4 alternative ways to enjoy mountain life in the Pyrenees

If, like me, you’re not comfortable on skis, and having snowball fights is fun but you’re worried about spending a whole week in the mountains, rest assured: there are plenty of great alternatives if you don’t ski. Allow me to suggest my five favourites in the Barétous, Ossau and Iraty valleys of the Pyrenees.

Meditate in Iraty

Need to breathe? With its beech forest and summit roads, Iraty combines beauty and serenity with a majestic setting. Here, snowshoeing is a real chance to reflect, with a breathtaking view of the Pyrenees. Bonus: the trails are fully secure.
Come nightfall, you can cosy up by the fire in your chalet, whose unique setting will have you fully relaxed.

Take a wellness break

While family and friends whizz down snowy trails, take some time to recharge your batteries. Relax in the spa, jacuzzi or pool while enjoying views of the surrounding mountains.
For an unusual experience, L’Aventure Nordique in Gourette boasts a outdoor Nordic bath, a wooden tub maintained at a delicious 38 degrees. Perfect to give your body a boost.
Read more about Pyrenean spas here.

The joy of the sledge

Just because you don’t ski, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the thrill of a good glide on the snow! Secure toboggan runs are available at all resorts in the Pyrenees.
To shake it up a little, try ‘snake gliss’ in Gourette, sleighs that snake their way down a descent like no other – or the Airboard at Pierre Saint-Martin, which has you take on the slopes headfirst, more sedately, on an inflatable toboggan.

Snow grooming at dusk

What about this? Gourette invites visitors to drive a snow groomer – or simply climb aboard one to be transported up the slopes to the top of the domaine, from where you can soak up the exceptional views at sunset. Don’t forget your camera.

How to get to the Pyrénées