Home to one of Europe's largest glaciers, Tignes is a fascinating place to ski. Tignes and neighbouring resort Val d'Isere make up the L'Espace Killy, an area famed for its reliable sow and epic amount of terrain. Five villages make up Tignes; Val Claret, Tignes le Lac, Le Lavachet, Tignes Les Boisses and Tignes-les-Brévières. The first three are close together at 2100m and Les Boisses and Les Brevieres are further down the valley, above and below the dam. While much of the terrain is focused on intermediate skiers, Tignes is known for its incredible off-piste, there is a half pipe, boardercross course, some great free riding & the 1992 Olympics downhill course should you be feeling up for it.
For those seriously dedicated to skiing, Tignes has a lot to offer. Be prepared for long days up the mountain before relaxing evenings in the local bars and restaurants - you'll be ready for an early night. Compared to its neighbour Val d'Isère, sport comes first here and you're more likely to find visitors staying on the slopes as long as possible rather than partying the night away. While it has a host of good Après- ski venues, the atmosphere is not as raging as Val d'Isere. The actual resort is split between Val Claret, Le Lac and Le Lavachet, although most visitors tend to move between each of the villages.
The sunning glacier, The Grande Motte, offers a good choice of wide open blue runs, but it can get very cold, so rug up warm before you set out. There are a number of cruisey intermediate runs and although there's not a huge selection of blacks, you can try the 'Sache', a long black run from the top of the L'Aiguille Percée to Tignes Les Brévières - it provides some fierce moguls and challenging skiing. There is enough physical space that you could not cover even half the resort trails in a three-day stay. Au contraire, if you are into tricks and jumps, you could easily spend all day at the two-and-a-half-kilometre long snow park.
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Tignes for Different Ski Abilities
Beginners will enjoy Tignes, as the nursery slopes are right next to most of the accommodation, so they can get there and home quickly and easily. They are wide, quiet and gentle to learn on. These are wide, quiet and probably the most snow-sure in the Alps. Both these and the nursery slopes at nearby Val Claret are served by free lifts.
Intermediates will have fun on the blues and reds of the Grande Motte glacier and the tree-lined runs to the foot of the resort which are quieter. At Le Grande Motte, skiing on the glacier is wide open and relatively mellow, fairly lower intermediate terrain. The Palet/Aiguille Percée offers relatively mellow terrain under the Col du Palet, with relatively tough intermediate runs down from the Aiguille Percée.
Experts love Tignes, with so many off-trail possibilities, as well as the chance to head over the Col du Palet or over the back side of Aiguille Percée down Vallon de la Sache to Les Brévières. Then there's the steep 1,950-foot vertical drop back into town! The heart-stopping black Sache, which twists and turns down through 1,250m from the Aiguille Percée to Tignes-les-Brévières, is a must ski.
Tignes Ski Schools
There are a number of Ski/Snowboard Schools serving Tignes, offering all types of lessons to all standards. It is probably best not to buy a ski pass or hire your equipment until you have organised your lessons as there may be a better all inclusive deal, plus there are 5 free lifts for beginners, talk to the school about the best options.
Progression Ski and Snowboard School
0208 123 3001
French Mobile (December to April):
+33 (0) 673 241 925
UK Telephone: +44 (0)1248 671 058
L'Embuscade Café, Rue de la Poste, Tignes Lacaq
The Development Centre
Come and ski with us and take your skiing to the next level.
Phone 07799 32 06 74
+44 777 269 0746 (May until November)
+33 624 714 401 (November until May)
Après Ski and Off the Mountain Activities
Tignes may not be as well known for its Après-ski as neighbouring Val d'Isere, but it still knows how to party! There are more than 50 bars offering everything from fun pubs to sophisticated clubs. Crowded House is one of the best bars, hosting crazy parties close to the clubs. The Couloir bar has 60 flavours of vodka shots and great live bands. Fish Tank at the bottom of the Val Claret piste is great for enjoying a vin chaud on the terrace after a day on the slopes. There are more than 60 restaurants offering good food for all budgets. Le Caveau is a stylish, lavish delight, Saint Jacques is a favourite, this Belgian/Savoyard restaurant, and La Pignatta combines great pizzas with traditional dishes ranging from tartiflette to fondue.
off the mountain
If you've still got some energy left after skiing hard, and you like a little adrenaline, you could try ice diving, dog sledding, paragliding, ice climbing, hang-gliding, horse riding, climbing or a helicopter trip. For some rest and relaxation, check into a spa for the day and enjoy Jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms and beauty treatments. The winter Aqua Centre was opened in Tignes on July 2006, on the lakeside in the heart of the resort at 2100m. Some of the facilities in the 5000m2 spa include a 25m pool, a fun pool with four 30m water slides, a leisure pool with swimming against the current, hydro-massage and a fitness room. There's also a Multimedia Centre on the top floor of the Maison de Tignes in Le Lac with internet, video games and digital camera downloading facilities. Alternatively head to Jacks Bowling Alley (Le Lac) or the Cinema in Val Claret.
How to get to Tignes
The closest airport to Tignes is Geneva (170 km). Chambéry (140 km) is the second closest, followed by Grenoble (160 km), Lyon (220 km) and St. Eienne (290km).
A ski train from London Waterloo to Bourg-St-Maurice runs twice a week, for more detailed information visit their website at www.eurostar.co.uk.
Daily TGV train services also go to Bourg-St-Maurice station and from here there are regular bus or taxi transfers. For more detailed information see www.sncf.com. The transfer time from Bourg-St-Maurice to Tignes (Val Claret) is approximately 40 minutes.
If you drive, the best route from Geneva is au-to route A41 to Annecy and then N90 to Albertville. From there, follow signs to Bourg-St. Maurice and on to Tignes. From Lyons, take autoroute A43 to Albertville, then follow the signs to Moutiers, Bourg-St. Maurice, and on to Tignes.
t4 nannies provides the loveliest nannies in the Alps by hand picking nannies for the full season who share their belief that undivided attention, fun and getting involved are the key ingredients to a happy family holiday. All t4 nannies are first aid trained and CRB checked with glowing references. Every day a t4 nanny will come to your chalet and take your children out on an adventure such as a trip to the farm or whizzing on a sledge. Crates of toys are dismissed and instead it’s all about playing with arts and crafts – plenty of cutting and sticking, painting and messy play!
Jelly and Ice Cream
Jelly and Ice Cream, experts in childcare, offer private nannies and babysitting services both during the day and evening in Val d'Isere and Tignes. You can rest assure that your babies and children will be looked after, leaving you free to enjoy your skiing! Jelly and Ice Cream have the ability to provide care to virtually all age groups of children, as young as just six weeks up to pre-teens and older. Today's varying demands of a family can be accommodated with flexible business hours, tailor-made for each individual on a virtual 24/7 basis. Because of their excellent service, clients return to Jelly and Ice Cream year after year and are full of praise for Tina and the team!
Snow Angel Nannies
Snow Angel Nannies is the perfect childcare solution for your skiing holiday in the French Alps. The nannies all hold relevant childcare qualifications, CRB/DBS checks and first aid qualifications. They are all carefully selected for their kind, caring and fun loving nature as well as their childcare skills. You will have your nannies contact details so you can amend plans during the day and the Snow Angel Nanny ensures a fun activity packed day for the children. The nannies also do ski school pick up and drop off and can take the children to meet you for lunch if required to keep the family holiday aspect. A Snow Angel Nanny will give you peace of mind to enjoy your day on the slopes knowing your little ones are having the time of their lives.