A Guide to The Espace Killy: Beginner Rider Edition

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Tignes Les Brevieres is a perfect gateway to the greater Espace Killy. However, the slopes and getting around can feel quite daunting for complete beginners.

We’ve handcrafted this guide for all the novice skiers among you, so you know how best to tackle the region as a newbie and where to find the best beginner ski routes.

First, we would always recommend booking into a ski school for any first time skiers. If you can afford it, private lessons are great for some personal tuition and rapid improvement. But if that’s a little more than what you’ve budgeted for, a group course will also give you a good understanding of not only the basic principles of skiing but also of mountain safety and awareness. We suggest taking an initial three sessions to give you the basic skills before heading off into the mountains.

So whether you’ve done some basic training, or you skied years ago but feel you want to go back to basics, there are some great routes in the Espace Killy which are well suited for beginners. Below is a suggested plan for the first few days of your holiday with Chalet Chardons.

 

Day 1:

Located next to the new gondola station in Les Brevieres you will find an also new drag lift. You can hop off this onto the nursery slope and we would suggest trying a couple of runs at least from here to build up your confidence before venturing any further out of the village.

Next to the drag lift is the brand new gondola complex which has been developed over the past 2 summers. This lift takes you to the next village of Tignes Les Boisses/1800 and is free of charge for beginners wanting to access the “Magic Carpet” lifts and green slopes located in Boisses. From here you can also get onto a long, flat sweeping blue run locally nicknamed “The Summer Road”. This is perfect for practicing control of speed and gentle turns without fear of losing control or being face

d with too much traffic.

This piste does get narrower and a little steeper than the nursery slope at a couple of points but there is netting along the edge so it’s still pretty safe. These two slopes should provide more than enough terrain to try out on your first day in the resort, especially if you chose not to do a training course.

For getting food or drink while skiing around this area, there is a lovely little spot for lunch at the bottom of the hill called La Bouida. Alternatively you can venture in the village further and try out the beautiful terrace at La Sachette or for a more relaxed option go to The Boot Room pub. Or for those on a budget, why not just lounge in the sun with your Chardons prepared packed lunch – both yummy and hassle free!

Day 2:

Hopefully you had a successful day one and are feeling a bit more confident and you’re keen to head back on to the slopes for round two!

If this is the case then maybe it’s time to broaden your horizons and venture to Tignes Le Lac. Depending on your confidence and how day 1 went you could get the Brevieres gondola lift to Les Boisses and then take the magic carpets into the main village. If you walk through the square you will come to a roundabout and bus stop with a regular service up to Tignes Le Lac. The bus is free and goes every quarter past and quarter to the hour.

 

Once in Tignes Le Lac you have a couple of skiing options without needing to purchase a lift pass. The best option at first is to walk over the bridge (to your right if you are facing the Maison de Tignes) and follow this path. Do this with your skis on so that the gentle downward hill takes you to the drag lift on the Lavachet Nursery slope.
Use this area at first to get your legs warmed up for the day – it’s important you always warm up in the morning before tackling any harder slopes! This piste is wider than the nursery slope in Les Brevieres and will allow you to practice the full radius of the turn and to practice a few turns in succession.

Once your legs are warmed up and you’re feeling good, from the top of the drag lift go straight ahead and go down the short path to the bottom of the slope under the Rosset Chairlift. Hop on the chairlift and head on up to the top of this hill.

This piste offers a steeper fall line and is good for getting used to controlling your speed and using long radius turns. Be aware that this piste will get a lot of traffic so you’ll need all your mountain senses to avoid accidents on here – but it’s great practice for understanding how to ski amongst others.

For when you’re ready to stop for lunch, there are several options around Le Lac. You can have a burger, chips and a drink at the Loop Bar or The Marmot Arms for approximately €15 or there are two amazing local French patisseries which we would firmly recommend giving a try, including The Chevallot which is located next to Tignes Cuisine on the main strip in Le Lac. For the cheaper option you can always pop to the Sherpa or Carrefour to buy some food, or alternatively opt for the packed lunch service from your chalet.

Day 3:

Hopefully by now you’ve mastered the basics and you’re ready to hit the big time slopes by buying yourself a lift pass. There are several great areas for learners so we would recommend getting the full Espace Killy lift pass to give you access to the whole mountain.

A great starting point for your third day would be to repeat your trip up the Brevieres gondola, however this time continue on the linked gondola from Boisses to the Marais area. From here if you take the Aguille Rouge chairlift and head left off this at the top, you will then find a blue run into Le Lac if you continue to bear left. Be aware the first section of this from the chairlift to the Lo Soli restaurant is quite steep, however after this it flattens out quickly. Make sure you continue straight when it forks in 2 directions as otherwise you will find yourself skiing back down to Les Boisses and then Les Brevieres.

For a good first run in the Le Lac area, get the Palafour chairlift up and from the top take either a left or a right. The right is a little flatter and easier so might be the better option if you’re after something a bit steadier still.

Follow this run – named “Kadjar” – all the way back to the bottom of the Palafour chairlift. There’s also a lovely and reasonably priced restaurant half-way down this slope if you’re feeling a bit peckish or in need of a drink (the hot chocolate is especially delicious).

If you manage this run and you’re feeling confident then head on up the Toviere Bubble. From the top of here you can take the blue piste – called “Henri” – down into Val Claret. You can then either get the bus back to Tignes Le Lac or take the green run “Fresse” and then the green run “Vert” all the way into La Daille. Once in La Daille, take the funicular up and you will find the “Ski Tranquille” area with a whole number of green runs perfect for working on your riding skills.

When you’re ready to head back for the day, you need to make your way down the top section of the “Vert” piste, testing your skills on the petit boarder cross, to the Tommeuses lift. From here you can return to the top of the Toviere bubble where you can slowly head back into Tignes (or get the bubble down again if your legs are tired after all that skiing or boarding!)

We hope this gives you a handy insight into the options available for all you beginners eager to learn the ropes on the slopes of the Espace Killy. Look out for guides aimed at both Intermediate and Advanced skiers and boarders coming soon!

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