Skiing in Tignes

Tignes has ski slopes for all ability levels, and usually with excellent snow too. The ski area, shared with Val d’Isere, is vast and the lift system accesses some of the best off-piste freeride in the Alps. But there are very few treelined runs when visibility is poor.

Tignes Ski Area Overview

The Tignes-Val d’Isere Ski Area, which used to be called “L’Espace Killy“, has about 300 km of ski slopes, divided into more than 150 separate runs and accessed by about 75 lifts. Approximately half of the lifts and runs are on the Tignes side. 

Most of the skiing in Tignes is in the bowl around Tignes Val Claret, Tignes le Lac and Tignes le Lavachet (collectively called Tignes 2100), but the Aiguille Percee sector connects this bowl with the slopes above Tignes 1800 and Tignes Les Brevieres.

La Grande Motte 

The Grande Motte glacier above Val Claret has the highest and most snow sure slopes in all of the Tignes-Val d’Isere ski area as the top lift reaches 3456m. There are slopes for all ability levels but to ski down from the cable car at the top, you must be able to manage at least a red run. Most slopes face north or east.


The Toviere sector above Tignes 2100 is the gateway to Val d’Isere so is in the centre of the combined area poste map. On the Tignes side it has slopes for all ability levels, including the steepest black runs in Tignes. The slopes mostly face west so can be icy in the morning and slushy in the late afternoon. There are no easy runs from Toviere to Tignes Le Lac and Tignes Le Lavachet however, so nervous skiers who prefer blue runs have to return via Tignes Val Claret. 


The Palet sector above Tignes 2100 is on the right hand side of the piste map, and has skiing for all ability levels on mostly east facing slopes. Col de Palet is at its centre but the Palet sector stretches from Col des Ves to l’Aiguille Percee.

L’Aiguille Percee 

The Aiguille Percee sector above Tignes 1800 and Tignes Les Brevieres (on the bottom right hand corner of the piste map) intersects with the Palet sector at the junction of the Chaudanne lift from Tignes le Lavachet and the Aiguille Rouge lift above Tignes 1800. There is also a second one-way crossing point at the top of the Aiguille Percee, from where skiers from Tignes 2100 can ski down to Tignes 1800 and Tignes Les Brevieres. The slopes descending to Tignes 1800 and Tignes Les Brevieres are mostly on north-facing slopes, and include the longest black run in Tignes (Sache).

Two skiers descending a gentle groomed ski slope in Tignes Ski Resort

Most of the ski slopes in Tignes are intermediate-friendly blue and red pistes_©

Staying in Tignes and skiing in Val d’Isere

The Tignes slopes around Toviere connect with Val d’Isere’s ski slopes. The two crossing points are at Toviere itself and further along the Col de Fresse at the top of the Fresse lift from Tignes side and the Borsat lift from Val d’Isere side. Both crossing points have blue runs down on both sides, so they can be used by less confident skiers. (The Borsat/Fresse crossing is the easiest.)

You can get from any part of Tignes to any part of Val d’Isere, and back, purely on lifts and pistes without taking any buses, but if you’re coming all the way from Tignes les Brevieres and heading for Le Fornet on the far side of Val d’Isere, you’re going to be very pushed for time, so be prepared to use buses to get from La Daille to Val d’Isere and from Val d’Isere to Le Fornet. And remember that there is no regular bus service connecting Tignes and Val d’Isere, so make sure you return to the Tignes side before the lifts close.

The one thing Tignes really lacks is some long tree-lined runs.  If visibility is poor, the runs around La Daille on the Val d’Isere side have better tree cover.

Beginner Skiing in Tignes

Although Tignes is primarily a resort for intermediates and advanced skiers, it does have some good beginner areas to offer, including free nursery slopes.

All the Tignes villages have handy nursery slopes close to the accommodation with lifts which are free to use. The free lifts which don’t require a lift pass consist of four moving carpet lifts (Claret, Centre, Boisses 1 & 2); two drag lifts (Lavachet and Grande Pareï); and three chairlifts (Bollin, Almes et Rosset).

