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.

Quiet contemplation in Iraty

Need to find time to breathe? With beech woodland and ridgelines, Iraty (External link) blends beauty and serenity in a majestic setting. Out here, a day spent snowshoeing provides plenty of time for contemplation, with unbeatable views over the Pyrenees. And as an added extra: all of the snowshoeing trails are perfectly safe.

Come nightfall, the fireplace in your chalet provides a warm mountain getaway. There’s no place like it, and it’s a break that does you good!

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.

Slopes without skis

Just because you don’t ski, it doesn’t mean you have to skip that feeling of sliding down the slopes. Safe sledging grounds can be found in every ski resort, and you can try something new with Snake Gliss in Gourette (External link) : sledges are joined together to form a train, which then snakes its way down the slopes… Then there’s Airboarding in Pierre Saint-Martin: Comfortably cushioned on an inflatable sledge, you rocket headfirst down the slope. Guaranteed thrills.

Snow grooming by dusk

Ever wanted to try it? In Gourette, in the Ossau Valley, you can try your hands at the controls of a snow groomer, or just sit back and enjoy the ride to the resort’s high-point to take in the sunset with amazing views. Don’t forget your camera ;)

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