Ax 3 Domaines, France
Ax 3 Domaines
|Kms of Piste||80km|
The Ax 3 Domaines ski area is situated in the Ariège department of the Pyrénées, close to the gateway airport of Toulouse and also to Andorra. Located above the pretty spa town of Ax Les Thermes,it is made up of three areas spread over a large terrain and wide open spaces.
A 16 person cable car connects the village in the Ax valley up to the heights of Ax Bonascre.
Ax 3 Domaines can be also accessed from the same mountain road which leaves from the pretty Pyrenean spa town of Ax Les Thermes.
Down below in the valley, the charming old village of Ax Les Thermes has a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere and is steeped in rich history. It is perhaps most famous for its thermal baths, Les BainsCouloubret, with its sulphurous hot springs (25-78°C), of which there are about sixty. The baths became very popular, as did those in other areas of the Pyrenees during the nineteenth century when the spa tourism industry developed in the Victorian era.
The town is a pleasure to wander around and there is also a good selection of bars, restaurants and general amenities - there is always something to do. The highlight has to be the outdoor thermal foot spas actually set in the pavement in the square at the base of the gondola. Great to sit outside and relax your wearyy feet in the hot thermal water at the end of a long ski day.
The Ax 3 Domaines ski area is split into three distinct areas - Bonascre at low altitude, Saquet at medium altitude and Campels at high altitude. Together these three linked areas offer 80 kilometres of prepared ski slopes in a secure area.
The Bonascre plateau is located 1390 meters and is one kilometre long and 450 metres wide. Bonascre was the first of the three ski areas and it is the entrance point to the Ax 3 Domaines ski area. It starts at 1,400m with the Bonascre cable car or high speed Lievre Blanc taking you to the top of this area (2,000m). Most of the area is covered by the Crémade and Manseille woods which both make up the main forest area of Ax-les-Thermes. It is therefore not surprising that many of the runs in this area are amongst the pines trees and are a mixture of shady green and blue runs – perfect for beginners and low intermediates.
The Saquet ski area stretches above the Bonascre ski area between 1,800m and 2,300m. Its boundaries are (to the west) Savignac valley and (to the east) the small valleys of Mansèdre, Bisorne and Campeillot which drop down to the Escaleilles waterfalls and then the Ariège River. Within its boundaries is a section of the Griolle woods meaning a couple of tree lined runs but the majority are open to the elements.
The Campels ski area is the highest of the three with an altitude of between 1,700m and 2,400m. A large part of the area clings to the side of the Tute De L’Ours Mountain (2,254 m) and it is here that you will find a good selection of red runs. The highest point of the entire ski area is a little further south, just past the Couillade of Llerbès peak at a height of 2,305m. Campels also spread between two other peaks, between Carroutch (1,871m) and Pic du Savis (1,958m) and it is here that the black runs are found along with a few reds and blues.
For Nordic ski lovers, there are also two cross country areas of Chioula and Beille further down the valley from Ax 3 Domaines.