Tuesday, 30 August 2016

There’s still time to head out Mountain Biking…

Worried that you haven’t tried your hand at Mountain Biking yet and that time is running out? Well worry not, as Tignes Mountain Biking and the Palafour chair lift is still open until the 31st August. Want to know the best bit? The lifts and bike park are Free, yes you read that right, Free! 

So why go Mountain Biking in Tignes you might ask and not one of the more well-known resorts such as Morzine? Well, Tignes is perfectly set up for mountain biking in the summer with a handful of lift accessed zones and plenty of cross country and enduro riding. Tignes also has some of the most diverse bike terrain in the Alps due to the resorts high altitude. Here with the family? Mountain biking in Tignes is suitable for all levels, so great to get the family together for a day out too. 

Here in Tignes, there is a mountain biking trail for everyone and with five lifts spread out over the Tignes and Val D’Isere area they are easily accessible. In Tignes you have the Tufs chairlift, the palafour chairlift and the Toviere gondola which provides access to Val D’Isere. If over in Val D’Isere you have access to the Olympique cable car and the Borsat chairlift.

Map of the bike park 2016 Tignes.net
Map of Espace Killy Bike Area

Just like the Ski Slopes in the winter, mountain biking trails have different levels of difficulty, so be sure to know your own ability, strengths and weaknesses before hitting the trails. Never tried your hand at mountain biking before? Green trails are perfect for beginners, easing you in steadily, you will be a pro in no time. Already tried your hand at mountain biking and downhill riding? Then blue trails will help to improve your skills. Got the mountain biking bug? Enjoy spending time on the red trails. Consider yourself an expert? Then black and double black trails will get your adrenaline flowing. Not sure which level you are at? Then head to Bike Land in the center of Le Lac where you can assess your level thanks to three green, blue and red modules lines at your disposal. 
Picture of Bike Land – Tignes.net
Bike Land - Tignes Le Lac

Feel ready to tackle the trails of Tignes? Before you do be sure to have the correct equipment and adhere to the safety rules. The trails of Tignes are open to Mountain bikers under their own responsibility and Tignes, Val D’Isere, the STGM and the STVI cannot be held responsible for any injuries caused to Mountain bikers. So please remember to wear a helmet, this is compulsory! Refer to the signs at all times, they are there to help and guide you. Mind the pedestrians. Pedestrians have priority on the ‘all mountain’ and cross country trails, stop and let them go first. Mind the herds. You may come in to contact with herds grazing on the mountain, remember to ride slowly. Once you have got all that, just remember to have fun!


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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Wildlife of the Vanoise National Park

The Vanoise National Park is an extensive protected area in the Tarentaise region and is a must see for those visiting. Popular in both the winter and the summer, it is one of the most popular outdoor areas in France, receiving more than 360,000 visitors each year. Whether outdoor sports such as mountain biking are your thing or exploring the area on foot is more to your liking, the Vanoise National Park is a haven for wildlife, access is free and it is open all year round. 


If wildlife spotting appeals to you, then you will be happy to know that all of the creatures most commonly associated with the Alps are well represented in the Vanoise National Park. If you are quiet and have luck on your side chamois, marmots, Ibex (also known as bouquetin) and eagles can be seen here. A part of the reason for the creation of the park was to provide a protected area for the ibex. Other animals to look out for include snow voles, alpine hare, alpine newts, pine martens, grass snakes, squirrels, natter jacks and foxes. If you are hoping to spot wildlife of the feathered variety, then you may see golden eagles, bearded vultures, ptarmigans, rock thrush plus many other rare species. For the keen bird enthusiasts, the three toed woodpecker has only ever been seen in the Savoie and Haute Savoie region so is definitely one to watch out for.
Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
For many visitors of this area, the main highlight is spotting a chamois or a marmot as they are the two most symbolic animals of the alps. Although high in population, a sighting is not guaranteed. Marmots tend to be funny creatures ambling around between 1000 and 3000 metres. They are known to look a little like overgrown guinea pigs that live in underground burrows called galleries. Although hard to spot, if you do spot one there is the chance you will spot more close by as they live in large family groups. You are more likely to hear a marmot before you see it as they make a peculiar high pitched whistling noise.

