Mention the French skiing resort of Tignes to some and you’ll be met with a look somewhere between confusion and scepticism. Built largely in the 1960s, Tignes is dominated by concrete buildings from the era, putting a lot of people off visiting, believing the buildings will detract from the splendid beauty of the French slopes.
But to others, Tignes is seen as one of the country’s best ski resorts – and we’d be inclined to agree.
Located in the Savoie area of the Rhône-Alpes region of France, Tignes forms part of the Espace Killy ski area, along with the neighbouring commune of Val-d’Isère. Divided up into several smaller ‘villages’, there are two real skiing resorts within Tignes itself – Le Rosset and Le Bec-Rouge – both offering something for skiers of every age and ability.
Whilst this itself is a draw for many – it’s understandable that not everyone in the family is a great skier, but that doesn’t mean they need be left out of the holiday – it really is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of Tignes.
Take the fact that because of the resort’s location, it is one one of the best for snow right throughout the season (which itself is particularly long).
Giving you great runs right from early winter through to mid-spring, this ensures you can sample skiing in the region whatever your budget, your availability or your preference in terms of how quiet or busy you like the slopes to be.
What’s more, with over 110 snow cannons in operation, you can guarantee you’re going to get lots of fresh snow whenever you visit – and that includes summer, too, as Tignes is open from mid-June to early September for those who can’t wait for the winter to come around again.
On the topic of summer in the area, if you do decide to visit Tignes during the warmer months, unlike other resorts that appear to shut down, Tignes is thriving, with the nursery slopes turned into an area where you can sample a range of summer sports, from volleyball through to basketball (and of course, there’s skiing further up the mountains).
Due to the resort’s almost year-round popularity, a lot is done to ensure the slopes are open as much as possible, particularly in the challenging winter conditions, where it can be all too easy to close certain runs.
One of the main draws of Tignes for many is the fact that they can stay almost on the slopes themselves. With a huge amount of small and large catered ski chalets within a few hundred metres of various slopes, it makes for the perfect area both for those who want to ski for hours during the day before almost simply falling into bed and those families who have people not wanting to ski, as they can quickly and easily check on them in the chalet.
What’s also worthwhile mentioning is the vast amount of learning opportunities in the region. With over half a dozen established ski schools and uncountable individual instructors, there are numerous wonderful reports online about the ski lessons in Tignes, particularly in relation to ability – whether you’re looking to improve on a one-to-one basis or have everyone on your group skiing holiday learn from scratch at once, there’s something for everyone.
No one is going to say that Tignes doesn’t have a lot of outdated buildings, but this really is only a very minor point in the grand scheme of things and as cliché as it may be, you should never judge a book by its cover (plus, the area is seeing a multi-million Euro investment, meaning the resort is becoming aesthetically like the typical French ski resort many, rightly or wrongly, look for).
Full of fantastic runs, après-ski bars and restaurants to mean you never have to visit the same one twice during your stay and some of the country’s best ski chalets, Tignes may not be the fanciest resort in the country, but it’s without doubt one of the most functional.
Whatever you may have heard about Tignes, forget it, visit and make your own decision – we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.