View of front-de-neige area, with skiers, chairlift and mountain background at Luz Ardiden

Luz Ardiden

Hautes-Pyrénées, France

This much underrated family ski station is close to Cauterets, S of Tarbes & Lourdes.

Access is relatively quick from Pau and Toulouse airports (or Lourdes TGV for rail travellers) and the main village of Luz Saint-Sauveur is also a popular summer destination.

There’s no on-mountain accommodation but plenty down in Luz Saint-Sauveur, which provides shuttle buses - a small price to pay for great skiing.

Two skiers on high altitude piste with big mountain views

The Ski Area

In addition to its relaxed, friendly environment and safe areas for beginners and children, Luz also offers enjoyable blue- and red-graded scenic cruising with a few steeper blacks and some off-piste possibilities. The snow record here is also reassuring, thanks to reasonable altitude. The well-groomed pistes are served by a modern, efficient lift system and despite what looks on paper to be a relatively compact size, there’s a real big-mountain feel here and you can often find odd corners all to yourself. Nearby are Cauterets and Pont d’Espagne, for more downhill and cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, walking, etc.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1680m - 2500m
Luz Ardiden
Pistes Total:
60 km
3 Green
4 Blue
18 Red
3 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 14
1 Magic Carpets
6 Draglifts
7 Chairlifts

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Overview of village with church and farmhouses

The Ski Village

That’s right – there’s no on-mountain accommodation. Instead you’ll probably be based down in the valley, where Luz Saint-Sauveur offers a friendly, authentic Pyrenean vibe and a selection of shops and services at real-world prices. Not your average ski experience, then, yet far from unsophisticated and if evenings aren’t exactly riotous there's plenty to do in this year-round tourist destination. Shuttle-buses will get you up and down the mountain, or you can self-drive (but keep an eye on the weather conditions, and be sure to carry snow-chains).

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

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Skier's-eye view of snow-covered mountainside from from chairlift at Luz Ardiden, French Pyrenees.

Best For

Luz has plenty to offer mixed-ability family groups and recreational skiers who appreciate a relaxed experience in pretty sensational, away-from-it-all surroundings. If you don’t expect doorstep skiing you’ll be rewarded with a quality experience in amazing surroundings, and at an attractive price. And if you’re hesitating and likely to be self-driving then the option of adding a couple of days in Cauterets could be the clincher...

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Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery

Snowboarding

Emphasis on fun and learning.
1 Snowparks


Handiski...

  • At resort follow direction 'Aulian'- reserved parking at "front de neige". Also, reserved parking behind the day centre for access to ESF, restaurant and toilets (via heated magic-carpet lift).
  • Access to the whole ski area via 2 detachable 6-person chair-lifts.
  • Lift personnel trained and experienced in helping disabled skiers.
  • Ski pass 50% discount for a disabled skier and their companion (conditions apply).
  • Adapted toilets in the day centre café (access by magic-carpet). Adapted toilets on-mountain in the restaurant d'altitude - wheelchair available.
  • Specialist instructors, 3 adult uni-skis, 1 child uni-ski, and a Tandemski (provided by ESF).
  • Equipment available for hire at the 'Boule de Neige' in Luz-St-Sauveur, tel: +33(0)5 92 94 17 78
  • ESF tel: +33(0)5 62 92 86 99 and Ecole Snow Fun, tel: +33(0)6 84 20 07 78 have qualified instructors in a range of disablilities.
  • See Haute Pyrénées website for further details.

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Good value skiing, dining and accommodation.
  • Interesting piste layout.
  • French ambiance of village below.
  • Panoramic mountain scenery.
  • Ample car-parking close to lifts.
  • Friendly, fun vibe.
  • Snow often abundant.
  • Modern, well-planned lifts.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • No on-mountain accommodation.
  • Access road can be icy.
  • Link to Cauterets, please...

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • There’s more skiing on offer nearby in Cauterets and Pont d’Espagne, so explore it while you’re here.

Practical Information

Getting there

By car
From the A64 autoroute between Toulouse and Pau, take the exit for Lourdes and follow the signs for Luz-Saint-Sauveur (about 30km).

By air
Look out for flights to Lourdes-Tarbesairport (30 mins).
You can also fly into Pau (1hr 15) which has a greater choice of flights or Toulouse-Blagnac (2 hrs) is a third possibility.
We recommend hiring a car for the transfer to your accommodation. You then have a choice between using the shuttle (5€ return) or your own transport to access the ski area and also be able to visit nearby Cauterets.

By train
Take the Eurostar to Paris then Paris - Lourdes TGV. Transfer by an SNCF coach from in front of the station.

