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Tignes Skiing France

Ski Stats

Green Runs: 14%

Blue Runs: 43%

Red Runs: 27%

Black Runs: 17%

Artificial: 974 Snowmakers

Cross Country: 44km of trails,including 20km of tracks on the frozen Lac de Tignes

Tignes links with Val d'Isere to form the Espace Killy which is simply one of the most impressive areas in the world for both on- and off-piste skiers.

With a resort altitude of 2,100m, a Tignes ski holiday offers one of the most snow-sure ski trips in Europe. Six weeks or more after some Austrian and Italian resorts have closed for the season Tignes will still be offering first-rate winter snow right down to village level. The Grande Motte glacier means that you can ski here nearly all year round. (Usually the lifts are closed only in late May/June and part of September.) Three black pistes have now been made safe but left ungroomed for the benefit of freeriders. These are Paquerette, Epilobe and the face of the Aiguille Percee.

The highest skiing in Tignes is to be found on the Grande Motte where the lifts, which include a hugely impressive underground funicular and a couple of high-speed quad chair-lifts, rise up to 3,500m on the glacier. The magnificent long runs from here down to Val Claret at 2,100m and around by the Col de Fresse are usually in great shape throughout the season. There are also plenty of good long runs from Toviere, where the skiing of Tignes links with that of Val dIsere, down to both Le Lac and Val Claret. Skiers who enjoy steep walls and bumps should be sure to check out the black Trolles piste from Toviere right down to Le Lac.As part of the Espace Killy, Tignes offers access to more than 100 lifts and over 300km of pistes. The links over to Val dIsere are fast and easy thanks to the Aeroski in Tignes Le Lac, which runs up to Toviere and the state-of-the-art high-speed six-seater Col de Fresse chairlift which runs up from Tignes Val Claret. Most decent skiers will want a full Espace Killy lift pass, but a separate Tignes ski-pass is available, giving access only to the Tignes half of this vast area. This could prove attractive to intermediate skiers on a very tight budget.

There is lots more good skiing both cruising pistes and steeper, more challenging stuff on Palafour side of Tignes. From the summit of the Aiguille Percee (2,765m), a striking eye-of-the-needle rock formation, you can take a variety of on- and off-piste routes all the way down to the little village of Tignes Les Brevieres which, at 1,550m, is the lowest part of the Espace Killy. There are huge off-piste opportunities in the Tignes area, including routes such as the Tarentaise Tour, which takes you to the village of Champagny-en-Vanoise, which is actually part of the La Plagne ski area. Naturally these itineraries should only be undertaken in the company of a qualified guide.

Incidentally Tignes has been investing heavily in recent years. This include a high-speed six-seater chairlift from Le Lavachet to the Aiguille Rouge which greatly improved access to the main slopes for residents of Le Lavachet. Another new high-speed six-seater, the Chaudannes chair, provides instant access to the north-facing slopes above Tignes Les Boisses. The completion of a long-awaited scheme to bury the main entrance road into Tignes Le Lac in a tunnel has created a seamless Front de Neige piste link between the Palafour and Toviere sides of the area. However you do have plod and pole a bit on the flat ground to get from one side to the other.

Snowboarding

A big area with a big reputation among boarders.

Tignes has long been associated with the development of skiing and other sports de glisse (literally sliding sports). Local Henri Authier was one of the biggest exponents of freestyle skiing in the 1970s and in 1984 was among the first to import the Winterstick (a precursor of the snowboard) to France from the United States. In 1987, the first ever half-pipe competiton in France was held in Tignes. Today Tignes continues to offer plenty of opportunities for riders to practice the wildest tricks in its special 2km long snowpark which has moved for the winter of 2003/2004 from Le Palafour to the bottom of Double M and Carline in Val Claret. It contains pipe for beginners, a Pro pipe and a boardercross course, as well as a separate area for beginners and children.

The modern lift system in the Espace Killy, comprising mostly chairlifts and gondolas, is well suited to boarders. The top section of the Grande Motte is flattish and ideal for beginners and early intermediates. Most other slopes are steep enough to provide ideal boarding conditions for intermediates and experts alike and there are also lots of off-piste routes to be explored with a guide.

Mountain Restaurants

The slopes around Tignes are not over-endowed with good eating places. The excellent La Fruitiere in the middle of the La Daille sector at the top of the telecabin and just beside the Tommeuses express chairlift, which is technically in Val dIsere territory, can actually be reached even by those who have only a Tignes lift pass.

There is a vast but well-run self-service establishment at the Panoramic at the top of the Grande Motte funicular, as well as a comfortable service restaurant which does good grilled meats. The Bar-Restaurant de la Grande Motte at the foot of the funicular has jolly staff, good value food and a sunny terrace. At the top of the funicular up the Motte, Le Panoramic has a big self-service area and a small, but very good, service restaurant. The Chalet du Bollin, just above Val Claret, has service and self-service sections and can be reached even by novice skiers or boarders. There are several so-so restaurants down at Tignes Les Brevieres, of which the most popular is probably La Sachette. However undoubtedly the best lunch in the area is to be found at the first floor restaurant of LArbina, just across from the Aeroski telecabin in Le Lac, which has an excellent sun terrace for good weather and first-rate food and wine. Tellingly, around 80% of its lunchtime clients are based in Val dIsere.

The western side of the Tignes bowl has been much better served for restaurants since the construction of the attractive LAlpage at the top of the Chaudannes chairlift. This has both service and self-service sections and from the terrace there is a superb view of the Grande Motte.

Ski Schools

A good ESF and plenty of good independent competitors.

Under the enlightened direction of Jean-Louis Ottobon, the Ecole du Ski Francais (ESF) here is one of the best in France. Evolution 2 is a respected competitor. The Snocool is a specialist snowboard schools. The Development Centre offers 2 day "Skills" clinics and 3 day "Coaching" clinics in both Tignes and Val d'Isere as well as off-piste Adventure Weeks.

Ski Kindergartens

Tignes is well served for childcare for children from 2 years upwards, but not for younger babies. Les Marmottons kindergarten combines ski lessons with Evolution 2 for 3 years upwards. Groups of 10 max. 5 or 6 full or half day courses with or without meals. The lunchtime restaurant is equipped with TV and video. Only two tour operators offers childcare facilities.

Ski Passes

This lift passes covers Tignes and Val d'Isere;half day and pedestrian passes; family discounts; 5-day plus passes valid for one day in Three Valleys, one day in Paradiski;two day plus pass gives free access to Lagon pool and ice rink.

Ski Pass Prices

6 days lifts passes: -Under 14: 175 -14 to 64: 218 -Over 65: 175 -Free over 75 years

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