In July we travelled to Tignes in the French Apls. It was the holiday we had always dreamed of! It sounded so perfect. Put your bike on an uplift, get to the top, bike to the bottom and start all over again. This holiday finally became a reality this summer.
Flying into Geneva, there was still a good bit of driving to do. Travelling with bikes was a lot less traumatic than I thought it would be. Now, that could be because we travelled with a BOY and they tend to bring all the techy, important bits!
Les Boisses, Tignes
Thankfully the Chalet provided us with a transfer, bikes and all! The drive up into Tignes is pretty scenic. The roads are mainly hairpin bends and people drive like someone is chasing them, so it was nice to be a passenger. We stayed in the Chalet Hotel Les Melezes, in Tignes Les Boisses. http://mountainsunltd.com Which is just outside Tignes itself. The Chalet was perfect! It had such a relaxed atmosphere and almost everyone who worked there had a similar passion for the outdoors. A perfect combo of endless food, great staff and a sunny deck for the evenings!
There was an MTB shuttle running up to Tignes daily from the local bus stop. Again, no uphill required! 🙂 This was less than a minute cycle from our Chalet. The shuttle dropped us at the main centre where we climbed up the steps to get the first view of the mountains!
Summer was in full swing, long grass and colors and a splash of snow still sitting on the tops of the highest peaks. Getting the lift pass was easy. Tignes offers a free lift pass for bikers throughout the summer which made our decision to pick it as our resort of choice very easy! The bike park map was free and pretty easy to follow! We were up on the lifts within 10 mins of arriving! No queues, no messing! We took the main lift up to Toviere at 2704 meters. The view here is incredible.
I was already feeling the difference in altitude, breathing like I’d run a marathon! We thought we would start simple, get used to the trails. They are all named and graded as per usual. Someone had some imagination, with “Funky Turfs” “Kangoride” and “Gunpowder” to name just a few! We started on “Blue Lagoon”, which was incredibly scenic. So scenic in fact it was hard to concentrate. The switch backs were beside some pretty steep edges so concentrating became compulsory.
Dizzyness and plasters!
I wasn’t at home on my bike for the first day. Whether it was the attitude or the constant gravity, I was braking like crazy and feeling out of balance! Thankfully it was short lived as the rest of the week was super! At the end of day one I could barely open my hands from the braking! They were cramped shut!
Instead of taking the road home we went down the enduro type trail called “Rocky Trail’ which was to finish just outside our Chalet! Handy! I can’t recommend doing this if you are already pretty wrecked from the day as its narrow and pretty steep so if you aren’t totally with it just stick with the road! 🙂 The views were incredible! As the trail wound around the mountain we suddenly got a view of the turquoise lake in Les Boisses. It’s hard to explain how stunning it is. The mountain air is rich, the cow bells are ringing loudly through the valley and butterflies dance through the fox gloves. Is it biking heaven? I’m sure of it!
The Rocky Trail also has hillwalkers so careful now! As well as a bit of uphill, which I wasnt too happy with after a full day biking! Either way, it’s far superior to the normal road home.
As the week went on braking wasnt such a problem, either were the steep edges or constant downhill. There is so much to choose from in Tignes and it is setup so well! There is a active centre with a pump track, a massive bike airbag, a skate park, trampolines, a crazy airbag, rock climbing, heli tours, rafting, water ball, paintball and the blob jump! most of which are FREE with your uplift pass! You can even bike into Val D’isere on the same pass. We did this one day and cycled back the road into Les Boisses. I’m glad we did as we ended up with a lovely view of the lake from the opposite side and well as a chance to stare down the face of the dam!
We weren’t without our bike issues as well and I have to thank Startline Mtb for their help! Based in Tignes and Val D’isere, they cover bike rental to guiding and repairs!! Check out their website here http://startlinemtb.com
Another trail worth looking at was “Into the Wild”. Take the lift to the top of Borsat and start a little bit of “Blue Lagoon” until you turn off for “Into the wild”. It’s more like a fireroad trail but again the views as you come around Rocher Du Charvet and into the valley of Val D’isere are amazing. The Bellvarde side of the mountain is just as good with “Popeye” and “Val Blue” being my favourites! These trails flow so well and there are endless jumps and berms to play with!
Full Tignes trail map can be found here : http://public.tignes.net/TIGNES.NET/Bike_park_Tignes_2015.pdf
After a week of biking and resort activities I was left with some strange looking sun burn, dust in the weirdest places, some fairly rough looking hands and an addiction! I think Tignes may be one of those places you get an addiction for and feel the need to return to! There is something quite magic about the place, possibly a combination of the air, the views and the wonderful atmosphere! It is biking heaven! I wouldn’t change it for any other kind of holiday! Roll on July 2016!
To find out more about Biking in Tignes click here