One of the highest resorts in Europe, Tignes also offers more skiing in winter and in summer than pretty well anywhere else, thanks to its high altitude skiing on the Grande Motte glacier and its commitment to maintain a vertical of at least 1000 metres (3280 feet) for eight months of the year.
Sharing the vast l'Espace Killy ' ski area with neighbouring Val d'Isère, purpose-built Tignes has the stronger French influence of the two, as well as being largely based at a higher and more snow-sure altitude. There are in fact five base areas to Tignes, although three of them - Le Lac, Le Lavachet and Val Claret - more or less run in to one another to form the main section.
They stand together in a vast snowy bowl above the tree line resembling some sort of isolated moon base, from a distance. Further down the mountain, but lift linked to l'espace Killy are Les Boisses and Les Brévières and there are three traditional villages along the valley floor on the road to Val d'Isère (Le Reculaz, Le Chevril and Le Villaret du Nial), but these are not lift-linked.
Interestingly the original base is Le Lac, the relocated genuine village of Tignes that was submerged under Lake Chevril following the construction of a dam in 1952. The church bell was the only physical momento to be carried up to the new village site, but the spirit of skiing which began in 'old Tignes' in the 1920s was certainly carried forward with spectacular results!
Tignes shares the huge and wonderful Espace Killy with Val D'Isere, but the underground funicular accessed Grand Motte glacier officially belongs to Tignes. The glacier no longer offers skiing 365 days a year (but is open in all four seasons and in total for nearly 10 months).
For eight months a vertical drop of 1400 metres is maintained, with the aid of snow-making if neccessary. The resort has five different base areas, the main one being Val Clartet with Le Lac and Le Lavachet nearby. Lower down the mountain is Les Boisses and a renovated old village Les Brevieres, at the lowest point in the system - 1550 metres (higher than many ski areas end, but with 2000 metres above it!).
Night life is limited for such a large ski resort. Tignes is owned by the same Japanese company which formerly owned Steamboat in Colorado and Sahoro in Japan.