Wednesday, 30 September 2015

We're getting ready for the new season, are you?

With the Espace Killy set to open in less than two months most are thinking about organising their trip for next season and getting in tip top shape to make the most of their time on the hill.

For those budding ski instructors and ski racers the focus has probably switched to preparing themselves physically (and maybe mentally) for the season ahead.

The physical side of the sport is very important for those instructors looking to make the grade at the notoriously difficult 'eurotest' or 'test tecnhique' races in addition to the technical skiing exams- for those of you not 'in the know' to work in France instructors are required to achieve a certain time which varies from race to race (usually within 10% of a current or ex-professional ski racer) in order to apply their trade in France and complete the Level 4 ISTD qualification..

It is still good practice to keep yourself fit for skiing, as a regular holiday skier or even if you've achieved the euro-test or test-technique pass along with passing the other exams, especially as an instructor working day to day in the mountains.

Naturally, our backroom staff here at the Tignes Chalet Company consists of ski instructors and winter sports enthusiasts alike. We are all keen athletes/sportsman, so what are we doing to get fit for the mountains?

Do these cows not know we're in training?!
Matt on his bike earlier this week, near Whitmore in Staffordshire

Cycling is the obvious choice! With attributes such as lower leg strength similar to those required for skiing this can be a perfect activity to get you into shape for the mountains.

The main slope at Stoke Ski Centre (Festival Park, Staffordshire) earlier this week.

If cycling isn't your thing you could also drop in on your nearest dry slope and sneak in some turns before the winter. If you've never skied on a dry slope before it might take a little bit of adjustment before you start to slide in a graceful fashion...

However, dry slope skiing can be beneficial to your technique and if you can get the fundamentals right on the plastic this can only help when you're out in the mountains.
It's also a less expensive option to the notoriously overpriced indoor snow centres across the land.

Of course if you like to keep you skiing activities strictly to the snow other activities such as running and gym work can also be beneficial to your skiing fitness.

It doesn't matter how you achieve your skiing fitness as long as your in prime condition to enjoy the mountains!

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Friday, 25 September 2015

The snow is coming!

View from the lake in Tignes earlier this week- courtesy of tignesofficial instagram

Autumn is always an exciting in Tignes, with the changing colours of autumn which often include an occasional blanketing of the white stuff. In fact we have already had snow down to the village at 2100m in Tignes as you can see above. And there is more snow in the forecast with the freezing level to drop as low as 2300m bringing some snow just above village level on Monday, and the forecast is for the freezing level to stay well below 3000m for the rest of the week which is good news for the glacier.

Stelvio, Italy

There has also been snowfall elsewhere in the alps.
This picture was taken by a friend of Ultimate Snowsports at her race camp base in Stelvio, Italy.
The picture was taken at around 2600m and as you can see the snow was really starting to accumulate at this altitude, really amazing but maybe not such great conditions for race training!

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

At which ski resorts are you guaranteed to get a snow fix this winter?

Of course Tignes and Val D'isere are at the top of the list according to the

But we can't be the only resort in the norther hemisphere that has a great record of snow cover during the winter?

Here's a couple of places we have visited and can personally recommend for a potentially epic powder day:

Whistler- BC, Canada.

A view from the snow covered trees of Whistler mountain.

Having visited Whistler Blackcomb myself in March a few years ago I can certainly vouch for the snowfall. After a few sunny days in a row (which we were told were extremely rare) the heavens opened and we received over a metre of snow in 24 hours. Despite the snow being quite wet and heavy between the bottom lift and mid-station up top there was plenty of good powder, although not of the champagne variety but pretty close!

Similarly to Tignes, Whistler Blackcomb has a glacier and there is usually skiing available from late November through to May with summer skiing from Late June until the end of July.

It is widely regarded as one of the best places to ski in North America, in my opinion the variation of terrain it offers is pretty amazing, in one run you can ski off the glacier and through the alpine into into some of the best tree skiing to be found anywhere.

Hakuba Valley, Nagano, Japan

Aerial shot of the Hakuba Valley courtesy of

The Hakuba Valley is one of Japans biggest skiing areas, consisting of around 10 separate ski areas.
It consistently averages around 10m of snowfall each winter despite the bottom lift located at around 700m altitude. The valley also hosted the downhill events for the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics.

The resort is mainly popular with Australians during the winter with few visitors from the northern hemisphere.

On a good day the skiing can be spectacular with some of the best powder tree skiing in the world with light fluffy snow in usually well spaced deciduous trees.
Most of the skiing is below the tree line with the resort of Happo-One offering the most skiing with some alpine skiing above the tree line.
There is also a significant amount of backcountry to explore. However this is notoriously very dangerous due to the large amounts of snow fall and the steepness of the mountains creating a high risk of avalanche!
I had my best day skiing the trees of the back of Hakuba Cortina- this resort allows skiers to ski the trees whereas some of the resorts in the valley only allow tree skiing in designated areas.

On a good day the skiing is spectacular with some of the best powder tree skiing in the world with light fluffy snow in usually well spaced deciduous trees.

It's truly a stunning place and well worth a visit, and the skiing is pretty awesome as well!

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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Tignes Winter 2015/2016 teaser...

After a dump of snow on the mountain tops ion Monday we are beginning to get a little excited for winter!

And we aren't the only ones... Tignes has released this video to get us even more stoked for the start of the season. And with less than two months until the opening of the Espace Killy on the 28th November, why not get excited!

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Friday, 4 September 2015

The cold makes a comeback...

Cold temperatures have finally made a comeback after a scorching summer (by glacial standards) up on the Grande Motte in Tignes.

It well documented that glaciers in Europe have been hit hard by above average temperatures and heatwaves on the continent during the summer.

Many consider the start of September to mark the beginning of Autumn and most notably the end of Summer!

And it seems like mother nature has also subscribed to this in bringing cold temperatures over the Alps.

Here's the forecast for the next 6 days in Tignes, which shows freezing temperatures dipping as low as 2400m on Saturday night.
courtesy of

Temperatures have also dropped in North America. Whistler Blackcomb (BC, Canada) among other resorts received a dusting of snow on the upper mountain which lead to some Americans and Canadians getting a little too excited on social media. The saying of 'snow in September you will never remember' couldn't be more relevant, but then I suppose what is the harm in dreaming!
For those still in search of a summer snow fix then the southern hemisphere still remains the best bet after what has on the whole been a bumper season.
After a long, hot summer, it's cold enough in Whistler, B.C., today that it snowed at higher elevations.
Whistler gets a dusting of snow up high (Environment Canada)

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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

What have Tignes got planned for New Years Eve?

Tignes le Lac New Years Eve 2014/15 (picture courtesy of

Tignes treated us to the stunning acrobatics of Cirque Eloize from Canada last season.
This season they plan to take the party back to basics and revert to the hugely popular original format of the 'Fire Mix Party' to let in 2016.
There will be DJ's playing live in the centre of Tignes le Lac accompanied by spectacular fireworks when the hands strike 12.
As you may know it's a bit of a tradition for locals and holiday makers alike to converge in the centre of Tignes and welcome in the New Year; It's usually a friendly and festive atmosphere and a great way to let in any New Year in a beautiful mountain setting.
Some hardy souls even hike up into the mountains to get an aerial view of the spectacle.
But if festive spirit isn't enough to warm you up there are plenty of bars and restaurants hosting parties and special events.

Stay tuned for more news on events for Winter 2015/16 in Tignes...

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