Tignes for Beginners 2017

Bluebird Tignes April 2017

Is Tignes Good for Beginners?

Tignes is a well trusted snow-sure resort with an altitude ranging from 1550-3456m, which offers one of Europe’s longest ski seasons from early October right through to early May, but the question is, is Tignes a good place for beginners to learn to ski?  Well the answer in short is yes – absolutely!  Tignes is part of the Espace Killy ski region with 300kms of piste and a wide range of terrain which suits all abilities.  Beginners should look out for the green runs of which there are 20 in resort.  These are not difficult to access and there is a well known ‘Tranquille’ area which is a cluster of green runs with a very convenient restaurant in the middle – our favourite ‘Les Marmottes Restaurant’ the perfect place to rest, have a hot chocolate and a tasty lunch.

Tignes logo

Tignes Skiing for Beginners

Tignes for Beginners

The great news is that for season 2016 – 2017 Tignes has made it even easier for beginners with a new 1, 2, 3 Ski Start system with progression zones for beginners – 1 Discover, 2 Learn and 3 Practice.  Either on your own or with a ski instructor, this new ski start system allows you to progress safely in adapted areas.  Before you start make sure you have the right equipment for your ability – head to Tignes Spirit to get advice and ski hire that is suitable for your level.

Ski Start 1 - Discover - Beginner skiing in TignesSki Start 2 - Learn - Beginner skiing in TignesSki Start 3 - Practice - Beginner skiing in Tignes

Ski Start 1: Discover

You are learning to ski on gentle slopes using beginner ski lifts – these are free to use!  It’s a great low cost way to start skiing within the safe and easily identifiable designated areas.  There are 4 marked zones you can go to in Tignes les Brévières (Pitots drag lift), Les Boisses (le Boisses magic carpet), Val Claret (Claret magic carpet) or Tignes le Lac (Rosset chairlift) – so wherever you are staying in Tignes – at least one of these areas will be easily accessible – refer to the map above for Ski Start 1.

Ski Start 2: Learn

You are making progress and getting used to the feeling of skiing.  The lifts in this area are also free to use.  There are two zones in either the Tignes les Brévières & Les Boisses area using the Brévières chairlift or in the Tignes le Lac & Lavachet area using the Lavachet drag lift – refer to the map above for Ski Start 2.

Tignes for Beginners

Ski Start 3: Practise

You are moving onto blue runs and are using longer ski lifts which you will be required to purchase a ski pass to use.  By this stage you should be feeling more confident and purchasing a Tignes area ski pass for the day will enable you to put your skills into practise in a wider area.  A Tignes area ski pass will cost around €47 for one day based on 2017 prices.  Begin within the Ski Start 3 area of which there are 3 bigger zones;  in the Tignes les Brévières & les Boisses area using the Sache & Boisses gondolas and the Aiguille Rouge chairlift (which also connects you to the le Lac zone),  in Tignes le Lac using the Palafour chairlift and in the Val Claret area using the Tichot and Grattalu chairlifts – refer to the map above for Ski Start 3.  When you have accomplished this zone you can move on to explore the Tignes ski area to perfect your technique!

Tignes for beginners

Each of the progression zones have a sign like this one at the lift station which includes a map of the area which is suitable for the level you are at.


Additional information is available from the Maisons de Tignes (Tourist Information Office) which is situated in the heart of Tignes le Lac (+33 4 79 40 04 40).  Pop in to pick up a map of the 1, 2, 3 Ski Start Progression zones.

You are skiing!

Now you have learned the basics of skiing in the 3 ski start phases.  If you would like to ski around the huge Tignes & Val d’Isère ski area before you go home, you can purchase a dual ski area pass which will cost around €55.50 for the full  Espace Killy ski area for one day based on 2017 prices.

Ski Start Introductory Offer

Evolution2 ski school have introduced a special 1, 2, 3 ski start deal: a 3 hour session for €35 and no ski pass is needed! (2017 prices). Get in touch with them to find out more; email booking@evolution2.com or call +33 (0) 7 60 82 10 12.


