The resort has several ski schools. For complete beginners or young learners, the meeting place is on the Saint-Lary 1700 Pla d’Adet plateau, where you can walk to the most gentle slopes. There are also hire shops nearby, plus easy access to the cable-car and shuttle bus. Final point: As usual with ski schools in Europe, always check before you sign up that an English-speaking instructor will be available, if you need one.
The ESF has three bases: in 1700 and 1900, and in Saint-Lary Village. As well as groups and private ski and snowboard lessons, also on offer is advanced instruction for ski-touring, and several classic off-piste routes.
The ESI is also based at 1700. Evolution 2 is in Saint-Lary Village. Guylaine and Franck Independent Ski Instructors (+33 672 33 21 89) are based in Saint-Lary Soulan, taking groups and private lessons in skiing and telemark.
The archetypal charming French family ski resort
The British may still be discovering Saint-Lary, but French families have known and loved it for years. The resort is one of the Famille Plus Montagne destinations, which means it pledges to provide a special welcome for families. At the Maison du Petit Montagnard, in Saint-Lary 1700, there is a creche for children between 18 months and 6 years, along with organised activities for kids up to 12 years old. Club Pioupiou is for children from four years who will learn the basics of skiing here.
The resort has a kids’ park at Saint-Lary 1700 (Pla d’Adet) especially for those aged between six and 12 years. It is furnished with lots of obstacles, “woops” (mini-moguls), a half-pipe, and animal characters. A moving carpet accesses the area, and all is under the watchful eye of a couple of instructors. There’s also a family park for anyone wanting to try out – or practice – freestyle in safety. There is a snowskate area, a half-pipe, tables, hips, rails and big-air.
Although there is some on-mountain accommodation, families would be best to lodge in or near the town. If your children are in ski school classes, be prepared for an early start. As this has largely been a resort for the French and Spanish until recently, you may find that there’s less English spoken than elsewhere in France.