Book your train travel from Paris with OUI.sncf


Things to do

Luzéa Thermal Spa

Luz-Saint-Sauveur
Tel: +33 (0)5 62 92 81 58

Relax after a day’s skiing and choose from lots of spa and well-being treatments in the recently re-developed spa in Luz-Saint-Sauveur. Housed in an historic 19th Century neo-classical building, Luzéa maintains a stylish and calm ambience. We enjoyed a therapeutic spa pool treatment followed by a chromatherpay session, after which we relaxed on the loungers in front of a glass wall and enjoyed the view of falling snow outside.
There is a shuttle bus which serves the spa from the village centre.
Visit the website for information and details of all-in packages.


Where to stay

Hôtel Montaigu

Esquieze Sere
65100 Luz Saint Sauveur
Tel: +33 (0)5 62 92 81 71

Comfortable modern hotel with mountain views and spacious rooms in a very peaceful part of the village. We took the half-board option and enjoyed both the hotel restaurant and convivial evenings in the bar.


Insight: Luz Ardiden

Skier's-eye view of snow-covered mountainside from from chairlift at Luz Ardiden, French Pyrenees.

Insight: Luz Ardiden

Skiing here means staying elsewhere, since there’s no on-mountain accommodation. As we leave our snug hotel apartment down in Luz-Saint-Sauveur the first snowflakes of the day’s forecast heavy snowfalls are dancing and swirling in the gentle breeze. A few minutes later we’re driving the long climb up the mountain road to the ski area with a sense that this is rapidly shaping up to be an interesting day. Given the choice, we wouldn’t have chosen fast-disappearing visibility as our ideal companion when exploring unfamiliar territory, but fortunately, we also have another, in the shape of a local ski instructor who clearly knows this place like the back of his hand. We stick to him like a ski-school caterpillar group as he guides us around the intricacies of the groomed piste network. By the end of the morning we can’t exactly say we’ve seen the sights and committed them to memory, but we’re grateful for the company – and visibility or not, we’ve had some truly great skiing. We’re already impressed with this place.
It’s just as well we’ve packed a lot into the morning, for lunchtime finds a depression moving in, bringing with it heavy snowfalls and even less visibility. We therefore do the sensible thing and pick our way carefully down the mountain before conditions deteriorate further.

Whoever first identified this as potential ski terrain got it dead right, and the present piste-layout certainly makes the most of what on paper might appear to be a relatively modest area.
The six-seater Aulian Express chair-lift gets skiers smoothly to the higher terrain in Luz Ardiden.
Badette - an exhilarating, Red-graded plunge above Aulian 1730, Luz Ardiden.

Luz Ardiden: the bigger picture…

Next day, beneath a clear blue sky, things look completely different, so we’re eager to get up the mountain and actually see the terrain that we’d enjoyed skiing the previous day. Suddenly everything makes sense, and this time we’re up for the whole package: lots of varied skiing in a truly sensational setting.
Whoever first identified this as potential ski terrain got it dead right, and the present piste-layout certainly makes the most of what on paper might appear to be a relatively modest area. What saves it from such a fate is the brooding presence of a series of huge outcrops, creating the impression of skiing in different valleys, each with its own distinct personality. Since the expansive contours make it impossible to see everything from any given point, it just begs to be explored to see what might be lying in wait along the way.

Getting up and around it all proves simple enough, and the only drag-lifts to be seen are just where they’re needed, mostly serving the lower and novice areas. Another welcome surprise is the proportion of red-graded runs, providing an attainable, confidence-building upgrade path for those who are ready to graduate from the long blue cruisers.
Helping them on their way will be snow quality which seems to be holding up well in the kind of crisp but sunny conditions we’re blessed with today, along with numerous opportunities to stop from time to time to take in the constantly-changing vistas of the kind of mountain scenery you just can’t ignore.

Enjoy a privileged view of some of the amazing scenery in the Parc National des Pyrénées.
Potential off-piste, Luz Ardiden

Pick of the best

Highlights for us are long, winding red descents from summits like Soum des Aulhères (2168m), Picot (2135m), Caperet (2395m) and the 2500m Col de Cloze. The latter throws in the logically-named Cloze, a bracing black-graded detour which darts abruptly from the wayward Cimes red to swoop straight down, re-joining the red for a final blast down to reach the Cloze chairlift. We enjoy the run so much that we ride straight back up to do it all again. Several times.

Another thing we won’t forget in a hurry is the vast, heart-stopping overview of the valley beyond the Col de Riou, not least since there in the distance on the far side lie the pistes of Cauterets. The town itself is hidden from view, of course, but its relative proximity raises the tantalizing possibility of creating a direct gondola or chairlift link. As we’ve seen elsewhere, such things are often possible, given the will and the financial investment – and if it ever comes off then a whole lot of skiers might finally be enticed to change the habits of a lifetime and discover a real Grand Ski Domain on the French Pyrénées. We can’t wait. Meantime, Luz has more than enough going for it to be a strong contender for anyone’s shortlist of fun places to ski. MountainPassions heart icon