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20 Dec, 2012

Tignes: The best beginner ski breaks?

Skier on the sunny slopes of Tignes

Tignes undoubtedly offers some of the best expert and intermediate terrain anywhere in Europe. But does the resort match up for beginners?

Other resorts such as La Plagne and Les Gets are rated more for their easy, novice slopes that make learning a real pleasure. However, snow sure Tignes also has a lot to offer when it comes to green runs.

Overall, the nursery slopes in Tignes are very good. There are four main areas – at Tignes Le Lac, Le Lavachet, Val Claret and Les Brevieres. The lifts range from draglifts and chairlifts to a magic carpet at Val Claret. All of these lifts are free to use, so if you're just trying the sport out on a short ski weekend, you don't need to fork out for a full lift pass.

The nursery slopes of Le Lac and Le Lavachet are probably the best for your first time on skis, as the pistes (which meet at the top) are wide and gentle. You're also well out of the way here, so there is no danger from through-traffic getting in the way of your lesson. The slopes over at Val Claret are less easy and better left to at least day two.

Once you feel like moving on from the nursery areas, Tignes has lots of great open cruising blues to practise on. Taking the Palafour or Chardonnet from Tignes Lac is good, as there a number of gentle blue runs that come back down into the village.

You can also take the Grattalau lift, a favourite for beginners progressing their skiing. You can ski the wide gentle blue run back to the bottom of the lift or follow the piste all the way back to Val Claret. The blue Carline and Lac pistes are also good, but a little narrow and harder.

If you do choose to go down the Lac you'll be well rewarded. From there you can access all the lovely gentle blues by taking the Grand Huit and Merles chairlifts, including Centauree, Combe and Anemone.

Up on the glacier, there are some more good runs for making progress once the basics have been mastered. Taking the funicular up to the Grand Motte opens up a number of cruising blues accessible via the Vanoise and Rossolin lifts. Be careful to avoid the tricky and often busy Double M piste. To head home, follow the Genepy or Cairn all the way down to Val Claret.

From Tignes Le Lac, the Chaudannes chairlift is another good bet. This opens up a number of nice blues, including the very long Rhododendron, which becomes the Melezes further down. This sweeping blue will take you all way to Tignes Les Boisses. You can then join the Myrtilles blue and head to Les Brevieres for lunch. By the time you've reached one of the many good bistros in the village, you'll have earned it. To get home, just take the Sache bubble and the Aiguille Rouge chair to ski back.

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