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Tignes Review

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Tignes Review

Rating: ★★★★★ 9,4 out of 10

“Tignes is the 2nd highest resort in France after Val Thorens. It was purpose-built in the 1960s. The resort is connected to more famous and expensive Val d’Isere. Together they make up one of the best ski domains in France and the world. Tignes consistes of 5 villages. Due to high altitude biggest part of the resort is over the tree line and skiing is possible even during the summer months. Views are stunning but architecture is not at the same level, villages are full of huge concrete apartment buildings.”

PROS: diversity of runs, easy access to slopes, great snow reliability, cheaper than nearby Val d’Isère

CONS: unappealing architecture, absence of wooded areas

espace killy ski map

click to enlarge

 SLOPES

Easy 170 km (57 %)
Intermediate 78 km (26 %)
Difficult 52 km (17 %)

Tignes has around 150 km of pistes, with another 150 km that belong to Val d’Isère they make up Espace Killy domain (named after triple Olympic ski champion) with a total of 300 km of slopes. Some shorter lifts going from Tignes 2100 are free, great for beginners who want to try their luck and make first moves on snow. Runs are well groomed. Tignes has much better access to slopes than its more famous neighbour Val d’Isere. Slopes are diverse and skiers of all levels will find areas which will suit them. If you are an expert rider who loves black runs you will probably want to move there, it’s that interesting.

Although Tignes is lower than Val Thorens its highest skiable peak called Grande Motte glacier (3,456 m), is higher than its counterpart in Val Thorens (3,220 m). Red slope going from the top of Grande Motte to the base of Grande Motte funicular has 1,300 m of height difference and 6.5 km in length. If you like long runs there is also a long black or black/red run from the top of L’Aiguille Percée to the Tignes Les Brévières called La Sache. Shouldn’t miss it if you are a good skier, but if you are not, think again, because it has narrow steep parts full of ice and moguls.

If you want to reach the highest part of Espace Killy, Glacier du Pissaillas at Val d’Isère (3.488 m), you will have to ski to the other side of the domain and catch lifts going from Val d’Isère. In order to do that you will need to get down very steep, icy, and poorly groomed black slopes which connect Tignes to Val d’Isère.

Tignes mountains panorama

TIGNES FREERIDE AND TERRAIN PARKS

There are endless opportunities when it comes to off-piste skiing in Tignes. You won’t have to walk a lot but you will have to get out early because, as in other famous French resorts powder gets criss-crossed quickly.

Area called Le Spot near Col des Ves lift is reserved for free ride. There you can find chalet where you will get info about conditions and off piste skiing. You should also check Grande Motte area and terrain around La Sache leading to Tignes les Brevieres (get here early because it is pretty low compared to rest of the resort and if it is sunny and warm snow will not be ideal later during the day).

There are 2 snow parks, one in Tignes between Les Lanches lift and Carline piste. The Park in Tignes has 4 different lines for all levels, half pipe and big airbag (you will be able to film your moves and access them later). Also there are 2 different difficulty bordercross runs. They are situated near Grattalu piste and Col du Palet lift. Tignes was hoast of Winter X Games Europe from the year of 2010 to 2012.

There is a huge snow park in Val d’Isère near border with Tignes accessible by Mont Blanc lift. It boasts of 25 different rails and elements for all levels.

Grande Mote glacier view

HOW TO GET TO TIGNES

Tignes is situated in Savoie department in south-eastern France. Quickest way to get there is obviously by plane. Closest airports are Chambery, Geneva and Lyon. Chambery is 142 km away (2 hours by car). Lyon airport is 217 km away and you will need 2 h and 30 min by car or 3 h by bus. Geneva airport is the furthest of 3 (221 km). it will take you 2 h 45 min to get from the airport to Tignes Val Claret by car or around 4 h by bus. Geneva has great bus transfers to Tignes.

TIP: Before you buy airplane ticket check transfer prices (they can get more expensive than plain ticket) and baggage allowance (sometimes it is cheaper to rent skis than to pay for the transport).

Closest train station is Bourg St Maurice. It is 40 km away and you will need around 40 min by car to get from the station to Tignes 2100. There are regular trains during winter season.

tignes-val-claret-panorama

WHERE TO STAY IN TIGNES

As I said earlier, Tignes consists of 5 separate vilages. Tignes Le Lac and Val Claret are in the centre at 2.100 (with Le Lavachet they are named Tignes 2100, biggest number of hotels, restaurants, bars etc. is there). Le Lavachet is just by Tignes du Lac but in order to get to slopes you will have to catch a bus. Tignes Les Boisses and Tignes Les Brévières and are further down the mountain.

Tignes review wouldn’t be complete without accommodation tips. The best place to find where to sleep is Tignes 2100 (Val Claret and Tignes le Lac), From there you will have easy access to the greatest slopes in the area and almost all buildings are ski in/ski out. If you stay in Le Lavachet you will have to catch a bus in order to get to the first lift. If you choose Tignes Les Boisses or Tignes Les Brévières you will be further down the mountain which means that you will need more time to get to rest of the resort.

There is a wide choice of places to stay. From the cheapest apartments in huge residential blocks (standard for France, small but equipped with everything you need) to luxurious hotels and chalets with spa areas. It is up to you decide.

tignes mountains with chair lift panorama

WHAT TO DO AFTER DAY ON SNOW (APRES-SKI) IN TIGNES

Tignes is not famous for its après ski nor night life but you won’t get bored. It is much cheaper than Val d’Isère but you will have less to choose from. Val Claret has the best offer of restaurants and party spots. You should visit Couloir Bar & Restaurant (good music and food) or try take-out pizza at La Pizz’ de Tignes. Taste cocktails at Alpaka.

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