With 100km of pistes, the pretty town of St Lary is one the Pyrenees’ largest resorts designed and run very much with families in mind. It is a friendly and reasonably-priced alternative to the Alps without compromising on the quality of the ski terrain.
Who’s it good for? Just about anyone. It is made up of three sectors connected by lifts and easy blue runs so that all levels of skier can access all areas. There’s also a shuttle bus which runs between all three so if you won’t have the struggle of forcing over-tired little ones to ski “home”.
But that’s not to say there isn’t interesting skiing for experienced skiers, there are several challenging black and surprisingly steep red runs. The resort also boasts the 3.6km Mirabelle run, one of the longest in the Pyrenees, and a snowpark.
Obviously the main reason for visiting St Lary is to ski, but St Lary is a real, charming village linked to the ski area by a cable car and telepherique. As such, this is a nice place to wander and browse the shops or spend time in the Sensoria Spa Centre.
For non-skiers, there are several snowshoeing tracks accessible by the lift network on foot around the picturesque Lac Oule.
You can also dog-sled, ice-skate or paraglide.
Children who don’t want to ski all day are very well catered for – the halte-garderie looks after children aged three months to four years.
There is also a Centre de Loisirs (leisure centre) for children up to the age of 12 and every week the resort holds a snowman-building competition.
How to get there: St Lary is about 1.5 hour’s drive from Toulouse Airport, flights from Gatwick to Toulouse with easyJet start at £29.74. Ryanair flies to Lourdes, which is around one hour away, where transfers are available from €15 per person as part of the Haute Pyrenees’ commitment to reducing CO2 emissions.
Accommodation: There is a wide range of self-catering accommodation and reasonably-priced hotels throughout the resort – there are no glitzy five-star hotels here!
You can choose to stay in St Lary Village where there is a greater range of accommodation, bars, shops and restaurants or in Pla D’Adet at the foot of the pistes.
We stayed in the three-star Hotel de Neste de Jade in St Lary which was brilliantly located right opposite the cable car and thermal baths, clean and comfortable and did a fabulous breakfast.
Price: Seven nights self-catering in St Lary costs from £96 per person including Eurotunnel travel with skicollection.co.uk
Hotel Neste de Jade rooms start at €59 per room per night for a double room. Family rooms sleeping four people start at €89 per night.