Marmot on Tignes Golf Course
Marmot on Tignes golf course
The Vanoise National Park definitely has enough wildlife for everybody, boasting:

  • 2000 Ibex – The largest population in France, making up a third of the total national population
  • 5500 Chamois 
  • 120 different species of breeding birds
  • 20 pairs of resident golden eagles

So get out there and see what wildlife you can spot while in the Vanoise National Park!

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Val d’Isere redevelopment

Val d’Isere has been undergoing a major redevelopment since May 2015. Our friends over at Ultimate blogged about it last summer. 
If you skied here last season you may have noticed the renovation of the Tête de Solaise area with magic carpets ‘PimPam’ and ‘Poum’ appearing in place of the old chair lift, button lift and rope tow, creating a new beginners area, and allowing 3000 people an hour to head back towards Val. The renovation will also include a new café and tubing area. Part of this development is the replacement of the Solaise Express chairlift with a new 10 person gondola, similar to Tovière bubble in Tignes.
Picture courtesy of Ficap, who made the Funbelt
This summer we have seen the Solaise chair taken out, and preparations for the new gondola going in, ready for this winter. It will be interesting to see where all those old chairs end up, I’m sure some of the local bars will have some new outdoor seating for next winter…
Val d’Isere Téléphériques has exclusive use of the ski lifts and snowmaking facilities in the Municipality of Val d’Isere, and with a huge turnover of 40 million Euros it is able to fund it own investments. Luckily, as this redevelopment is costing 16 million euros. 
The old Solaise Express chairlift that is being replaced
Solaise Express chairlift
The Solaise Gondala will be on a monocable circulating ropeway, with a carrying capacity of 3600 people an hour, 40% more than the 4 person high speed chairlift that was previously there, you will be at the summit of the Solaise in 7 minutes. Each 91 bubbles will be fitted with heated seats and Wifi, and due to the large size of the bubbles you will have the choice to enter the bubble with your skis, or use the storage on the outside. 

Currently there are large pylons in place, but no bubbles yet. As soon as it is in place we will let you know!

You can watch the official redevelopment video from Val d'Isere Téléphériques here

Courtesy of Tete de Solaise facebook page, the Solaise cable car pylons coming down


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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Upcoming Events and Activities in Tignes!

With there only being a few days left for skiers to take advantage of the Tignes glacier, many of you will be wondering what to do to fill your days while here in Tignes. If this is you then fear not, here is a guide detailing some of the best activities and upcoming events in Tignes in the month of August.

If taking it easy and meandering about town is your kind of thing, Tignes is holding various fairs in Le Lac center in the first few weeks of August. These include a clairvoyance and wellbeing fair from 05th-09th of August, a children’s fair also on the 09th of August and a French wine fair from 11th – 15th of August. Another fair expected to be popular with those in Tignes is the lac Fair. Held on the 14th of August it has promised XXL fireworks.

If you want a bit more excitement but not necessarily wish to take part in an activity to achieve this; the Flyboard show happening on the 10th of August may be just for you.  For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, Flyboarding propels individuals into the air using only the sheer force of propulsion from the water.  The show is here for one day only performing at 3.30pm and 4.30pm and is one not to be missed. Head down to Tignes Lake to enjoy all the show has to offer and for the best spot, position yourself behind Le Lagon.

Enjoy cycling, enjoy watching the Tour De France? Well the Tour De L’Avenir, a cycling race created by and still supported by the Tour De France is heading to Tignes. For its 53rd edition, the Tour de L'Avenir is stopping in Tignes on August 25th 2016, after passing through the Cormet de Roselan, Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Villaroger so why not go and cheer them on.

If this is still not enough excitement for you, don’t worry. Tignes can one hundred percent be all about action and adventure. If staying in Tignes one or more nights, you will be entitled to a Sportignes card offered by your accommodation provider. This will give you free access to more than 26 activities nestled in the Tignes District. This includes activities such as the crazy airbag, mountain biking, hiking, archery, paddle boarding, blob jump and water slide into the lake. For those of you still missing the snow, pedestrians can access the glacier via the cable car until the 12th of August and after that via the funicular until the 28th. For up to date daily activities click here.


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