In Tignes 1800 and Les Brévières, there is a very easy green run (in summer it is a road) connecting the villages, as well as nursery slopes in each village. You can also get from Tignes 1800 and Tignes Les Brevieres to Tignes le Lavachet via two or three lifts and an easy blue run, and once in Tignes Le Lavachet you can access the extensive blue run network in the Palet sector. But you can not return from here to Tignes 1800 and Tignes Les Brevieres entirely on blue runs, as you have to go onto the red Melezes run. It’s not steep for a red run but beginners and nervous novices should probably take the bus back instead.

Group of childern learning to ski in Tignes ski resort

Learning to ski in Tignes ®

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Tignes

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Intermediate Skiing in Tignes

Well-groomed runs, consistently good snow and a huge ski area combine to make Tignes an intermediates’ paradise.

The descent from the very top of Grande Motte is an ideal intermediate run: a wide slope with a testing gradient that allows you to go at either a slower pace or straighten up and speed off. 

If the weather is good, head towards Tignes’ famous geological attraction, the ‘eye of the needle’. This is a completely natural rock formation that protrudes from the Aiguelle Percee peak. Be aware, though, that a few of the lifts around here are slow and can be very cold. But once you’re here, you have a choice of descending all the way into Tignes les Brevieres via either the black run Sache or an easier blue and red piste route.

Advanced & Expert Skiing in Tignes

Advanced skiers in Tignes have both official black runs, including dotted-black ungroomed runs, and an abundance of unofficial off-piste freeride.

Some of the official ungroomed dotted black runs like Envers de Campanules/Tufs in the Toviere sector and Golf/Lognan in the Palet sector used to be unofficial off-piste routes. They are now marked and monitored for avalanche risk.  If they are closed, don’t go onto them because they will be closed for a reason. 

The steepest black and dotted black runs are the ones coming down from Toviere. Those heading towards Val Claret near the Tufs lift (Campanules and Envers de Campanule) face west and can be very icy in the morning. In contrast, on the other side of the resort, the black and dotted black runs in the Palet sector faces eastwards, so are at their best in the morning.

The longest black run is Sache in the Aiguille Percee which is very enjoyable although most of it could be graded red. The steepest sections are near the top and at the bottom just before it joins with the red run to make the final descent into Les Brevieres, where ice can also be a problem.

Off-Piste Skiing & Freeriding in Tignes

Tignes has excellent, easily accessible off-piste freeride skiing. And with a Tignes-Val d’Isere lift pass, there is even more available just a few lifts away in Val D’Isere.

Freeride snowboarder on off-piste ski slopes above Tignes 2100

Tignes is one of the best ski resorts for freeride ©

The off-piste freeride in Tignes and Val d’Isere is not only superb but also relatively easy to reach through the lift system. But to realise its full potential, whilst keeping safe, you will need to hire a guide. See the separate Tignes Ski Schools & Guides and the Val d’Isere Ski Schools & Guides for more information.

Les Oreilles de Mickey

Best accessed from the Combe Folle lift in the Tovier sector above Tignes le Lavachet, this involves hiking up and then walking along the ridge leading away from Combe Folle and Tommeuses. When the ridgeline swings to the left, you’ve reached Mickey’s Ears. (The old Satellite Dish here was supposed to look like a mouse’s ears.) Ahead are several steep couloirs: the second one is the least steep, although it’s still difficult. After exiting your couloir, turn sharp left and head for Tignes Le Lavachet.

Col de Fresse

At the top of the Borsat lift in Val d’Isere, hike up the short but steep mountainside behind it (about 100 vertical metres) then walk leftwards along the ridge line for about 10 to 30m to pick a spot from where you can descend the north-facing mountainside that leads down to the blue Genepy piste above Val Claret. If you delay your descent and keep walking along the ridge, it turns sharply to the left, giving eventually access to Borsat’s west face, which is even steeper. 

Vallon de la Sache and Vallon de la Sachette

The black run Sache goes down Vallon de Sache but freeriders can ski much deeper into the valley by traversing leftwards off the piste near the top. Try to keep the piste in sight and rejoin it just below the tree line, as it’s the only safe way down into Les Brevieres. La Sachette is the next valley over and the normal entry point is to ride up the Aiguille Percee lift, and at its top, traverse leftwards along the top of the ridge (away from the start of the Sache run) before dropping into a north-facing couloir on your right. That takes you into the Sachette which eventually merges with the Sache. 

