Ski areas are certainly not just for downhill skiing. If you are looking to have fun on and off the slopes, this resort has plenty to appeal to non-skiers in Tignes. From snowshoeing to Nordic skiing on cross-country ski trails, from bungee jumping to paragliding, from snowmobiling to ice diving, Tignes offers a multitude of winter activities on land, in the air and under the sun. ‘water !
And of course, once you’re done, you can join in the après-ski with everyone and experience French cuisine at the local restaurants in the ski resort.
The Tignes-Val d’Isère ski area is without doubt one of the most revered ski resorts in the French Alps. On piste, off piste, freestyle or freeride, it’s a skier’s and snowboarder’s dream!
The ski resort of Tignes sits 1500m at the heart of the western half of this vast linked ski area in the upper Tarentaise valley of the central French Alps. It’s perfect for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, and the resort also has good off-piste amenities and lively nightlife.
Architecturally, it is a high-rise mini-metropolis in an otherwise uninhabited kingdom of snow and ice, divided into two main resorts, Tignes-le-Lac and Val Claret.
Tignes is 3 hours from Geneva airport and 2 hours from Chambéry. If you prefer to take the trainit’s about a 45 minute drive from Bourg St Maurice.
The best non-ski activities in Tignes
Whether it’s the adrenaline rush of a tandem paraglider or microlite flight, or the quieter joys of a snowshoe hike, Tignes has one of the best selections of activities off piste in the Alps. Ice climbing, ice skating, ice driving, moonbiking, snowmobiling, horseback riding, helicopter rides, snowshoeing, yoga or even an escape game will appeal to skiers and non-skiers alike.
And remember, even if you don’t ski, you can still sign up for ski lessons! In the meantime, here are some of the other non-skiing highlights:
Bun J Ride
Let’s start with a Bun J ride – a combination of ski jumping, bungee riding and ziplining. Equipped with a harness attached to each side at the waist by two mobile elastic cords, you run a 30m track in a 4m gap. The system locks into place and once you’re stable, you zipline back down to the ground.
An absolute must for adrenaline junkies!
It’s the closest thing to being a penguin. Dressed in a neoprene drysuit, masked and breathing bottled air, you are invited to dive into a hole in the ice and explore the strange underwater world of Lac de Tignes.
You will be mesmerized as you watch your air bubbles rise under the ice and then race towards the exit. This unique experience gives you a whole new perspective on the famous frozen lake of Tignes, and if you want to spend some time on the surface, ice driving is also an exciting way to spend some time.
Ice diving sessions with Evolution 2 start at around €99.
Tobogganing, sledding and snow tubing
Very popular with families of course, the toboggan and snowtube rides are a great way to let off steam in the snow.
The snowtube course is at the entrance to the Grand Motte park in Val Claret and a family ticket will cost 13 euros for 30 minutes. There are toboggan runs in Tignes le Lac (La Banquise – near the Lagoon), Lavachet, Tignes 1800 and Les Brévières.
In Tignes, this translates into a thrilling ride on the frozen lake. Located in the heart of the resort, dog sledding fun is easily accessible as the dogs pull you through the peaceful wilderness.
A discovery session by the tour operator Evolution 2 costs from €108.
Visit the aquatic center and spas
The Lagon swimming pool is located in the heart of Tignes Le Lac, offering a spectacular view of the mountains through large bay windows. The lagoon has three swimming pools, which are suitable for both adults and children.
It features a wellness center with hot tubs, saunas and a steam room as well as a modern fitness area. There is also a climbing wall and a bouldering wall, trampolines, tennis, badminton and squash, so a visit to the sports center is definitely worthwhile.
There are also several luxury spas in Tignes, just waiting to welcome you and help you relax. Hotels such as Les Campanules and Les Suites du Montana offer extensive wellness facilities and treatments to residents and guests.
Not everything is full of adrenaline. There are fantastic winter hiking opportunities with marked trails that can be enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels. Easy routes are possible in sturdy hiking boots or snowshoes after a heavy snowfall.
You can pick up a guide from the tourist office and enjoy stunning views and escape into nature for a few hours or all day. You can take the Tovière gondola from Le Lac and have your picture taken in front of Mont Blanc. In Val Claret, you can ascend the mountain via the renovated Tignes funicular and the world’s largest gondola with viewing platform, which leads up to the glacier. And why not have lunch at the Panoramic restaurant?
You can also descend into the valley via the shuttle to Boisse then the pedestrian ski lift to Tignes Les Brévières at 1500m. This quaint village sits below the dam and has a more traditional feel with authentic French restaurants.
Enjoy the resort’s spectacular mountain scenery and many viewpoints
You can still enjoy the mountain even as a non-skier by purchasing a pedestrian pass. The pedestrian pass allows access to the main ski lifts, while many mountain restaurants are within walking distance via the ski lifts. It is therefore quite possible to enjoy the magnificent panoramic views from the heights and to meet up with family and friends for a refined meal. .
Fancy an end-of-season ski holiday in Tignes to try out some of these fantastic activities? Take a look at their spring offerings here.