We all like to think we can ski non-stop all day, from first lifts until the sun drops behind the mountain. But in reality, everyone is looking for an excuse to have a rest every so often. So, before you head out for the day you should probably have a few locations in mind where you can get the group to pull over for a much-needed pit stop and admire the stunning views.
Also, what better way to make everyone at home jealous than posting a couple of candid shots to social media. Let’s be honest, if people don’t know you’re having a great time then did it really happen?
The Eye of the Needle
One of the most iconic spots on offer and for good reason. Situated between Val d’Isere and Tignes this is hard to miss. As the name suggests, you’re looking for a rock with a large hole in the middle, but don’t worry its more impressive than it sounds.
Head to the Grand Huit chair lift and look to the horizon on the right, this will give you the perfect vantage point for a great panoramic. But beware, this chair can catch you by surprise, it’s one of the older models in resort and certainly doesn’t wait for you to be ready before whisking you off your feet.
Cruise down the red or the blue from the top and then catch the Aiguille Percee chair lift back up, this will take you round the back of the eye of the needle. If you’re feeling adventurous you can unbind and scramble up the side of the piste right to the arch of the formation.
The Chevril Dam
Not technically in either Val d’Isere or Tignes, but it’s a must for any historians out there. If you’re having a doze on the transfer coach, then set your alarm for a couple of minutes before arrival into Val d’Isere.
Once you’ve passed Tignes Les Brevieres, you’ll be confronted by the breath-taking views of nearly 600ft of lovely grey concrete, in the form of the Tignes dam. Guarding this majestic slab of rock is the Lady of the lake, or ‘La Dame du Lac’ (pull that one out the bag on the coach to ensure everyone is aware of your bilingual and cultural expertise).
At the bottom of the lake are the remnants of the original Tignes. The story goes there was one determined lady who refused to leave before they flooded the village. They decided to go ahead and flood the village anyway, but they gave her a statue for her trouble (50 years later!).
There’s a conveniently placed lay-by next to this elegant effigy, giving self-drivers the opportunity to take a well-deserved selfie before entry into Val d’Isere.
That’s enough of the history lessons, this next one is as much a piece of advice as a specific place of historical note. Have you ever wanted to enjoy the frivolities of the Folie Douce without having a beer emptied on top of your head? It may seem obvious but the answer most seasonnaires have discovered is to stop about 100 metres short of the infamous venue and perch on the side of the slope.
From here you can Safely watch the unfolding carnage, without having someone dressed in nothing but florescent speedos use your face as a stepping stone as they climb down from a table.
If you head down towards Val d’Isere and pass the Marmottes chairlift, you’ll start to hear the unmistakable sound of the Folie playlist. Just follow the questionable singing and keep an eye out for the perfect spot to start the days après antics.
You may have to share this space with the bothersome seasonaires at the start, but after a while they’ll have to go back to work, then you can build yourself a snow chair and relax to the sound of the EDM mega mix (the music on repeat every day of the season).
The Grand Motte Glacier
It makes sense that the best views can be found at the highest point in the ski area. The Grand Motte glacier stands dominant at well over 3000 metres and gives spectacular views of the Tarentaise valley, so practise the pose, pack the baguette and head on up.
One to remember when the weather is uncertain, as the funicular will be powering on in almost any conditions. Alternatively, the Les Lanches chair lift allows you to scout out the route/ competition on the way up to the half way point, then the Vanoise chair and the Grand Motte cable car can carry you the rest of the way.
The runs can get fairly wind swept and icy at the top so best to sharpen up the edges before you embark on the assent.
The double M piste on the way down is a favourite amongst those trying to get a new speed personal best. With the Coco Rico at the foot of the slope being the ideal place to explain how you hit that magical 100 kph, broke the sound barrier and then successfully made it into orbit. Now there’s a story you can take back to the colleagues.
Add these views to your ski holiday checklist and make sure you take some beautiful photos.
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