If you’re planning an end-of-season ski trip, it kind of goes without saying that you need to choose somewhere high. With two glaciers between the linked resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isère, plus accommodation at 2100 metres in Tignes Le Lac, Tignes seemed like the obvious choice. We weren’t disappointed.
We arrived just after the UK Easter school holidays when the slopes were quiet and there were almost no queues. We barely dropped below around 2000 metres, yet there were plenty of pistes to explore. The two glacier areas are very different. The Tignes glacier offers more typical glacier skiing, accessed by a funicular and with just a couple of long, spectacular runs down, while the Val d’Isère glacier is more akin with a snow field with several shorter runs — both fun, but in different ways.
Several snow parks, with the ample, soft snow, were the perfect hangout for my teenage children, who practised perfecting their 180° turns while I sat in the sun at one of the many slope-side cafés. With the snow softening by the end of the day, the free bus back to the hotel was a welcome sight, offering rides from the other villages as a quick and regular service.
My son was disappointed to find that the terrifying-looking Bun-J Ride, a ski jump ramp where the skier is attached with two bungee cords, had already closed for the season. However, both kids enjoyed Pala’Fou – a three-kilometre sledge track with a 40-metre tunnel open in the late afternoon and early evening; earlier in the season, you get to descend in the dark wearing head torches.
End-of-season Tignes has a festive feel, and we enjoyed free open-air concerts most nights during the Tignes Live festival, which finished at a very civilised 11pm so that everyone could get some sleep.
Tignes Le Lac is a typical French ski resort — modern, easily navigable on foot and with the usual collection of ski shops, restaurants and bars.
We were staying with Mark Warner in their catered Chalet Aiguille Percée, so we didn’t spend too much time exploring the restaurants and bars in the evening. On ‘chalet night off’, we ate at the restaurant l’Eterlou, which was friendly, cosy and reasonably priced, with excellent pizzas as well as traditional local dishes such as pierrade and tartiflette.
Tignes and Val d’Isère are well linked and signposted, with well-maintained pistes and plenty of nice places to stop for lunch or a drink on the slopes. One of the main advantages of Tignes is obviously its height – not just at the peak of 3456m, but also high-altitude villages. Tignes le Lac sits at 2100m, allowing skiers to almost entirely avoid a slushy ski home — even at the end of the season. Its altitude also makes it one of the safer bets for early-season skiing. And if you just can’t wait for winter, you can ski on the Tignes glacier from October most years.
Seven-night stays at Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percée start at £699pp for adults and £569pp for children for winter 2018/19, based on two sharing, including:
- Return flights from London, Manchester or Birmingham
- Coach transfer
- Chalet board (breakfast, afternoon tea and six evening meals – high tea available for children)
Additional pre-bookable extras include:
- Lift passes
- Ski equipment
- Ski school
For more information about Tignes, visit https://en.tignes.net