Tignes is part of the Espace Killy ski area in the French Alps, with ski terrain ranging from 1550m at its lowest point to just under 3500m at the top of the glaciers. This altitude makes it very snow sure and with 300 kilometres of pistes, there's a lot of ski area to enjoy.
The 300km of pistes in the Espace Killy are accessed by 90 ski lifts and funicular railways to reach the glaciers (see the piste maps). There are 20 green pistes, 67 blues, 41 reds and 26 blacks, and 2 snowparks, making it popular with skiers of every level of ability.
In Tignes alone there are 47 ski lifts, a funicular railway, a cable car, 24 chairlifts and 19 drag lifts, enabling you to ski around the 150 kilometres of pisted terrain. The Tignes ski area can be split into four areas, La Grande Motte Massif, Palet/L’Aiguille Percée, Toviere and Les Brévières.
The Grande Motte
The Grande Motte is the highest massif in the Espace Killy; a mass of rock, ice and permanent snow cover on the glacier at the highest point. It is the only part of the Espace Killy ski area which is open in every season. It can be accessed by either the Funicular railway (which runs in all weathers, taking approximately 3000 skiers an hour) or by taking the Lanches and Vanoise chairlifts, then finally the Grande Motte Cable car. The scenery is absolutely stunning at the top of the Grande Motte and you should stop long enough to look across the mountains and at the Vanoise National Park, the Grande Casse (3852m), Mont Blanc (4807m) and the Grande Sassiere (3747m). Skiing on the Grande Motte offers a good choice of wide open blues and some more challenging reds. It can often be deceptively cold on the glacier, and not always conducive to learning as some of the slopes can be steeper than expected.
l'Aiguille Percée / Palet
The L'Aigulle Percée /Palet massif is accessible from Val Claret by the Tichot chairlift and from Le Lac by the Palafour. There are a number of cruisey intermediate blue and red runs here. Although there’s not a huge selection of blacks, you can try the Sache, a long black run from the top of the L’Aiguille Percée (the famous 'eye of the needle') to Tignes Les Brévières. It provides some fierce moguls and challenging skiing.
The Toviere sector provides links with the skiing in Val d’Isere, and is accessible by taking the Aeroski bubble from Tignes-Le-Lac or the Tufs and Bollin chairlifts from Val Claret. You can enjoy a number of gentle blues and more challenging reds, particularly the Combe Folle which leads into the mogul covered, steep black Trolles piste down into Le Lac. This area tends to be busy as it is the link with Val d'Isere and the whole of the Espace Killy.
The lowest part of the Tignes ski area, Les Brévières is a nice little sun trap from early on in the morning, making it the perfect resting point for a spot of lunch on a sunny day, especially in the warmer months of the season. The pistes in this area mainly consist of easy wide blues and slightly more challenging red runs. The highest point in this massif is the L’Aiguille Percée (2748m) which offers some visually dramatic and geological oddities in the curious rock formations, and is also the location of the famous "eye of the needle."
There is also a snowpark at Val Claret giving riders the chance to try their hand at some freestyle jumping, rails and big air. For the more adventurous Tignes has access to some of the worlds best off-piste areas.
Rather uniquely Tignes also has a vibrant summer ski scene with snowparks up on the glacier, well-groomed pistes as well as gentle nursery slopes. It attracts ski teams, racers and freestyle skiers and snowboarders from around the world.
More Val d'Isere Insights...
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- Flights to Geneva restart in June 2020
- A farewell to the 2019/20 ski season in Val d'Isere
- French ski areas close on 15th March 2020
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