Tignes Ski Resort France
Well groomed runs, consistently good snow and a huge ski area combine to make Tignes ski resort in France perfect for intermediate “madames and messieurs”.
Despite being high up in the French Alps at over 2,100 metres, Tignes does not quite stack up on beauty compared to the belle resort of Val d’Isere
nearby. However if you can overlook the mix of long high-rise apartment blocks, complete lack of trees, and underwhelming nightlife, you will find a good combination of modern lifts, seemingly endless snow (especially on the Grande Motte Glacier), and an impressive array of straightforward runs. More importantly Tignes also has exciting off-piste descents, and Tignes now hosts some of the best European extreme snowboarding and freestyle events.
Tignes Ski and Snowboard Terrain
Overall Tignes is best suited to skiers who want to build on existing skills. There are few beginner slopes and the ski area is mainly made up of long cruiser intermediate runs as well as accessible and inspiring off piste lines for more advanced skiers. The ski resort has 67 runs, six slalom stadiums, a mogul field, a snow park, and Le SPOT, a dedicated ‘off-piste’ training area.
The general ski area can be broken into four main sectors: La Grande Motte; La Tovière/Lavachet; Palet/Aiguille; and Percée/Palafour.
Tignes is very proud of La Grande Motte
glacier. Skiing on the glacier is wide open, and the run under the cable car is a good intermediate test of stamina, whilst experts can go off piste over into the Palet sector. Many skiers come to Tignes and never leave this section of the mountain since there is so much variety. On the expert slopes there is often avalanche danger, so check with guides. There is a six minute, underground funicular (cable train) from Val Claret to the glacier which then connects to the Grande Motte cable car. All of the runs on Grande Motte are north facing.
The skiing in La Tovière/Lavachet
area is a steep 600 metre vertical drop back into town. There are some great off-trail runs over the back side of Lavachet into Val d’Isère (you will need an Espace Killy pass to get back though) or around the cliffs back into Tignes. To get to Toviere take the Aeroski gondola from Tignes-Le-Lac.
and offers cruisy terrain under the Col du Palet, with tougher intermediate runs down from the Aiguille Percée. Experts have tonnes of off-piste possibilities, but for more scenic and relaxed skiing in good weather, head towards Tignes’ famous geological attraction, the ‘eye of the needle’ - a completely natural rock formation that sticks out from the Aiguelle Percee peak.
The Tignes snowpark is 2.5km long and the largest in the world. The terrain park includes a quarterpipe, halfpipe, boardercross course, and table-tops for skiers and boarders alike.
Night skiing is also available in Le Lac, Le Lavachet and Val Claret.
Tignes is part of “Espace Killy”, the large ski region named after a famous French world class skier. Tignes is connected seamlessly with Val d’Isère
, the other half of Espace Killy. The combined “Espace Killy” network features 300 km of runs linked by 102 lifts.
Where is Tignes Ski Resort?
Tignes lies in the Tarentaise Valley in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France, not far from the border of Italy, 12 km by road from Val d’Isere.
The two main airports near Tignes are Lyon (220 km) and Geneva (170 km). Flights to Chambéry (140 km), Grenoble (160 km) and St. Eienne (290km) are less regular.
Eurostar runs a ski service twice a week from London to Bourg-St-Maurice. Daily TGV train services also go to Bourg-St-Maurice station from which there are regular bus or taxi transfers to Tignes (Val Claret), which take approximately 45 minutes.
Tignes by Road:
If you allow for €50 tolls and more traffic during school holidays, getting to Tignes from Calais using the French motorways (‘autoroutes’) is comfortable, straightforward and takes about 9 hours.
Tignes Hotels and Accommodation
At the base of one of Europe’s largest glaciers, La Grande Motte, there are two main settlements right next to the slopes, Val Claret and Le Lac. There are also two smaller and quieter villages further down the mountain, Les Boisses and Les Brevieres. All of these villages are linked by a speedy and regular free bus service.
Most powderhounds stay in one of more than 15,000 self-catering apartment beds, as there are less than 20 Tignes hotels offering around 1,500 pillows.
is the highest village and located at the foot of the mountains surrounding Tignes. It is the perfect place to stay if immediate access to the lifts and piste to door skiing is your number one priority. Val Claret’s location adjacent to lifts facing in all directions means that the first lift and fresh tracks are a distinct possibility.
is situated next to a lake and uses a one-way road system to keep traffic through the centre to a minimum. Most of the hillside accommodation is only a few minutes walk to the lifts which will take you up towards Val Claret.
and Les Brevieres
are linked to the main ski areas by lifts and can be returned to via skiing. Both offer a cheaper option than staying in the main villages, but they are smaller and quieter with fewer services and less nightlife.
See Tignes accommodation listings here >>
Tignes has plenty of other activities on offer if you need a break from the slopes including ski-jöring (being pulled along the snow by a horse), paragliding, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding. There is even an ice diving club?!
Why Ski or Snowboard at Tignes?
It is advanced skiers and boarders who benefit most from what Tignes has to offer. At first glance there seems only to be a handful of black runs, but Tignes is an abundance of off-piste skiing, including some excellent lift-accessible off piste, that really makes Tignes so popular with skilled skiers.