❄️ The fresh snow has fallen, the sun is out and here we are, a whole group of friends ready to leave for a big ½ day of ski touring at Mont Ceint, also called Pic de Girantès.

We are a tribe of 5 friends: Matthieu, Guillaume, Sylvain, Stéphane, Philippe and of course our dog, border collie, who lives up to her name: Neige!

⏰ We meet in Tarascon-sur-Ariège at 7:00 a.m. to carpool and begin the climb towards the Port of Lers. There is snow on the road, we are careful, here is where to find the information on the snow condition of the roads here.  

Ski de randonnée Mont Ceint Ariège Pyrénées
© Caroline Bayard – Ariège Pyrénées Tourism

Practical information 📋

Departure : Lers Port Road (1390 m)
Often open up to the pass, it can be closed around 1100 m after a snowfall.
If possible leave the car in a hairpin this GPS point.
More information on: http://www.inforoute09.fr
Distance: 9,0 Km
Positive elevation: 844m
Max elevation: 2 m (the summit)
Negative elevation: 844m
Minimum altitude: 1m
Time in motion: 2h

Lights and a wow panorama! 😍

Here we are arrived at the starting point, before starting our ascent we train and do a avalanche victim search simulation. This allows us to see if our devices (ARVA) still work and we are getting ready.

Once ready to embark on our ascent, we take the opposite direction of the Pic des Trois Seigneurs and let's enjoy the fresh snow in the undergrowth, where the light is already just crazy! 

Ski de randonnée Mont Ceint Ariège Pyrénées
© Caroline Bayard – Ariège Pyrénées Tourism
Ski de randonnée Mont Ceint Ariège Pyrénées
© Caroline Bayard – Ariège Pyrénées Tourism
Ski de randonnée Mont Ceint Ariège Pyrénées
© Caroline Bayard – Ariège Pyrénées Tourism

Ski de randonnée Mont Ceint Ariège Pyrénées

🎿 The climb is regular, not steep, and the cottony sound of the seal skins punctuates our progress. We emerge from the forest, our bodies are well warmed up. The trail leads us to a pass, our eyes are already marveling at the beauty of the immaculate snow and the panorama we have over the Pyrenees! The blue landscape and the white coat before us transmit such an emotion, such a feeling of well-being, that we forget, in a few seconds, the physical effort that we have just accomplished.

Ski de randonnée Mont Ceint Ariège Pyrénées

📷 We take a break, let's enjoy the view to take some photos, and give us energy with a cereal bar.
From there, we continue our progression in single file, to reach the ridge towards the summit located on the left towards the south. We plan to take the same route on the way down. At this altitude, there are no more trees. We advance in full sun, despite everything, the cold and the wind which keep our cheeks very red.

The wind has been blowing the snow for several days, this icy snow makes conversions and turns more and more difficult.

Knives are therefore essential to reach the summit. As we continue our ascent, we realize that the snow is really much too icy, the sliding conditions for the descent are unattractive. We therefore decide to remove the knives and seal skins from the skis, adjust our bindings, shorten our poles, and begin the descent. The conditions therefore invite us to use the grips of our skis to grip the icy snow. We find the pass and the valley below to finally enjoy the lightness of the snow. We spring forward, our hips invite us to shape turns flexibly from left to right. We arrive in the fir trees to carve our wavy tracks in virgin and silky snow. What a pleasure to turn around and admire the curly imprints left by our spatulas! 🥰

Once at the bottom, we all agree to put our seal skins back on and go back up to the pass, we set off again in a new valley in the middle of the fir trees. 🌲 The powder comes to whip our cheeks, which are always red!

What joy, what immense happiness to see these light and fresh flakes, shining in each of our turns, all in a sparkling morning light. ❄️

have as much fun as possible while remaining safe!🔒

As you have just read, we turned around during our outing.  In the mountains it is important to remain humble, even more so in winter when the mountains are unforgiving, that's what we did that day, we preferred to go back, not to risk an accident while while keeping in mind to have as much fun as possible, so we decided to go back down to the pass quietly. From there, we took great pleasure in the valleys to reach the forest where the quality of the snow was just to die for! We had fresh, light snow up to our knees! A skier's dream!

Ski de randonnée Mont Ceint Ariège Pyrénées
© Caroline Bayard – Ariège Pyrénées Tourism


Le port of Lers is also a perfect space for practice snowshoeing, it welcomes all those who love tranquility and large, preserved spaces. Indeed, the Mont Ceint sector is located in an area Natura 2000. Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas in the world! It is a European label awarded to sites selected for their richness in natural environments and remarkable or threatened animal or plant species on a European scale.
And not far from there, the Terre d'Avenir forest refuge can accommodate a group of 14 people to enjoy this place and experience a timeless moment! ⏳

5 good reasons to try ski touring 🎿

Ski touring became more popular in 2021, when resorts were unable to open due to COVID. Many followers have therefore tried the experiment and will certainly support these remarks 😉

  • Number 1: A unique connection with nature! Be “into the wild”! 🍃
  • Number 2: Work out your cardio! As Josiane Balasko's line in Tanned Skiers says: “I can't take it... I can't take it! »
  • Number 3: Discovering landscapes WOW!!! “It’s far, but it’s beautiful!” » 😍
  • Number 4: Experience a moment of conviviality between friends. This quote totally corresponds to the ski touring experience: “Friendship is what comes to the heart when we do beautiful and difficult things together. » ❤️
  • Number 5: Be free ! To make your beautiful mark on immaculate snow. A quote from Jean Paul Sartre: “To be free is not to be able to do what you want, but to want what you can.”

And finally, by writing this adventure story, this story echoes the great author Jean Christophe Ruffin and his novel “Stone Flames”. In his story dedicated to a ski touring outing: “All this moment experienced in the mountains penetrates deeply into the mind. Those who shared this experience are inhabited by these rare memories which bind them forever. »

Ski touring and night in a refuge 🌙

Et to extend the experience you can also practice the activity over two days. And yes other spots are possible in Ariège and in particular with a night in a shelter 😉 Two guards, Andréa du Pinet refuge at the foot of Montcalm and Calou at Rulhe refuge, welcome you in spring. Feel free to contact them !

Leave with a mountain guide to try the ski touring experience! (I.e.

Do you want to try the experience? We advise you several readings on our website notably the adventure story “ My first traces in ski touring! ". This story explains the basics of the activity. You can also consult our dedicated page , here enrich your knowledge of ski touring. You will see in particular the high mountain guides and ski instructors who can offer you the opportunity to test this fabulous experience in less risky conditions. And if you don't have your ski touring equipment, normal if you have not yet tested, the guides will direct you to ski rental companies who offer all the equipment for rental!

*ARVA, SHOVEL, PROBE: essential equipment

Before leaving, plan: ARVA, shovel, probe, and why not the airbag bag in addition. Cross-country skiing requires knowledge of the mountains and of snow science (study of the snowpack). Before an outing, it is important to test your ARVA * with your rope companions by training for research.
More specific information on the ANENA website : National Association for the Study of Snow and Avalanches.
To prepare your trip in detail, visit the website of the FFME.

For independent outings, a strong knowledge of the mountain is necessary, as is getting closer to the High Mountain Gendarmerie Platoon (PGHM), for all weather and snow conditions.




Every day of the year, I am a big fan of outdoor sports in Ariège and throughout France: hiking, mountain biking, skiing, ski touring, rafting, canyoning ... I embark with me my companion, my son and my dog ​​Snow in (almost) all my adventures! What do I prefer in Ariège? The great outdoors and the spirit of freedom that reigns there.

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