Tignes 2017

By jec21, 20 Feb '17 at 01:08

Tignes is one of the highest resorts in the French Alps. Made up of six villages, it ranges from Tignes les Brévières at 1550m to Tignes Val Claret at 2100. The ski area itself climbs as high as 3456m at the top of the Grand Motte, which is the highest skiable point in the alps. The Grand Motte is open for 11 months of the year offering 1000m of vertical skiing; something that Tignes is particularly proud of. As part of the Espace Killy, Tignes provides a skiable area of 150km in the local area pass and an additional 150km in the full area pass. From 2016/17 the local area pass is only available for seasonnaires for 290€, which is what is provided by most tour operators, and 519€ for the full area pass. If your company does only provide a local pass, you can upgrade it yourself and just pay the difference.

The Villages

Tignes les Brevieres, commonly referred to as “Brev”, this is the lowest point of Tignes, and is very much separate from the rest of the villages. It is located underneath the Dam, although don’t worry; it’s been there for 65 years and hasn’t burst yet! Brev has a much more alpine feel than the other Tignes villages. It’s picturesque and is mainly made from chalets on the side of the hill rather than apartment blocks or hotels that make up the other villages. Brev is often visited by seasonnaires who are making the most of the trees on a powder day. Unlike the other villages there is no bus link from Brev to the rest of Tignes, so seasonnaires wanting to party in Lac or VC need to get a taxi each way, or stay up after skiing, get the bus down to 1800 and then ski the rest of the way down in the dark!

Tignes 1800 is unsurprisingly at 1800m, and is originally referred to as “1800”. This is just over the dam and is closely linked to Tignes les Boisses (“Boisses”), which is about 50m up the mountain and the villages have just about merged together. A bus service runs in a circuit between Lac, 1800 and Boisses from around 6am until around midnight.

Tignes le Lac (Lac) and Tignes le Lavachet (Lavachet) are at 2100m and are where most of the seasonnaires live. Large apartment blocks, such as home club, provide cheap accommodation for the community, usually in the region of 500€ per person per month, which may or may not include bills. Lac and Lavachet make up the largest part of the seasonnaire community, with plenty of English Bars around. There are many seasonnaires who also live slightly further up the valley in Val Claret (VC). Also known as “The Big Smoke”, VC is formed of a large number of apartment buildings and hotels. Not always the prettiest of areas, this is often the domain of University students out on their Snow Sports Club winter trip.
There is a shuttle that runs between Lac, Lavachet and VC all day and night, approximately every 5-10 minutes during the day, reducing in frequency to every half an hour at night, however this does occasionally drop to hourly so make sure to check the timetables so you’re not standing in the cold for too long!

On Piste

Tignes has a wide range of pistes catering to all levels of skier or snowboarder. From beginners learning on the Lavachet drag lift or the Rosset chair, to advanced skiers taking on Trolles or the Face, some of the steepest runs in resort, or unpisted runs such as Golf or the runs off the Col des Res chairlift (The Chairlift to Nowhere) there’s something for everyone. Many seasonnaires are often found either doing laps of Palafour or laps of Grattalu. Palafour is one of the main runs down into le Lac, and is a convenient meeting point in the morning when you might be finishing work at different times. Grattalu is the lift over the snowpark up towards VC, and any park rats are often found on this run. Although it’s short there are a few jumps and rails down the side for all standards, whether you’re trying your first 180 on a green kicker or perfecting your triple cork on the blacks. The limit of the Tignes local area pass is the bottom of the Tommeuses lift, which does allow you to use the val park and access the Follie Douce (if you feel so inclined), but make sure to check the last lift back, as it changes over the season and if you miss it then you’ll have to go all the way down to Val and either get a taxi or the bus back, which is either expensive or won’t get you back to resort until after 7.

Off Piste

Tignes has lots! The whole valley turns into a playground after it’s snowed in, If you’re new to this, get a guide, if you’re an experienced off piste skier… get a guide! This was written a couple of days after four people died in an avalanche on the Lavachet Wall. Yes, they were with a guide, guides won’t protect you, but they damn well make your life safer, and until you’ve lived in resort, know the area really, really well and have skied it with someone who knows it even better than you, don’t risk it. Your parents want you back in one piece, and that doesn’t mean in a body bag, so don’t do anything stupid. The mountains don’t discriminate and they don’t forgive. This isn’t to make it sound really bad, Tignes has the best off piste in possibly all of France. There’s some fantastic skiing and so much to do for all levels of off piste skier, but seasonnaires have a habit of doing stupid things so just stay safe!

Bars and Clubs

There are two bars in Brev, and they’re both owned by the same people! The Moose bar has been open for a few years, and The Boot Room opened in the 2016/17 season. If you’re based in Brev, you’ll meet everyone in the resort in these two bars! It’s usually the case that when one is busy the other is quiet, as there aren’t quite enough people in the resort to give both bars a busy enough vibe at the same time.

Nothing of note really down here!

TC’s, run by the infamous TC himself who after 16 years of renting finally owns the walls to his bar! With a wide range of flavoured vodka, from Skittle or Mojito to Tampon or Vinegar there’s something for everyone! He also does a great fry up every Saturday morning, and food most evenings, which is simple but good food.

