Lovers of alpine skiing and freeride have a must in the French region of Hautes-Pyrénées, which this weekend will host two of the most anticipated international competitions of the season. This is the Xtrem Freeride and the Altitoy-Ternua, whose 2018 edition fell to the couple formed by Kilian Jornet and Jakob Hermann. Hermann will participate this weekend with William Boffelli
The proof queen of Skimo of the French Pyrenees
From 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sunday, lovers of alpine skiing have an unavoidable appointment at Luz-Ardiden (Hautes-Pyrénées), the snow station located in the heart from the Toy country. The twelfth edition of the Altitoy-Ternua will feature 570 runners, 150 couples on the A track, 125 in the B and 8 in youth, formed by athletes of different nationalities, as well as prominent athletes such as the current champion Jakob Hermann who in this edition will participate alongside the Italian, William Boffelli.
Also present will be the mythical Oriol Cardona or Marc Pinsach, who will compete in the A route, the most difficult. In the women’s segment, there is a team that comes from Russia and a very strong team made up of Marta García and Elena Nicolini. The Basque Nahia Quincoces will compete alongside Madrid’s Ana Alonso, who have a good chance of winning in females. And as far as Basque athletes are concerned, Aitor Otxoa, Fermin Ilarregi or Mikel Navarro will take part. And the participation of the brothers Zubeldia, Aimar and Joseba draws attention. Iñigo Martinez de Albornoz will also participate; and, Uxue Fraile will run alongside Arkaitz Irureta.
The most alpine and massive race of the Pyrenees will have two attractive and technical itineraries that will reach 5000 meters of altitude and will cross the beautiful and mythical Ardiden stages and -as far as possible- the long-awaited passage through the Pic de Midi de Bigorre (2,877 m). The A route of the Altitoy-Ternua scoring for the Grande Course, is more technical and demanding in terms of elevation and distance. On the other hand, the non-competitive route B is intended for young people (cadets and juniors); It is popular and consists of a smoother ride.
The Luz-Ardiden station located in the Hautes-Pyrénées region is at an altitude of 1700 and 2500 meters. It has three quickly accessible slopes: Aulian, Béderet and Cloze; In addition to the freeride track of Bernazaou, with a slope of 1250 meters. It offers 60 km of marked tracks for all levels. It also has the Pyrenean village of Luz Saint Sauveur located 700 m high. It is an authentic Pyrenean town with all the comforts of a small town, lots of accommodation, restaurants, shops and disco; as well as the Luzea thermal center.
About the Altitoy
In its origins, the Altitoy – driven by the deceased Andoni Areizaga– consisted in a small race that scored for the Euskadi Championship. Currently, this race is an international benchmark; and, since 2013, it is registered in the “La Grande Course” circuit and is also scoring for the ISMF (International Ski Mountaineering Federation) World Cup. This circuit consists of 6 competitions in pairs, including the Altitoy, and has a worldwide relevance. What is clear is that it doesn’t matter where the competitors come from. These people are united by the same passion: love for the mountains, the Pyrenees and mountain skiing.
The most beautiful Pyrenean freeride test
This weekend, the most beautiful Pyrenean freeride event in the Pyrenees will take place in the Saint-Lary snow complex. The freeride test of two teams -in snowboarding, skiing or telemark-, runs through the most beautiful places of the Hautes-Pyrénées resort, with the strong point of a mountain camp between the two days.
Organized for more than ten years, this competition aims to bring together all freeride fans in the legendary season of the double world champion in this discipline: Xavier de Le Rue, member of the Saint-Lary snowboard club.
Known for the beauty and authenticity of its villages (Vignec, Soulan and Tramezaygues), Saint-Lary is one of the most top snow destinations in Europe. Located just 20 km from the Spanish border, at the gates of the Pyrenees National Park and the Néouvielle Nature Reserve, it has 30,000 quality tourist accommodation and restaurants, 100 km of tracks and 700 hectares in the heart of the Valley from Aure.
The most extreme skiers find, however, what experts consider one of the best off-piste of the moment. The station offers off-piste skiing “magic spot” that allows you to experience unusual sensations on catwalks and small forgotten valleys, traced by ski lifts, with skis or on foot. It is also the cradle of the freeride, for its incredible virgin earrings wrapped in white mantles. In the Espiaube sector, the ideal place for speed riding, the most extreme skiers are allowed to play with gravity.
And, is that Saint-Lary has everything whether you ski or not. It is the summit of wellness and the mecca of Ski & Spa. Created from the reconstruction of an authentic canyon, the Sensoria Rio is one of the best thermal centers in the French Pyrenees. Its natural spring water shines at 32 ° C in hot tubs, waterfalls, geyser and river against the current. It also has a cave, sauna and Turkish bath.
Pyrenean flakes, Bigorre’s black pig or other products of the terroir, in addition to the authentic sheep cheese of the Aure Valley are some of the specialties you can taste in Saint-Lary. Here you can visit the most famous artisan chocolatier in the Pyrenees, one of the most irresistible temptations of Saint-Lary. In the town of Vignec, there is a natural canning house run by the Coustalat family that has been transforming the products of the land for more than twenty years. And, every day, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Francis Porte opens his farm to publicize tome, blue and P’tit d’Ens, his three artisanal specialties of sheep cheese.