Ski resort sheet
Gavarnie-Gèdre, or Gavarnie-les Espécières, is a ski resort in the Pyrenees located in the village of Gavarnie-Gèdre, near the cirque du gavarnie, in the Hautes-Pyrenees department in the Occitania region in France. Gavarnie ski station is part of the group Ski Resort International, a subsidiary of the PGI Management group. The ski station is well known for the quality of snow on its trails, always fresh and natural, thanks to its high altitude.
The history of the Gavarnie Resort
The port of Boucharo (Bujaruelo for Spaniards) reaches an elevation of up to 2270m. However, this altitude is relative if we consider all the high massifs of Vignemale and Gavarnie. The ease of access to the Port de Boucharo made it a much travelled passage between France and Spain.
Gavarnie is nestled on one of the main routes that cross the Pyrenees through the port of Boucharo. The town of Gavarnie has not always been known worldwide by skiers; nor does it enjoy a pastoral tradition as important as its neighbor Gèdre.
The Gavarnie church is a must-see for travelers, who once praised the Virgin of Bon-Port before setting out on the route to Spain.
In 1794, the Port de Boucharo was under special surveillance by the French. Soldiers were sent to set up camp and protect the territory from any possible Spanish attacks. These events were happening at the same moment other European monarchies opposed the First French Republic.
Gavarnie is notably home to “Pyreneanism” (Pireanismo), a movement that combines mountaineering, mountain culture, romanticism and hiking to the highest peaks (ascensionismo). This has resulted in the town being the birthplace to many of the best mountain guides (Passet, Bernat-Salles …).
Gavarnie’s Skiable Area
Gavarnie’s trails are set in a medium size skiable area, located in the heart of the Pryennes, Gavarnie-Gèdredes and is recognized as World Heritage site by UNESCO. An ideal destination for a family mountain holiday in a splendid natural setting. The Gavarnie’s trails have been adapted for all levels, surrounded by breath-taking landscapes; including the majestic, world-famous, Brèche de Roland and other peaks over 3000 m.
A destination where you will not only have fun sliding down the ski slopes, but also enjoying and sharing the pureness and simplicity of the views that surround the resort. This resort offers 28 trails for all levels, including the longest green track in the Pyrenees (Les Marmottes). The Gavarnie-Gèdre ski area is made up of two parts:
The first part, a snow front (at the bottom of the stretch), is especially suited for children and beginners, where learning is made playful in a pleasant environment. Its wide slopes are well suited for everyone’s safety.
The other, found at a much higher elevation includes many beautiful viewpoints and picnic areas. Most noteworthy is the famous Brèche de Roland. Here you can find wide slopes for all levels, including the longest green trail in the Pyrenees. It stretches from the area’s highest point to the very bottom of the resort with a massive 6 km of descent.
In Gavarnie every night is rewarded with starry skies
It may seem weird to many night owls who live in the city, but here the night sky is something else completely different. If city dwellers are lucky enough, they´ll be able to see the stars maybe one day a month. However, in this resort, it would be strange to go one day without seeing all the constellations.
Far from the big cities and light pollution, nights in the valley of Gavarnie are a magical show where stars fill every corner of the sky. To fully admire the stars, you just need to choose one of the outskirts of the resort. But, even the view from the resort is spectacular.
Among the many options, maybe the best is to hike to the top of the mountain, if you can, its summit. There, the starry sky drops over your head like a dome, covering everywhere you look. There is no moment more magical than looking up at the constellations; to Jupiter, the great bear or to appreciate the Milky Way, with eyes and hearts wide open, allowing the universe to touch us with its immensity.
The Cols du Tourmalet, Couraduque, Soulor, Hautacam, Col des Tentes or the Saugué plateau are all ideal places to contemplate the sky, each one reachable by car. During summer, bring a blanket to lie on the grass and be enchanted by this unique moment to share with that special person. Not just for adults however, the experience can be just as magical for the kids. It’s up to you.
It doesn’t take an athlete to fully enjoy the resort
In addition to Gavarnie’s trails, it offers a large playground in the heart of the Cirque du Gavarnie, perfect for many activities. While some will relish crowning the valley ridges on cross-country skiing (with or without guides), others will find the 40 routes equipped with ice climbing more attractive.
For those looking for a more relaxed holiday with “moderate” physical effort, the Cirque du Gavarnie area also offers snowshoe excursions organized by mountain guides: themed outings to discover wildlife, in a family atmosphere or, if you prefer, something with a sportier approach.
Open all year, the Gèdre leisure center offers varied and original activities. This is the case with the Bob Luge descent, where 700m of descent and 8 turns await adults and children. The resort also has a climbing area: 350 m² with 18 m of height, 15 climbing lines with suitable itineraries for all levels, as well as a boulder area. The indoor and natural skating rink is open during the day with some designated dates for night skating, a classic that should not be missing in any other resort.
Cultural activities of the region
Speaking about culture, the church of Gavarnie features ruins from the medieval period. The Gèdre-Dessus mills speak for themselves of an ancestral activity in harmony with the environment. In the area we also find the Pyrenees cemetery or the statue of Notre-Dame des-Neiges at an altitude of 1519 m.
The Millaris museum is an opportunity to learn more about the region: a hiking tour through the most picturesque landscapes of the area, the management of its water resources (mills, hydroelectric power station), and its use of agriculture, shepherds, the history of the valley and UNESCO’s world heritage. Home of “Pyreneism” and heir to a long mountain tradition, the Gavarnie-Gèdre ski resort, also known as the Espécières resort, offers a setting like no other in the high mountains.