MARCADAU VALLEY INTRO WEEK
Learn to ski tour, or improve your skills from this comfortable refuge base
READY TO SKI ?
Our Introduction to Ski Touring weeks are a wonderful way to begin your touring experience and learn about skiing off the groomed slopes and away from the lifts. You will learn a little about avalanche safety, about how to use your avalanche detector, and basic winter skills in the mountains. You will also enjoy some wonderful skiing and exploring of the Pyrenees under their snowy mantel. For the first three weeks in January we are running our introductory weeks from the newly renovated Refuge Wallon in the heart of the Pyrénées National Park in the Central High French Pyrénées.
The Marcadau Valley is historically a place of commerce and exchange between the high Aragon valleys in Spain and the French valleys to the north; the word ‘Marcadau’ means market in local dialects. The newly renovated and easily accessible Refuge Wallon (1865m) provides us with a comfortable (and quite spectacular) base to develop our winter skills and ski touring techniques. With three valleys heading up from the refuge there is plenty of variety and exploring to be done. If the conditions allow we may be able to plan a tour over to the Bachimaña Refuge in Spain to test our newfound skills.
Note that to begin ski touring you must have some experience skiing off the groomed pistes, and be very comfortable skiing on red slopes on piste. If this is not the case, don't despair - we can help with our Off Piste Intro Week.
• Village and refuge base perfect for learning
• Flexible program to suit the level of participants
• Comfortable refuges
GRADE : D1 : A1 : F1
see our grade coding here
800€ - 1875€pp
This price depends on number days and people in the group :
• Four (3-6 Jan) or six (8-13 Jan, 15-20 Jan) days guided ski touring with a qualified UIAGM high mountain guide
• Four (2-6 Jan) or six (8-14 Jan, 15-21 Jan) nights accommodation
• All breakfasts, dinners and picnic lunches when in Refuge Wallon
• Transfers from/to Lourdes train station
• Hire gear
• Dinners and picnic lunches when in Luz St Sauveur
• Snacks and drinks
Collection from Lourdes train station and transfer to Luz St Sauveur by late afternoon so you have time to check equipment and collect hire gear if necessary. Night in a cosy B&B in central Luz. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from for dinner within an easy walk of the B&B.
We start with a warm up day out somewhere in the Luz Valley. Learn about basic skinning techniques and the use of avalanche detectors. Test your gear and make a change or adjustment at the end of the day if necessary. Second night in Luz.
Transfer to the Pont d’Espagne (1450m) above the famous spa town of Cauterets. This is the departure point for the Marcadau Valley and Refuge Wallon (1865m). Good warm up skinning and we will head higher above the refuge if we have time so we can enjoy a descent back to the refuge.
From Refuge Wallon there are three valleys leading up towards the Spanish border, and any number of options depending on conditions. Your guide will choose one to suit the level of the group and to improve your skills.
Being comfortably set up in Refuge Wallon means we can head out with light day packs, exploring the terrain on skis, and search for the best snow and descents. It is a marvellous playground, and perfect for experiencing a variety of terrains, slopes, ski conditions and learning something about all these from your guide.
If the conditions are right and the group is able then we may head over to the Bachimaña Refuge for the night. Otherwise we continue our exploration of the surrounding valleys and the development of our ski touring skills.
From Refuge Wallon we climb to the Lac du Pourtet (2420m), looping around to reach our starting point back at the Pont d’Espagne. Descend to Lourdes either for a late train out to Paris or to spend the night in a hotel there. We can book the hotel for you but this isn't included in the tour price to give you the option of taking a late Friday night train.
If you haven't already done so then train out of Lourdes. Or you may have chosen to stay on for the weekend to practice your new skills, fit in some resort or cross country skiing, go snowshoeing or simply relax in the thermal baths. We can help with all this, just ask us !