France is home to some of the most highly regarded ski resorts in the world, with well groomed runs, consistently good snow and a huge ski areas. Continuing our series on European ski areas, here is our spotlight on Tignes.
Tignes sits within the Tarentaise Valley in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. Located in France's Savoie Tignes has good transport links in and out of Lyon, Geneva and Chambery.. Close to France's border with Italy, Tignes is approximately 12 km drive from from Val d’Isere.
It is best known as a ski resort. Together with nearby Val d'Isère, it forms the "Espace Killy" ski area. Tignes was the freestyle skiing venue for the 1992 Winter Olympics and co-host city for the 1992 Winter Paralympics.
Tignes comprises 5 Villages; Val Claret, Tignes le Lac, Le Lavachet, Tignes Les Boisses and Tignes-les-Brévières. The first three are close together at 2100 m and Les Boisses and Les Brevieres are further down the valley, above and below the dam respectively. Les Brévières is an old village whereas all the others were created as part of the Dam construction or development of the ski resort. All the villages are part of the ski resort known as Tignes.
After the loss of the old village it was decided to develop a ski resort at the higher lake (Le Lac). This was surrounded by a bowl that is ideal for skiing and is headed by the Grand Motte glacier. The resort was developed largely during the 1960s and the building style reflects what was regarded as good building design at that time. In recent years the town has worked to improve the look of the new villages with some success.
The lifts of Tignes have been managed since 1967 by the company STGM (The Société des Téléphériques de la Grande Motte). Many lifts are fast 6 or 8 person chairlifts and there are 113 snow cannons which produce 450,000 m2 of artificial snow each year. The ski area is linked with the resort of Val-d'Isère and the entire ski area is called Espace Killy. At 4.2 km, Tignes boasts the 4th longest funicular in the world. Ski trails in Tignes reach a height of 3456 m making it the perfect choice for snow sure skiing.