Barèges Ski resort & Helios Apartments
Barèges is a charming ski resort nestled in the heart of the French Pyrenees. This quaint town is known for its spectacular scenery, traditional architecture, and world-class skiing. If you’re planning a ski trip to Barèges, check out some of the excellent accommodation opportunities by clicking on this link.
We stayed with friends who have an apartment in the Helios Building, a beautiful former hotel built and owned by the Rothschild family in the nineteenth century. The building also benefits from a heated outdoor pool and spa facilities which are open to the public during the summer.
But of course, one of the main reasons to visit Barèges is for skiing. And on this front, the resort certainly doesn’t disappoint. Barèges is part of the Grand Tourmalet ski area, which is one of the largest and most diverse ski areas in the Pyrenees. With over 100km of slopes, there’s something for skiers of all abilities, from gentle beginner runs to challenging black diamonds.
We had a mixed bag weather-wise for our visit in January 2023, low snow level for the preceding weeks meant that our first day in the resort was limited to a few pistes, but with a glorious sunny day, it was great to be back on snow and explore the joys of the blue runs.
The following 3 days saw non-stop snow, with over 1.2m falling on the mountain, ski conditions were difficult with limited visibility. However, we found refuge in the form of the Tournaboup lift, which accesses a range of Green/Blue/Red runs that descend through a forest area, the advantage being that even in poor visibility the proximity to the trees means that skiing is still possible and even enjoyable. By our third day, even some of the off-piste tracks through the treeline had started to open up which gave us an extra challenge in deep powder. Beware if you are venturing off-piste make sure you are prepared, know what you are doing, and that your insurance covers you for off-piste skiing. We use Sportscover Direct for all our activity trips, the website is easy to use with excellent levels of coverage at very reasonable rates.
The town itself has a range of ski-hire shops, restaurants, and cafes. If you are looking for a wild apres ski party town, this is probably not the place for you, but if you want a more relaxed affair with excellent authentic local food and wine then you are well catered for.
There is a small supermarket in the town for essentials but if you want to do a bigger shop for self-catering then you will have to travel back down the valley to Luz-Saint-Sauveur (roughly a 40-minute drive) to find a larger supermarket.
Whilst we didn’t get to explore the full resort due to lift closures and weather, there was certainly plenty to keep us entertained for the week and whetted our appetite to return another year and explore further. We certainly were not disappointed with the quality of the lifts, pistes, and mountain bars.
If you are looking for a ski holiday without the hustle and bustle of the Alps resorts, then Barèges should definitely be on your radar.