Winter & Spring Holidays
winter/spring holidays and local skiing...
Winter/Spring Availability 2023
To help you plan your winter holiday in Gascony, here are some of our properties that will be available at some point this winter, all of which have central heating and wood fires:
The first four of these properties are within two hours’ drive of Saint Lary (see below) and Les Chenes is under one hour’s drive to Saint Lary. This makes it entirely possible for you to look at the weather at breakfast in your rental house, decide you want to go skiing and be on the slopes by 10am. This will give you time for say 5 hours skiing, a late lunch and then back to your SG rental house. You will be able to organize all this with our new Working Partner, Sarrat Sport (see below) which is based in St Lary, and will make it all work for you! More details in our January blog.
If you are in Gascony ‘Local Skiing’ means the Pyrenees! For much of the year, you can see the snow on the tops of the Pyrenees from most of our rental properties. This magnificent mountain range marches from West to East across the Southern border of Gascony, marking the frontier between France and Spain. The French, especially those living in Gascony, have been skiing in the Pyrenees for nearly 100 years and the iconic ski station at Saint Lary emerged in the 1960s, based on the 1000-year-old mountain settlement much used by travellers and well-known for its thermal spa.
Many Simply Gascony property owners over the last thirty years have travelled to their choice of the nearly 40 ski resorts now spread all over these mountains, to ski for a day or two - for all the reasons described below by the owner of Les Chenes, which is near Tarbes.
We have listened to our owners, and decided to create a new winter holiday option for our (and their) guests,. What we can now offer is a winter holiday where you can stay in one of our lovely Simply Gascony country houses AND you can enjoy some great skiing in the beautiful Pyrenees.
This is now possible because we have a new Working Partner, ‘Sarrat Sport’, which is one of the leading skiing agencies in the Saint Lary resort in the heart of the Pyrenees. Sarrat Sport will organise everything you need to make this ‘double holiday’ work for you and your family.
When you rent one of our civilized, comfortable, well-equipped country houses this winter or spring, we will also introduce you to our ‘Working Partner’, the ‘Sarrat Sport’ ski agency. We have an arrangement with this agency that means you can decide to take a break for a day or two from your country house rental and drive up into the Pyrenees to Saint Lary. Sarrat Sport will be expecting you (with coffee and croissant waiting!) and will have all the equipment you need ready for you. They will also guide you to the most suitable lifts and slopes for your party. This means you will not waste any time and you could have up to 5 hours of great skiing, followed by a delicious, leisurely lunch in Saint Lary. Then you drive back to your country house for warm fires, hot baths and, if you wish, dinner prepared for you by a local chef.
Between us, Simply Gascony and Sarrat Sport will organise everything you need to make this ‘double holiday’ work for you and your family. You will deal directly with Sarrat Sport – we will simply provide you with the introduction to them.
And it started snowing in Saint Lary at the end of November, so the prospects are good for winter 22/23. The best skiing in the Pyrenees is usually from January to the end of March, and perhaps into April.
This is what the owner of ‘Les Chenes’ says about ‘local skiing’ in the French Pyrenees:
“Les Chenes is only an hour from the ski slopes of the French Pyrenees. These majestic mountains form a natural border between Gascony and Spain. On the French side there are over 30 ski resorts, over 1000 kms of pistes, a maritime climate providing healthy quantities of snow, North facing slopes with a long ski season, and a culture of skiing that is quite distinct from the Alps.
Here, there are no crowds, few foreigners, not much opportunity to queue barge at a lift; the ski passes are almost half the price of the Alps, and the possibility exists almost daily to find yourself on a nearly empty slope!
We often go to St Lary, which has over 100km of slopes for all skill levels, as well as for beginners, as does the Domaine du Tourmalet, which includes Barèges and La Mongie. And that is only the start…all within easy reach of our Gascony home.
As a family we have skied a lot in the Alps, but now we have completely converted to the Pyrenees - the powder, the peace and quiet, the restaurant on the slopes with a table free within a 10-minute wait. And then you can drive back after hours of wonderful skiing, where all the comforts of home are quite literally waiting! Once you’ve skied the Pyrenees, you’re hooked!”
