The Pyrénées mountain range runs along the border between France and Spain, with the small country of Andorra nestling in the middle. It is 400 kilometers long and 70 kilometers wide.
Although the Alps attracts millions of tourists each winter season, the Pyrénées tend to be less crowded and less expensive than some of the French Alps resorts. The French Pyrénées are home to 38 ski resorts, along with around 1,000 kilometers of cross-country trails.
After the Alps, the Pyrénées offer the widest selection of ski resorts in France. The biggest ski resort in the French Pyénées is in the Houtes Pyrénées department, midway between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
Tourmalet lies south of Lourdes and Tarbes, and is the second oldest ski resort in France, after Charmonix, and the ski area here has 69 pistes with 42 lifts, and covers 100 kilometers. It culminates at a height of 2,500 meters.
In the eastern Pyrénées, the largest ski domain is Font-Romeu/Pyrénées 2000, a large area with 58 kilometers of slopes of all levels. There is also over 100 kilometers of cross-country skiing pistes her.
In the past, the French Pyrénées has played a secondary role to its more glamorous rival, the French Alps. In the last decade however, greater advances have been made to turn what was perhaps considered rather dull Pyrénéean mountain towns and villages into excellent skiing resorts.
Ski resorts open from early in December until mid-April and ski touring is best from February when the days are longer. Most of the Pyrénéan resorts have snow canons, so snow is guaranteed during the season, but the best of the natural snowfall is from early New Year onwards, usually lasting until the end of March.