La Pierre Saint Martin Arette, the westernmost ski resort in the Pyrenees, is a high mountain resort where landscapes and the environment are the main appeal. This wide open domain offers great and unique views of the Spanish Pyrenees, Béarn and the Basque Country.
History and location of the La Pierre Saint Martin ski resort
The history of the resort dates back to June 1961, when the Arette municipal council decided to build two ski lifts at La Pierre Saint-Martin; its ski area first opened in 1962.
The town erected in 1993 a monument in memory of the volunteers who left France to join the Liberation Army through Spain during World War II. From Spain, road access is via the La Pierre-Saint-Martin pass. From the French side, access is through Arette, or through Lanne-en-Barétous in the Barétous valley, in Béarn, and through Sainte-Engrace in the Basque Country.
Layout of the slopes at La Pierre Saint Martin
More experienced skiers will appreciate the Horizons and Smugglers sectors for its slopes variety. This area is surrounded by peaks, limestone, snow-covered pine forests and snow fields as far as the eye can see. The red and black trails await you in these sectors, where we also find snowparks and freestyle areas.
The ESF instructors will recommend you on the best free-ride areas, and will advise you to make the most of the resort.
Its skiable domain covers 75 hectares among the territory of 3 mythical peaks that make up the Pierre Saint Martin massif. The alpine ski area benefits from a unique landforms and unique landscapes in the Pyrenees mountain range.
Here you can ski on the peaks of the Bearn valleys, the Basque Country and on the boarder of the Spanish Pyrenees. We are talking about a domain with an enviable balance among red, blue and green trails; They are key to progress while having fun between descents.
Characteristics of La Pierre Saint Martin
Sometimes it is difficult to ski and not stare looking at the landscapes that surround the resort. The resort is labelled as ” Flocon Vert ”, the only one in the Pyrenees and covering more than 75 hectares. This is nothing strange when even the works and renovations are environmentally responsible.
La Pierre Saint Martin is a family-friendly high mountain resort. It offers skiers of all levels trails suitable for every ski level, from beginners to the most experienced skiers. The blue trails of Grands Boulevards run through a gentle descent from 2153 to 1527 m above sea level, in one of the most beautiful backgrounds in the Pyrenees.
La Pierre Saint-Martin is an ideal destination to enjoy with the family, where fun and hapiness can be breathed from the first day until the last of the ski season. Nestled almost on the Franco-Spanish border, in the city of Arette, it offers a ski area in the Pyrenees on the French side, with 20 marked and safe trails.
Layout of the slopes at the resort
Located among 1500 and 2200 meters above sea level, the resort offers the ideal conditions for learning to ski. Not only can we enjoy skiing, we can also practice all kinds of winter sports; such as sleds, snowshoes, mountain biking and snow scooters, tubbing, bigair bag… Nothing we miss from any other ski resort.
At the foot of the mountains, in the heart of a pine forest, we find the town made up of numerous chalets, where we will rest and regain strength. Up to 11 lifts (5 chair lifts, 4 ski lifts and 2 magic carpets) serve 75 hectares divided into three sectors:
The ” Espace Découverte ”, placed on the snow front (in front of the shopping center and facilities), is an area mainly intended for beginner skiers. It is a marked and delimited sector, which includes the ESF Piou-Piou club and the snow garden. Two magic carpets run along the 4 short green runs, ideal for learning the ski basics, as well as a sled run completely isolated from the skiers influx.
The Sapins chairlift transports us to this ” Espace Découverte ” and gives access to 2 additional larger green trails. A real treat for beginners who can progress, without worrying of collide, at the Pist’Cool. If we choose for something a little more exciting, we will head to the Moov park (modules area of various sizes).
The compulsory visit areas of La Pierre Saint Martin
From the Arlas chairlift we will go to the upper part of the resort. We will access a little steeper area, more suitable for intermediate level skiers (blue Arlas trail, and the red Face Nord and Lammergeier trails as well).
Not far from there, the Contrebandiers and Pluviomètre ski lifts give access to a handful of trails a little way from the rest of the area and therefore often much less crowded (a good alternative plan on crowded days).
The “Horizon” sector, made up of the Family and Panoramique ski lifts, holds the longest and most technical slopes of Pierre Saint Martin: the sequence of the red Lagopèdes and Ifs trails covering 620 meters of unevenness, while the black slope runs through a pines forest from the Palombière to Pas de l’Ours.
However, this sector is not only reserved for expert skiers, as it also gives access to some emblematic trails of Pierre Saint Martin; the Boulevard des Myrtilles and the Boulevard des Pyrénées. Dont forget to visit these two very long blue trails to return to the base of the resort. They actually are far from the rest of the domain, in the midst of nature, between limestone and pine forests.
For cross-country skiing, we find routes with very little slope that invites the less adventurers to try them. Thanks to its gentle slopes, there is no need to push yourself with poles.
The Pierre Saint Martin offers much more than alpine skiing
Although the resort offers activities that are pure movement, we have in “Braca” a somewhat more contemplative perception of snow. At he 1527 meters summit. Within the Nordic domain of the resort, in a pine forest with specimens of more than hundred years. You can discover the 25 kilometers of cross-country trails on snowshoes, dog sledding, and fatbike. We also have igloo construction workshops, a biathlon stadium, and areas with yurts (a kind of tents) to rest on the route.
In terms of entertainment, Pierre Saint-Martin further increases his catalog of activities: scape room, tournaments and golf in the snow, cheese making workshop, storytelling, Trappers Day … Holidays that will undoubtedly enrich your stay in the mountains and that will make you return the following year.