Tignes has opened for its 21-22 Ski season, the first in France to do so.
The glacier has 50cm (20”) of snow lying on it. Although the French alps have not had the heavy snowfall of some Austrian and Swiss glaciers in recent weeks, there has been some snow this month and Tignes reports 8cm (3”) freshly fallen in the past few weeks and current temperatures on the glacier at -4C.
There’s about 6km of slopes open so far with Tignes reporting the funiculaire and cable car are running from 8:30am to 3:15pm and the Vanoise and Panoramic chair lifts as well as the Champagny and Termignon lifts running too.
The French national ski team were training on the slopes last week. A second French ski area, Les 2 Alpes, plans to open for two weeks of skiing and boarding next weekend.
Tignes used to be open for skiing year round but has progressively shortened its opening periods. Until recently in tried to open for at least one day of every month of the year but even before the pandemic put a stop to that ideal, climate-change meant it failed to open in September as hoped in successive years. This year it has officially given up trying to.
It joins around a dozen glacier ski areas already open in Austria, Italy, Norway and Switzerland, as well as Levi and Ruka in Finland which have opened for their 21-22 seasons using snowfarming.
It was a similar scenario a year ago, shortly before the governments of Austria, Germany, Italy and France announced pre-Christmas lockdowns which eventually were extended through the winter. This season though, the governments concerned are so far stressing that ski areas will be open to ski tourism throughout the season.