Tignes, Val d’Isère … two ski resorts often linked, two distinct stories and two popular destinations for French and foreign winter sports enthusiasts. If between Tignes and Val d’Isère, your heart swings, here are some elements of comparison between these two complementary ski resorts but so different …
We could have written a beautiful speech, well tied up about hundreds of kilometres of tracks, winding you the Espace Killy long, wide and across, but we deliberately oriented our comparative on criteria of more order practical: easy access and parking, services/shops, childcare, après-ski … all useful and practical information that will ultimately allow you to choose between Tignes and Val d’Isère.
Tignes or Val d’Isère, which one to choose?
► General presentation of both ski resorts (Tignes and Val d’Isère)
Nestled in the Haute-Tarentaise valley, in Savoie, Tignes and Val d’Isère ski resorts form an unavoidable international winter destination. Complementary, they have each developed their specificity around an exceptional common ski area: the Espace Killy, called “the most beautiful ski area in the world”.
- Tignes is the “most sporty resort” and welcomes a dynamic clientele, placing its infrastructures and sports activities at the heart of its development.
- Not far from there, Val d’Isère appears as a more upscale resort, attracting an affluent and largely foreign clientele thanks to its village full of charm and upscale accommodation.
► Easy access and parking in Tignes and Val d’Isère
From Bourg-Saint-Maurice, a single road reaches the ski resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isere in winter, the surrounding mountain passes being closed. Not winding and rolling, this road consists of about 30kms to reach both ski resorts. Once on-site, it is strongly recommended to park your car in the car parks as parking is regulated and mandatory. Remember to book in advance, especially during the school holidays. Then, no more worries, the shuttle services will take you to the different points of the resorts.
- In Tignes, the shuttle service is free and consists of 24 stops, from Tignes 1800 to Tignes Val Claret. Tignes houses 5 covered car parks and 2 paid open car parks.
- Val d’Isère has just developed a new pedestrian-restricted parking plan with restricted traffic and free shuttle service throughout the resort. Seven paid car parks (covered and outdoor) are proposed.
► Comparison of Tignes and Val d’Isère ski areas
Tignes and Val d’Isère have a linked ski area(Espace Killy).
Composed of 300 km of downhill ski slopes (40 km of Nordic ski slopes), it has 88 lifts, 158 tracks, 2 snow parks and 2 glaciers. Its peculiarities lie in its variety and quality of snow. Suitable for all skier profiles, from beginners to experienced skiers, it offers a wide variety of slopes with exceptional natural snow, as 60% of them are located at over 2200 m altitude. The off-road potential is impressive. Open from the end of November to the beginning of May, 900 snowmakers provide the additional supply of snow if needed (rarely).
- Tignes, however, stands out with its anticipated opening in October thanks to its glacier, but it is also one of the few French resorts to offer skiing in the summer.
- As for Val d’Isère, it offers legendary ski slopes (Bellevarde, Solaise …) which host sports competitions known as the Critérium of the first snow or the World Ski Championships.
► Everyday life in Tignes and Val d’Isère
If their ski area is linked and homogeneous, the two resorts have diametrically opposed locations which give them a particular atmosphere and specificity.
- Tignes is organised on several levels. For each altitude, a different atmosphere: The Val Claret (a rather festive district), The Lake (downtown resort), The Lavachet (calm and accessibility), Tignes 1800 (rebirth of a village) and Les Brévières (authentic village). All Tignes areas enjoy quick access to the slopes, shops and an information point. Most health services, however, are located in Val Claret and Le Lac.
- Its success, Val d’Isère owes much to the formidable charm of its village which combines mountain authenticity and modernity. Organised around a wide high street dotted with shops, restaurants and accommodation, it feels like a pedestrian village that opens onto a vast snow front. Each area of the resort has easy access to the slopes.
►“Après ski” offer in Tignes and Val d’Isère
Both in Tignes and Val d’Isère, life outside skiing is very lively because many activities are offered and the infrastructures are not lacking.
- Tignes is renowned for being sporty and has many sports facilities, such as the Le Lagon aquatic centre or the Tignespace indoor sports complex (climbing wall, athletics, squash …) and offers many original activities outside of skiing: mountain biking on snow, ice diving, ice driving, … For the après-ski, place for games and relaxation: bowling, cinema, wellness area but also many bars!
- Apart from skiing, Val d’Isère relies on relaxation and pleasure. For shoppers, 50 sport and fashion shops are waiting for you. For those who want to relax, the Aquasportif Centre offers them a new, more spacious wellness area. For gourmands, Patrick Chevallot, best artisan in France offers pastry classes. And for the sportsmen, many activities and animations are proposed. To go out, there is plenty of choice among 92 restaurants/bars and 4 discotheques.
► Ease of childcare in Tignes and Val d’Isère
Childcare is one of the main criteria for choosing a ski resort. Daycare services, children’s club and other snow gardens are now unavoidable and you can imagine that both ski resorts of the “reputation” of Tignes or Val d’Isère are doing everything possible to accommodate toddlers and children.
- Everything is planned in Tignes for beginner skiers. Five lifts are available for free to take his first turns with confidence, accompanied by courses to learn while having fun. Between Le Lac and Val Claret, four snow gardens welcome children from the age of 2 ½ years old. Two toboggan runs are developed and open access, at Lac and Lavachet.
- Val d’Isère, labelled Famille Plus, it is a ski resort that makes it easier for families to stay with structures and activities adapted to all ages. From 18 months, your child can be taken care of at the ski nursery, then the children’s village takes over from 3 to 13 years. On the ski side, there are two kindergartens and five ski lifts which are free for beginners on the snow front. For others, two quiet ski areas on the ski domain allow them to enjoy the snow safely.
Conclusion of the comparison between Tignes and Val d’Isère
Organised around a common ski area, famous and with plenty of options, the ski resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isère welcome a clientele of great ski lovers. It is more on the type of stay and accommodation that you can see real differences.
Not very charming in terms of its architecture, Tignes attracts a clientele that seeks first and foremost a functional, sporty and dynamic destination while Val d’Isère is the destination for holidaymakers who want an exclusive lifestyle in an idyllic setting of authentic mountain and modern mountain village.