Tignes Lifts & Terrain

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Tignes Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Interlinked Ski Resort

Val d'Isere

    Tignes Trail & Piste Map
  • Tignes Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,550m – 3,456m (1,906m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    7 - 10m+
  • Lifts (78)
    11 Gondolas/cable cars/funiculars
    41 Chairlifts

    Summer Skiing - 6 lifts for skiing
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Winter: Early Oct to early May
    8:45am - 5:00pm

    Summer: Late June to early Aug
    7.15am - 1:00pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 300km
    Longest run – 10km+
    Advanced - 18%
    Intermediate - 25%
    Beginner - 57%
    Off piste - 10,000ha
    Summer skiing - 12km
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 20/21
    Tignes only
    Adult - €35 to 52
    Child - €28 to 42
    Adult over 74yr - Free
    Child u/5yr - Free

    Tignes-Val d'Isere
    Adult - €50 to 62
    Child - €41 to 50
    Adult over 74yr - Free
    Child u/5yr - Free

    Summer Skiing (2020) Tignes
    Adult - €35
    Child - €28
    Adult over 74yr - Free
    Child u/5yr - Free
    Tignes - Val d'Isere (Espace Killy) Ski Trail Map
  • Tignes - Val d'Isere Ski Trail Map
    Tignes Summer Ski Trail Map
  • Tignes Summer Ski Trail Map

Tignes Skiing & Snowboarding

The skiing & snowboarding at Tignes is big enough to write about without mentioning its interlinked neighbour of Val d’Isere, just know from the outset that the two are intrinsically linked & best sampled together. The statistics are impressive: 300km of trails (with Val d’Isere), 78 major lifts, 1900m+ vertical, longest ski season in France, highest point of 3.459m, & 10,000 hectares of freeride terrain put it firmly in the worldwide big leagues.

See the Tignes ski trail map here.

There are some things worth knowing from the outset though. Despite the stated overall 1900m+ vertical, in Tignes the longest skiable vertical possible in one run on a piste trail is only(!) around 1300m. The topography, village locations & access road limit the total available on-piste in one go.

Whilst there are relatively few ‘real’ novice slopes (but plenty near the boundary with Val d'Isere), the ski area has 57% of its trails rated as beginner. Many of these are in fact lower intermediate runs which combine well with the numerous long, cruisy intermediate runs. After a storm, the last terrain to open is usually the high elevation (3,459m) sector on the impressive Grande Motte.

Accessible & inspiring off-piste freeride lines for more advanced skiers are everywhere, as are some challenging black piste trails, including several that remain ungroomed throughout the season – the French still seem to love their bumps! The freeride terrain in the region is immense, ranging from open alpine bowls to extreme couloirs, however there are loads people to compete with to harvest fresh lines on a powder day. From our experience, if unfamiliar with the resort, a local guide will be able to sniff out a few untracked powder runs inbounds with little effort, several days after a snowfall.

Tignes Skiing Highlights

The Tignes skiing highlights are the best of the area during a short stay according to Powderhounds. They are only to be undertaken when there is no powder because skiing powder ALWAYS takes priority. Tick off the following when at Tignes.

