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Cauterets

Cauterets was flung into the spotlight when it had more snow than any other ski resort on the planet in 2003. But those in the know have been coming here for centuries – drawn in by its pretty town, healing hot springs and enchanting landscape.

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Intermediate

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At a glance: • Pretty spa town • Good snow record • Near Lourdes

Great for: • Cross country • Non skiers • Ski & spa

Cauterets was flung into the spotlight when it had more snow than any other ski resort on the planet in 2003. But those in the know have been coming here for centuries – drawn in by its pretty town, healing hot springs and enchanting landscape.

Cauterets Resort

This small, historic spa town is part of the Pyrenees National Park, near the Spanish border. The great and the good of the 19th century would come here for the healing nature of its thermal baths and the landscape of gurgling gorges, gushing waterfalls, ancient bridges and chapels - Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Debussy and Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte among them. The nearness to pilgrimage site Lourdes was (and remains) another big attraction.

Current Cauterets’ architecture harks back to that golden age, with grand balconies, Belle Epoque lamp posts and sculptured facades. Thermes de Cauterets has an ever growing list of therapies for aches and ailments, in the Cesear baths and Thermes des Griffons. Esplanade des Œufs recently had a facelift to preserve its old glamour, and is home to one of the prettiest cinemas you’ll ever see. Since skiing was introduced in the 20th century it’s played a significant role in the town’s development. A 12-minute cable car ride takes you up to Cirque du Lys, where 36km of pistes spread out before you.

7km deeper into the national parkland is the same stone arch - Pont d’Espagne (or Spanish bridge) - that traders once used to cross the border and great Romantic poets waxed lyrical about. Besides being one of the best known beauty spots in the Pyrenees, it’s home to an alpine and Nordic ski area with incredible woodland surroundings.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Pyrenes, France

Established:

Open: December - April

Downhill: 36km

View our detailed Cauterets snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Cauterets snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Tarbes Lourdes Pyrénées (LDE)45km, 1 hour
Pau Pyrénées Airport (PUF)96km, 1.5 hours
Toulouse Blagnac (TLS)208km, 2.5 hours
Biarritz Pays Basque (BIQ)200km, 2h15
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 11 runs

  • 7 runs

  • 2 runs

Top Altitude:2450m
Bottom Altitude:1730m
Resort Altitude:940m
Longest run:Crêtes
Slope Orientation:N
Vertical Drop:
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 10cm
  • Base
  • 210cm
  • Forecast
  • 240cm

Web Cam

Cauterets web cams
Downhill Runs:36km
Beginner slopes:
Intermediate:
Advanced slopes:
Lift Pass Price: €182.50 (adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Bareges, Saint Lary Soulan

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Cauterets

Cauterets’ local ski area is Cirque du Lys, where you’ll find nearly all pistes covered by the ski pass, apart from the two over in Pont d’Espagne – one red, one blue – that trail through trees.

Though if you’re here for the cross country, Pont d’Espagne is where you’ll want to spend most of your time. It has five cross country circuits totalling 36.5km – they’re fabulous, passing waterfalls, woodland and altogether glorious scenery.

The ESI and ESF ski schools teach on beginner runs in both ski areas.

In Cirque du Lys, the general nature of the slopes is slightly more challenging than you’d find elsewhere (e.g. the blues can sometimes be more like reds) but the usually excellent snow cover makes them easy to handle. The blue Crêtes piste streams down the ridge from the top point at 2415m, giving some wonderful views of Vignemale, the highest peak in the French Pyrenees. Runs like blue Gentiane and Chardon, red Martagon and black Combe du barbat and Orchis branch off from this if you fancy a bit of variety or upping the ante.

Intermediates should connect over to the Touyarolles chair, where you can take the lift up to the Malh Blanc and Edelweiss slopes from 2370m, or head back towards Gare du Lys on the Asphodele run.

Thanks to the good annual snowfall, there are some brilliant off piste routes to soar down – get in touch with a local guide who will be able to show you the best terrain.

The star of the show here is the Oakley Park, which was the first snow park in the Pyrenees and the second in France to be sponsored by Oakley… It comes with features of all difficulties including one-of-a-kind obstacles like the O-rail. Get to it via the Grand Barbat chair.

Cauterets Apres Ski

Stop off at Yeti Croq for speedy snacks, or nab a table at the Ski Bar on the town square which makes for a good gathering place.

Food wise, La Grande Fache whips up traditional French mountain foods like tartiflette and raclette – but you’ll want to book a table since though it’s quite a small restaurant, it’s very popular. We like Le 88 for pizzas and burgers and Creperie du Moulleau’s a favourite for sweet and savoury pancakey goodness.

If you’re hankering after something sugary, head to Refuge de Sens for amazing chocolates, puddings and hot chocs.

There’s an ice rink in town, as well as a cinema while those seeking more snowy fun will find a toboggan run over in Pont d’Espagne.

Lourdes is half an hour’s drive away if you fancy a day trip to the world renowned catholic pilgrimage site.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Cauterets

When is the best time to ski Cauterets?

Cauterets famously had more snow than any other ski resort in the world in February 2013, when a cover of 550cm pipped even Whistler to the post in snow depth records. A huge dump of the white stuff wasn’t a one off for this resort, which usually gets enough snow to find it among the best depths in the Pyrenees and Alps - largely thanks to the presence of some of the highest peaks in the Pyrenees. The north facing nature of the slopes keeps the white stuff shaded from the sunshine, which is good news if you're thinking of visiting later in the season.

Peak Dates

Spend Christmas in Cauterets, skiing some of the best conditions in the Pyrenees, wandering around the historic town and joining the festive parade that usually takes place on the Esplanade des Œufs.

New Year in Cauterets is traditionally celebrated with parties and gala dinners – then spend January 1st soaking in the spa, exploring Pont d’Espagne or skiing high in the Pyrenees.

Between the town, Cirque du Lys ski area and Pont d’Espagne there are more than enough activities to fill a wonderful Half Term in Cauterets.

Whether you’re combining a ski holiday with a pilgrimage to Lourdes or simply want to soak up the sun this close to the Spanish border, Easter in Cauterets is something special.

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Families in Cauterets

We like the Pont d’Espagne area for families, where kids who are confident on the piste can enjoy their independence skiing the two slopes, without a worry of them taking a wrong turn and ending up somewhere unknown. Those who are happier off skis have a terrific toboggan run, and there are some good walking trails too.

Back in the main area, teens will love the Oakley park, and the mix of different runs should keep the whole clan grinning. If your children aren’t yet ready for ski school, the Mini Club looks after 3-7 year olds – find it in the Cirque du Lys reception building. There’s also the Les Marmottes nursery in Cauterets for tiddlers aged 2 months to 3 years.

From a merry go round in the town to specialised children’s sessions in the Thermes de Cauterets (and amazing treatments for grownups too…) there’s a lot off the slopes to ensure everyone has a good week away.

GroupsGroup Holidays Cauterets

Admittedly this is far from the biggest ski area in France, but if your group like to mix time on the mountains with relaxing in the spa and exploring the local area, Cauterets could be just what you’re looking for. While skiers and snowboarders take to the Cirque du Lys area, non-skiers can set off on the walking trails around beautiful Pont d’Espagne, or take a soak in the thermal baths. Day trips to Lourdes are easily doable for an experience of the famous pilgrimage site.

There are some brilliant bars and restaurants to enjoy together in the town, and wintery activities like ice skating to complete the package.

More Cauterets Holiday Resources


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