Tignes (French pronunciation: [tiɲ]) is a commune in the Tarentaise Valley, in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France, known for the highest skiable area in Europe. It is located in the Savoie region with good transport links in and out of Lyon, Geneva and Chambery.
Tignes Le Lac taken from the Aiguille Pierce mountain, with views of Val Claret in the background
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Jean-Christophe Vitale|
|81.63 km2 (31.52 sq mi)|
|• Density||29/km2 (76/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||1,440–3,747 m (4,724–12,293 ft) |
(avg. 1,810 m or 5,940 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
It is best known as a ski resort. Together with neighbouring Val d'Isère, it forms the "Espace Killy" ski area. The proximity of two resorts offers one of the most seamless links between ski areas in europe, in effect creating a single skiable area of over 300km piste. Whilst not the largest ski area in the Alps, the level of integration between the two resorts has the effect of making it feel as one, often described as feeling like one of the largest ski areas as a result.
The terrain of valley lends itself to comparably harder skiing, with advanced skiers often opting the resort as their preferred ski area. The town has however, strived to improve its appeal to beginner and intermediate skiers with the introduction of easier runs lower down in the valley towards Tignes-Les-Brévières and upgrading/installing new chairlifts with smaller elevation gains.
Tignes comprises 5 Villages; Tignes 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. All the towns located above the dam are linked by a free continuous shuttle bus. The only village located below these villages, Tignes Les Brévières, is accessible to the others via a free gondola service which operates late into the evening. Les Brévières remains the only remaining part of the original town, with all the others 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.
Dam (barrage de Tignes)Edit
The original village of Tignes was in the Isère valley below Val d'Isère. After the second world war, France needed electricity and it was decided to build the hydro-electric Tignes Dam in the Isère valley. Whilst this was a great achievement for French engineering and was for the greater good of France, it meant that the old village of Tignes was drowned. The dam was completed and the village was submerged in 1952. A replica of the original church was created in Tignes les Boisses. Once every 10 years the lake behind the dam (Lac du Chevril) is drained for maintenance work and the remains of the old village becomes visible.
The dam was painted with a fresco of Hercules in 1989 by Jean-Marie Pierret with the help of eight mountain climbers; it was funded by private corporations interested in boosting the Olympic appeal during the winter games of 1992 which took place in nearby Albertville.
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 through easy access with the adjacnt resort of Val-d'Isère, combining to for the Tignes-Val d'Isere ski area (formerly known as 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, aiding its reputation as one of the best resorts in the Alps for snow sureness.
The resort has also become the home for Apex 2100, an international ski academy aiming to become the worlds leading academy for young skiers. The academy is headed by former English rugby union player and coach, Sir Clive Woodward.
There are 56 ski patrollers covering the resort of Tignes. There are 15 snow cats to maintain the quality of the pistes; FOUR of these are equipped with winches for working steep slopes and one is for shaping the half pipe. Around 60 percent of the slopes are groomed each evening.
Grande Motte glacierEdit
Due to the presence of the Grande Motte glacier, Tignes offers year-round skiing. The grande motte cable car has recently been upgraded to increase access to the top of the glacier. The lift also offers the worlds first outdoor viewing platform.
Tignes and Val-D'isere were the first resorts of its kind to be internationally recognised for its commitment to providing an environmentally friendly skiing area by gaining a GreenGlobe certificate. The award was given for the towns high quality public transport connectivity and integration as well as its total use of renewable electricity.
Tarentaise Valley skiingEdit
The Tarentaise Valley is the biggest concentration of world-class ski resorts in the world. The well-known neighbour systems are Paradiski (Les Arcs and La Plagne) and Les Trois Vallées (Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens and more). There were once plans to interlink all systems and resorts to create the largest ski area in the world. However, that vision was ended with the creation of the Vanoise National Park.
On 13 February 2017, four people died due to the avalanche at the ski resort. It was reported to be at least 400 metres (1,300ft) wide and at an altitude of 2,100 metres. The members were being led by an ESF instructor but were skiing on a notoriously avalanche prone area, on a day when the avalanche risk in the resort was high.
Tignes is well known for its year round amenities. In the summer Tignes shifts towards a multi activity resort with particular focus as an altitude training base for athletes. Many come to the resort to utilise the facilities it offers for altitude training with notable sports people such as the French national rugby union team making use of the facilities.
However, Tignes still maintains its appeal as a ski resort throughout the summer by offering skiers the ability to ski on the Grande Motte glacier.
Tignes has the highest golf course in Europe. Designed by the golf architect Philippe Valant, the course features a full 18 hole course running along a 5 km stretch of the mountainside.
- "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
- "WORKS IN PROGRESS; That Dammed Hercules By Bruce Weber". The New York Times. 1989-11-05. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- Tignes: From Past to Present
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2009-02-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) STGM Tignes
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2009-02-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-07-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2009-04-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Four dead in avalanche at French ski resort Tignes". BBC News. 13 February 2017.