  • If the weather is fine, get to know the resort by doing your own Tour de Tignes. It includes all the high points & longest runs, but for all ski/board abilities. Starting in Tignes 2100 (the centre of the resort), take the Palafour & Aiguille Percee chairs up to the 2750m Aiguille Percèe. Take in the view of the entire resort across to Col des Ves, the high point of the Grande Motte, around to the important lift hub on Tovière, then down to the villages of Les Boisses & Les Brévières. The valley is the aim on this first long run. 1200m of skiable vertical awaits on either blue, red, or black trails. Enjoy. Wander the main street in Les Brevieres – it is Tignes only traditional mountain village. Take the new gondola up to Les Boisses village then the next gondola up to mid mountain & finally, up the Aiguille Rouge chair (2415m). Take blue, red or a bumped black back into Tignes 2100 aiming for the Toviere gondola. Important to follow the signage, its easy to get sucked into the Paquis chair. From the top of 2704m Tovière, enjoy the 360-degree view. Check out the route to Val d’Isere. Skis/board on and take blue or black trails into Val Claret village. Skis off again & ride the funicular up to the Grande Motte. Take in the panorama all the way across to Mont Blanc & scope out the glaciers clinging to the peak behind you. Take the Grand Motte cable car to the top of the resort at 3459m elevation. Ski & ride the 1350m vertical via easy red or black piste, then blue or red trails all the way to Val Claret. Almost back to the start. Slide across the village & take the Tichot chair up to a nest of chairs. Try them all out, but in the end head up the Grattalu chair to the final 2750m highpoint of Aiguille du Chardonnet. Return to Tignes 2100 by a variety of trails after turning left under the Merles chair. End of tour, well done - time for a refreshment!
  • Try to ski / ride all the longest skiable verticals on red or black runs without stopping. The longest is from the top of Grande Motte cable car to Val Claret (1300m vertical). The next is Aiguille Percee to Les Brevieres (1150m vertical). The last big one is from Tovière down into La Daille (part of Val d’Isere) for a tasty 900m vertical.
  • Head to La Grande Motte on a clear morning & spend time skiing all the glacier runs, because you never know when lift accessed skiable glaciers will no longer exist in the French Alps!
  • Explore Tignes enormous off-piste terrain. Three main sectors include: from the top of the funicular on Grande Motte - both sides of the valley return to Val Claret; the backside of Aiguille Percèe; the backside of Aiguille du Chardonnet.
  • Check out Tignes’ famous geological attraction, the ‘eye of the needle’ - a completely natural rock formation that sticks out from the Aiguelle Percee ridge. Head up via the Palafour/Aiguille Percèe or Marais chairs.
  • With the morning sun, ride the 10 chairlifts & ski the terrain that face east from the Col des Ves all the way across to the Marais chair.
  • In poor weather, rather than brave the treeless alpine terrain, ski/ride down to Les Brévières or La Daille (Val d’Isere via Tovière) and do some comfortable sliding amongst the trees.
  • Ski directly to the door of the best après location in Tignes at La Folie Douce, which is just in the Val d’Isere sector near the top of the Daille gondola. Enjoy some enthusiastic dancing, lively entertainment & over-priced drinks! Be careful on the return journey back into the resort via Tovière. It is shaded & can be a tad icy later in the day. The 600m+ of vertical back into the upper villages feels a lot longer with a brew handicap!
  • Spend a day or two (or more) exploring the delights of Val d’Isere. Do a Tour de Val d’Isere to scope out the massive terrain. Always leave Tignes early to make the most of the day & to avoid the worst of the human traffic! Lash out and have lunch in the village, soaking up some sun next to the slopes before heading back to Tignes. (Hint – delicious, affordable lunches are away from the slopes through the archway at the bakeries & cafes.)

Tignes Ski Lifts

An ongoing series of upgrades allows Tignes to keep its lift lines to a minimum, plus move vast numbers of skiers & snowboarders around the hill. Between Val d’Isere & Tignes, there is a whopping total of 41 chairlifts, not to mention the two super-long funiculars (certainly not our favourite form of snow conveyance!), 9 gondolas/cable cars & other sundry surface tows.

Not all lift upgrades have been beneficial though. The 2019 replacement of the Sache gondola & Brevieres chair with one gondola that only goes to Les Boisses village was disappointing in the extreme for day-trippers & anyone staying in the village of Les Brévières. Such is life in a big French Alps ski resort though, where triple & quad chairs are an endangered species & a hooded, high-speed 6-seater chair is standard.

Snow & Weather

Tignes is in the highest snowfall region of the French Alps. Its altitude, predominance of terrain above 2000m elevation plus its generally north & easterly aspect terrain combine to provide snow reliability better than most.

A testament to the quality of the snow & terrain at Tignes is that it has the longest ski season in France. From late June to early August, there is 700m of skiable vertical high on the Grande Motte glacier for summer skiing. Opening again from mid-October through to the end of November, the glacier provides quality autumn riding until the entire resort opens for the winter season all the way through to May.

Interlinked with Val d'Isere

Tignes is lift, piste & pass interlinked with Val d’Isère (the ski area formerly known as Espace Killy). The combined ski network features 300km of runs linked by 78 lifts plus over 10,000ha of diverse freeride terrain.

See the Tignes-Val d'Isere ski trail map here.

Summer Skiing & Snowboarding at Tignes

The all-round nature of the Tignes ski resort continues into summer. From late June to early August, 6 lifts access 12km of piste trails on 700m of skiable vertical on the Grande Motte glacier.

