“Fall just ended in the southwest of France,” writes Euro-Correspondent Lucy Culpepper, “with a huge flurry of falling leaves.
“After days of rain (did I say fall was my favorite time of year?), the skies have cleared to reveal the Pyrenees mountains covered in snow. I just received an e-mail from the group that manages the eight ski resorts that we look south toward.
“This weekend, the Tourmalet, Luz-Ardiden, Cauterets, and Pierre St. Martin ski resorts are opening their doors for the 2010-2011 ski season. This other side of life in the Béarn is coming alive, and there’s every type of skiing available, including the most incredible Nordic skiing through the forests of Pont d’Espagne.
“You can buy a season pass that allows you to ski at all eight of the resorts at any time, as many times as you like, from now until March 2011, for 799 euro (US$1,057).
“We have snow in these mountains almost a month earlier than usual; last year the sun came out and melted it all away. I spoke to the Mulcare family, which owns seven stylish holiday apartments in Cauterets. They are jumping (in the snow) for joy!
“This part of France never ceases to amaze me. We can be up in the mountains in just one hour 15 minutes from our home, while only yesterday I was one hour in the other direction wondering along the beach at Biarritz compiling notes for my January Overseas Retirement Letter article on the Basque region.
“On an even happier note, from this part of the southwest, close to Pau, we get to appreciate and gaze at the snow, but we don’t have to shovel it.”