© Tignes OT
© Tristan Shu
Snowparks in Val d'Isere
Discover the top Val d'Isere snowparks
If you are new to the slopes it's a good chance that you'll be wanting to try your first kicker or rail soon. Freestyle is great fun and if you want to learn there is no better place to head than the Val d'Isere park.
Both Tignes and Val d'Isere have their own parks but they are sufficiently different to warrant trips to both.
Val d'Isere Snowparks
Snowboarders and free-style skiers have access to the Val Park in the Bellevarde area via the Bellevarde or Olympique cable cars or the La Daille funicular. If you are coming over from Tignes you can take the Bolin Express from Val Claret or the Aeroski. The Val Park, as it's known, lies in the centre of the Bellvarde bowl just under the Mont Blanc chairlift and is serviced by the drag tow that runs up the side of the slalom course.
The park is clearly set out in different sections so that the jumps (kickers) are grouped together depending on their difficulty. Like pistes, they are green, blue, red and black. If you are new to the slopes it is best to start on the greens, just like on the slopes.There is also has a section designed for riding rails with some easy boxes for beginners as well as the more technical rails.
The park is well maintained by a dedicated team and some of the kickers here are specially shaped for photo shoots and competitions meaning that they can get quite big and can change often. The biggest problem with the Val Park is not the kickers and rails within it, they are uniformly good, it is the location. Although it lies in a natural sun trap and is sheltered from the wind it is a short, wide run meaning that the lifts that access it run first along its base and then up its side so you will easily spend more time on the lifts than you do on the features.
In Tignes, the snowpark can be found at the top of the Grattalu chairlift. The park here is on a long flowing run with a good high-speed chair at the bottom or you can also use the Col du Palet drag lift. The features here are better suited to beginners and intermediates as the kickers are not that big, certainly smaller than the biggest ones in Val. If you are new to the slopes you may find it easier to use the Grattalu chairlift to access the park as the drag tow that runs up its side is long and maybe a little tricky if you are still finding your balance.
The park is sponsored by Swatch which means it is fitted with their "Shoot My Ride" system. This is a series of cameras placed in the park that are activated by your lift pass. Simply swipe your pass over the sensor, ride down through the park and swipe again at the bottom. Your run has been filmed and saved online where you can view, download and share it to your heart's content.
The park in Tignes is also fitted with an airbag which is free to use and open daily. A perfect place to try a new trick without fear of injury.
Probably the best freestyle feature that Tignes has to offer is its halfpipe. This sits at the base of the Les Lanches chairlift at the top end of Tignes Val Claret. The pipe itself is impressive, not many resorts in France have one.