Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The History behind Tignes....

For those of you that know Tignes will know that modern day Tignes is made up of five villages: Le Brevieres, Le Boisses, Lavachet, Le Lac and Val Claret. In the 13th century, however, only Le Brevieres, then called Les Brenieres, and Tignes itself existed. These two villages were farming communities that also profited through smuggling from nearby Italy.  Rumours started circulating in the late 1920s that a dam was to be built in the valley covering the original old town of Tignes. This was met with strong opposition from the locals (Tignards) who fought bitterly to keep their 900 year old original village. Unfortunately rumours became reality in 1952, when the original old village of Tignes was flooded as part of a hydro-electric power scheme which created the new "Lac du Chevril" over the old site. It was said that for many years locals tried to disrupt building work using what was referred to as a ‘resistance’ style movement. It is still possible to meet with some of the old Tignard characters who were sent to jail for their part in attempting to blow up the dam that caused their homes to be flooded.

The Tignes dam, which depicts a giant figure of Hercules on the front, had been designed to generate power for up to 10% of France. Ironically, France developed nuclear power a few years later and Tignes dam which has never been used became redundant. It now serves as a huge 'battery' with the ability to supply power to the ski resort in the winter if required. The lake is emptied every 10 years for maintenance work to be carried out on the dam and it is even possible to see and even walk around the remains of the old village.

The resorts of Val Claret, Le Lac, Le Lavachet and Le Boisses were built in the late 1950s, early 1960s, and the French architecture is wholly alien in comparison to the spectacular mountain setting at the foot of the Grand Motte and Grande Casse.

The new Tignes was created at an altitude of 2100m, with the main settlement at Tignes Le Lac. Government contributions meant that Tignes could re-invent itself as a ski resort. In April 1967, the developer Pierre Schnebelen and the Savoie Department were able to use funds originally intended for a 55,000 m2 development at Lavachet, to develop fully the resort at Tignes. 

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Monday, 5 September 2016

Summer Recap

Summer in Tignes is coming to an end as the lifts are closing, the bars are shutting down for the inter season, and the activities around resort are being packed away. With this in mind it seems like a good time to look back on a few of our favourite times from the summer.

A clear favourite is the lake activities, including paddle boarding, kayaking, pedalos, and of course the blob jump and water slide. Throughout the summer we have all spent plenty of time floating around on the lake, falling off the paddle boards and cooling off from the scorching summer temperatures. The blob jump and waterslide are not to be missed, providing plenty of entertainment even if you don’t fancy a go yourself!
Kayaking on the lake
Kayaking on the lake
 For the first half of the summer the glacier was open for skiing and snowboarding and the conditions up there were great after the amazing snow we had last winter. On a few mornings through July and early August there was even a dusting of fresh snow up there that made it really worth getting up early for!
Early mornings in the snowpark
Early mornings in the snowpark

Another main activity in Tignes is the mountain biking, with runs suitable for all levels of rider and 5 ski lifts adapted to carry your bikes up the hill. From the nice cruisy blue and green runs to the big jump lines and steep technical blacks, there was always something to ride whatever your mood. A personal favourite of mine was Kamasutrail, a fast black run full of gap jumps, wallrides and drops, but not too steep or technical.
Tignes bike park
Tignes Bike Park

When we didn’t fancy an adrenaline rush, there was still plenty to do. We have all been on a fair few little hikes around Tignes and the surrounding area and even hiked up the Sassiere, the highest mountain in the local area that you can climb without specialist equipment. The views in the summer are amazing, and it was good to see some of the same places that we ski without the snow on them.  

At the end of the day, we often ended up at one of the bars. A good one is Terrachu, right by the lake, and we even visited there a couple of times on the kayaks and paddle boards! Another favourite was La Queue de Cochon, which even has an outdoor swimming pool that is much warmer than the lake, and was a great place to make the most of the last of the day’s sun.

Queue de cochon
Queue de Cochon Pool

Summer in Tignes has been great! Roll on winter…


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