written by Jimmy Callery. The snow twinkling under a baby blue sky, we glide over dunes of thick powder surrounded by Tignes’ jagged mountains.
We’re hurtling in the direction of Mont Blanc on an Introduction to Off-Piste session with avalanche expert Henry Schniewind. Henry is one of the foremost off-piste experts in the Val d’Isère region. His other claim to fame is he is the spitting image of tough-guy actor Bruce Willis (or Bulldog from Frasier depending on your Goggle thickness).
Henry bellows – “Keep your weight on both feet or the snow snakes’ll grab ya!” as we dart through the trees, brows glistening with sweat. Snow snakes to non-ski aficionados are tree roots hidden by a smattering of snow – and waiting for the unwary, and known to knock the pride of many an expert or show-off.
Cutting back across the piste we bomb towards Val Claret for lunch at the Panoramic. I feel incredibly spoilt as I tuck into the suckling pig platter, enhanced by some delicious red wine. Hours later we’re skiing the world-class reds of La Grande Motte and flying off jumps in the freestyle park.
Tignes is a skiers’ resort. You won’t find any chocolate box architecture here, but combined with Val d’Isère the region is one of the best for skiing in France, if not Europe.
A short walk from our chalet is Loop Bar, the go-to place for Tignes’ seasonaires. Absorbing the last of the April sun with an ice-cold beer on the decking, I reflect on a perfect day spent in good company. Final ski of the season. What a way to end it.
Jimmy stayed at the Mark Warner chalet and his amazing Bruce Willis (oops Henry) costs £819 for the week’s holiday (flights, transfers and chalet board). Plus £495 for the Henry’s course.