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Skiing in Tignes

Published on: 10/07/2024

At Go Ape, we're all about living the adventure life, not just talking about it. We're not only dedicated to giving every visitor an awesome time but also to supporting our team's own adventures.

Every year, our co-owners can access our "Adventure Fund" to fund their own incredible trips. Everyone can pitch their adventure plans, and we share the funds.

Read on to find out more about Go Ape co-owner Ben's amazing solo skiing adventure to Tignes in France.

By Ben Sharpe

Having caught the skiing bug last year, I knew I wanted to return to the Alps again in Easter 2024. Unfortunately, my ski/snowboard friends were all busy, which meant the only option would be to go solo – something I hadn’t done before. A friend of mine told me about UCPA, a French not-for-profit organisation who run action holidays aimed at under 40s. After a bit of hesitation I took the plunge and booked one of the last places on a half-instructed week in Tignes.

Group of people skiing in Tignes

The trip kicked off without a hitch after a flight into Geneva and coach transfer. I arrived just before dinner at the UCPA centre, after which there was a briefing and introduction from centre staff. All the instructions throughout the week were provided in French and English to accommodate us tourists – though I really should learn some more French besides the basics! UCPA centres are hostel-style and provide full board and equipment. Like many modern hostels they foster a social atmosphere, so it never got lonely. I was roomed with three other British students and found everyone I spoke to was polite and friendly. The hostel put on games and activities in the evenings including table tennis, beer pong and karaoke – although most of my evenings were spent napping.

Equipment was loaned out on the first morning after breakfast. I took group lessons in the mornings and tried to apply what I’d learned during free-skiing afternoons. Our instructor Thibault was very helpful - I felt my ability and confidence slowly improving over the course of the week. By the last day I was venturing onto the black slopes, albeit at a very leisurely pace!

Go Ape instructor skiing against mountainscape

I packed in as much exploring as I could during the week, but the sheer size of the ski area meant there was still much to see and do should I return. The Espace Killy ski area is vast, with around 300 km of pistes linking the neighbouring resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isere. There are plenty of non-skiing activities on offer too, including biking, a ski-bungee jump, and a sports centre complete with a climbing wall and swimming pool. Weather was generally good, staying mostly clear during the day with fresh snow falling almost every night.

Recent media attention has highlighted the issues faced by alpine resorts as climate change threatens the ski industry. Whilst I was fortunate with the weather, it is a shame that future generations might not be able to enjoy the abundance of snow we currently have.

All in all, I’m glad I pushed myself to go and would have no hesitation about doing another solo trip in the future. I would encourage anyone who is on the fence about doing a solo break to give it a go.

Big thanks to Go Ape for helping to fund the trip.

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French mountains in Tignes