The Espace Killy Tignes-Val d'Isère ski area plays host to over 300km of terrain, extending altitudes of 1,550m and 3,450m, and 150 individual pistes served by 90 lifts. It boasts a fabulous range for both intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, with 46 red and 25 black runs, you are not going to be short of finding a challenge in this ski area.
Advanced areas Val d'Isère
Val d'Isère has a number of challenging steep and deep pistes that are great for the advanced skier or snowboarder. There is the world renowned 1992 Winter Olympics downhill run called 'The Face' (pronounced 'fass'), which took Patric Ortlieb a mere two minutes to ski from top to bottom (we don’t recommend you try and match it). You can challenge yourself with the Epaule du Charvet, the Face or the S.
From Val d’Isère centre, take the Solaise Express chairlift up to the Solaise skiing area. Warm up those muscles with an easy cruise round a few blue runs in the Madeleine and Glacier lift area in the morning. Cugnai is also a nice steep piste and is best in the morning, definitely worth catching when it is open as it can sometimes close due to avalanche risk. Then it is worth waiting until the late morning or afternoon to ski Arcelle, which can be extremely crisp first thing in the morning, and is just off the Madeline run.
After lunch, also try to cover Pistes A, M and S which go down to the Solaise area, as this will be their quietest time. The Piste S is particularly challenging and is often closed, so if it is open and you fancy feeling the burn then it is one to try. You can then go back up and ski the lower runs down to Laisinant, which is an easier place to end the day as the runs back down to Solaise can get very busy.
Take the free bus out of Val d’Isère centre to Le Fornet, and the Le Fornet cable car followed by the Vallon de l’Iseran to the base of the glacier. Advanced skiers will probably cover Le Fornet quite quickly, although it is worth skiing every run for the excellent snow conditions. Try the Forêt, a black run through the trees down to the bottom of the Le Fornet cable car, or try Signal, a steep red pitch at the top of the Signal drag lift.
If you are skiing in a group, are confident, and carrying avalanche equipment, there is plenty of off-piste skiing just off the edges of the pistes in Le Fornet when the snow is good.
From the top of Bellevarde, there are several options for steep descents down to both Solaise and La Daille. It is best to do all these lower slopes in the morning or mid morning while they are quieter and in peak condition, and then perhaps have a lazier afternoon!
You can ski Face (the ex-Olympic run) which has undergone a bit of a makeover to help congestion on the run. The diggers have been hard at work smoothing and widening the run to make it more enjoyable for regular skiers. You can also try Epaule du Charvet, which has steep black moguls and is only open when conditions are perfect. It takes you back down to the Olympique and Val d’Isère village. OK (world cup run) or Orange are the more challenging options taking you down to La Daille.
In the afternoon, there is the network of blue and red pistes available, and there is also the option to attempt the Vallée Perdue. This is an off-piste run which starts at the bottom of the Tommeuses lift and involves negotiating rocks, nooks, and crannies. Depending on the time of year, you may have to clamber through holes or streams without your skis or snowboard on – but it is good fun. Just make sure you have the experience, confidence and equipment to negotiate the valley. We always recommend attempting the off-piste with a mountain guide.
Advanced areas in Tignes
Tignes has a number of extremely challenging and advanced pistes. With a host of "naturide" (un-groomed) black runs, steep pisted blacks and some reds that are verging on blacks, you can test your riding and enjoy some of the challenges Tignes has to offer. Tignes also boasts the area's longest ski run, an exhilarating 10km black called La Sache, that descends from the top of the L’Aiguille Percée (the eye of the needle), through a spectacular valley to Tignes Les Brévières.
Grande Motte & The Palet / L'Aiguille
Access Val Claret (highest village of Tignes) from the top of the Tommeuses lift and down Piste H. From here, head straight up the Grande Motte glacier. All of the red runs on this glacier are worth skiing due to the fantastic snow and views and Leissee is definitely worth skiing more than once. There are some tempting moguls down either side of this piste, and it is nice and quiet in the mornings.
Come down the glacier on the red runs before taking Tichot and Grattalu on the opposite side of Val Claret. For more challenging skiing off these lifts, there is the red mogul run, Le Mur, and Col des Ves which leads to the top of Guerlain Chicherit, the naturide piste. This is un-groomed and is usually home to some challenging moguls. You can also take the challenging black piste Pramecou, which is more groomed but still has plenty of testing moguls and steep descents. The Col des Ves lift is currently the slowest in resort at 22 minutes, so although the runs are well worth it, bear this in mind in poor weather, and in time-planning to get back to Val!
Toviere, Les Brévières / L'Aiguille Percée
The easiest way into Tignes Le Lac is straight down Trolles off Piste H at the top of Tommeuses. This is a wide black run with a steep pitch and a long schuss at the end. It is then worth going back up the Aeroski (if you are feeling confident with naturide runs) to do Paquerettes under the lift if it is open.
Once in Tignes Le Lac, there are a few options at the top of the Palafour lift including red runs that you can take off the top of the Grand Huit and Aiguille Percée lifts. Epilobe is another naturide off the Chaudannes chair, which may also be worth a ski if conditions are right.
In the afternoon, ski to Tignes les Brévières on Sache, probably the most demanding black run in the resort, as it is usually full of moguls! Providing the snow conditions are good, it can be a fantastic run. There is an escape route on Échappatoire and Pavot if it does prove too tricky. Alternatively try the Silène black naturide piste under the Marais lifts, it is not always open but if it is, it is definitely one to try. Head back to Le Lac and Val by taking the Sache bubble, Aiguille Rouge, Bleuets run, and Aeroski back to Val d’Isère.