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There are six black runs in the Tourmalet Ski Resort, one in Lienz, one between Tourmalet and Barèges and 4 in La Mongie. Other than that, there is an additional old black run in Lienz that is no longer marked, but still used. There are several off-piste runs, for example starting at Pic du Midi (2877m). 

Coume l'Ayse (Tourmalet West)

Our all time favourite piste, long and varied. It starts at the top of the double drag lift Coume Lounque (23) with a magnificent view to the flat land of France and on the Pyrenees. The run itself has several steep parts, but is the least difficult black run, although very long. It is a very nice run to take back home at the end of the day, although you need to be in time before they close the run. See also: Coume Loungue.

Ricao and off-piste (Le Lienz)On the map only Ricao (right of the drag lift Etoile(37)) is marked as a black run, which goes through the forest of Le Lienz. Ricao is a not very steep, but it develops high moguls and it is not very wide. Be sure to take this piste when you had 40 cm snow for a good deep snow ride.

Coming out of the drag lift immediately left is a steep mogul piste (photo), which used to be marked as black piste, but is no longer counted as such, maybe because it is quite short. After the steep part, it joins the red Famose. See also: Le Lienz.

Prade Verde: 4 black runs in La Mongie

Just opposite of the apartment building of La Mongie you will find the 3 person chairlift Prade Verde (14), giving access to 4 deep black runs: Coupe du Monde, Sources, Prade Berde and Ratelier. They are the most difficult official runs of the resort. On the photo you see Sources which runs along the chairlift.

Coupe du Monde

This run can be found when turning left at the top of the chairlift. This is where the world championship slalom was held in 1985. This is a short black run, joining the red piste Slaloms and Fleshes.

Sources and Ratelier

Sources and Ratelier are found directly to the right of the chairlift. Ratelier joins at the start, but if you keep right Ratelier brings you to Coupe du Monde. Sources is the steepest run of the resort going a long way down to La Mongie and the apartment building. (See photo above).

Prade Berde

From the chairlift take the road on your right and continue a long way down where you will find Prade Berde. It is less difficult than Sources because it is easier to avoid the steep parts, but if you like it, the steeps are even more challenging here.

See also: La Mongie.

Off Piste

There are several off piste runs, below a selection. Please make sure you understand the risks, and know the avalanche conditions. Never take an off piste run when the risk is 4 or 5. Some of these pistes would be normal black runs if the risk was lower here.

A nice run (long and steep) is along the 6 person chairlift Caoubere, going back to the parking lot Tournaboup. See also Tournaboup.

At Quattre Thermes, take the chairlift up. There you see a big dent in the mountain. You can climb up (skies on your shoulder) and descent the other end all the way down to Tournaboup.

From Hount Barrade, you can turn right directly from the chair lift and take the sharp slope directly on your left. You have to find a good place to cross the first rocks and it is hard to see where you will end... After the steep part, this is a long run through the country going way below La Mongie village. The ski bus from Campan to La Mongie will take you back to La Mongie village.

From La Mongie, you can take the cable car to Du Taoulet (same spot as Hount Barrade) and continue to Pic du Midi (this has the best view over much of the Pyrenees and is nice to do even without skies). From Pic du Midi, you can do several off piste runs in many directions. The first part from the station is very steep. Look at the conditions of the snow before you go down. The run on the cable car to Pic du Mid is not included in your ski pass. The cable car is closed on Tuesday.

Copyright (c) 2005, Petit Barzun