In the early 1970's I went skiing a few times whilst in France at Grenoble and skied at Alpes Duez. I never really felt comfortable on snow and ice and therefore avoided the subject for some 36 years.
My wife had never been skiing and had always wanted to try. Friends invited us to join them on a week long holiday in April, Easter 2007 at Tignes, near Val d'Isère in the French Alps.
There were fourteen in the party with ages ranging from late twenties to early sixties. The major were experienced skiers, many learning when they were children.
My wife and another person had booked beginners lessons and started the learning process. Seeing the snow put me off, however, I rented some equipment and within an hour it was back at the rental shop!
Unless you were actually on the pistes the snow was disappearing fast and the air was warm with daily temperatures reaching 23 degrees. Although it was Easter the Christmas feeling is still there with Christmas decorations in the restaurants, up in the streets, Christmas lights on trees and buildings. The "12 days" of Christmas are well extended!
There is a very new swimming pool complex in the center of Tignes-Le-Lac and apart from a large pool with a children's area there are also saunas, Jacuzzis and a steam room.
Several lengths of the pool works up a good appetite to meet the skiers for lunch. By borrowing or buying a ticket for the ski lifts, funicular railway or cable car enables a non-skier to take advantage of the fabulous views from heights up to 3456 m.
A particular favorite lunch time place for our group was to meet – either by skiing there or taking the "bubble" cable car to a restaurant up the slope from La Daile. The restaurant had live and disco music from "Funky House" with a saxophone player, drummer on the roof, an electric violin and the waitress with a radio microphone singing along as the cleared the tables!
Another enjoyable trip was taking the free shuttle bus from Tignes-Le-Lac then taking the Funiculaire Grande Motte railway to the Ski d'ete (summer skiing zone) at Grotte de Glace. This area is actually on a glacier there is all year round skiing here. You then go in a cable car up 3456 of "La Grande Motte" mountain peak. The height of witch is 3656 meters. One of our group, on an earlier visit had then climbed the mountain from the 3456 metro cable car terminus and skid down the mountain!
Tignes that is made up of Tignes-Le-Lac at 2100 meters, Tignes Les Boisses at 1850 meters and Tignes Les Brevieres at 1550 meters and Val Claret is full of French, British, Dutch and other nationality companies running running chalets and ferrying skiers about in Land Rovers and mini buses. The car parks were full of Belgian, British, Dutch, German, Swiss and even French registered cars whose owners were taking a skiing break over the Easter vacation.
Tignes and the surrounding area is very much on the map in 2007 with "The 2007 Tour de France" passing through Tignes on Monday 16th July and on Tuesday 17th will go from nearby Val-d'Isère to Briançon.
The week was most enjoyable sampling the excellent culinary skills of the two Dutch guys running the chalet and benefiting from a lot of exercise, excellent après ski, wandering around the smart shops of Val d'Isère and good weather in addition.