Tignes and Val D’Isere 160 km’s of mountain bike trails and a free lift pass!

Mountainbike routes

The Tignes and Val D’Isere bike park is a mountainbikers dream. 160 km’s of trails for all levels and types of riders. From smooth green trails your mom can ride on her hard tail, to challenging black DH runs and enduro trails that make you forget you’re in a bike park. And the best thing of all is that the lift pass is free!

There are plenty of attractions in and around the lake in Tignes. So if your family doesn’t ride they will not be bored.

Mountain biking in Tignes

Pro’s

  • Free lift pass.
  • A lot of different trails, both for beginners and experts.
  • Natural enduro trails.
  • Good trail maintenance.
  • A lot of other attractions for non cycling family members.

Cons

  • It can feel a bit touristy, almost like an all inclusive resort, but maybe that’s exactly the thing you’re looking for.
  • The lifts close for lunch, this might take some planning.
    (If these are the cons then there really aren’t any?)

The village

There are actually several villages, the three main ones are: Tignes, Val Claret and Val D’Isere.
Tignes is at an altitude of 2100m on a relatively flat spot, that’s why it’s more spread out than similar purpose build ski resorts.
Val Claret is in the same valley as Tignes on the other side of the beautiful lake. During the summer parts of Val Claret have a ghost town vibe, most attractions, shops and restaurants are in Tignes.
In Tignes there are to much attractions to name, there are soccer and tennis fields, a swimming pool, all sorts of activities in the lake like big slides and Stand Up Paddle boards. A golf corse, summer skiing on the glacier, via ferrata’s ….
Val D’Isere is about 20 minutes by car from Tignes and is even posher, with more shopping and restaurants. And less of the “playground entertainment ” that Tignes offers.

The original Tignes used to be located on what is now the bottom of the reservoir.

The reservoir is emptied every ten years. The remains of the village are still clearly visible. (Click the picture for a larger version)

There are several small supermarkets in the villages, for a larger (and cheaper) supermarket you will have to drive down to Bourg St. Maurice.

Hotels and apartments

Booking.com

When you book a qualifying accommodation (incl. the camping), you will get a “MyTignes” card, which gives you unlimited free access to the lifts and other activities during your stay.

Campings

There is a large camping near Tignes les Brevieres, as far as I know there is no website. But it’s not necessary to make a reservation anyway. There is plenty of space. Most people stay on the main field, but I recommend that you look a bit further and choose one of the more secluded spaces. Where you just have to stick your arm out of your tent to pick fresh raspberries and strawberries for breakfast.
The showers and toilets could use an update, but the friendly ladies at the reception keep everything clean.
In the small chalet below their home is a small kitchen, with a refrigerator and a room to sit on colder nights.
When you’re staying in the campground you also qualify for the free lift pass. It’s actually cheaper to stay a night at the camping than to pay the 10Euro for the single day lift pass!
The free bike shuttle stops at the entrance of the camping and there are several trails to choose from to ride back down to the camping.

There is also Camping Richardes in Val D’Isere, it’s a bit higher up and more exposed to the elements. But you can ride your bike to the lift without pedaling.

Mountainbike trails

Due to the soil type and the extensive maintenance the trails dry up quickly after rain and mainly the steeper trails will become dry and dusty with loose gravel when it hasn’t rained often. The easier trails will get brake bumps, but not as terrible as some other popular bike parks.

The bike park is spread out over three valleys. I have listed some descents that are technically in the Tignes or Val D’Isere sections in the Borsat section, because you need the Borsat lift to get to the top of the trail.

Tignes

Palafour

Easyride and Smoothie live up to there names, these easy and smooth flow trails are suitable for beginners on xc bikes, but experienced riders will have a lot of fun when they come down with more speed.
Jump around is a good introduction to bike park riding if you already know some of the basic techniques. A lot of berms and some smaller rollable jumps.
Red Hot is in a similar style as Jump Around, but the jumps are bigger, the are steeper sections, some parts are rougher with rocks and loose gravel and the overal speed is higher.
Palaf and Rocky Trail take you away from the bike park trails in to outstanding natural terrain, with several steeper parts, but nothing extreme.

Tarte a Lognan requires some pedaling to get to the start, first follow the green trail, then follow the signs to the right. You are rewarded for your effort with a smooth (no brake bumps!), fast flow trail with big berms and tables. At the bottom in Val Claret you can do some laps on the pump track.
The easiest way to go up to the Tufs chairlift is to take the elevator that you will find to the right of the Sherpa supermarket. It’s called ascenseur du Bollin.

Tufs

The Tufs lift takes you to other fun trails like Kangooride, which as the name implies involves a lot of jumping. Most of the jumps are rollable, the gap jumps are clearly marked. Most tables are nice and  flowing, but some might surprise you with a bit more kick or require you to take them at a bit of an angle. So check the trail before you commit at full speed.

DH : Tignes : Kangooride
Watch this video on YouTube.

Gunpowder is an explosive blast down, with lots of berms and smaller tables.
Funky Tufs has an interesting, but not very difficult section in the tufs, which is a nice change from the flow trails. After that it continues in a similar style as the blue trails.

