Skiing Tignes in mixed weather

21st December 2017, by Dave Watts

The view from Dave’s balcony at 10.30am last Monday – not a lift moving

The view from Dave’s balcony at 10.30am last Monday – not a lift moving

Avid followers of this site will have read that I had a wonderful morning’s skiing in Tignes under cloudless skies last Wednesday. Before that it was a real mixed bag.

On Sunday, my first day there it was snowing heavily and Tignes’ trademark lack of trees meant white-out conditions and, despite the fabulous powder snow, skiing wasn’t really enjoyable and I retired hurt at lunchtime.

Sadly, the weather warmed up overnight and the snow turned to rain, even at Tignes lofty 2100m. So the next morning all the lifts were shut first thing and it was like being in a war zone because the brave pisteurs were blasting away when the avalanche danger was 5/5 – the highest possible level.

Entry to the Tignes swimming pool is free with a lift pass of two days or more

By 11.30am they’d managed to open a beginner chairlift and one longer chairlift and run. And that was it for the day – nothing more opened and again it was snowing and visibility was dire.

The only thing for it was to head for Tignes’ fabulous Le Lagon, a swimming pool and wellness centre with stunning views of the mountains through floor to ceiling windows.

The water slides in the fun pool are, err, great fun

The swimming pool part is free with a ski pass of two to 15 days and includes a 25m pool for lane swimming and a separate fun pool with waterslides, an area with jets and another with a waterfall to massage your back, neck and shoulders.

The wellness part costs 12.5€ if you have a lift pass for two to 15 days and has a huge steam room, three saunas at different temperatures, four indoor hot tubs (all different including a cold one) and a quiet relaxation room with wonderful views.

The run down to Tignes-les-Brévières were deserted last Tuesday morning

Tuesday dawned significantly better, with a mix of clouds and blue skies. The pisteurs had done a great job and first thing we skied delightfully deserted pistes down to Tignes-les-Brévières, with marvelous views of the Tignes reservoir and the new MGM/CGH Kalinda village on the way.

The new MGM/CGH Kalinda village at Tignes 1800

Dave was one of the first up the Grande Motte when the chairlift opened at 12.30pm

After that we were lucky enough to arrive at the Lanches chairlift at the foot of the Grande Motte area just as it opened at 12.30pm. So we were some of the first up there to enjoy fresh powder on the ungroomed upper pistes. Off-piste avalanche danger was still high and there were plenty of signs to warn you to stick to the pistes.

Avalanche danger was high and there were prominent signs warning of that

Somewhat worrying however was the sight on our second ride up the chairlift of a fresh avalanche now covering half the red piste under the chair.

It was reassuring to know we were not going to be blown up by the ski patrol today

My stay in Tignes was organised by Crystal Ski and I stayed at the Tignes 2100 hotel run by the Langley group. It is one of eight Langley hotels in the Alps featured by Crystal. Marion Telsnig of Crystal Ski told me ‘We decided to exit the Club Hotel operation some years ago, reaching a mutually beneficial arrangement with Langley. Langley supplies a relaxed albeit professional service and fully understands what the skier really values in their holiday (and what they don’t). They’ve an impressive track record of renovating hotels and recognise the appeal of innovative, ‘modern-alpine’ product (often with Scandinavian inspired interior decor) as a key differentiator.’

Langley’s Tignes 2100 hotel was completely renovated in ‘modern alpine’ style a couple of years ago

Indeed the Tignes 2100 hotel was completely gutted and renovated in 2015 and it is now a smart 3-star. Bedrooms are compact but with good hanging and cupboard space and all have fabulous views of the mountains (and over Lac de Tignes on one side). The bar and restaurant areas are smart and welcoming, as is the first floor library and TV room.

There’s a spa with treatments, a steam room, a sauna with a floor-to-ceiling window giving great mountain views and outdoor wooden hot tubs that sadly weren’t working when I was there (the manager assured me they would be by the following week). And the hotel is around 150m from the slopes and lifts of Tignes-le-Lac.

A week’s half-board including flights and transfers costs from £717 each for two people sharing a room with Crystal Ski

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