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Tignes, France

Great skiing and … er, that’s it.

The appeal of Tignes is simple: good snow, spread over a wide area of varied terrain. Tignes and Val d’Isère together form the enormous Espace Killy – a Mecca for experts, and ideal for adventurous intermediates. And in many ways Tignes makes the better base: appreciably higher, more convenient, surrounded by better intermediate terrain, with quick access to the Grande Motte glacier.

Our preference is still to stay in Val, which is a more human place, a more rounded resort and a more central base for exploration of the whole area. But the case for Tignes is getting stronger as results flow from the resort’s current campaign to reinvent itself in a generally less hostile form (Tignes is building its future, as the slogan goes). The road through Tignes-le-Lac was pushed underground a couple of years ago, so you no longer have to tangle with traffic to get from the western slopes to the eastern ones. Underground car parks are also encouraging development of the pedestrian-friendly feel that the resort is striving to achieve. Various buildings are getting a facelift to make the resort slightly easier on the eye. It all helps.

Although Tignes has invested in some impressive lifts accessing the Grande Motte and Val-d’Isère, enjoyment of the expansive western side of the Tignes bowl – and large areas of the Val sector, too – is limited by the time you spend riding slow chair lifts.

What’s Great

  • Good snow guaranteed for a long season – about the best Alpine bet
  • One of the best areas in the world for lift-served off-slope runs
  • Huge amount of terrain for all standards, shared with Val-d’Isère
  • Lots of accommodation close to the slopes (though there is also quite a bit that involves some walking)
  • Swift access to Val-d’Isère slopes

What’s Not-So-Great

  • Resort buildings spoil the views from the slopes
  • Bleak, treeless setting – no woodland runs to retreat to on ~bad-weather days, and many slopes liable to closure after heavy snow
  • Still lots of long, slow chair-lifts
  • Poor mountain restaurants
  • Near-beginners have to go over to Val-d’Isère to find long green runs
  • Limited après-ski
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