Beautiful setting at the top of the Pyrennes

by: alanmoroney - Mar 23, 2010

  • Overall Rating 4
  • Family Friendly 5
  • All-Mtn. Terrain 4
  • Terrain Park 0
  • Nightlife 2

    Pros: Perfect Snow, beautiful setting, Bielsa in Spain, in resort prices

    Cons: hair-raising sheer drops

    Recommended For: Singles, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters

    Date Visited: Mar 1, 2010

Full review

Piau-Engaly station is modern and purpose built looking a bit like a Space Station, which blends perfectly.
It's the highest French Pyrenean resort so it has wonderful natural snow.
18oo meters at the base, 2600 at the summit.
Not a large resort but two high speed chairlifts to summit has a lot of cruising blues 9and even greens).
The negative is the unfenced sheer drops off a couple of the gentle blues (they are roads in winter), a problem if you do not like heights.
However the rest of the resort is like a bowl with great snow and skiing.
The resort area is modern (so both a pro and a con), but the prices for high altitude are great - e.g. steak dinner for under €10.
We both took a private lesson, each with an English speaking instructor. My wife’s instructor was very unsympathetic and arrogant, my instructor was perfect in every way.
The on site accommodation looks great for families with young kids, perhaps worth only a couple of days otherwise as not too much to do in evening, though it is ski in/ski out.
However, it is a great idea to stay in Spain in Bielsa, 17km away through the Bielsa-Aragnouet tunnel. Bielsa is a real Spanish mountain town, nice hotels, a posh parador, history, restaurants and bars.
The drive is stunning, hair-pin, but gentle on the French side, straight and easy on the Spanish.
For advanced skiers there is off-piste, but this resort is probably best for 2 or 3 days, or combined with a visit to Saint-Lary-Soulan.
And if you are skiing at Saint Lary for a week, it is definitely worth coming up to Piayu for at least one days skiing, just because it is very different – and very near.