Tignes may not be the prettiest resort in the Alps, but what it lacks aesthetically, it more than makes up for with its epic terrain and lively atmosphere. It’s a perennial favourite with the Brits and it’s not hard to see why as, with the exception of attractive architecture, it has everything for everyone.
Located three and a half hours from Geneva, Tignes and its prestigious neighbour, Val d’Isere, make up the enormous Espace Killy, which is renowned for its excellent snow-sure terrain. Rising from a base elevation of 1550m to the top of the glacier at 3456m, the resort caters for all abilities and preferences, ranging from fantastic gladed areas to steep couloirs, with awesome park and pistes in between.
Tignes has long been famed for its epic off-piste terrain and is a freerider’s dream. Just make sure you’re properly equipped and informed before heading off-piste though, as there are inevitably crevasses on the glacier, and avalanches are not uncommon.
The funicular at Val Claret whisks you up to the Grande Motte glacier in a matter of minutes and another quick hop by cable car takes you up to the top, from where you can enjoy the best of the snow and a long descent. However, you don’t have to go that high for some incredible riding as there is excellent terrain throughout the resort. And if you do happen to get bored of what Tignes has to offer (although I defy you to!), it’s super easy to drop into Val d’Isere where you can double your playground.
The resort is now also synonymous with the Winter X Games Europe, having hosted the massive freestyle event each year since its inception in 2010, and is now firmly on the freestyle map. While the superpipe and slopestyle course are built primarily for the X Games, they are available for use after the competition. Tignes’ main park is the Swatch Snowpark which can be accessed by the Grattalu chairlift, and during the summer months they also build a park on the glacier.
Tignes comprises five separate villages: Tignes Les Brevières (1550m), Les Boisses (1850m), Le Lac, Le Lavachet and Val Claret (all 2100m), which are linked by bus and lifts. Most of the action centres around Le Lac and Val Claret, which offer easy access to the best of the mountain and boast most of the visitor accommodation, bars, restaurants and other facilities. Tignes Les Boisses and Les Brevières are also undergoing considerable development, but currently offer a much more subdued alternative to Le Lac and Val Claret.
Après and nightlife in Tignes is generally good with live bands playing in various different venues most nights. The best of the bars are Loop, Jam and Bagus bars in Le Lac, TCs and Scotty’s in Le Lavachet, and Saloon bar and Le Couloir in Val Claret, the latter also being an excellent restaurant with a quirky multi-mezzanine layout. The best of the late night entertainment can be found in Val Claret in the aptly named nightclub, the Melting Pot.
Snowboarding in Tignes,