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A snowHead
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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Tignes - Les Brevieres
Country: France
Domain: Espace Killy
Author: Tingray74

Date: 4th - 11th February 2009
Our holiday: We are a 30-something year old couple, I've had 12 weeks of boarding whilst this trip was the OH's 3rd week. After our trip to Chamrousse last year we wanted try a bigger area and EK didn't disappoint. We were thinking of foregoing our trip this year due to the crappy Pound to Euro exchange and the 'Credit Crunch' but our love of snow prevailed.
Website : Didn't really look at the resort's website
Basics : We got a £150 return with Raileurope leaving London in the evening and getting the 23:00 sleeper train from Gare d'Austerlitz to Bourg St Maurice. Getting the connection in Paris from the Gare du Nord to Gare d'Austerlitz was really easy and took about 30 mins tops. The bus from Bourg St Maurice to Les Brevieres took about 40 minutes but you must ask the bus drier to drop you there. Because of the Worlds Ski Championships that week this bus was free.
Lift system : Great linkage and a pretty good coverage of bauble lifts given the extent of the terrain.
The terrain : The worst run I found was the Santons - far too narrow and crowded. One that you should be able to just bomb down but the presence of too many beginners just means that it's an accident waiting to happen. There are some pretty easy blue tree runs to cruise back to the Les Brevieres or the much shorter reds. Whilst the majority of people ride up the bauble to head for Tignes, the OH and I took the reds first thing in the morning and had some pretty awesome powder runs. Favourite pistes in the EK area were the Moraine & Double M - lovely wide reds which for some reason were always pretty empty. The Les Launches chair up to the Double M was shut for our last morning but I spied some preparations to open so we stood and waited first in line chomping at the bit. It was a complete bun fight at the top as everyone struggled to strap onto their boards, every man for themselves but it was one of the best, most exhilarating runs I've ever done. The sun even made a brief appearance - definitely worth the 45 minute wait! An 850m powder run which we bombed down and had us grinning like idiots for the rest of the day. It was the perfect end to a fabulous week.
The snow : It dumped every single day, what we lacked in sunshine was more than made up for with fresh powder each morning. Two of the days were far too windy which meant that a third of the lifts were shut but having a EK pass meant that it wasn't too much of an issue.
Off-piste : We mostly ventured to the side of the pistes but from the tracks that we spied from the chair-lifts, the whole EK area seems to be a off-piste free-for-all.
The resort : I preferred the runs overs in Val D'Isere but hated the town itself - in all fairness, the World Ski championships meant the town was especially busy. Les Brevieres which is at the bottom right hand of Tignes is much more picturesque village than Tignes Central with four restaurants, 3 bars and a more than adequate Sherpa shop - handy for our money-saving baguette lunches! The village is served by a chair lift to Les Boisses where the free-shuttle buses to Tignes runs from and a bauble lift that goes higher to connect with Tignes.
Food : Our favourite place for mid-morning coffees was the Chalet du Pain, it was cheap yet delicious with a mouth-watering array of pastries & cakes. This lovely bakery is right next to Tignes Cuisine and the famous Loop bar which are all near to the Rosset chair-lift. Another place for a cash-strapped lunch is the cafe in the Spar supermarket in Le Lac which is on the ground floor of the main Le Lac complex opposite the Tourist information. A great place to stop for coffee on the Val D'Isere side is at the top of the Solaise cable car just next to the restaurant - it was always sunny whenever we got there. One to avoid like the plague is the restaurant at the top of Rocher de Bellevarde - 4.50 Euros for a crappy, weak-tasting cafe au lait. It was just outrageous! For our meal out we went to La Bachat in Les Brevieres and had an awesome meal of rachlette - great service and reasonably priced.
Accommodation : We booked with the Chalet Chardons but ended up being moved to the Chalet Alpey to join a group of 13. Nice, friendly people with a good attitude - a perfect bunch to enjoy the slightly shabby yet cosy chalet. Our room was a little pokey but it was fine for a place to crash and the food was pretty decent and abundant to boot.
Costs: We manage to find a pretty good half- board deal at 349 Euros which included a 6-day Espace Killy lift pass. Spent another 200 euros each on groceries, coffees, our one meal out and an extra day's pass on our last day. So total of £700 including our train tickets. Board and binding hire cost the OH an extra 90 euros from Intersport which I think was a little pricey.
Conclusion: The Espace Killy region is just awesome, so much to ride and explore that it's possible to never have to repeat a run. The high winds made it quite challenging some days but at least it snowed, i'd love to go back in March or April when it might be sunnier. We could have been more centrally placed by staying in Le Lac or Lavachet but I was pretty happy with Les Brevieres.

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