Hybrid Skibiking Day 4 - Espace Killy Skibike Safari...Pegged Out

Posted: Saturday, 9 April 2011 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , ,

I wanted to finish my hybrid pegger skibike week on a high note, so having bombed around the area with Richard Platt yesterday I formulated a challenge to test how in tune I have become with my pegger style Veloski the Firem VS skibike.

I wanted to see if I could cover the entire domain of L'Espace Killy i.e. Tignes, Val Claret, La Daille, Val D'Isere, Le Fornet and L'Iseran in a single day. It would be impossible to skibike every run, apart from the time aspect, some pistes are only accessible by drag lift or teleski as they like to call them and skibikes are not currently permitted to use the drag lifts.

I made a rough itinerary in my head and set off at 9:30 prompt. What follows is a description of the routes I followed, it is more for my benefit than yours, so I'll not be offended if you skip to the last paragraph.

Skibiking down the melezes piste I went to the Boisse Gondola
Coming out of the top station it was a minute down the slope to the Aiguille Rouge Chairlift by following the rhododendron and petit col I got myself to Tignes le Lac.
Then I without delay I was on the fast Aeroski Gondola - to the top of Toviere.
Following the creux piste got me to the Mont Blanc Chairlift, however the operator insisted that it wasn't permitted to use skibikes on it.
Thinking on my feet I realised that I could follow the diebold piste all the way to La Daille.
Arriving in La Daille I went to the amazing Funival, a funicular railway that runs inside the mountain from La Daille to the top of the Rocher de Bellevarde.
Coming out of the Funival I headed down the santon piste, an entertainig natural half pipe made a little more technical by the amount of slush and narrowness of the piste.
Arriving in Val D'Isere I got on the Solaisse Express to the top of the Solaisse and went down the slope to the Datcha chairlift.
The Datcha chairlift gave me the altitude to utilise the fourche piste to run down to the Glacier Express chairlift.
Coming off the top the leissieres piste runs down to the Leissieres Express chairlift. This is an unusual chairlift in that it crosses a high ridge, as you reach the peak you are given some spectacular and vertiginous vistas, don't look down! It is also unusual in that it has traffic running in both directions.

The vallon piste ran down to the start of the Vallon de L'Iseran gondolla, at the top, the short lac cema piste lead me to the Cascade Express chairlift. The only lift up was the Montets drag lift, denied to skibikers and the highest point at nearly 3488 metres and the farthest point in L'Espace Killy.
I made a couple of quick runs down the cascade piste to mark the half way point and ate a quick snack on piste. Checking my watch I was surprised to find it was already 1pm, time to start heading back.

Col de l'Iseran - the half way point

The lac cema and pont abatte runs get you back to the Lessieres Express chairlift, this is the "up and over" chairlift and the view coming over the ridge is even more spectacular on the way back. The leissieres piste got me down to the Datcha chairlift which gave access to the "Ski Tranquille" area on the top of the Solaise mountain.
Following the signs for Val D'Isere took me down piste M, steep, narrow and with monster piles of mashed potato to smash through.
Next I got into the huge L'Olympique cable car, with the clock ticking away I followed the easy diebold and verte pistes to the Tommeuses chairlift. Overlooking Tignes the end was nearly in sight. The piste H run went all the way to Val Claret where I was able to get some upift from the Tichot and Grattalu chairlifts.
Following the lac piste I began to get a feeling of panic, the pistes had emptied and the lift operators were starting to close up for the evening. Would I make the last 2 lifts?
Riding the Grand Huit chairlift I checked my watch, 3:35pm, I had 10 minutes left to get to the top and down the perce neige piste. I smashed my way as fast as I dared without risking a crash and just made it to the Aiguile Perce chairlift at closing.
At the top I could throttle back and cruise down the corniche, rhodedendron and melezes pistes.


I had arranged to celebrate my sucess with the Firem VS by staying an extra night in Tignes les Boisses, but as the Hotel de Dome was fully booked, I moved across the road to the Hotel Melezes.
From first impressions it is a basic but efficient chalet hotel occupied by lots of thin, active and fit people. They made me feel like the fat kid who's going to be last to be picked for the football team.....again.
The 15 Euro dinner was gourmet quality, I have eaten far worse in 5 star hotels and there was plenty of complimentary red and white wine. There were a lot of other independent travellers staying, many of whom had taken advantage of the power of the Internet to find a late season, last minute bargain.

Chalet Hotel Les Melezes, Tignes - Gourmet cuisine at budget prices