Dec 1, 2022
Tignes officially opened on the 26th November and was looking mighty-and-fine in the sunshine as fresh snow and perfect conditions made it impossible to ignore the lure of the mountain from the windows of our hotel. I was up in Tignes for the reopening of our Hotel Ski d’Or and, (as I rarely travel without a pair of skis in the back of the car), found myself on Les Lanches chairlift riding up to the base of the glacier at 9.30am today. All for the purpose of market research, of course!
View of the Carline piste from the Tichot chair, Dec 1st
First time on skis this season!
This was my first time on skis since June - when I last rode up to the glacier for some summer skiing - and fortunately I enjoyed some powdery snow to ease my lily-livered-ski-legs back into rhythm. It’s never easy after a long break on skis, but after a few runs the confidence starts to creep back but that burning regret that I hadn’t serviced my skis since April did at least help me to accept that washing off those carve turns was the fault of my equipment rather than a summer of ski-inactivity!
Blunt edges aside, I managed some great runs and enjoyed Tignes’ open spaces before work beckoned me back to reality and the job in hand of getting our lovely hotel set up for guests on the 10th of December when we officially reopen our doors.
Tignes ‘Henri’ blue run viewed from Tuffs chairlift, Dec 1st
Playing it safe
Whilst the connections are not open to Val d’Isère until next week, they look well covered with a solid base layer and the cold temps are allowing the resort to cannon snow with great aplomb. This may not convince the eco warriors that ski resorts are doing their best to mitigate the effects of climate change through energy saving, but they are ‘playing it safe’ to preserve an industry still reeling from the debt of Covid. Remember that old chestnut? Pumping water through cannons is a time-honoured tradition that accompanies every pre-season warm up routine for any self-respecting ski resort in the Savoie wishing to hold their snow until April; but perhaps a little more hesitation and expectation of great snow to come should prevail?
Tignes' lake, Dec 1st
Thinking of an early season break?
If you are thinking of taking an early season break to the mountains then why wouldn't you? Flights are inexpensive, slopes are empty and accommodation is a snip of the festive prices. Having seen most of the Tarantaise resorts this last week I would recommend either Tignes, Val d'Isère or La Plagne. All have good snow cover, fresh snow on the pistes and are skiing very well indeed. Morzine, Les Gets and the upper Savoie resorts seem to have the most snowfall forecast for the coming week and will promise good skiing once they officially open on December 16th.
Our Hotel Ski d'Or, in Val Claret, Dec 1st.
Where is the best snow, right now?
Most of you will probably head for Tignes, Val or La Plagne as the highest and most snow sure options this shoulder season. And if you do, you will not be disappointed. But consider the highest satellites within each of these resorts so that you are closest to the slopes with the best of the snow. For example, La Plagne Villages (2000m) and Tignes Val Claret (2200m) seem to be the best looking of all resorts, right now.
Val Claret (top satellite of Tignes) is fully open for business with snow covered bars and restaurants lining its pleasant ‘village-style’ main street. If you want to getaway and escape the dawn of winter in the UK, soak up some Vit D and enjoy a proper Pain au Chocolate then a quick dip into the snow-covered world of Tignes will certainly help satisfy any desire for change to our windy and autumnal British Isles on the run up to Christmas.
Gratallu piste under the Grattalu chair
Tignes' Grattalu area, viewed from top of Tichot chair
Excellent skiing on Tignes' early December slopes
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