In Tignes itself and further into Val d’Isère it is impossible to get bored with the amount on offer; a wide choice of varied pistes encompassing the vast Espace Killy with its beautiful scenery, great off piste opportunities, snow parks and dedicated beginner zones, it easily caters for every need.
Tignes and Val d’Isère have joint ownership of the Espace Killy domain with no less than 300km of pistes. The highest point is the majestic Grande Motte glacier at 3456 meters in altitude. The average annual snowfall in Tignes is six meters, nicely topped up if necessary by numerous snow cannons. Lifts in Tignes have nearly all been replaced by modern faster versions. These can sometimes cause a bottleneck at the summit of certain pistes during busy periods (top of the Tommeuse lift for example). Lift queues in the peak weeks are also inevitable but tend to move pretty quickly and are only relevant down in resort – once people start to move about, the area is big enough to accommodate everybody.
Beginners and families
Tignes is not just for advanced skiers: there is a good selection of green, blue runs and nursery slopes in both Val Claret and le Lac/Lavachet. ‘Advanced’ beginner and early intermediate skiers can also explore further afield and ski the Grand Pré slopes between Tignes and Val d’Isère – lots of cruisey greens but they’re not stuck down at resort level so you get to take chair lifts and see the beautiful scenery too!
Intermediate and advanced skiers
Tignes has an enviable selection of runs for intermediate and advanced skiers. Examples include the Palafour run into le Lac, the Grattalu/Carline and the Double M runs into Val Claret. Once you have warmed-up, challenge yourself to ski from the top of the Grande Motte glacier down to Val Claret without stopping. Advanced skiers should also take on the endless Sache black run down into Brévières and the formidable Trolles into Lac which starts off as a red run but narrows into a black run before leading the skier onto a wider, often mogul-filled steeper face back into resort.
In Tignes you do not have to hike for miles to enjoy its off-piste treasures. There are many itineraries to be explored that are literally just off the side of the piste or a short walk/climb away. A great all day off-piste excursion is the ‘Tarentaise Tour’ which takes you over 65kms on skis from Tignes across the beautiful Vanoise National Park to the Paradiski resorts. It is imperative that all off-piste should be enjoyed with experienced professionals.
Since 2010 Tignes has hosted the European Winter X Games, a high-profile event that has got the resort really excited. Witness stunning displays by a new generation of dare devils on skis, snowboards and snowmobiles backed up by thumping music concerts and a party atmosphere. There is also a snowpark and a huge half-pipe where you can go practice your tricks and an impressive park in the Val d’Isère side too.
ESF is the national ski school present in every resort in France and has a long history in Tignes. Evolution 2, founded over 20 years ago, first focused on the British market and encouraged smaller group lessons. Several innovative ski schools now exist in Tignes, thus increasing clients’ options. English-speaking tuition, private & smaller group lessons, guiding, freestyle and freeride is pretty much the norm. Some instructors have experience in teaching disabled skiers, but not all schools have equipment such as a sit-ski.