Cauterets ski resort guide Ski area, apres-ski, things to see & do
The village of Cauterets, often called the "Chamonix of the Pyrenees", sits within pristine natural beauty within the Pyrenees National Park at 950m.
It is a well established ski and thermal spa resort in the heart of the Pyrenees spread along the narrow and sunny Gave de Cauterets valley under the gaze of the Vignemale - the highest mountain in the area at 3298m.
The village comes to life as skiers return from the slopes, with many shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. A popular option is the wellness & thermal spa in the village to relax and unwind before a night out in the town which also boasts a casino.
Being close to the Spanish border means Cauterets is a melting pot of Iberian and south-western French cultures which make the evenings very lively.
|Key information (whole area)|
|Season||Dec - April|
|Apres ski||Lively & Fun|
Cauterets Ski Area Guide
The ski area is relatively small with 25 downhill pistes covering 35kms at Cirque du Lys accessed from the village by gondola. And, for cross-country skiers, there are 36kms of trails at Pont d'Espagne - 7km from town - with an additional 6km of downhill skiing on one blue and one green trail.
With limited on-piste opportunities, those who like skiing new areas will quickly exhaust the possibilities of Cauterets, however, the lift pass can be used for other resorts in the region including the Grand Tourmalet, the area that covers the ski resorts of La Mongie and Barèges. The snow record is exceptional - in February 2013 for example, there was over 5.5m of snow on the upper slopes making it the snowiest ski resort in the world!
First time skiers are in for a treat as Cauterets has many green and blue pistes on the top sections of the mountain meaning you can enjoy the panoramic views and mountain restaurants without being confined to the beginner areas at the base stations.
Around two thirds of the pistes are graded blue and red which is heaven for intermediate skiers and boarders. The upper bowl is a good place to experience off-piste skiing as there are many entrances to the bowl and you are never far from the piste.
The majority of the terrain caters for beginners and intermediate skiers with only2 black pistes. However, the off-piste is very good and there are many ski tours that can be booked through the ski schools where a guide will escourt you around using touring skis.
Oakley Freestyle Park is where the snowboarding fraternity hangout. It offers different modules for all levels and has jibs, boxes, rails, and other cool features. Its a great place to chill out on the deckchairs with music and barbecue.
Featured ski chalets
The village is home to most of the holiday rental properties which are largely beautiful stone and wooden buildings. Most of these are close to the shops, bars and restaurants and also have the added convenience of backing on to the slopes which means you can often ski back to your chalet or apartment.See all rentals
Cauterets is known for its excellent facilities and services for families. Many of these are based at the Club "Moon Ball" in Cirque du Lys where children from 3 to 7 years old can play snow games or indoor activities. There is also a day nursery called Les Marmottes which takes children from 2 months to 3 years old.
Things to see & do
Cauterets provide some mouth watering activities other than skiing such as...
- In and outdoor swimming pools
- Ice skating
- Snowmobile tours
Spa & wellness
Cauterets is also home to one of the best thermal spas in the Haute Pyrenees. Try relaxing in the warmth of the sulphurous waters or try one of the wellness treatments - the perfect way to unwind after a day on the slopes. Another option is to visit the Rock les Bains - an outdoor heated pool to 35C open all year with tropical showers, sauna, steam room - a good place to visit with the children if the weather is not great.
Our view on Cauterets
Outside of France, Cauterets is off the grid for most skiers and boarders which means there is definitely that authentic and traditional village feel. With an excellent snow record, pristine pistes and first class family services and facilities, Cauterets is a refreshing change to the mass tourist resorts around Haute Savoie and the Tarentaise valley.