Grande Motte East Face

From the top of the Grande Motte head onto the red Glacier run. When this swings left to go down the mountain, keep straight on, traversing to the right until you are on the broad east flank of the mountain. Keep the Glacier piste on your left, and the the Termignon lift on your right, as you descend, heading for the bottom of the Leisse chair. Do not go any further than this and be aware that you’re on very high glaciated terrain so there could be crevasses.

Tour de Pramecou

Pramecou is the big dome-like rock between the the Grande Motte and the Col des Ves. From the Grande Motte, traverse across to its shoulder then hike up onto the plateau, then traverse across to the col on the lefthand shoulder of the Grande Balme. From here you initially head towards the Col Des Ves chair lift then swing sharp right, exiting onto the Carline blue piste. There are several extreme couloirs and mountainsides on Pramecou and Grande Balme, so don’t just blindly follow tracks.


In the Palet sector, ride the Merles lift up, looking down at the terrain to your right. There is both a couloir close to the lift and a larger bowl further away. You can access the couloir from the Merles lift but the best way into the bowl is from the top station of the Gratallu lift ahead of you, keeping as high as you can.  At the bottom, make sure you avoid the flat oval-shaped area near the Merles and Grand Huit lifts as a small snow-covered lake. 


Lognan is the broad east-facing mountainside at the bottom of the Palet sector, in between the pistes descending into Val Claret and the pistes descending into Tignes le Lac. The dotted black run Golf is near the centre of it but freeriders will find a lot of territory to explore on either side. Very little of it is steep and it faces east so it’s at it’s best in the morning. It tends to get skied out very quickly after a fresh dump of powder, but it’s lovely whilst it lasts, The exit is onto the road between Tignes le Lac and Val Claret, where there are two bus stops.

Le Glattier 

Glattier refers to both the broad slopes and the narrow valley that descend down to the road running between Tignes 1800/Tignes les Boisses and Tignes Le Lavachet. You reach it from either the Chaudannes or Aiguille Rouge lifts. It’s very easy to take a wrong turning and have to do a lot of walking (yet another reason why you should hire a guide). If all goes well however, you ski down the road not far from the bus stop, where you wait for the ski bus. 

Val d’Isere Off-Piste

All the Val d’Isere off-piste is easily accessible to Tignes skiers with an Espace Killy pass. Further details are in our separate Val d’Isere Ski Area section.

Boarding & Freestyle in Tignes

Freestyle skier in Tignes snowpark in Tignes 2100

Tignes Snowpark near Val Claret

There is a large Snowpark dedicated to freestyle skiing in between the Col de Palet and Grattalu lifts above Val Claret.

Mountain Restaurants in Tignes

Within the Tignes ski area there are about ten mountainside restaurants, nearly all located at the top of lifts. The slope side restaurants in the Tignes 2100 villages are also easy to visit, although the nicest place for lunch is Tignes Les Brevieres, and the liveliest for apres-ski is at Cocorico in Val Claret.

The largest mountain restaurants are at the top of the Chaudannes lift, Tovier lift and Grande Motte funicular. They offer a choice between a proper restaurant with table service and a less expensive self-service cafe. At peak times (around 1pm) in peak season they can be very busy. 

Towards the end of the day, the restaurant at the top of the Bolin chair above Val Claret starts playing music, so it can be a nice place to linger before returning to your accommodation. But if you want a full-on apres-ski party, with lasers, flames, live bands and dancing on tables, then you have to ski down to Cocorico at the foot of the slopes in Val Claret, close to the Grande Motte funicular base station.

In contrast, if you want a nice quiet place for lunch, the best spot is probably Tignes Les Brevieres at the very bottom of the ski area. You will have to be able to manage at least one relatively gentle red run to get there (unless you come by bus), but you will be rewarded with a choice of restaurants in what is definitely the prettiest and probably the sunniest village in Tignes. L’Armailly which is within 50m of the bottom of the piste, is particularly good.

The slopeside restaurants in Tignes 2100 also make good lunchtime destinations. Le Coeur des Neiges in Tignes le Lac has excellent traditional Savoyard meals.




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