its difficulty for the bravest cross-country skiers. Through this forest, you will practice cross-country skiing while enjoying nature, greatly preserved thanks to the sustainable development that the resort implements. Great routes in perspective. As we said earlier, this Nordic skiing area is aimed at the most experienced; Although it has a generous snow cover that does not freeze, the trails are not traced or marked.
Paragliding, snowshoeing, mushing, snowmobiles, squash, laserball, cinema … they are just a few examples of the bunch of activities that we can find in Barèges and in Mongia. Perfect to discover the mountain in a different way and enjoy of your ski vacation with new experiences.
Rest and evade in the high mountains
The thermal baths are an excellent way to rest after a long day of skiing that few resorts can offer. We find this wellness corner in Cieleo, the thermal spa center of Barèges, a mandatory visit to let ourselves be cared for and treated as we deserve. You will enjoy thermal pools, saunas, hammams, jacuzzis, and personalized treatments.
For lovers of unspoilt and “wild” nature, in the Campan and Payolle valley, nature welcomes lovers of untroden routes with an immeasurable beauty. It is the perfect place to get that feeling of being alone in the world and yet close to everything.
La Mongie is a resort that is always innovating, thanks to the works that are carried out year after year: the Taoulet cable car and Pic du Midi in the 50,s for example.
Ski-to-door facilities are the main attraction for a resort that increases the number of satisfied skiers every year. Tourist residences with swimming pool and sauna, renovated hotels or comfortable apartments, among the accommodation options available in La Mongie.
Grand Tourmalet offers gastronomy according to the quality of its slopes
In Barèges or La Mongie, the fun does not end when the slopes are closed. Bars and pubs light up their signs for adults with ‘happy hours’, always assuming responsability and measure for other customers and the environment.
If we rather enjoying with the family (or the pubs thing is not attractive to us), at the resort we have several alternatives: from fast food to thematic cuisine, gourmet or traditional restaurants, to eat on the spot, to take away… With so many options is just up to you.
Recognized for the exceptional panoramas of the Pyrenees, the Pic du Midi stands out for its restaurant with typical and traditional mountain cuisine. A “culinary ascent” that you will enjoy more if you share it with your family, partner or friends.