Touring the Tignes Bowl
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
Many of us are used to taking out a map or using our devises to research circular walking routes but when it comes to pistes, it can be a little more tricky to figure things out, especially if you are in an unfamiliar resort. In this blog we'll look at ways to circumnavigate the Tignes bowl and which pistes to use to avoid repetition.
It's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the piste map and the conditions before you set out. This will help you to decide whether to attempt the bowl in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. Both of the routes we suggest start in Le Lac but you could start in Val Claret or Lavachet too. The first route is classed as intermediates/advanced whereas the second route is more for beginners/intermediates. In both cases you can skip the glacier if short of time or if weather does not permit.
Starting out in Le Lac, take the Palafour chair and take the blue run Lys to the Merles chair. You need quite a bit of speed as the final approach to the chair is relatively flat. From the top of Merles you can take the blue runs Grattalu and Carline all the way down into Val Claret, stopping at the Snow Park to the right of Grattalu on the way down if you like. Once in Val Claret you can either take the funicular up onto the glacier or take the Lanches and Vanoise chairs up.
If time permits you can take the cable car to the top of the glacier and take either the black run Descent or the red run Glacier down to the funicular and then stop for a drink or bite to eat at the Panoramic restaurant before heading down the mountain. If you have decided to skip the glacier, there is a short off piste mogul run that connects the Vanoise and Lanches chairs, otherwise you can take the red run Dahu which connects to Double M, a long leg burning red that takes you all the way back into Val Claret. There are a number of options for food and drink in Val Claret including Cocorico which offers pizza and apres ski beer and live music.
In Val Claret you can take the Bollin chair lift which is a short ride up before skiing down to Tufs. If you fancy a longer run take the Fresse chair which starts from the same place as Bollin and take the long blue Prariond back down into Val Claret. Be sure to take the correct lift as although both lifts start at the same place, they split a short way up with Bollin allowing you to get off at the top of the beginner slope and Fresse continuing up the mountain. In the centre of Val Claret, Tufs chair takes you to the top of Toviere where you can head down the red run Crocus before taking the black Johan Clarey back into Le Lac. If you don't fancy the final section of the black, you can branch right and head into Lavachet or back down into Le Lac underneath the Rosset chair lift. If heading to Lavachet you can take the nursery slope all the way to Chaudanne and then head down red run Bleuets back into Lavachet or branch right and back into Le Lac. There is also the option to take the gondola down into Le Lac if you are not confident on black runs. The final section of the black requires some speed as it flattens out on the approach to the gondola. Once back in Le Lac you are conveniently close to the Loop bar which is great for apres ski and live music.
If you are a beginner or more confident on blue runs, it's a good idea to attempt the bowl in the opposite direction, which is slightly shorted than the route described above and avoids the black run down into Le Lac from the top of Toviere. Start in Le Lac by taking the Toviere gondola and take piste Henri all the way down into Val Claret. The run can get busy with ski schools so it's best to stick to the far left or far right of the piste on the way down. The run cuts onto the nursery slope and leads down past the funicular and Lanches chair, either of which you can take up to the glacier if time and weather conditions permit. At the top of the glacier you can stop for a drink or bite to eat at the Panoramic before continuning down either Genepy or Cairn. Both connect with Prariond which takes you all the way back into Val Claret. Once back in Val Claret, you can stop for refreshments at Cocorico or continue past the Lanches chair and take the Tichot chair up to Grattalu. It's a short run across to the Grattalu chair or if feeling brave you can take the drag lift to the left and try the border cross which leads back down to Grattalu.
Once back at the top of Grattalu, you can take red runs Le Mur and Merles across to blue run Lac, or the blues Lac and Bergerie towards Palafour. Both reds and blues connect with blue run Combe which leads down into Le Lac. Half way down Combe there is a mountain restaurant overlooking the lake if you fancy a break before heading down into resort. Just before you come into Le Lac on the right there is a slalom course where 2 people can race each other down into Le Lac. Once back in Le Lac you can contiune past the tourist office down into Lavachet or stop at The Loop Bar in Le Lac which offers reasonably priced burgers and live apres-ski music.
We hope you've enjoyed reading our blog and that it will help you plan your time out on the piste. Look out for our next blog in which we'll look at touring the Espace Killy area which takes in Val d'Isere.
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