The Ski Resort
Together with Val d’Isère, Tignes makes up the ski area Espace Killy, named after the Olympic champion skier Jean-Claude Killy. Two glaciers and more than 300 km of runs are waiting to be explored here. There is whopping 1,900 vertical metres between the valley station and the point where the ski area tops out, the Grand Motte Glacier. The views of Lac du Chevril also give this resort a truly unique feel. Many visitors may not know that the lake also holds a special secret – the original village of Tignes was actually located where the lake is now until 1952. The decision was then made to dam the Isère into a lake, and the village had to up sticks and relocate. Today, Tignes is known internationally as a great ski destination. There is something for every skill level here across some 154 trails. With 41 red runs and 26 black-rated trails, Tignes seems to offer almost endless opportunities for advanced skiers. The Grande Motte Glacier (3,656 m), perches above the ski area, allowing skiers and snowboarders to carve turns all year round.
There are various base stations in Tignes itself. If you want to head for the glacier, take the Tovière gondola to the Tovière peak (2,704 m), ski down to neighbouring Val Claret and then take the cable car up to the glacier. The glacier area itself is dominated by red and black-marked runs, though there are also several good blue runs on the lower section of the ice. The Génépy and Cairn trails down into Val Claret are particularly eye-catching, while the trails on the Aiguille Percée are a must for advanced skiers. The Rocher de Bellevarde (2,827 m) connects Tignes to Val d’Isère.
There is something for everyone here, from challenging terrain to a wide range of beginners’ runs. Youngsters can hone their skills on several practice slopes in the valley, while the Swatch Snowpark is a freestyle playground between the Col du Palet and Grattalu lifts. On top of boxes and rails, there is also a large air bag here for practicing those hard to hit tricks. Additional air bags can also be found in the lower section of the Carline and Millonex runs. On top of that, you can race your friends on a bordercross course by the Col du Palet lift.
Tignes is a veritable treat for freeride skiers. You can dip into the deep stuff off-piste just about everywhere here. Even beginners can hone their skills on nine “Naturide” runs. These are protected against avalanches but left otherwise ungroomed. In addition, powder hounds can check in at four info points where they can get the latest on the weather and avalanche warnings. Nevertheless, skiers unfamiliar with the area should only venture into the backcountry together with a mountain guide.
Snow Safety & Snowmaking
On Mountain Dining
There are numerous mountain restaurants dotted around the ski area. One of the undoubted highlights is Le Panoramic by the lower section of the Grande Motte Glacier. As the name suggests, the lodge offers a pretty stunning views, while the menu is dominated by regional dishes. Val Claret is home to The Aspen Coffee Shop, which is about as American as can be – think burgers, sandwiches and omelettes. The Lo Soli on the Aiguille Prercée is a cosy place to warm up, with local cheese specialties served in front of a roaring open fire. If pizza is your thing, head for the Taverne des Neiges. Located directly by the Fresse lift, the sun deck is a great place to take a break on a pleasant day. La Chalet Bollin is easily reached from both Val d’Isère and Tignes. The best route from Tignes is to take the Bollin/Fresse lift up to the restaurant. It is a truly quintessential mountain lodge experience offering quick bites as well as pasta, steaks and regional cuisine.
The Glacier run is a must, and it connects to the Rimaye trail further down towards Val Claret.
Most Difficult Runs
There is also plenty to keep you occupied away from the slopes in Tignes – from the relaxing to the spectacular. If you’d prefer something a little more laid-back, a trip in a horse-drawn sleigh is just the ticket. Alternatively, you could pull on some snow shoes and take to the backcountry. A family favourite is the Snakegliss, which involves young and old sledding down the mountain together. More action-packed options include snow scooters, mountain bikes on snow and snow-kiting. True adrenaline junkies can even take to the air with a spot of “speedriding” (an exhilarating combination of skiing and paragliding), diving under the ice or trying the new Bun J Ride. The latter involves jumping off a ski jump ramp while secured by a bungee cord.
Après-Ski and Nightlife
Tignes is known for its nightlife and the wide variety of bars that this entails. The Loop Bar is a particularly popular spot directly by the Trolles and Rosset runs. Scotty’s Bar is also an ideal hangout for rounding out a great day on the slopes. For live music, head for the 247 Bar and Vincents Bar, which also broadcasts major sports events. In contrast, The Marmot Arms gives visitors an authentic pub experience. If you want to party until late in the night, Tignes offers a range of different clubs which notably include Jack’s Club (80s music), Le Melting Pot (Drum & Bass/HipHop) and the La Blue Girl Club.
Dining and Restaurants
Quite apart from outstanding food, L’Arbina Restaurant also serves up extraordinary views of the mountains and lake. The Rotisserie Restaurant serves contemporary interpretations of classical French cuisine. If you are looking for something more sophisticated, the Hors Piste Restaurant offers a fresh menu every day, ranging from traditional regional cuisine to fish delicacies. La Ferme des Trois Capucines is another notably cosy option. This is a charming and inviting lodge with an open fire that you won’t want to leave.
Infrastructure & Rental
Affiliate Ski Schools
Affiliate ShopsSki Rentals Tignes (Espace Killy) (31)
By aircraft: Tignes is within easy reach of the airports in Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble, St Etienne and Chambery. The onward journey from these transport hubs is best taken by shuttle bus.
By public transport: Rail travellers should change trains in Lyon und Grenoble and then head for Bourg-St. Maurice. The last leg from here to Tignes is then done by bus or taxi.
By car: Via Zurich, take the A1 towards Bern and then continue on the E27 to Montreux, where you should then head for Martigny and Chamonix. Pass Chamonix and continue on to Pre Saint Didier, then stay on the SS26 towards Bourg-St. Maurice. In La Rosière follow signs for Tignes.