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18 Oct, 2012

Best October skiing in Tignes

Slopes in Tignes

As Arapahoe Basin in Colorado officially kicks off the US ski season, European resorts are for the most part waiting for early December to get going.

Not so in Tignes, however, as the resort in France has some of the best skiing in the Alps right. Late October is still about a month away from the start of the European season, but the resort in the Espace Killy benefits from the high-altitude Grande Motte glacier.

With almost year-round skiing thanks to the glacier, Tignes and Val d'Isere are ideal for doing ski instructor courses, whatever the time of year.

Snow fell upon the glacier over the weekend, meaning there has been about 20cm of fresh powder dropped on top of the 50cm base in the last week. Off-piste remains 'varied', with the bulk of the snow on the prepared areas.

"Tignes (50cm) enjoyed great skiing on Thursday 18th October thanks to a good snowfall on Monday. The pistes are in excellent conditions and with six lifts open and good, sunny conditions, skiers can expect a good weekend on the slopes," the Ski Club of Great Britain reports.

There are 12 lifts including the funicular that will take you to the glacier in only seven minutes. Lifts are open from 08:30 to 14:45 – a little earlier than during the main winter season.

The Grand Motte glacier is one of the finest in places in Europe to ski outside of the main season dates. It has around 20km of slopes. Though not particularly steep or challenging, they are good for honing techniques and practising ski instructor courses.

In addition, there is a snowpark, a cross-country skiing zone and a restaurant up on the glacier.

Currently, it's the only spot in France offering skiing, though there are glaciers open in Switzerland (Zermatt), Austria (Hintertux, Stubai) and Italy (Cervinia).

To find out more about Tignes or how you can book a short ski break, call one of our ski experts on 023 8020 6971 or email