Helpful tips for your first ski trip

  1. Book one of our lovely catered chalets (as opposed to a self-catered apartment) – having your breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner cooked for you ensures a relaxing holiday and will give you plenty of energy to learn to ski.  Enjoy an abundance of wine with dinner too!
  2. We will also help you plan your holiday and make sure you have everything organised for your perfect ski holiday, including help with getting you to resort.
  3. You don’t need to buy everything for your first ski trip, borrow ski clothes from friends and family.  Check out our ‘What to Wear Skiing Guide’ to help you decide what you need to take.
  4. Rent all your ski equipment – Tignes Spirit offer great prices for a full package which includes skis or board, poles, boots & a helmet, they also offer clothing & accessory hire if required.
  5. Have a go at your local ski centre before you head out to the mountains, having a lesson or two will be sure to give you a head start.
  6. Get fit – do plenty of exercise running up to your holiday so that you can cope with lots of skiing every day at high altitude.
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How to do a snow plough turn

  1. Start by facing down the hill, slide forwards and gently move your body weight over the front of your skis.
  2. Gradually push your heels out whilst keeping your ski tips together but without letting them cross (like a slice of pizza in a V shape).
  3. Stand up tall but keep some flex in your knees.
  4. Turn in this position leaning right to turn left and leaning left to turn right!
  5. This is a very stable position which is the easiest way to start learning how to ski.
  6. It will also help you control your speed and act as a break – make a larger V shape to stop.

How to make a parallel turn

Parallel skiing is when your skis stay parallel to each other all the time.  Once you have more confidence on the snow you will want to start skiing this way to give you more speed, control, comfort and skill to your skiing.

  1. Start by pointing your skis down the hill, hip width apart.
  2. Bend your knees then skid and pivot your skis at the same time.
  3. Your skis should stay parallel throughout the turn.

Tignes for beginners

Helpful tips for using Ski Lifts

There is an information board at the foot of each ski lift – check this out to find out the pistes & ski areas that are accessed via the lift and also the ski level that is required at the top.

Safety recommendations are worth reading on the signs next to the lift, you can also find out the lifts opening times and there is a lift attendant/ski patrol staff to ask for help if needed.

Most ski lifts have automatic barriers that check your ski pass as you go through, make sure you keep your ski pass safely in your pocket on your LEFT side.  You will need a ski pass for the Ski Start 3 zones and the rest of the ‘Espace Killy’ ski area.

Get in to position for the ski lift – when the barrier opens move forwards as directed to either sit on the chair lift or get into the gondola.  For gondola rides you will be required to take your skis off – place them in the carrier on the outside of the gondola but remember to keep your ski poles with you inside.

Don’t forget to pull the chair lift barrier down to keep safe, you will see a sign when you have reached the top – then it is safe to lift the barrier up.

Carefully get off the lift and ski to the piste you require following the signs.

Tignes for Beginners

Understanding Piste Markers & Signs

Each piste is marked with a piste marker with a particular colour, number and name of the piste.

The colours relate to the level of piste – green is easy, blue is intermediate, red is difficult and black is very difficult.

At the top of each piste marker you will find the name of the piste – use this to work out your location on your piste map.

The number on the piste marker decreases as you go down the piste from top to bottom – this shows you how close you are to the bottom of the slope – number 1 being at the bottom of that particular piste.

Piste marker2

Ski Safety

It is advisable to wear a helmet for protection at all times whilst skiing.

Stay on the marked piste and respect the piste markers & signs, take a piste map with you to refer to.

Be aware of others and be careful, always give priority to skiers below you – in front of you going down hill.

Slow your pace when approaching junctions, look and check for other skiers when joining the piste.

Make sure your speed is appropriate for your ability and adapt it depending on the weather conditions and number of people on the slopes.

If you see an accident or collision, you must assist those involved and phone for help if necessary.  Keep these numbers handy in your mobile phone contacts.

Tignes+33 (0) 4 79 06 32 00Val d’Isère+33 (0) 4 79 06 02 10

Further information & Guides

STGM Tignes Contact

Tignes guide

Essential Ski Kit

Guide to Ski pass

Ski Hire with Tignes Spirit

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Becky Coates
Ski Bonjour Editor & Blogger

Becky would love to hear from you if you have any comments or queries about this content by email at ski@skibonjour.com

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