Well just back yesterday from another awesome week in Tignes. This year I was very apprehensive due to the lack of snow the resort has had in comparison to previous years. Chatting to a ski school guy on the Up and over lift, it was interesting we both had the same ideas from the snow and where will be good.
As far as myself and the resort, this is the place in Europe I have skied the most and would easily be in the 30s for number of weeks I have spent there now and know the mountain like the back of my hand.
The group I was with this year was a total of 10, with very varying levels of experience and ability and it was fun to guide everyone all over the mountain.
As far as equipment, and me last year I took my Kung Fujas skis (102) and this year I again only took one pair of skis, my brand new with Atomic Tracker 16 bindings ON3P Billy Goats (118).
Well it funny as did a review from my trip at the same time last year and will copy and paste my airport arrival experience - Arrived Chamberry to chaos, the airport in tiny and there are so many British flights arriving at once its funny! ~Got bags pretty fast and then stood outside my bus for about and hour and a half waiting to leave! There goes the half-day skiing we had in our heads! This time the wait at the bus was for a supposed missing 4 passengers who turns out were on the bus and dumb enough to have sneaked past the rep and not tell them they were on the bus!
Drove to village was easy - 2 and a half hours later was dropped off, settled in and then grabbed something from the snack bar place and wondered about. Dinner then bed to be ready for our 7.43am wake up each day for the week.
Day 1 – Everyone together! Well it started dumping snow when we arrived in village yesterday and this caused others in my party to take 5 hours to get to Tignes and not get in to 2am. But all 9 of us were up and meeting at an enthusiastic 9am at the top of the new Toviere Gondola or for me Tufs lift. Plan of the day was to show the others over the mountain, so time to head to Val D’Isere side. I had only had 2 hours of snow skiing this year before heading to France and I was very rusty so we took it easy and worked to the top of the Bellevarde and this is where we split in half – One down the boring blue down and round and the other down La Face, the Olympic downhill run. WE all made it down but the ones down the black a lot faster so will added in another quick run. Group back together we skied the nice cruisy runs in the sollaise bowl and also a nice off piste/ cruddy with nice 6 inch powder and it was lovely until at the bottom in the cruddy bit I discovered I hadn’t skied enough to ski with pole cam and had a very nice fall! The rest of the day was made up of skiing back to the Tignes side and general exploration.
Day 2 – The boy’s day! I was there with 4 other couples, today one couple disappeared and did a couples day and the 3 other males skied with me. We scooted straight to Grande Motte and what epic views then ski we had down the Glacier. From there it was up the 2 6 chairs to above Val Claret and to my favorite wee hike and ski, after 10 minutes walk with skis or board we were shattered and had a nice rest and picture opportunity, then traversed to the top of the Chute at this point 2 of the party saw how steep and narrow it was and said screw it and turned around, I felt really bad and wouldn’t have taken them there if they couldn’t do it. Me and the remaining other skier want down nice turns and traversed across and got about 3 different bowls into fresh 10-inch powder and lovely long cruisy turns. Turned out that was for me the best run of the trip. The flat ending was interesting… we both said you don’t want to fall there and walk out, so we both went for it, I hit a rock buried in the snow head on and my right ski ejected and tomohawked he then went right over the rock and wiped out – all to the other twos amusement. Rest of the day again was just flying about and doing various runs over the Tignes side of the area. Turned out the couple that went off got engaged, they are an awesome couple and very happy for them.
Day 3 – The fall! The day started out with a plan of heading to La Fornet Glacier on the Val D’Isere side, again we split and some went down La Face and some down the blue. Unfortunately 3 of us went down the Face and the new snow had been scraped off and all that was left was the injected ice from the downhill 3 weeks previous. This was not fun on my Billy Goats. Unfortunately on the really steep bit the new to be married girl fell, I picked up her first ski, then 30m down the slope her fiancé picked up the next then another 40m down the slope we picked her up. Fortunately she wasn’t injured, but she had a big fright, so once we got her to the bottom slowly, she joined the others and they skied back with her to her day in the spa. The fall left myself and the new fiancé to have an epic day skiing. We still headed to the La Fornet Glacier area and skied some lovely off piste, which included a nice cliff jump after taking a wrong turn. We then made it back over to the Tignes side and did a few more wee hikes and skis and some fresh powder was still the be found in the Toviere area then back over to above Val Claret and my favorite chute into the bowl. Best think about the day was my friend thanking me at the end saying that was the best days skiing he has ever had.
