Tignes/ Val d'Isere

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  • Tignes/ Val d'Isere
  • Hi, we are off to Tignes this week.

    Can anyone tell me about the area? Especially if anyone has been this year.

    Doesn’t have to just be about mountain biking. I am also interested in road biking, via feratta and climbing. We are also very keen to go for a walk across the glacier.

    Premier Icon stevomcd

    The mountain biking is pretty average. Most of the marked trails are pretty poor-quality man-made stuff. There is some decent singletrack around (Wonderboisses!), but much less than in the other resorts lower down the valley.

    Road biking is pretty good, straight on the Col de l’Iseran – although you’ll inevitably have a massive climb to finish the day if you want to ride any other cols, unless you drive to the bottom.

    All summer activities in Tignes are free, which is pretty cool.

    You may be somewhat disappointed with a walk across the glacier if you mean the Tignes skiing glacier. It’s very small and crammed to bursting with skiers doing race training. Much better to do a walk up to see the glaciers on Mont Pourri or l’Aiguille de la Grande Sassiere.
    Via Ferrata at la Daille is superb.

    Cheers for the info Stevo,
    I understand they have done some work on the man-made trails to improve them. The new map is just out and there seems to be loads of trails.


    Are the Enduro trails the natural ones then? How does the difficulty level of the enduro trails compair to the downhill stuff?

    La Daille sounds like a must.

    Premier Icon Bolt

    Stopped in val dìsere last august with kids.
    Lifts are free just put down a deposit for the pass.
    You can only ride the marked trails as the rest is national park status.
    So its all downhill routes!
    I rode one of the enduro trails but it was badly signed and more like a steep landrover access road.
    We rode all the blue routes with kids, but the reds are more full on.


    Premier Icon stevomcd

    You can only ride the marked trails as the rest is national park status.

    No, very little of the ski area is in the national park. Almost everything is legit. Val d’Isere side does have a lot of “no bikes” signs to keep you away from the walkers.

    The Enduro trails are waymarked natural stuff. Expect lots of doubletrack and some sketchy, patchy singletrack. Some very good sections, but a lot of dross. Difficulty level varies wildly.

    BikePark stuff is OK, some of it very dull/repetitive (berm, shit jump, berm, shit jump, berm, shit jump, repeat ad nauseum) and feeling very half-built, some of it not bad.

    Sorry if I’m not sounding very enthusiastic, but I live in the valley and only ride Tignes once or twice per season. Usually find myself wishing I was elsewhere!

    Wonderboisses + Forest Bump is a must though, great trail.

    I’ve bought the local maps and am competent at navigation. Are there any good XC routes for a day out? The prettier the better.

    Premier Icon stevomcd

    Climb up to the Barrage du Saut, then follow the singletrack heading due West from the car park. Explore, basically all the trails up there are very good (although there is some pushing required on the ups). I’d personally recommend La Clittaz – La Revirette – (stay high at Ruisseau du Chevril) – switchbacks (awesome!) down towards le Villaret, but bear left to cross the tunnel and hit the road. Or bear right, climb to Orsiere then Nazonde – Le Biolley.

    This is scenically stunning with some very good riding. Quite technical at times, but nothing terrifying (except maybe the switchbacks down to le Villaret – they are awesome though).

    Sorry been really busy Stevo, thanks for that just what I wanted.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    We spent a good day at Tignes on a midweek rest day (while on a White Room week), pretty much agree with all of Stevo’s criticisms but we still had a great day out- it’s got a really familiar UK trail centre feel, good for a brain-out chilled day off. If I’d ridden to the top of any of the trails I’d have hunted the trailbuilders down and killed them, mind, but with a free uplift I am less particular 😉 I think we rode all the bikepark stuff under the palafour chairlift and one or maybe 2 of the reds on the gondola side, and IIRC the enduro trail Palaf which was mint in places but probably not worth all the effort and shit bits.

    And then we took the Wonderbus down the hill, which was ace. Then the next day we did it again with Stevo which was also ace.

    Premier Icon stevomcd

    No worries. The switchback descent to le Villaret can be avoided by going straight on and passing above them rather than taking a sharp left to go down. Good trail too and worth considering if you’re going to do a longer ride on towards Nazonde, etc. The push back up from le Villaret is a b*tch!

    This might be a daft question but..

    We don’t have road bikes just CX bikes and mountain bikes. We are considering taking both. If we ride up the Col de l’Iseran are there any off road tracks back down again rideable on the CX bike?

    Are any of the tracks down from the barrage rideable on CX bike? Or maybe Wonderboisses?

    Are there any good off road routes suitable for a CX? We are trying to work out if it is worth taking them. If we are only going to do one road ride then we can always hire a full road bike over there.

    Cheers again for any help

    Quick bump as there must be an STW alps CX expert.

    Premier Icon stevomcd

    You could ride the upper part of the GR5 down from the Iseran on a cross bike, then double-trackish stuff as far as the Fornet cable-car top station. After that, it wouldn’t be much fun.

    I wouldn’t ride anything from le Saut on a cross bike. Wonderboisses might be just about manageable (mostly buff, Alpine-meadow type singletrack, but some rocky sections too), but I wouldn’t do the Forest Bump extension (tight, steep switchbacks!).

    Disclaimer – I have never ridden a cross bike!

    There is an off-road route that potentially runs from Tignes les Brevieres all the way to Bourg Saint Maurice, on the rive Gauche side via La Savinnaz, La Gurraz, etc. On the road briefly at La Raie, but then off-road again via La Thuile, Villaroger, Viclaire, etc. This would be do-able on a cross bike. It’s a mix of easy singletrack and doubletrack. The first section from Les Brevieres can be frustrating as it has a lot of ups-and-downs and is frequently affected by small landslides, so there are often a lot of large/loose rocks on the trail.

    Excellent, thanks again stevo.
    I think we will try to take both bikes.

    Obviously this is dependent on Mr TW not packing stupid amounts of unnecessary junk. I know he will insist on taking at least one set of underwear for each day plus a change of clothes for the evening.

    Are there mosquitoes in the area?

    Premier Icon stevomcd

    Mossies are not an issue. There are some around if you’re in a low-lying, shady area near the river (e.g. Viclaire) in the evening, but you’d be very unlikely to see one in Tignes.

    If you did take the CX bikes up to the barrage du Saut, there is an out-and-back doubletrack trail up to the next dam. This area is a nature reserve and cycling is not allowed, but there’s an exception for the doubletrack road between the dams.

    That sounds good. We were hoping for a long but gentle photo day out, somewhere pretty. If it a nature reserve I might pack the binoculars as well.

    Premier Icon stevomcd

    Well worth it – we regularly see Ibex, Chamois and Golden Eagles up there. And it’s practically carpeted with marmottes.

    Excellent. Thanks again for all your help. You have been really useful. It is easy for people to say just look at a map, but it really isn’t that simple.


    Stevo where is the closest and best riding to Tignes then? We are heading over that way in a few weeks but have transport so could head further for better lift assisted enduro xc gnar heroics.

    Premier Icon stevomcd

    Nonsense: any of the other resorts in the valley have better singletrack riding – Sainte Foy (4×4 uplift), La Rosiere, Les Arcs/La Plagne and La Thuile over in Italy.

    Tignes/Val really isn’t an MTB destination yet, however much they may pretend to be.

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