Tignes Le Lac
Why Tignes le Lac Ski Resort?
- Easy and direct access to the whole of the Val d'Isère (formerly Espace Killy) ski area
- High-altitude & snowsure resort
- It was the first area awarded National Park in France (1963) and is a paradise for outdoor sports lovers (its home of the largest colony of Alpine ibex in France)
- In 2015, the Tignes ski area obtained Green Globe certification. A first for the ski world!
Tignes can be found in the Tarentaise area of France, in the Northern French Alps and is a purpose-built ski resort within the Tignes-Val d'Isere ski area which ranks as one of the best winter sports centres in the world! Huge investment, progression and development over the past 50 years has seen Tignes grow into one of Europe’s most comprehensive ski destinations, yet it has still been able to maintain its traditional French Alpine ambience.
Le Lac is split into 4 areas: Le Lavachet, Le Rosset, Les Almes and Le Bec Rouge.
Tignes is set at the foot of the twin peaks of La Grande Motte Glacier (3656m) and La Grande Casse (3852m) – meaning that you can even ski here in the summer! This ski resort has a highly sporting reputation and hosts many celebrities on training courses, including the French national football team.
Tignes is proud to have been elected ‘The Sportiest Town’ by the French daily sports paper, ‘L’Equipe’! This was due to various factors including its outstanding sporting infrastructure, hosting numerous sporting events on an international scale, welcoming high-profile sports stars (such as the French football team), the high level of Tignes-born sportsmen and women, and a sports-mad clientele and community. Many towns are famous for their flowers but Tignes has sport in its blood!
Regular free bus resort shuttles from Tignes 1800 to Tignes Le Lac (link between Tignes Les Brévières 1550 and Tignes 1800 is by the Brévières gondola accessible for free to pedestrians on the ascent and descent. After ski schedule, Wednesdays and Thursdays evenings from 5.30pm till 9.00pm and 9.30pm until 11.30pm).
The bustling ski resort of Val d'Isère can be easily reached from the ski area of Tignes, via the ski lifts (30 minutes), bus (15 minutes) or car (7 minutes) - allowing easy access to a whole host of shops, restaurant and bars - great for après-ski or an opportunity to explore for non-skiers.
Interested in buying an apartment in Tignes? See our Buying in the Alps section.
Tignes ski area
The two ski resorts of Tignes and Val d'Isère make up the Tignes-Val d'Isere ski area, located in the Tarentaise area of the Savoie department in the Northern French Alps. There are multiple villages in Tignes including:
- Tignes Val Claret
- Tignes Le Lac
- Tignes 1800
- Tignes lesBrevieres
- Tignes Lavachet
- and then Val d'Isere on the other side
It provides a large well-linked and high-altitude ski area with a very reliable snow record (it's open 11 months of the year!), thanks to the La Grande Motte Glacier and the fact that it backs onto the peaks of the Italian border. According to 'Where to Ski and Snowboard' Tignes is listed as "Good snow guaranteed for a long season - about the best Alpine bet". You can also ski the glacier in the summer months (see details with our sister company Peak Retreats).
As a whole, the Tignes-Val d'Isere ski area has become one of Europe’s premier ski resorts. With its varied ski terrain, easy ski access and excellent lift system, it offers something for everyone – from complete beginners to thrill-seeking off-pisters!
Tignes has a lot to offer including the Grande Motte glacier served by a modern funicular railway which takes experts as well as intermediates to the panoramic platform at 3030m within just 7 minutes! The Perce-Neige funicular, which took 4 years to construct, departs from Tignes Val Claret. It carried its first passengers in April 1993, and can transport 3000 people per hour travelling at a speed of 12 metres per second! At the top you will find a beautifully located panoramic restaurant with the most stunning views, brilliant ski slope options and the cable car to conquer the Grande Motte glacier!
The cable car will take you to new heights at 3456m. It can transport 3000 people per hour thanks to its two cabins and all at a speed of 10m per second! From the top you can enjoy a thrilling ski down to Tignes Les Brévières, have a mountain guide take you to the very summit of the Grande Motte glacier or as a pedestrian simply marvel at the glorious surrounding mountains from the various viewpoints.
Tignes invests money every year in the lift system, to ensure high performance and make sure you reach the slopes in comfort and as fast as possible. This ski resort has certainly come a very long way since the very first lift was installed in the old village of Tignes back in 1936!
For those with their own car, yet more skiing is available fairly nearby in the following ski areas: Sainte Foy is a 30-minute drive from Tignes Val Claret; Les Arcs is 45-60 minutes; whilst La Rosière and La Plagne are about 60 minutes away. And don’t forget you have Val d'Isère just 25 minutes by car (or ski across from Tignes) plus the other Tignes villages. A day of skiing at most of these resorts is possible at no additional cost with lift passes valid for six days or more.
Tignes skiing info
On your own or with a ski instructor, 'Ski Start' enables you to progress safely in specially adapted areas.
The Ski Start progression zone 1 & 2 are free, and for zone 3 you need a ski pass (Tignes 1 day or more...), so let start skiing!
- 100% beginner, discover! I am learning to ski on gentle terrain with beginner ski lifts. Free magic carpets: "Lac", "1800" and "Val Claret" carpets.
- 75% beginner, learn! I am making progress and enjoying the feeling of skiing. Free chairlifts & draglift: "Bollin" in Tignes Val Claret, "Almes" and "Rosset" in Tignes le Lac, "Lavachet" in Tignes le Lavachet.