Toviere

The Gypsy is rougher and steeper than Funky Tufs. There is one more challenging section in the tufs, where you come over a crest, then dive straight down into a sharp left turn. There is no berm to catch you, but you will have plenty of grip. The trail continues with a couple more short steep sections and some fast sections through loose rocks.
If this is beyond your skills you should certainly stay away from Moustache which seeks the steepest and narrowest lines through the tufs landscape.
When you commit it’s an awesome trail, but it’s not for everybody and there is no easy escape until you reach the end of the trail. Where you can switch to gypsy or continue on Black Metal.

MOUSTACHE, Tignes, France
Watch this video on YouTube.

Black Metal is a steep succession of berms. when you stay on the main line you’re on compact grippy soil, but when you’re of the line you’ll end up in loose gravel. I find Black Metal easier than Moustache, but it still requires skill and commitment. It’s not a trail where you can drag your brakes and roll down at walking pace.
The Kamasu trail is an entirely different beast, with a lot of big gap jumps and drops. Even when you’re not into jumps this big, you can still go around them for a fast and flowing ride.
The enduro trail Wild 10 Nez is mostly alpine singletrack, that isn’t very difficult most of the time, although some steeper parts will become more challenging when they are wet and slippery.
Near the pas de Tovière is a rocky section where some basic trials skills will help you more then extra suspension.

Borsat

The Borsattack is a fast and flowing blue trail that brings you to the Borsat lift. You will not see the Borsat lift while you’re descending, you will see a couple of other lifts that aren’t running. But don’t worry at the end you turn right and the lift is right there. Or turn left and continue down to Val D’Isere.
From the top of the Borsat lift, you can descent the Blue Lagoon, which isn’t very exciting in my opinion.
About half way down you can change to the Tarentaise Airline, which starts out fast and flowing and later becomes a fun jump line, bringing you back to Tignes Val Claret.
Fresse Tagada, is another jump line with bigger jumps and Scarefresse has even bigger jumps for the elite riders.

Very Bike Trip is mostly flowing alpine single track, here and there are some rougher patches with either loose or embedded rocks. In other spots the trail is easy, but the consequences of a mistake would be serious, because you would tumble all the way down to Val D’Isere.
Only the last bit of the trail is difficult, it’s steep and slippery with loose rocks.
In the top part you have to pay attention to not loose the trail since it isn’t always clearly visible, you will cross some land rover tracks, but the trail never follows these.
For most of the trail you won’t notice that you’re riding in a bike park.

Very bike trip (full trail)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Tabasco is an easy connection to the Borsat lift. It was a new trail in 2019, when it becomes more established it will hopefully become more exciting.

Val D’isere

From the top of the Olympique lift, with it’s large gondola’s, you can have an exciting, fast and flowing ride with small tables on Val Bleue.
The Fast Wood has some small and medium size drops and gaps, but no other technical difficulties.
The Bellev’hard starts out as a black flow trail in a similar style as the Kamasutrail, then further down it becomes more of a rocky natural trail. The last time I was there the bottom part was closed, which is sad because it was fun, but it looked very eroded.
The Rock’n Ride is a fun natural single trail that is a mix of technical rock section and easier hiking paths. On the hiking paths it is possible that you will meet hikers, so watch out.

Books and maps

GPS

Mtb trailmap

plan des pistes vtt tignes val d'isere mountain bike map kaart karte
 Click the map for a larger version

Bike shops/ guiding/ Mountainbike rental

There are plenty of bike shops in Tignes and Val D’Isere, there is a list on the Tignes website.
They are mostly ski rental shops that are focused on renting out bikes during the summer.

Tips and tricks

The lifts close for 30 min. around lunch time, some close at 12:30 others at 13:00. So if you plan correctly you could continue riding without interruption.

When you book a qualifying accommodation (incl. the camping), you will get a “MyTignes” card, which gives you unlimited free access to the lifts and other activities during your stay.
If you don’t have a MyTignes card, you can buy one for 10Euro’s/day, which is still a lot cheaper than liftpasses in other bike parks.

Tignes is build on top of a large car park, where you can park for free.
In Val D’Isere there is a free parking just before you reach the olympique lift.

Col de l’Iseran (el. 2,764 metres (9,068 ft)) is the highest paved pass in the Alps. There is stunning scenery all around it, it is certainly worth a sightseeing trip.

Other useful links

Nearby

Les Arcs The bike park trails are a bit spread out, the easier trails have been brake bumped to death by rental bikes, but the long natural descents are certainly worth a visit.
La Rosiere A small bike park, with a couple of fun trails, but it can’t compete with nearby bike parks like Les Arcs, Tignes and La Thuile.
La Thuile is awesome! Don’t go there if you’re looking for flow trails, but if you’re having fun on the black natural trails in Tignes, you’ll love La Thuile.

Similar

Paganella has a similar mix of easy flow trails and more difficult natural trails, that sometimes require some pedaling.
Saalbach-Hinterglemm The layout and the number and diversity of the trails are all similar, but with an Austrian flavor.
Les Deux Alpes plenty of easy flow trails and more difficult options.

Leave a Reply

Sidebar