Alex Hutchins - Ski Expert"There is some great skiing in Tignes - the views from the Glacier are immense on a bluebird day. Good access from the different villages, though Val Claret was my preferred destination with the whole of the Espace Killy is seemingly on your doorstep! Good night out there as well...!"
Is Tignes the most popular resort for a ski holiday in France? We'd find it difficult to argue. A huge ski area, cheaper accommodation options compared to neighbouring Val d'Isere, great apres and plenty of unique features and runs, such as the eye of the needle rock feature.
Tignes is made up of several villages at different altitudes: Val Claret, Le Lac and Le Lavachet. These are grouped loosely together surrounding the lake, with Les Boisses and Les Brevieres nestling past the dam at the valley's lower end. The original village of Tignes is long gone, submerged under the waters of Lac du Chevril in 1952 when the dam was built. Tignes le Lac is the hub of the resort (where the Tourist Information is) and as you might have guessed is on the shores of the lake which is frozen for the majority of the winter. If you fancy some time off from skiing you can always try ice diving!
As there are different villages, the accommodation choices are vast for your ski holiday in Tignes. Coupled with high altitude skiing, a ski break in Tignes is one of the most popular for Brits compared to other French resorts across the Alps.
Tignes is not known for its beautiful architecture but most people find the granite buildings more than compensated for by the excellent snow record and friendly vibe. Numerous bars and restaurants provide a relaxed nightlife with each village having its' own character. Where you spend most of your time will probably depend on where you are staying but there are free buses that run between the different areas.
SKI AREA OVERVIEW
Along with its glitzier and more illustrious neighbour to the south, Val d'Isere and Tignes make up the Espace Killy ski area, named after France’s Olympic downhill skiing champion Jean Claude Killy.
It's quite simply a huge ski area (300km of piste) that you won't get bored with, even after a full week.
Continually vying for the title of 'world's largest', it's rivalled only by the Paradiski and the 3 Valleys in terms of sheer scale, so the problem faced is not what to do, but what to leave out. The skiing itself is spectacularly varied: experts will love the huge range of steeps, bumps and challenging off-piste, while great beginner facilities and extensive fast groomers ensure newbies and intermediates will be kept equally happy.
Tignes is at 2100m so the altitude, good snowfall and the Grande Motte glacier mean there is usually great skiing right through from November - May. The Grande Motte is accessed by an underground funicular from Val Claret that whizzes you up to over 3000m in just seven minutes, followed by a ride in a huge cable car. There are blue, red and black runs to play on up here and beautiful long runs back to the resort. The Grande Motte means Tignes is also a popular location for summer skiing.
Your Tignes ski holiday awaits!
- Get on the Marias chairlift right to the top of the iguelle Percee. This is where the Eye of Needle is located - Tignes's famous rock formation.
- From the top of the Aiguelle Percee you can enjoy some beautiful long runs down to Les Brévières. Whilst there its worth visiting L’Armaily. The restaurant offers a cosy Savoyard ambience like no other but if the sun is out there are tables outside too. The cotes du beouf is fantastic!
- Make the most of the Espace Killy ski area and head over to Le Fornet in Val d'Isere. Make sure you leave enough time to get back though. There are public buses and of course taxis but they aren't free!
- If you can spare the time away from the pistes consider taking a breath-taking husky ride over the Tignes frozen lake. You can even learn to drive the pack. A Tignes ski holiday doesn't just have to be about skiing or boarding!
- Make sure you eat well before you take the infamous Leissieres up and over lift towards Val d'Isere. This super speedy lift will make anyone's stomach turn!