A - Z of resorts: Tignes

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The Independent Travel

My most vivid memory of Tignes is of being bundled up in more than the usual number of sweaters, three pairs of gloves on, nose turning white with frostbite. The temperature was around minus 10C, and it snowed a lot. But even the uncharacteristically cold weather couldn't detract from a few days of fantastic skiing.

The resort forms half of the Espace Killy, named after the Olympic champion and local boy, Jean-Claude Killy; Val d'Isère makes up the rest of the area, so anyone staying in either resort has access to almost 200 miles of pistes.

Not that there is any real need to stray from Tignes: it has some fabulous long wide runs, particularly around Aiguille Perceé and on the opposite mountain, Tovière. The Grande Motte Glacier is quickly reached by underground railway, and its slopes extend the season through most of the summer. But perhaps its greatest draw, and the real reason why many people return to Tignes, is the amount of off-piste skiing.

There are some disadvantages, of course: the resort is ugly, despite attempts to cover the buildings in traditional-style cladding; the lack of trees makes the area bleak and vulnerable to avalanches; and Tignes isn't the liveliest place in the evening. But these are small drawbacks; the main point about Tignes is that it offers some of the best skiing in Europe.

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