Winter Revitalise

Sun, Snow, Yoga, Food, Relaxation…

Mandy snowshoeingYoga Room Blue CairnMandy snowshoepiscine-bains-du-rocher

Snow-shoeing, yoga and thermal baths – this is a combination to reinvigorate your winter ! Lodged in a cosy cottage in the stunning Val d’Azun (Valley of Light in Occitane) you will spend your days snow-shoeing in the spectacular valleys surrounding us, visiting Gavarnie (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Pont d’Espagne (Pyrenean Grand Site), and the beautiful lake-filled Neouvielle Natural Reserve.

The magic begins each day with a gentle yoga session (for those who wish) in our dedicated yoga room. We then head out for guided snowshoeing with Mandy or Sacha to discover new valleys and spend 4-6 hours (300-800m altitude gain) discovering the delights of walking in the snow. We will head up to mountain refuges, make igloos and build camp-fires to cook and delicious local duck and roasted marshmallows. In the evening you’ll be in the bubbling thermal baths to ease your muscles or enjoying short, relaxing yoga sessions before tucking into a fabulous dinner, served either in the cottage or a local restaurant.

This holiday is designed for 2-6 people for a maximum of personal attention from your yoga teacher and guide in both yoga and snow-shoeing.

Price: 1275€pp for two people, 925€pp for four people, 725€pp for six people. This includes collection from Lourdes train station or airport, accommodation, five days guided snowshoeing, one morning visit to Argeles market + afternoon walk, all meals, two thermal bath sessions, morning and yoga evening sessions each day.
Price does not include :
drinks, transport from other airports/station.
Dates: every week 6 Jan – 17 Feb 2018.
Contact and Book: Mandy.

Highlights

Blue Cairn winter ¤ Discover the snow with a guide
¤ Diverse snowshoeing/winter walking
¤ Daily yoga and two thermal bath sessions
¤ Beautiful peaceful accommodation

Accommodation

Labelled ‘Gîte de France’, your cottage is a 19th century ‘Bigourdane’ (typical house from the Bigorre region) which has been renovated into a cosy cottage, lovely and sun filled in the winter. Panoramic views from each window add to the delight of the cottage in the charming Pyrenean village of Arras en Lavedan.

Meals

Blue Cairn Cottage diningBreakfast and lunch is supplied in your cottage kitchen on a ‘help-yourselves’ basis. We stock your fridge and cupboards with goodies so can cater to any particular dietary requirements. Museli, organic bread, yoghurt, fresh fruit, tea, coffee and hot chocolate is served for breakfast. We also provide picnic supplies so you can make sandwiches, salads, add chocolate and other locally made products to your midday meal. Our priority is to provide fresh, local and organic (where available) produce. Evening meals are a mix of eat in (five nights, with meals supplied by a local chef) and eat out (two nights), so we can try a couple of different local restaurants.

Guiding

Sacha and Mandy are fully-qualified international mountain leaders and will guide you in safety through the snow filled valleys, teaching you to walk easily in your snowshoes and to look for animal tracks and winter wildlife.

Yoga

Mandy is a qualified “Ashtanga” Yoga Teacher. This is a dynamic yoga which combines breathing with movement and helps to bring strength, flexibility and well-being to your mind and body. A morning session will help to awaken your body, opening chest and ‘oiling’, livening your muscles and mind for the day ahead. The evening session will be more gentle and relaxing, stretching out worked muscles and ensuring much less stiffness the following day. All classes are adapted to the level of each person and even the most ‘unflexible person’ (!) will truly benefit from these yoga sessions.

Programme:

Saturday: We collect you from Lourdes airport or train station and transfer to your comfortable cottage, in Arras en Lavedan to wander around the small village and settle in. Meal brought  in from local chef.

Sunday: Morning yoga at 8am for 45 mins followed by breakfast. Your first guided walk will include a session on safety awareness in the winter mountains and 101-1485understanding your avalanche transceiver. We drive up to 1600m and the Hautacam ski area where we already have fantastic views from the carpark. Our walk takes in ridges and lakes in the pure white beauty and we picnic up high! Back at your gîte, a short yoga-stretch will help ease new-found muscles and a hot meal follows.

Monday: Morning yoga, breakfast and we then head up to the renowned Neouvielle Natural Reserve to walk up and around frozen lakes and picnic in the shelter of a shepherd’s cabin. Back down to Argelès Gazost where we soak and enjoy the warm bubbling thermal waters – a real luxury at the end of a day in the snow! We will head out to a local restaurant for our evening meal.

Tuesday: After our morning yoga and breakfast, we will start the day in Argeles’ bright and authentic weekly market. Wander through the stalls and buy wonderful locally-produced sheep, goat and cow’s cheeses, dried sausage, chocolates and myrtle cakes. We will get our picnic supplies here and drive back up to Arras to start our walk up to the Mont de Gez for views over the Pyrenean foothills. The panoramic view gives us an excellent understanding of snow_viewthe layout of the surrounding valleys. We can see the higher valleys we have been up to already and where we’ll be headed later in the week. We build our camp-fire and cook duck sides, sausages and roasted vegetables with cheese and wine and finish with coffee and our myrtle cake. Back ‘home’ for our yoga session and meal in the cottage.

Wednesday: We head out to Gavarnie after our morning yoga session. You will quickly realise why it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as we take in the extraordinary beauty of the cirque and its surrounds, as well as the legendary Gavarnie snow shoe‘Brèche de Roland’ seen from the spectacular setting of the Espuguettes Refuge above. If the conditions are right we will walk behind the frozen waterfalls on the famous ‘Espugues‘ path before coming down for a hot chocolate in the village and back for a comfortable evening in Arras.

Thursday: Today we begin our snowshoe from the Pont d’Espagne above Cauterets. We pass wonderful waterfalls, climb through superb Scots pine forests and follow the sometimes frozen Gaube river up to the lake of the same name. We may well see isards (mountain antelopes – the Pyrenean cousin of the Alpine chamois) on today’s walk, as jardin des bainswell as vultures. On our return we can take the time to build an igloo by the ‘Lac des Huats‘ and then eat our afternoon tea inside! After all this exertion we head back down to Cauterets village for a steaming thermal bath in a fantastic setting. Home to Arras for our evening meal.

Friday: Our last day will be a memorable one. We will snow-shoe up to the Col de Porteillou above the Saugué Plateau where we picnic with stunning views over Gavarnie and the Breche de Roland and the surrounding snow-filled valleys and  summits. Back home for a short yoga session and hot shower and out for our Sacha and Mandy - our guidesfinal meal in the Restaurant du Moulin in the Valley d’Azun – local and delicious!

Saturday: We drop you back to the airport/station and say goodbye!

Please Note: Safety being a constant priority, itineraries may be adapted to suit weather and snow conditions.

See our Safety in the Mountains page for more information.

Contact for more information: Mandy.