Review of Tignes

27th April 2007 by no_name_given 

What we liked
* Huge range of skiing on variety of slopes, which kept everybody except beginners very happy, even in very warm and slushy conditions. Beginners very restricted as there are no easy greens to progress to after nursery slope in village.
* Excellent ski-guiding (2 days) with Ski Total with separate instructors for different abilities.
* Spring flora and fauna: we regularly saw marmots under the Palafour chairlift and chamois in the Sache valley. Also spring crocuses and gentians.

What we disliked
* Very unexciting and unappetising food provided by chalet hosts.
* Lack of information when lifts closed during operational hours - no reasons given nor expectation of when likely to re-open: eg Aeroski running slowly with ‘closed’ sign preventing access until after 10am, and staff would not give reason (even in French!).

Lifts and Queues
Only queues encountered were for Grande Motte cable car in afternoon when lower slopes became very slushy. Hands-free lift-pass has speeded things up a lot, also 6- and 8- seater chairs.
Aiguille Rouge and Marais lifts from Les Brevieres back to l’Aiguille Percée are extremely slow (and probably very cold) but are being replaced.

Piste Marking and Signing
Seems to have improved since last visit 2 years ago ’ very clear even in potentially confusing areas, eg between Le Palet and Aiguille Percée.

Piste Maintenance and Grooming
Excellent throughout area despite very warm temperatures.

Favourite runs
Sache (black). If lower mogulled part is very badly worn, take the red ‘Echappatoire’ to Les Brevieres (helpful lift staff at top of Aiguille Percee will advise on conditions lower down).
Double M (red) to Val Claret (snow firm even in very warm weather)
Genepy (blue) ’ wonderful ‘away-from-it-all’ experience for less experienced intermediates who are fed up with nursery slopes.
Santons (Val d’Isere) should be reclassified as red (currently blue) because conditions are usually tricky and it’s almost always busy.
Le Foret (Le Fornet) - excellent big mogul black which holds the snow well because it’s in the trees.

Mountain Restaurants
Good:
* Panoramic (Gde Motte) - good portions and reasonable prices
* Le Coffee (Val Claret) - lovely salads and amazing burgers - good prices
* L’Escale Blanche (Tignes le Lac) near Maison de Tignes - good sandwiches at lunchtime, with very reasonable prices
* Les Crozets (foot of Le Fornet cablecar) - very friendly family-run place with excellent omelettes and salads - and myrtille tarts.
* La Fruitiere - good food, excellent service, head and shoulders above other French mountain restaurants - but booking essential.

Bad: Toviere - worst onion soup I have ever eaten - greasy, lukewarm and surprising shortage of onions!

Eating Out
L’Eterlou (in Palafour Gallery in Tignes le Lac) served large portions of well-cooked traditional food at extremely reasonable prices.
La Ferme (Tignes le Lac) - the ‘attraction’ is that the animals which provide the regional specialities served in this rather pricey restaurant are kept in the room adjoining the restaurant and are clearly visible to the diners. Unfortunately the animal smell detracts from what’s on your plate and you lose your appetite as you wonder whether what you are eating was walking around next door just a few hours earlier!

Ski Schools
Evolution 2.
Beginner (lady aged 55) booked 3 private lessons (2 hours each) and made good progress with encouraging and very patient instructor. (Cost 40 euros per hour).
Beginners and intermediate groups with Evolution 2 pleased with progress and small class sizes (maximum 8 but usually 6). Pre-booking for group classes essential (week after Easter).

Ski Guiding
Total do 2 guiding days per week, the first on local slopes and the second over the Espace Killy. Both catering to good intermediates and above, good fun and well organised.

Facilities
Buses between Tignes le Lac and Val Claret during peak hours reliable. During non-peak hours (eg lunchtime) very haphazard: waiting time of almost 30 minutes one day. Compare this with more reliable regular service running every 5 minutes between Val d’Isere and Le Fornet.

Off the Slopes
* New swimming pool and sports centre - judged ‘quite good’ by couple in our chalet.
* Internet Café in Maison de Tignes is open 16.30 - 20.30 and very popular. Costs 7 euro per hour and the staff are friendly and helpful.
* Bus between Val d’Isere and Tignes runs at 9am and 11am, and in the afternoon, except on Saturdays. Costs 9 euro each way and bookable at Maison de Tignes
* Taxi between Val d’Isere and Tignes now 30 euro each way

Many off-slope activities are weather-dependent and therefore very limited in non-skiing weather.

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