Off-Piste Skiing in Tignes
Tignes’ Best Off-Piste Ski Runs
Thanks to its high altitude, Tignes benefits from great snow conditions for most of its long season. As soon as you escape from the pisted slopes of the resort, a new playground opens up – the vast and varied off-piste skiing terrain. Here’s a roundup of the best powder runs Tignes has to offer:
Tignes is a huge purpose-built resort in the Vanoise National Park with easy access to a vast amount of world-class off-piste terrain. The resort is one part of the massive Espace Killy ski area and links to Val d’Isère and the scope for lift accessed freeskiing or hut-to-hut ski touring is enormous. Home to backcountry pioneers such as Guerlain Chicherit or Marie Martinod who discovered many of Tignes’ classic off-piste descents, the resort also boasts 9 marked but ungroomed natural pistes that provide a great intro to off-piste skiing.
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Our Off-Piste Ski Guiding partners offer affordable one-day & multi-day packages designed for skiers and snowboarders looking for the best lift-accessed natural terrain in Tignes. Take a guide, you’ll be safer and you’ll have a lot more fun.
The best Off-Piste Skiing descents in Tignes (shortlisted for you by locals who know)
Les Tufs (the fingers)
Sandwiched between Tignes le Lac and Val Claret and accessible from either the Tovière or the Paquis lifts are the couloirs of Les Tufs. Suitable for advanced to expert skiers, these 9 “fingers” vary in gradient from 45 to 53 degrees. Expect some outstanding skiing and mind-blowing scenery. Quick access and easy exit route via the shuttle bus from Chartreux back to the Tovière cable car means you can loop round in 40 minutes.
Mickey’s Ears (Les Oreilles de Mickey) is one of the best known off-piste runs in Tignes, and it is also one of the more challenging. This intermediate to advanced off-piste route is accessible via the Tovière lift. From the top of the lift, it’s a 30 minute boot pack along the ridge and up to the Mickey’s Ears couloir, so named because of the mouselike antennas at the top. The couloir is open but steep, 48 degrees to be precise, so the drop in is exhilarating and the snow is often fantastic due to the predominantly north facing aspect. Once through the couloir, you can ski down the Lavachet Wall into Lavachet or down to La Daille. If you organise a heli-pick-up, you can also ski all the way down to the lake.
Four times freeride world champion Guerlain Chicherit is such a legend in Tignes he has an off-piste ski route named after him! Needless to say, it’s the most challenging of the marked off-piste runs in the resort. To access the run, head to the Palet area from Val Claret and take the Col des Vés chair up to the Col. The run tracks under the chair and dissects the Pramecou black piste. In Val Claret, there are a number of other good off-piste runs also accessible from the Col des Vés chair. Check out the slopes between La Grande Balme and the blue Carline or over towards l’Aiguille Noire de Pramecou.
Le Couloir du Chardonnet
A favourite run among Tignes locals, the classic Couloir du Chardonnet is renowned for it’s steep powder couloir. Accessible from the Grattalu (2700 m) chair, it drops 500 m down to the Grand Huit chair. There’s a bit of a climb from the chairlift up to a rocky outcrop and the start of the run. The classic couloir, which carries some avalanche risk in heavy snow, is the easier of the two couloirs and therefore the quickest to get tracked out.
Off-piste skiing is dangerous so you should always use a qualified mountain guide or ski or snowboard instructor when you head away from the marked runs. The routes we have described are only to show you the options and we accept no responsibility for the use of this information. Always take a guide and the necessary avalanche safety equipment with you.
For more information about safety while skiing off-piste in Tignes, we recommend attending one of Henry’s avalanche talks. Alternatively TopSki organises complementary basic avalanche training sessions every Monday evening at 5:30pm, as well as weekends of in-depth practical training courses.