Envious of your friends social media photos of recent skiing adventures? Considering booking a spring skiing trip next year? I know the uncrowded slopes and bright blue skies on my instagram feed have made me very tempted! Our guest writer Catherine has just recently returned from an end of ski season holiday and shares her experience and top tips for a spring ski trip in Tignes below. Over to you Catherine…
For keen skiers like me, the ski season is always over too soon. And when you’ve got children and are tied to taking trips during school holidays, ski resorts can be very busy and accommodation extremely expensive.
So as the season 2017/2018 has been such an epic one snow-wise, when we were invited by Mark Warner to experience end-of-season skiing with them in Tignes, when accommodation is cheaper and the slopes quieter, I jumped at the chance.
The Tignes-Val d’Isère ski region offers 153 runs with two glaciers and a highest point of 3456 metres. We were staying at Mark Warner’s chalet hotel Aiguille Percée, in the heart of Tignes le Lac at 2100 metres, so I wasn’t too worried about not being able to find any snow.
The slopes were immaculately groomed with a state-of-the-art lift system and (on the whole) well-signposted pistes which made it easy to find our way about. The two glacial areas are very different – the one in Tignes the more typical peak with a few black and red runs reached by a fun funicular and a cable car, while the one in Val d’Isère is more akin to a large snowfield with several blue and red runs reached by a chairlift – a nice place to spend time when the sun is out.
There are also several snow parks, boarder cross routes and novice zones where beginners and less confident skiers can practice safe in the knowledge that they’re not going to be startled by speed demons whizzing past them. Not that there is much of that happening at this time of year anyway – the slopes were remarkably uncrowded and apart from at the cable car up to the glacier, we barely had to queue for lifts at all.
I was a little worried about how the weather would be at this time of year as Spring can be very changeable in the mountains, but as it turned out, the only problem we had was avoiding sunburn, we had non-stop sun all week.
During our visit, the resort was running its third year of ‘Live in Tignes’ – four days of free concerts which took place on three stages around the resort both during the day and in the evening. My teenaged kids were very excited to hear that Bigflo and Oli were playing (no, I hadn’t heard of them either but apparently they are a very big name in France) and the venue was right outside our hotel. In an incredibly civilised way, all the concerts finished bang on 10:30pm so no-one was kept awake.
While the slopes are the main event, Tignes also has other thrills on offer – my son was disappointed that the terrifying-looking Bun J Ride (basically a ski jump with bungee ropes) had closed by the time we arrived, but both kids loved the Pala’fou sledge run – a three kilometre dedicated sledging slope which includes a 40 metre tunnel – in winter you can do it in the dark wearing a head torch. Ice driving, snow tubing and waterfall climbing are also on offer.
We stayed at Mark Warner’s Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percée which is brilliantly located in the centre of town around 100 metres from the main lift and close to shops and restaurants. Rooms are modern and comfortable with plenty of options suitable for families such as interconnecting rooms or ones with extra beds on a mezzanine. There’s a lovely spa area with a small pool, sauna, steam room and sunny relaxation area, a bar and a pool table. Excellent kids’ clubs for children aged two to 12 run by English nannies are available, as well as kids’ high tea. The day starts with a full English breakfast (plus healthier options for those who want), finishes with a three-course meal which includes as much wine as you like and there’s even tea and homemade cake waiting for you when you get back from the slopes.
A week at Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percée starts at £779pp for adults and £649pp for children winter 2018/19. Free child places are available most dates outside of school holidays for holidays booked before May 31 2018.
Disclosure – Catherine and her family travelled as guests of Mark Warner, with a lift pass and Pala’Fou passes provided by Tignes.