After last week’s guide on learning to ski in Courchevel we thought we’d head to slightly higher ground, just around the corner in the Espace Killy. The Espace Killy is the combination of two resorts: Val d’Isère and Tignes, and boasts an impressive snow record making it a firm favourite with skiers and boarders the world over. Admittedly, the terrain is a little more challenging than in Courchevel but a little insider knowledge goes a long way. Stick with us and you’ll soon be hurtling along and wondering what all the fuss was about. Not convinced? Well read on for tips on learning to ski in Val d’Isère or Tignes:
There’s no other way to put this. Learning to ski in Val d’Isère can be tough, and you’ll certainly need the help of a ski or snowboard instructor. There is a dedicated beginners’ area in the centre of resort and though it doesn’t have a magic carpet, there is a drag lift (Savonnette) and chair (Village). The area itself isn’t very large so it can be crowded in the busy weeks. And it has uneven terrain and some steeper sections to boot. However, you can lap around the area pretty quick, and once you are up and running you can go straight to the very top of the mountain.
Take the Olympique telecabine to the top of Rocher de Bellevarde and you have your pick of wonderful green and blue runs (like Verte, Diebold and Mont Blanc to name a few). What makes learning to ski in Val d’Isère so special is that unlike most resorts where the more gentle runs are at the bottom of the mountain, Val d’Isère’s are at the top. And from here you have great panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Our top tip? Don’t attempt the ski back down – the only blue is horrible (Santons – it’s pretty much a black). Instead take the Olympique lift. It’s very fast, so you won’t miss out on any après.
With the benefit of its own dedicated and progressive beginner area, Tignes is a great place to learn to ski. In Tignes Le Lac the beginner area has a magic carpet, a button lift and a short chair with a lovely wide open slope. A great place to build up confidence without any tricky steep sections.
Unlike Val d’Isère, the top of the mountain in Tignes doesn’t have the same plateaus. So we’d suggest the Palafour chair which takes you to a good selection of blues that wind their way back down.
Look out for the few steeper sections on these blues and the occasional park type who use these runs as boarder cross terrain. Of course, you can always go to the top on the Tovière gondola and then explore some of Val d’Isère’s green and blue pistes.