Tignes

If you can turn a blind eye to some of the brash architecture, Tignes offers quick, convenient access to high-altitude skiing, with slopes that are predominantly above 2,000 metres – and part of the huge Espace Killy.

Tignes has some excellent ski slopes. There's huge mileage for intermediates that challenge and off-piste for experts.

Such is the extent of the terrain that a week here will only scratch the surface. Although visually some of the architecture is a stark 1960s hangover, much of the accommodation has doorstep skiing, so the convenience may compensate.

There is, however, less tree skiing than one would ideally wish for – but Les Brevières has local wooded runs.

 

Villages

Tignes village
©Andy Parant

Tignes is made up of several of villages. The main hub is Tignes-le-Lac, and further up the valley is the prettier Val Claret.

Meanwhile over at Tignes 1800, there is the new multimillion-euro Kalinda Village, a huge complex of upmarket apartments.

The lowest and oldest village is Tignes les Brevières, situated at 1550m.

The local slopes are treelined and you'll find an enormous amount of attractive catered chalets and a friendly, laid-back vibe.

The slopes

Tignes slopes
©Andy Parant

Part of the huge 300km Espace Killy, shared with Val d'Isère, Tignes lofty altitude is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

The height of the skiing here makes this one of the most snowsure resorts in the Alps. However, with a treeline that runs out above Tignes 1800, on bad weather days there is less visual reference than in lower resorts and visibility can be poor.

When the sun is out, head up to the stunning Grande Motte glacier, at 3,455m, and then carve your way down on red runs like Rimaye or blues like Genepi and Cairn. The snowpark has a 190m-long half pipe, too.

Families

Much of the accommodation in Tignes is right by the slopes, making it convenient for families, and many of the residences have swimming pools.

Some of the best nursery slopes at Tignes-le-Lac and Le Lavachet - are gentle and free of through traffic.

Children aged 2.5 years and over can have ski lessons with Les Marmottons kindergarten, and enjoy its specially designed snow garden.

Non-ski activities

tignes non ski activity
©Andy Parant

The recently built Le Lagon watersports complex at Tignes Le Lac has a huge indoor swimming pool with a wave machine and water slides.

You can also try ice-skating on the lake itself, from 4pm to 8pm everyday. Tignes is also famous for its ice-diving.

You don't need experience and can arrange this unique activity through ski school Evolution 2.

The resort has launched a 'Bun - J Ride' - a combination of ski jump, a bungee jump and a zip-line.

Eating

Head to the top of the Chaudannes lift to have lunch at Lo Soli, a handsome chalet-style restaurant whose sun terrace looks onto the Grande Motte Glacier.

Another setting for panoramic views is the self-service La Tovière. The village of Les Brevières also makes a great destination to head for lunch: try Sachette, the oldest restaurant in the Espace Killy, adorned with mountain artifacts, which serves a sumptuous fondue.

Apres ski and nightlife

You can enjoy the famous après ski at the Folie Douce in Val d'Isère before making your way back to Tignes.

At Tignes-le-Lac, you'll find that the British-run Loop bar has a busy terrace and DJs and comedians to keep the entertainment flowing.

One of the spots that stays open the latest is Jacks Bar, which pumps out 70s, 80s and 90s tunes to an up-for-it crowd. There's also the Embuscade, which attracts a slightly older clientele.

Accommodation

The resort has a huge range of self-catered residences, such as Jhana, Ferme du Val Claret, or over in Tignes le Lac, the popular Village Montana.

Most hotels are concentrated in Tignes le Lac, such as the 3-star Levanna, right on the pistes with a big hot tub; or the 3-star Arbina, which has an excellent restaurant.

In Val Claret, the chic new Hotel Diva is a stone's throw from the funicular to the Grande Motte glacier. For classic wooden catered chalets, Tignes les Brevières has the widest choice.

Transfers

From Moutiers station

  • By bus: around 65 minutes; Adults 12€, Youth (U26) 9.50€ (www.altibus.com)
  • By taxi: around 35-50 minutes; about 80€ for an 8-seater taxi