More about…Sarrat Sport
Our latest Working Partner for 2023 is ‘Sarrat Sport’, one of the leading ski agencies in the Saint Lary ski resort in the heart of the Pyrenees. Sarrat Sport opened in 1968 and fifty-five years later this local agency continues to offer its unmatched experience of skiing in the Aure valley in the Haute-Pyrenees to skiers of all abilities.
Sarrat Sport has two rental facilities, the main one at the entrance to the village of Saint Lary and the second at the Pla d’Adet - also known as St Lary 1700 (metres height). There are at least 20 staff covering these two shops, between them speaking French, Spanish and English. The tradition of Sarrat Sport is to provide excellent customer service, which fits perfectly with our thinking at Simply Gascony.
Sarrat Sport is a highly professional operation, offering ski-hire with 7 categories of skis suitable for all levels from beginners to very good skiers, and suitable for all budgets. You can also rent snowboards, touring skis, snowshoes, sledges, and electric mountain bikes. There is a range of other facilities and services available on request, including sale of ski passes (at resort prices) and sale of skiing equipment and accessories.
Sarrat Sport is very conveniently located on the main road at the entrance to Saint Lary village, with plenty of car parking and easy access to the lifts to the ski stations.
More about…Saint Lary
The Pla d'Adet station at Saint Lary is above and directly connected to the historic village centre by cable car and gondola. This area has recently been refurbished and redesigned with beginners, families and children particularly in mind. It includes ski schools, the PiouPiou club (a snow garden), with tobogganing and snow games. A fun piste is open for kids at the Kidpark, which is served by rolling carpet lifts, as are the ski school slopes, for the comfort and confidence of children. The green Piste de l'Echarpe is an easy, meandering run down to the “Cabane” sector, along the snow front. This piste is bordered by a walkway that parents and carers can use to monitor beginners' progress.
One of the big advantages of Saint-Lary is the way it was designed so that the whole family, whatever their skiing ability, can enjoy everything in the whole resort - for example having lunch in one of the restaurants at high altitude. In addition to being served by numerous lifts open to pedestrians, the resort offers plenty of "blue" alternatives to the more challenging pistes preferred by really good skiers, so anyone of any level can enjoy all the beautiful sights of Saint-Lary. The ski lifts from Pla d'Adet (1700 m) take skiers up to 2300 m altitude, either to enjoy long ski runs on the blue piste back to the starting point, or to go higher, up to Saint Lary 1900m and Saint Lary 2400m.
Saint Lary is only 30 minutes’ drive to Piau Engaly, where the modern, purpose-built ski station at 1800 m is the highest in the French Pyrenees with lifts to 2500 m and a vertical skiing drop of over 1000m.
Simply Gascony & Sarrat Sport
Get 20% discount on all ski equipment rentals!
Here’s how it all works. When you rent one of our warm, comfortable, well-equipped country houses this winter or spring, we will also introduce you to our ‘Working Partner’, the ‘Sarrat Sport’ ski agency. We have an arrangement with this agency that means you can decide to take a break for a day or two from your country house rental and drive up into the Pyrenees to Saint Lary**.
Sarrat Sport will be expecting you (with coffee and croissant waiting!) and will have all the equipment you need ready for you. They will also guide you to the most suitable lifts and slopes for your party. This means you will not waste any time and you could have up to 5 hours of great skiing, followed by a delicious, leisurely lunch in Saint Lary. Then you drive back to your country house for warm fires, hot baths and, if you wish, dinner prepared for you by a local chef.
Between us, Simply Gascony and Sarrat Sport will organise everything you need to make this ‘double holiday’ work for you and your family. And Sarrat Sport will allow you, as a guest of Simply Gascony, a 20% discount on all their ski equipment rentals.
Although you can ski in the Pyrenees based at any of our ‘Winter Available’ properties, the four closest to the ski stations, and especially to Saint Lary, are:
As explained above, these are all under two hours’ drive to Saint Lary, and Les Chenes is under one hour. If you decide to go skiing for two days, with an overnight stay in or near Saint Lary, then this ‘double holiday’ could work based on any of our Winter Available properties. This whole arrangement is very flexible; you don’t have to book the skiing element months in advance; you can wait until you have arrived in your SG rental and then check with Sarrat Sport on the weather forecast for Saint Lary.
In fact, you will be skiing in the Pyrenees in the same way as very many French residents of Gascony every year – by the day!
**You will need snow chains for your car