SkiBike Tour 2014-15 - Tignes, Almost But No Cigar

Posted: Thursday, 26 February 2015 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

There has been a lot of mixed messages coming from the direction of Tignes, I had no problems way back in 2011 and managed to cover the whole of the Espace Killy by skibike. The following season it appeared that any skibike device with a saddle was totally banned (I hope I wasn't responsible) and as a result it has been off my radar ever since.

Recently a novice English skibiker went on a holiday to Tignes and reported no problems whatsoever, whilst at the same time the Tourist Office had informed French skibikers that skibikes were still not permitted.

Seeing as I was going to be in the region, my solution was to go there, do a bit of secret shopping and see what occurred. I had previously stayed at the Hotel Melezes at Tignes Les Boisses and I chose to stop nearby as; the road runs right next to the pistes, there are free parking spots and you can ride down to a selection of chairlifts and gondolas in minutes.

Hotel Melezes - Tignes les Boisses

I got my lift pass and as there was a huge queue I jumped on the Brevieres chairlift without issue and then the Boisses gondola. This got me into Tignes proper, but it was at the Marais chairlift that things got awkward. The lift operator got in touch with base and escalated the query right up to "Le Chef" and by this I don't mean the person who cooks lunch.

So it seems that the situation is as follows:
  1. Skibikes are permitted on all the pistes at Tignes, provided you have bought a lift ticket.
  2. All skibike devices must have a leash to use the chairlifts.
  3. If your skibike device has a saddle you must wear foot skis to ride the chairlifts, except those shared with pedestrian traffic.
The lifts where I was stopped are of the old fashioned and fast loading design, but in the core of the resort the majority are slow loading detachable types. There is no reason on earth why these can't be used by foot traffic other than out dated thinking.

Chairlifts - better knock up some foot skis

I could have driven up to Tignes le Lac, to see how these restrictions would limit the available terrain, but to be honest, I couldn't be bothered with the hassle. Instead I stowed my skibike stuff, grabbed some brunch from the car, put on my bobble hat and went on a mission to ski the shit out of the place.
So there was this natural, ungroomed black run, yeah whatever and I also got down a shed load of steep and icy red runs, picking my lines around the wounded and fallen, ho hum and I even did some fast cruising blues which I could really get on my edges and carve, hmm...
Skiing for me has now become too safe and boring, all fear gone; it lacks the challenges or rewards of skibiking. Maybe this is why you see skiers buying new skis and boots every other season, they're trying to rekindle some of the excitement of first love, oh those honeymoon moments spent in triage.

So there was this ungroomed black run

But travelling on the chairlifts, to which freestyle skibike access has been denied; all I could see was miles and miles of stunning off-piste and envision how brilliant they would be to go skibiking on. Bugger, might be time to get a SnowScoot.