See the Tignes summer ski trail map here.

Lift Passes & Tickets

As with all modern ski resorts a massive range of lift pass options exists for winter visitors to Tignes. In short, there are 2 simple ski lift day tickets, one for Tignes only (150km of trails etc), & another for Tignes-Val d’Isere combined. A Tignes-Val d’Isere pass is around €10/day more expensive than the single base alternative. If you have already purchased a Tignes only ski pass & wish to ski in Val d’Isere, it is possible to upgrade the pass for €11. Good to know is children under 5yr & adults 75yr or older ride the lifts for free. Yippee!

Snowboarding Tignes

Good news for snowboarders at Tignes. We pronounce it to be snowboard friendly! Not too much in the way of long flat traverses on-piste & surface tows can generally be avoided. Probably not the best to learn to snowboard (see Novice section below), but for anyone else, Tignes should be super-fun.

The Tignes snowpark on the Col du Palet is one of the largest in the world. The terrain park includes a quarterpipe, halfpipe, boardercross course, air bag, jumps & features for skiers & snowboarders alike.

Novice & Beginner Ski Areas

Despite over 50% of trails in Tignes being rated blue for beginners, this is not a great place to learn-to-ski for the first time. Many of the blue trails are too steep & busy for novices. Aside from a handful of tiny learn to ski areas in the villages of Val Claret, Les Boisses & Les Breveieres, the best novice terrain in Tignes is at Le Lac-Lavachet. Sadly, it spends much of the day in shade & would be a singularly unpleasant place to learn in mid-winter. The best novice terrain is in neighbouring Val d’Isere around the boundary with Tignes around the Borsat chair. Best access is via the Fresse chair from Val Claret or the Bellevarde funicular from La Daille in Val d’Isere. It is possible for novices to ski on green trails the full 1000m+ vertical from the Bellevarde to the valley station at La Daille – something Tignes definitely does not have for new skiers. Once one has their feet & gained confidence, Tignes is a wonderful ski area.

For the Powderhound

The general ski area can be broken into four main sectors; La Grande Motte; La Tovière/Lavachet; Col des Ves/Aiguille du Chardonnet (a.ka. Lognan) & Percée, but in reality a few paragraphs here will not do it justice. Let it suffice to say here that there are enough off-piste freeride descents here to last a good portion of an entire ski season.

As mentioned previously, a major feature of Tignes is the looming peak & glaciers of La Grande Motte. Skiing on the glacier is wide open & leads into two zones high above & either side of the intermediate valley trail to Val Claret. Many skiers come to Tignes and never leave this section of the mountain since there is so much variety. A diverse series of easy to technical couloirs leading to broad ‘aprons’ provide plenty of memories. There is a six minute, underground funicular (cable train) from Val Claret up to the glacier which then connects to the Grande Motte cable car. All the runs on Grande Motte are north-facing & snow quality is generally wind-impacted up high & awesome down lower on the steeps. Some of the entries can be difficult to find so a guide may be worthwhile in this complex zone.

The skiing in La Tovière/Lavachet area is a steep 600m vertical drop back into town. There are some great off-piste runs over the backside into Pas de la Toviere & onward toward Val d’Isère’s La Daille (you will need a Tignes-Val d'Isere pass to get back though) or around the cliffs back into Tignes 2100. Access Toviere via the gondola from Tignes-Le-Lac.

Lognan & Percèe offer cruisy terrain under the Col du Palet, with tougher intermediate runs down from the Aiguille Percée. Freeriders have tonnes of off-piste possibilities including long backcountry descents into gorgeous north-aspect terrain in the Vallon de la Sachette & Vallon de la Sache. Depending on snow conditions down low, long traversing exits can be required to get back onto the Sache trail down to Les Brevieres.

Heli Skiing

Tignes is one of an increasing number of ski resort locations that offer heli-skiing. Due to the local laws, all heliskiing drops are conducted in nearby Italy, with descents either back into France where possible, but often in Italy.

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 the resort has an abundance of off-piste riches that will satisfy the biggest powder snob. The excellent lift-accessible off-piste freeride makes Tignes popular with skilled skiers and hangers-on that want to say they skied Tignes, but actually don't.