While Dad was away, the girls went off to play! With large amounts of snow falling daily at higher altitudes, a ski weekend in France with kids was a no brainer.
La Mongie Ski Resort is located in the French Pyrenees mountains near the pilgrimage town of Lourdes, France. It’s a relatively short and easy 3 hour drive from San Sebastian, Spain. La Mongie is the largest resort in the French Pyrenees. The town sits in a bowl, surrounded by 3 major mountain ranges: La Mongie, Grand Tourmalet and Pic Du Midi. Bareges is part of the mountain network just to the east.
La Mongie was recommended by friends for the variety, ease of access and vibrant village. Driving up the mountains with 2 kids and Charli, our elderly dog, worried me. Yes, that’s me gripping the steering wheel to death. But it really wasn’t bad at all. The first 2 hours were easy highway. The last hour was winding roads up the mountain through villages and farms. At some point, we had to put snow chains on the tires in snowfall. Oh joy! With help from passerby, we did it and went on our way.
The first stop upon arrival at the village was ski and snowboard rental pickup. We pre booked our gear easily via Intersport online. Once we grabbed our gear, we headed to the condo we rented. The village of La Mongie has a great selection of hotels, bed and breakfasts, chalets and resorts. Traveling with kids and a dog, I always prefer to rent a condo and cook if we are too tired to go out for dinner after a long day. After all, dinner in France and Spain doesn’t even start until 8:30. Tell that to a hungry, tired 8-year-old.
Our stay at Le Rèsidence Pic Du Midi was great! Well located on a hill overlooking the resort, there are ski lifts down the road. A free bus stops near by to take you down to La Mongie village. Check in was smooth, reception was friendly and accomodating. I used my intermediate French the best I could. French, Spanish and Basque are spoken everywhere, while English speaking help is available, but not as easily found. When checking in, ask for covered parking, which is limited. There is plenty of free street parking, but it was nice to park our car indoors and not deal with digging it out after the weekend.
We arrived during a snowstorm, so it wasn’t til the next morning that we saw what was out our window: La Mongie! What a view! We threw our gear on fast and got on the mountain. If you are thinking of a ski weekend with kids at La Mongie, here are some good runs to take them skiing on:
Saturday morning Cortail, Touron and Baby 1 and 2 runs
This is the beginner area at the base of La Mongie. Perfect for practice or warm up after not skiing for awhile. The runs are all short, green runs, which are accessed via tow lift. The girls met up with a school friend and loved bombing down these runs and the small bumps and hits on them over and over. There are longer green runs higher up the west of the mountain, but these involved riding the tow lift a good 10 minutes up the mountain. The girls didn’t mind the tow lifts in their skis. As a snowboarder, I wanted no part of being towed uphill for 10 minutes or more. One distracted second and I can catch an edge and eat snow. It was time to hit the chairs!
Chapelle and Espade Chairs
If you take these 2 chairs up the mountain, you reach the Tourmalet peak. This area has wonderful blue runs long enough for the entire family to do. We alternated between the Espade and Bearnais chair for the rest of the day. For the more adventurous, drop down the Tourmalet run to the other side of the mountain peak to find the snowboard park. We skipped it this trip, cause Mama’s gotta drive everyone home in one piece.
The Tournaboup area to the east of the resort in the Bareges area was calling me! Skiing in Europe is often high enough to be above the trees and on glaciers with incredible panoramas. It really is gorgeous, but I love me some trees! This pocket in Bareges consists mainly of blue and green runs, perfect for skiing with kids. I especially was excited of finding little powder pockets just off the piste in the trees. There are 2 ways to get to Tournaboup and Bareges from La Mongie. By taking 5 or 6 connecting chairs across the mountain ranges (too much work for a girls ski weekend), or catching the shuttle bus to the base. We spent the day on Tournaboup, Piquette and Laquette chairs. We barely stopped to have sandwiches in the snow.
Monday morning brought heavy snow again. We decided to get out early. We packed, had breakfast and cleaned up as quickly as possible and headed out. The drive was slow but gorgeous, as everything was covered in snow.
We had a great all girls family ski weekend at La Mongie. There are so many runs for all skills, we probably tried 15% of the mountain. We will definitely be back!
Book your ski tickets online at n’py.com. A family ski pass for 4 is as little as 98 Euros per day. Individual kid’s tickets are 30 Euros, while adults pay 40 Euros. Be sure to add the 3 Euro per day insurance. Should anyone get injured and need rescue or transport to the hospital, the insurance covers the medical and rescue costs.