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Overview

The Grande Motte glacier, above Tignes, used to offer full year-round skiing, but the glacier’s shrinkage due to global warming has exposed two rock spurs that will eventually split the glacier in two, so skiing is now closed for a few weeks between seasons. But from mid-June through early August, skiers can hit the snow from early morning until early afternoon, and non-skiers can ride the lifts to visit the glacier and enjoy lunch on a terrace with a breath-taking panorama of the Alps that extends to Mont Blanc. More traditional summer outdoor sports abound, with walking and hiking in the Vanoise National Park on trails suitable for every ...

The Grande Motte glacier, above Tignes, used to offer full year-round skiing, but the glacier’s shrinkage due to global warming has exposed two rock spurs that will eventually split the glacier in two, so skiing is now closed for a few weeks between seasons. But from mid-June through early August, skiers can hit the snow from early morning until early afternoon, and non-skiers can ride the lifts to visit the glacier and enjoy lunch on a terrace with a breath-taking panorama of the Alps that extends to Mont Blanc. More traditional summer outdoor sports abound, with walking and hiking in the Vanoise National Park on trails suitable for every activity level. Canyoning, rafting, even whitewater swimming are available, with experienced guides, and several high-altitude lakes are filled with trout. The beach at Tignes lake becomes a water sports center, with kayaks, canoes and paddle boat along with swimming, and sailing enthusiasts can catch the wind in a catamaran or Hobbie Cat. More unusual is the Italian sport of hiking a via ferrata (road of iron), a mountain route along cliffs and rock faces that is equipped with ladders and fixed cables, crossing gorges on cable bridges. Even children can participate in this sport, as there are routes for all levels.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Tignes is in the Savoie department, Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France with good transport links from Lyon, Geneva and Chambery. It is best known as a ski resort and together with nearby Val d'Isère, it forms the "Espace Killy" ski area.
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Tgnes | Tignes | Espace Killy

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Skiing on the glacier lasts from from mid-June through early August, but mountain sports last all summer and fall. The altitude keeps summer temperatures pleasant.