So.Bar, which is run by Ellis and partly owned by the same people as own Underground, this is a classier establishment of sorts, with a range of slightly better than house spirits available, and toasties until close for 4€, the latest food in Lavachet or Lac! It’s much more relaxed, although there are some rowdier nights with live music and open mic nights.

La Queue de Cochon is a restaurant with a large bar attached, live music on some nights, drinks deals throughout the week and a happy hour from 5-7 every day that’s hard to beat anywhere else in resort! The food here is fantastic, some of the best in the resort and on Monday they have a different gin on offer for the price of the house gin, 5,50€ for seasonnaires.

Le Brasero is owned by Jamie and Morgan, the same people who own Loop Bar in Lac and Couloir in VC. It’s got a great restaurant attached with a range of food available all day, from toasties in the morning, bagels and wraps at lunch and steaks and other standard restaurant food in the evening. The staff here are really friendly and there’s live music most days, although this is the only one of the 3 restaurants not to have a seasonnaire discount card.

Underground Bar, owned by the delightful Jo and Nick (the only male member of staff)! This was renovated in 2016/17 to redesign the bar, making it more spacious and less sweaty. DJs and Live bands play here throughout the week, and this year there is a new food menu available all night. Drinks are cheaper here, with 5€ for spirit mixers, and make sure you get a wristband to get your discounts.

The Marmot Arms, venue of the best UV parties in Tignes and possibly one of the best burgers around (but judge that for yourself), it’s a real seasonnaire hangout. The main party takes place on the downstairs dance floor, with the bar upstairs being quieter, allowing you to actually talk to the boy/girl you’re chatting up!

Jam Bar was the first bar run by Jamie and Morgan, hence Jam, and although no longer owned by them it is still a popular venue for seasonnaires. Live music is regular here, although not the same sort as at most other bars. Jam Bar is a smaller venue and tends to be more chilled out vibes and acoustic music.

Loop Bar is located at the base of the Trolles piste next to Tignes Cuisine. It’s got a great sun terrace where live music is played later in the season. Make sure to get a white loop card while you’re here so you always get your seasonnaire discount. There’s live music here pretty much every day from 5-7, and good food is available in the afternoon and pizzas after après is over.

Les Caves 2 Alpes, formerly known as deep, a money laundering operation for the Croatian mafia. This is now a more reputable club, however still rarely visited by seasonnaires despite its proximity to loop. This underground club is often found to be hot and sweaty, and mainly visited by french residents.

Jack’s is the nightclub/bowling alley, a strange mix and not a place to visit sober. Highlights include a pole in the centre and a slightly raised platform, but it’s the only place in resort open after 1:30, so you’ll end up here eventually. Bass Station events run here roughly every month or so, bringing high quality DJs and acts to the alps, however there is a ticket fee for this, and don’t think you’ll get in for free because you’re a seasonnaire, because unless you know either the staff or the organiser really well, you’ll definitely be told no!

Saloon Bar, the home of the Joss Shot, make sure you visit at least once to try these, although you may not want a second one! It’s the same as the Saloon bar in Val and the Saloon in VT, with the best happy hour in the resort 2 beers for 6€. Gets exceptionally busy when the students are in town, and you should probably avoid it. The bar staff here are great though, and it has a pool table if you fancy a game or two during the day.

Couloir is owned by the same people as own Loop and Braseros, and has more in common with Braseros than Loop, both having more of a restaurant focus than solely as a bar. It too has a rewards card, although this one is in Gold, but operates on the same system as Loop bar, putting 10% of what you spend on the card, a great way to still be able to drink at the end of the month once you’re broke and you’ve maxed out your tabs! Live music here most nights and great for those who live and work in VC.

TiBar is a small sports bar with a great community feel and fantastic drinks deals. It’s much more relaxed than the other bars in VC, and is much more suitable for a quiet après with friends getting completely wasted rather than dancing around to the same après bands you’ve heard each week for the whole of the season (or in the case of Alex Davies, the same set for the whole of the season, and last season, and the season before that, “Are there any seasonnaires in the house?”)

Blue Girl is one of the two night clubs in VC. Drinks here are extortionate so make sure you’ve had enough to last the rest of the night or you’ve found some rich punter to pay for you to get that way!

Melting, the clue’s in the name! It’s an underground club so things will get sweaty. The drinks are the same price as blue girl, so the same applies about the level of drunkenness required!

Both night clubs are really the same, it just depends which has the better atmosphere on any night/which has the shorter queue

Other Info

Transfer days are either a Saturday or a Sunday, it depends on which company you work for, but most of the French companies will transfer on Saturday, so the slopes are quietest then. If you’ve got a worker’s season pass (the one that costs half the price of a regular priced one) you don’t get any days skiing in other resorts, so if you want to ski away be prepared to pay. You can easily get down the mountain on a bus or by hitching to either Sainte Foy or to Bourg-St-Maurice, also known as Les Arcs 800, which has a funicular link to the Paradiski, or you could get the train to Moûtiers and then up to the 3 Valleys.

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