Grand Ski by N-Py 2014-15

Which pass to buy? At the ticket office or on-line?

Grand-Tourmalet-descente-du-Pic-du-Midi_format_894x500

¤ Don’t want to wait in the queue at the start of the day?
¤ Want to have the best value ski pass for your stay?
¤ Not sure if it is worth taking a six day pass?

This is a post we did in Nov 2013 to compare ticket prices; here I have updated with new prices for Winter 2014-15.

snowpark2There are four easily accessible ski resorts in the Luz Valley (the ‘Pays Toy‘ – or the upper Vallées des Gaves (Vallées des Gaves carte brochure 2013)) where Luz St Sauveur is the largest village. They are Luz Ardiden (plan-des-piste-luz-ardiden-2013-2014), Barèges (plan des pistes grand tourmalet1), and Gavarnie-Gedre (plan_des_pistes_gavarnie_gedre_ski_pyrenees). Cauterets (plan-des-pistes-cauterets), in the next valley, is about the same distance as Gavarnie. So you have four ski areas to choose from when staying in Luz St Sauveur. Access is possible by shuttle bus to Luz Ardiden, Grand Tourmalet and Gavarnie (in school holidays), Cauterets by car, but having a car is probably the most convenient option.

Three of these ski areas are associated with the N’Py group of ski stations. N-Py (standing for Nouvelles Pyrenees / New Pyrenees) unites eight Pyrenean Ski Resorts in a marketing, ticketing, purchasing alliance. The resorts accessible from Luz that are part of this structure are Luz Ardiden, Barèges-La Mongie (Grand Tourmalet) & Cauterets. Gavarnie-Gedre is not part of the organisation, but is part of the six day multi-station pass (Grand Ski by N’Py).

To avoid the ticketing office at the start of the day (or week for that matter) there are three options.

n-py logo1. Buy a rechargeable multi-day pass for one ski area (213€ for Grand Tourmalet, 167.50€/149.50€ Luz Ardiden, 130€ Gavarnie), or the six day pass for all four (Grand Ski by N’Py, 213€). Add 3€/day insurance.

 

n-py rechargable2. Order a Rechargeable Tele-N’Pass (free, ticket prices are the standard day rate, you need to recharge it the night before on-line before you ski).

 

n-py no-souci3. Order a No Souci Télé N’Pass (33€, includes insurance, gives you reduced day rates, no need to recharge – your credit card or bank account are automatically credited).

 

The six day Grand Ski by N-Py pass gives access to all four ski areas and is an excellent, easy solution. The question is whether this is good value compared with buying day passes as you go (so you don’t pay for days you don’t ski, so buy either the Rechargeable Pass or the No Souci Pass)?

Listed Day Rates

The following table gives the listed day rates for each station, along with the No Souci high* and the No Souci low* rates.

  Day Rate high Day rate low No Souci high* No Souci low*
Barège-La Mongie-Pic du Midi Unlimited¤
59€ 59€ 50.50€ 41.30€
Barèges-La Mongie 40€ 40€ 34€ 28€
Luz Ardiden 33.50€ 29.90€ 28.50€ 23.50€
Gavarnie-Gedre 26.50€ 19.50€**  –  –
Cauterets 34.50€ 34.50€ 29.30€ 24.20€

* High is weekends and school holidays (21 Dec – 5 Jan 2014; 15 Feb to the 16th Mar 2014). Low is mid-week outside school holidays.
** Gavarnie’s high rate is only for school holidays. Weekends outside school holidays are the low rate.
¤ Barèges-La Mongie-Pic du Midi = Grand Tourmalet.

The day rates are the prices you will pay if you simply line up and buy a ticket at the ski station, or if you have a Rechargeable Télé N’Pass. The No Souci prices are for those only with a No Souci pass.

npy-21So which ski pass to buy? Is it worth buying the six day pass or are you better off just skiing day by day?

Firstly, if you don’t know quite where you’ll ski, and don’t mind spending the extra money to not worry about it, then by all means take the Grand Ski by N’Py six day pass. Likewise if you are interested in skiing mainly in Barèges-La Mongie-Pic du Midi because it gives you unlimited access to Pic du Midi. You can just decide to go wherever you like without having to recharge your card on line. Clearly if you don’t want to plan, or want to be flexible to take advantage of whatever conditions arise, then this pass is great value (38.50€/day with insurance, 35.50€ without, instead of 59€/day for a Grand Tourmalet day pass).

But if you are not really sure you’ll head up to Pic du Midi more than once, if you would like to take advantage of the other stations, if you are not sure you’ll ski every day, then it is perhaps worthwhile to consider other options.

Rechargeable Télé N’Pass

Depending on the number of days you ski in each place the calculation is as follows (remember the ‘Grand Ski by N’Py‘ pass with insurance is 231€):

# Days # Days # Days # Days
Grand Tourmalet (with Pic du Midi) 1 1 1 0
Barège-La Mongie (no Pic) 2 1 1 2
Luz Ardiden 1 2 2 2
Gavarnie 1 1 2 2
Cauterets 1 1 0 0
Insurance (3€/day) 18€ 18€ 18€ 18€
TOTAL mid-week outside school hols 240.90€ 230.80€ 215.80€ 196.80€
TOTAL W/E and school hols 251.50€ 245€ 237€ 218€

No Souci Télé N’Pass

# Days # Days # Days # Days
Grand Tourmalet (with Pic du Midi) 1 1 1 0
Barège-La Mongie (no Pic) 2 1 1 2
Luz Ardiden 1 2 2 2
Gavarnie 1 1 2 2
Cauterets 1 1 0 0
No Souci Pass (includes insurance) 33€ 33€ 33€ 33€
TOTAL mid-week outside school hols 206.35€ 201.85€ 197.15€ 175€
TOTAL W/E and school hols 235.45€ 229.95€ 227.15€ 211€

snowparkClearly the No Souci Pass is an excellent solution if you are planning on skiing six days with three or more days outside Grand Tourmalet/Barèges-La Mongie, and particularly if you are not here in school holidays. If you are skiing less than five days then you may not make back the purchase price of the No Souci Pass so you’ll be better off simply with the Rechargeable Pass. The No Souci Pass has the big advantage of not needing to recharge it on the internet before you go (or worse, at the ticket office). You can simply decide to go and it charges your bank account/credit card directly.

The Grand Ski by N’Py is best for those who want flexibility and access to Pic du Midi.

Lastly, on the question of whether to take insurance or not; taking the ski station insurance this is the best way to insure you get off the mountain quickly and easily when you need to. 18€ for the week is the price of a pizza and dessert, so not much to pay to remove inter-country insurance hassles…

Can you have fun skiing around here? This lot certainly think so!

 

Happy skiing in the Luz Valley!