TIGNES (ESPACE KILLY)
Welcome to Moonbase Tignes, a buzzing metropolis beamed up to the realm of permanent snow and ice in the High Tarentaise.
Architecturally, Tignes is not to everybody's taste; the resort was mostly constructed during the 1970s and visually it is still redolent of that age, although some regard it as a retro classic! When the station's designers first dreamt up the idea of plonking massive high-rise accommodation blocks in this high-altitude wilderness, it was because they had just two absolute prerequisites in their brief: easy access to some of the world's best skiing, and guaranteed snow conditions. Indeed, Tignes pioneered the concept of ski-in/ski-out accommodation.
The originally futuristic buildings may now look dated, but the taste for doorstep skiing convenience never wanes.
It's a big, busy resort, with big scenery, but there's masses of acreage in the ski area to disperse the crowds. The variety of terrain is extensive: from the intoxicating glacial heights of La Grande Motte, to the thigh-burning long cruises down to the tree line and valley floor at Les Brévières; and from the quiet powder fields around the Col des Ves, to the bustling groomed motorways linking into the Val d'Isère domain from the Col de Fresse and Tovière. Piste marking is much clearer than in neighbouring Val d'Isère, with more frequent directional signs and junction markers making route-finding here the most reliable in the Espace Killy.
Overall, Tignes is not the best choice for beginners, although competent novices will find plenty to progress towards. The station is best suited to intermediates and advanced visitors craving big mileage and big vertical, and for those travelling early or late in the season and looking for peace of mind regarding snow reliability.
RESORT VILLAGE LAYOUT
Avenues & Alleyways
Tignes is split into two resort centres: Tignes-le-Lac and Val Claret, facing each other across the lake in this high, treeless trough.
Highs & Lows
Tignes boasts the highest and lowest rideable points in the Espace Killy:
La Grande Motte at 3456 m (11,339 ft) and Les Brévières at 1550 m (5086 ft); that's 1906 m (6254 ft) of vertical drop. Although it's not possible to ride non-stop top to bottom, there are summit-to-base routes off La Grande Motte that deliver a continuous on-piste descent equivalent to dropping off Ben Nevis and plunging 6 m (20 ft) under the Irish Sea; enough to keep any vertical junkie happy.
Despite its austere façade, Tignes has a discernible soul. It's a lot more Gallic than Brit-centric Val d'Isère; French urbanites flock here every weekend and the resort works hard to animate the harsh surroundings of this high valley with regular events and entertainment.
SKI AREA DATA
Statistics given are for the entire Espace Killy domain:
2100 m (6890 ft)
Hands-free Lift Passes
89 in total
(10 of them free)
Total capacity =
154 in total
= 300 km (186 miles)
Tel. +33 (0)4 79 40 04 40