- 30% beginner, evolve! I am moving onto blue runs in the Ski Start 3 progression zones with longer ski lifts... I buy my ski pass (Tignes or Tignes & Val d'Isère).
The particularity of the Tignes ski area is such that it allows beginners to rapidly head for the summits. There’s no question of remaining on the snow front when the call of the Grande Motte Glacier is so tempting! Two beautiful blue runs, located at 3,032 metres altitude (Génépy & Rabotch), enable novice skiers to enjoy a fabulous downhill run with an impressive 570m vertical drop.
For complete beginners: enjoy FREE access to 9 lifts/carpets in Tignes to practice your first curves and gain confidence before hitting the slopes of the Tignes-Val d'Isere ski area:
Tignes Val Claret:
- Bollin chairlift
- Claret carpet
Tignes Le Lac:
- Rosset chairlift
- Centre carpet
- Almes chairlift
Tignes Le Lavachet:
- Lavachet skilift/draglift
- 1 Tignes 1800 carpet
- 2 Tignes 1800 carpet
Tignes les Brévières:
- (Grand) Parei skilift/draglift
Lognan’ is ideal for novices and families as the slopes are broad and not especially difficult.
For adventurous intermediates, Tignes is one of the best ski resorts, with a big lift network and extensive intermediate slopes. Tignes boasts the Grande Motte glacier which is highly recommended to intermediates with a bit of confidence. Take the funicular train from Tignes Val Claret and within just 7 minutes you will find yourself at 3030m with a good selection of great blue, red and black runs. Low intermediates will find the blue runs are quite wide as well as lots of fun!
Tignes is a mecca for experts and offers many challenging runs. With experts and the more adventurous in mind, Tignes has converted many of its black runs into ‘Naturides’ – meaning the runs are marked, patrolled and avalanche protected, yet never groomed – therefore preserving the natural terrain and gaining layers of powder and mogul fields.
- Tovière area: Pâquerettes, Envers de Campanules and Aster
- Palet area: Guerlain Chicherit and Golf
- Aiguille Percée area: Aiguille Percée, Œillet, Epilobes and Silène
- Grande Motte area: Leisse
The scenic Vallon de La Sache black run down to Tignes Les Brevières should not be missed but is very demanding and long (often ungroomed): overlooked by the Sache glacier, this run has a descent of 1200m vertical down a breathtaking valley in the national park. You start at l’Aiguille Percee (2750m) and arrive down in Tignes Les Brevieres below the Tignes dam. Another not to be missed is the long black run from Tovière to Tignes Le Lac.
Tignes-Val d'Isere has some of the best lift-served off-piste in the world! Easily accessible and beautiful yet challenging, steep and interesting – it has it all and is sure to please the thrill-seekers in your party. From intermediate to free-rider, there is a vast variety of terrain to suit all levels. For first-timers Lognan is ideal.
The main off-piste areas in Tignes can be found above Tignes Val Claret, Tignes Le Lavachet, on the Grande Motte Glacier and in Tignes Les Brévières. It is imperative to have an expert guide or instructor, as it is very easy to get lost, safety has to come first and also by having an expert you will get to experience the very best runs.
In Val d’Isère, the major off-piste areas are: La Daille, Solaise, Bellevard, Pissaillas and Fornet. La Vallée Perdue (The Lost Valley) is a popular off-piste run, from the bottom of Tommeuses down into La Daille experience tall rock walls, narrow canyons and (depth of snow depending) even a small cave to crawl through!
For the more adventurous of you, Heli-skiing is available in Tignes! However, heli-drops are actually forbidden in France, so it’s a slightly bizarre form. From Tovière you can ski down towards the Lac du Chevril to be retrieved by a chopper!
TIGNES SKI TOURING
Two new ski touring trails starting from Tignes le Lac (at the foot of the Almes chairlift): the Fastoche (+ 180m) and the Collu (+ 390m). These easy-level slopes complete the ski touring offer already available via the Pala’foulée slope (+ 450m). Pala’Foulée is a ski touring slope that can be accessed daily from 8.45am to 4pm. The Tignes Ski Patrol mark, maintain and ensure the safety of this slope. In total, 5 hiking trails are available on the linked Tignes - Val d'Isère ski area (subject to snow conditions).
Quite rightly, Tignes is very popular with snowboarders. Not only is there a snow park, boardercross and Glisspark but there are wide pistes such as Carline and Piste H plus lots of easily accessible off-piste areas – perfect for snowboarders. Another bonus is that drags can generally be avoided as gondolas and chairs are more favoured.
The terrain park is located in Tignes Val Claret and is known as the ‘Swatch Park’, due to Swatch installing cameras on a small jump at the end of the park.
A larger snowpark can be found in Val d’Isère and is known as the ‘DC Val Park’. Located at 2500m on the La Daille/Bellevarde sector, access from Tignes Val Claret is via the Bollin Express, from Tignes le Lac via the Toviere gondola from Val d’Isère via the Daille funicular or Bellevarde cable car. This park has been approved by The French Snowboard Federation, proving its high standard. This snowpark is equipped with 1 x 3 seated chairlift, 2 draglifts, 1 rope tow, 1 quarter pipe, 1 boardercross for all levels, different jumps and hips for all levels, several low/high, single/double rails plus 1 Rainbow and 1 Fun Box. There is also a hut for refreshments and a deck chair area where you can sit back and relax, whilst listening to some music and taking in all the slope action. Not to be missed: Late March is Valpark Week, where the pros arrive for a helicopter photoshoot!
TIGNES RESORT RUNS
There are blue and red runs back into Tignes Val Claret.