Day 4 – New years day, I was the only one who skied the whole day, picked up a new skier, who arrived for three days skiing from Geneva. It was a fun day of flying about and just cruising on piste. The previous nights party and dancing in the snow with 30000 people had taken the toll on most of us and although, all ten of us skied, some only managed an hour! The highlight of the day again was the Grand Motte Glacier.
Day 5 – It’s snowing! Everyone wanted to ski down to Les Brevieres, the lowest point of the massive ski area. So we worked out a plan – 4 of us would go up the Grande Motte Glacier and ski down the black and the others would just head there from Val Claret down the blue. This day for the 4 of us on the black and Grande Motte route ended up a disaster in a white out, top of the glacier was closed, couldn’t see a thing down the black that requires a lot of speed or you walk at times, we did a lot of walking. When we finally made it to Brevieres, at least we got a great hot chocolate and crepes! We headed back to Le Lac and had lunch there and it took a long time a good hour and a half, we came out of the bar to find it cleared up! So I took the males to ski on the women’s downhill layout from top of Bellevarde to the La Daille area, party because we hadn’t done it yet and partly because if the clouds did come in, then that has the most trees in the area. The afternoon was fun lapping that using the funicular.
Day 6 – Last day. The forecast was for snow the whole day, but woke to a nice but high cloud day. We were all skiing together and the plan was La Fornet Glacier since only 2 of us had been there so far. We worked our way over again, this time we had more doing La Face, and I was very impressed as some of the group had improved and having far more confidence! We made it over to the Sollaise side and then Up and Over the mountain, I love the at lift and was great going on with one of the girls in our group and she screamed louder than some of the little kids I was helping take over on the lift! WE skied all the way down to the bottom of the area and then lifted it on the oldest gondola still in working order it felt, the drag lift underneath went faster, then the top chair on the Glacier to the right we found it to be above the cloud and have a nice 4 inch fresh everywhere! We planned to do it once but did it three times since there was no one there and the snow was sooo good! We then had a lovely lunch in the Sollaise bowl and worked our way back over. At this point we split up to do our favorite runs again, so 4 of us wanted to do a 15 minute hike then ski in Pow, so we headed to do that and unfortunately I had a collision with a 10 year old, we clipped boots and I was fine but he fell hard and hit his head. After calming down the dad and apologising, myself and another male in my group helped etc., then the older brother came running up and shouting – do you have any experience with kids – Yep, do you any first aid training – Yep, do you have any experience of head knocks – Yep. So we helped the kid out and went off to our hike and ski. WE walked to the top along the ridge and skied in, with one of girls doing her first ever hikes and skis and she skied so well and loved it except the walk! Finished in Le Lac and a nice wee bus for me home after buying 6 bags of Haribo you cant get here in Scotland.
Overall it was a great week in France, the group was awesome fun and I enjoyed taking them all over and helping them with technique etc. I love that ski area and to me it certainly is the best in the Alpes. Hopefully depending on my apartment-buying situation I may be able to sneak in a long weekend in Europe in February but I now certainly can’t wait for my 10 days in SLC in April!
ON3P Billy Goat review – Set up with Tracker 16 bindings set at a DIN of 11. Through the week I saw every condition from sheet ice to some lovely deep powder, the skis certainly are all they are said to be and I am very glad I bought them! They are the widest skis I have ever owned, they are nice and stiff and ski well on piste as well as coming into their own in Pow and crud, even on ice they didn’t have the best edge grip but certainly way better than my Kung Fujas. Moguls they were just a little too stiff on some of the big icy ones, but still fun on the powdery smaller ones. I nailed a buried rock head on and right ski came off and I tomohawked down slope and there isn’t a mark on them, these skis certainly are hardy, hardly any marks on the base and I hit quite a few rocks. I will never use these skis here in Scotland but looking forward to taking them to SLC, along with either my Kung Fujas or my Salomon Lab GS skis…
The Holiday edit -
some pics -
Top of Grande Motte
looking down to Tignes Le Lac from a wee hike from Toviere
A much needed rest post hike!
Looking at Toviere
One cold walk back from Tignes Le Lac to Val Claret after the New Years party with 30000 people!
Again nice pic at top of Grande Motte Glacier