What an amazing start to January 2024 – Myself and a group of family members and friends decided to hit the slopes in Tignes France for a week of fun, challenges and unforgettable moments.
We headed off, armed with skis, boots and adventurous spirits to explore the winter wonderland that is Tignes in France.
Tignes is one of Europe’s highest ski resorts. With its ski area reaching 11,300 feet high. It is nestled in the French Alps, its alpine charm captivating. Towering snow-capped peaks surround the resort, creating a picturesque backdrop for winter enthusiasts. The village itself exudes a cosy ambience, with chalet-style architecture dotting the landscape. We stayed in an amazing chalet nestled into the hills with a small funicular a few meters away to take us down to the village or back up after a hard day skiing.
Tignes is renowned for its extensive ski terrain (300km +) offering thrilling descents and amazing panoramic views. It offers a mixture of terrain suitable for beginners but it’s known more for its intermediate and advanced slopes. The resort does have a dedicated beginners area and gentle slopes making it possible for first-time skiers to learn and practice. However, beginners might find some of the higher-altitude slopes challenging. The slopes are well maintained and there are activities every day suitable for the whole family. I’ve listed below, a range of diverse experiences for those seeking winter adventure beyond traditional skiing
- Snowboarding – Tignes has excellent terrain for snowboarders, with numerous slopes & terrain parks catered to different levels.
- Cross-Country Skiing – Explore the beautiful winter landscape on cross-country ski trails in and around Tignes.
- Snowshoeing – Enjoy a peaceful walk through the snow-covered scenery with guided snowshoe tours.
- Ice Skating – The resort often has ice skating rinks where adults and children can glide across the ice surrounded by stunning mountain views.
- Dog Sledding – Experience the thrill of dog sledging through snowy trails, led by a team of enthusiastic huskies.
- Paragliding – Take to the skies and enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the mountains while paragliding.
- Ice Diving – For a unique adventure try ice diving in the frozen lake. Not for the faint-hearted!
Because of its high altitude, Tignes generally experiences reliable snow conditions throughout the winter season. The high altitude and extensive ski area contribute to a good likelihood of snow. The main ski season typically runs from December to April, with peak snowfall occurring in the heart of winter. However, like any mountain destination, weather conditions can vary, so I would recommend checking current snow reports and forecasts closer to your planned visit for the most accurate information. We were hoping for a fresh downpour of snow and we got it … Win Win for us!!
Tignes offers a variety of activities and facilities for children, making it a family-friendly destination. Options include reputable ski schools with instructors experienced in teaching children, and helping them learn to ski or snowboard in a fun and safe environment. They also offer childcare services or clubs where younger children can engage in age-appropriate activities while parents can enjoy their time on the slopes. The children can enjoy ski school in the morning, go for lunch with their instructors then play in the afternoon before being collected by their parents at 4:30 pm.
A typical day would start for us at 7:00 am, enjoy a filling breakfast before getting the kids ready then head to the slopes for 9:00 am. The ski lifts operate from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. There are over 300km of pistes for all abilities (20 green runs, 68 blue runs, 40 red runs and 26 black runs) which you can access via the 88 ski lifts covering the Tignes and Val d’Isere ski area. Tignes itself has 39 lifts, most of which are chairlifts, with 13 drag lifts. Regardless of your level of skiing the ski lifts are suitable for all to use, whether you want to explore the slopes on foot or are an advanced skier, the choice is yours!
Once the kids were deposited at their meeting point we would head to our individual groups and get ready for a fun and exciting morning on the slopes. We would arrange to meet again somewhere on the mountain at 12:30 pm for lunch knowing the children were safe and happy and we could enjoy a stress-free lunch and a glass or two of the local alpine liqueur before heading off again.
There are a variety of mountain restaurants scattered across the ski area, providing a range of dining options from casual to more upscale, depending on the type of lunch you’re after and if you intend on skiing in the afternoon. We sampled a few different ones and we found that each offered local specialities like Cheese Fondu, Raclette (grilled cheese cooked at your table) Tartifleftte (potatoes layered with cheese, cream & pieces of bacon). For those who don’t like cheese, burgers are widely available. The traditional Galette des Rois is delicious if you’re looking for something sweet to finish off. It’s also a king cake, it’s a French pastry made of creamy and delicious almond filling in between two layers of flaky puff pastry.
On one of the days we decided to try CuCúcina at the iconic “Folie Douce” in Val-d’Isére and we weren’t disappointed! From start to finish it was an incredible experience. The restaurant has a great vibe and the decor is beautiful. The views are amazing, the food delicious, the entertainment was second to none and that was just while we were having our lunch. We had yet to experience the vibrant apres-ski experience that the Folie Douce is renowned for. The venue features a lively atmosphere with live music, DJs, and performers, creating a festive vibe on the slopes. Visitors can enjoy a combination of good food, drinks and high-energy entertainment in the stunning alpine setting. “Folie Douce” has become synonymous with an unforgettable aprés-ski experience and I can now say “That’s another ticked off my bucket list” I would highly recommend a visit there if in the area.
Every day brought something different, from skiing in the thick snow to looking at the panoramic views from the chairlifts or just taking in the whole vibe that ski resorts have to offer. Making the most of the aprés-ski sipping a Génépi and meeting new people. Most evenings were spent around a blazing fire recounting adventures and laughing our heads off. The kids would tell us about their day and how they loved their ski instructors and couldn’t wait for tomorrow. If you’ve never tried a ski holiday, now is the time to do it. Just book it, as “a bad day on the slopes beats a good day at work”. A ski holiday will not disappoint.
Regardless of whether you are a beginner or an advanced skier, it’s always advisable to consider taking lessons. The ski schools in Tignes are excellent. If you are a beginner or just want to learn new techniques or progress to the next level, I would highly recommend taking a few lessons. It’s a fun way to learn and meet new people.