Wide view of mountains with skiers on piste above Piau Engaly.

Piau Engaly

Hautes-Pyrénées, France

Purpose-built Piau Engaly sits beside the Franco-Spanish frontier at the upper end of the Aure valley, where it offers the highest-altitude skiing in the French Pyrennees (2300m).

Relatively simple transfers from both Pau and Lourdes airports – and long drives from the Channel ports are repaid in some seasons by snowfalls which can even outperform the Alps.

Skiers looking at mountain scenery above Piau Engaly ski resort

The Ski Area

The highest skiing in the French Pyrenees is snow-sure and has long impressed us. This season (2015/2016) sees the worthwhile addition of 22km of cross-country ski terrain on the Spanish side above Sobrarbe. It’s a logical development since Piau has long attracted downhill skiers from Spain, who appreciate the exhilarating north-facing terrain.

The whole point of skiing here is having fun, so there’s a safe children’s area, some enjoyable blue-graded scenic cruising runs (including a seamlessly-linked succession of blues offering a remarkable 1100m vertical drop), plus some steeper sections to keep the reactions focused. After heavy snowfalls, and when temperatures drop, the ability to be able to ski out onto the lower runs give the village something of a mid-mountain feel.

Although almost surrounded by the tightly-protected landscapes of the Parc National des Pyrénées, a project is being studied to add new lifts and 8km of return pistes close to the exit of the newly-improved road tunnel which has long brought Spanish skiers to Piau. This improved access (with beginner terrain and dedicated parking areas) shaves around 10km off the previous journey, and removes the need to drive up to the ski village.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1860m - 2600m
Piau Engaly
Pistes Total:
65 km
4 Green
19 Blue
11 Red
7 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 11
6 Draglifts
5 Chairlifts


Visitors at cafe tables in centre of ski village at Piau Engaly

The Ski Village

The village heart is compact and has a friendly vibe, particularly at weekends when the local skiers head up for a fun time. The best feature, though, is a mid-mountain setting – snow cover permitting, you can regard it as truly ski-in/ski-out.

Skiers visiting Piau will see some big changes no doubt spurred by the newly-established formal partnership between Piau and its Spanish counterpart Sobrarbe. A particularly welcome addition is the new *** Hotel 4 OURS, which will finally bring much-needed hotel accommodation to the village. It’s sited right beside the Office du Tourisme, and just a few metres away from the front-de neige pistes, ski lifts and bars. Another newcomer is the Edenéo Espace Ludique – an aqua centre with large heated indoor pool, hammam, sauna, lounge bar, etc., all of which should broaden Piau’s appeal significantly.

Piau’s highly-distinctive low visual impact apartments have high owner-occupation, particularly at weekends, and booked via the Office de Tourisme website (who offer some very attractive package pricing for Mon-Thur stays). However, the new partnership means that you can ski here and stay on the sunny Spanish side of the mountain – something Spanish skiers have been doing for many years.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm


Skiers at drag-lift beside snow park

Why go skiing in Piau Engaly ?

This is an affordable and fun place, if not exactly in the Val d’Isère league for entertainment. But you have to say that it’s a whole lot friendlier and more affordable. Terrain-wise, there’s something for most levels, and the natural setting is sensational – don’t expect much future expansion, as the surrounding landscapes are protected nature reserves.

Families and mixed-ability groups will appreciate the accessible novice areas, well-equipped snowpark, plus other activities like télémark, freeride, monoski, skibiking, snowscoots and kite-skiing. Finally, Piau’s own ESF ski instructors offer accompanied off-piste and freeride sessions.


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Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery


Emphasis on fun with well-equipped snowpark and big air bag.
1 Snowparks
1 Snowboarder Cross

Cross-Country Skiing

Easy trails at Piau-Pineta (25 mins).
24km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails


  • Very limited parking within the ski station though possible by arrangement.
  • Direct, flat access to the slopes from the ski station. Accessible chairlifts and beginners drag-lifts.
  • Adapted toilets in the reception building 'Le Pôle' where there's also a picnic room and ticket office with adapted counter.
  • Qualified specialist instructor at ESF. No equipment.
  • See Haute Pyrénées website for further details.

icon-smileyYes please...

  • High altitude guarantees snow.
  • Efficient lift system.
  • Ski-in/ski-out village location.
  • Car-free village centre.
  • Amazing mountain panoramas.
  • Reasonable prices, including food.
  • Vertical drop 1100m possible via successive Blue pistes.
  • Friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • Relatively compact terrain.
  • Treeless landscape offers little shelter during bad weather.
  • Limited accommodation options.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • Look online for special inclusive offers.


Practical Information

Village architecture, Piau Engaly

All accommodation in Piau Engaly is situated at the foot of the pistes in a purpose built village. The resort has recently acquired it's first hotel, the three star 4Ours (The 4 Bears), but most accommodation is self-catering apartments, quite basic but adequately equipped and all have easy pedestrian access to the slopes and the beginners' area. Parking is all outdoors and in the busiest periods, may be some way from the apartments but there is road access (depending on snow conditions) to all the buildings for unloading/loading.
Piau has a dedicated camping-car area with direct access to the pistes. Campers will find all the necessary services on-site.
Booking enquiries can be made to the Tourism Office in Piau on www.piau-engaly.com

There are more accommodation options in the valley at the spa and ski resort of Saint Lary Soulan, (about 20 minutes drive from Piau-Engaly) with a wide choice of hotels, chambres d'hôtes and self-catering apartments.

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