Saturday, 27 October 2007

Back to the Espace Killy

Well, I am all set for my autumn race training session. I have a fortnight booked in Tignes - I would have liked to have spent longer, but time and money constraints precluded that. I am looking forward to returning to the Espace Killy area after a six year absence. My first ski season was spent working in a hotel in La Daille - the cheap end of Val D'Isere, just over the hill from Tignes - over the 99/2000 season. I returned to visit a couple of times the following season when I was working in Meribel, but have not been back since.

The ski area is truly world class - one of the best places I have ever skied. It has everything for the good to expert skier - fast reds, tough blacks, huge areas of accessible off-piste, steeps and couloirs as extreme as you want them and plenty of back country to explore. The lift system is excellent, with many high speed lifts. However the number of good and expert skiers in the area means you have to get up very early, or hike, if you want fresh lines and untracked powder. The nature of the terrain also means the avalanche risk is quite significant, and care is always needed when venturing even a short way off piste.

The town of Val D'Isere is not one of my favourites in the Alps. The nightlife is all there, including the legendary (according to them) Dick's Tea Bar and I did have a great season there, but I have found other resorts are friendlier, more down to earth and less cliquey. It will be interesting to see how Tignes compares - I have skied through it many times but never stayed there.

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