First Indoor Ski Area In The Alps Proposed Due To Uncertainty of Natural Snowfall

Claire Weiss |


Tichot chairlift at Tignes. Photo credit:

Tignes proposed to construct an indoor ski complex and congress center, located in the heart of the resort. The “Tignespace” will offer 3500 m² dedicated to the practice of sport and 1500 m² designed to meet the needs of sportsmen and companies.

The Tignes ski resort had always kept the slogan :  “skiing 365 days a year”. The resort was even open for skiing in August allowing summer skiing !  But unfortunately it is no longer able to assume these words. Jean-Christophe Vitale, the mayor of Tignes, said that the project aims to turn the area into a mountain city where snow-sports will be possible 365 days a year again – the resort used to offer this back when the glacier was bigger. He said:

“The Grande Motte glacier has already lost 30 per cent of its ski area, so we have decided to react by creating an indoor ski slope.”


Freeride at La Grand Motte glacier.


The plan to build a snow center similar to that of the 400m  indoor piste in Dubai, with a chairlift to carry people to the top of the slope, is in large part down to climate change. Jean-Christophe Vitale hopes that one day resort will offer all year round ski again.

An indoor ski project was designed by the workshop of Annecy-le Vieux, De Jong architects to build an indoor ski track. This “ski dome” would be built on the ESF stadium in Val Claret, near the Tichot chairlift, and will offer a wave pool on the lower part.

On November 25th, the UTN committee of the Alps massif committee studied the project in order to give its opinion to the prefect of the region.

The installation should follow the slope to blend into the relief. The financing of 62 million euros has not been completed, since the commune counts on private investors. The construction of the Ski-line is expected for 2018. The complex will be located on the snow front and parking area of Val Claret in Tignes. It will cover an area of 4.5 ha and consists of  independent but closely linked units in their tourist operation: a ski-line, integrating a wave of surfing and associated services, and a Village “Club Med”.

Proposed plan of Club Med. Image credit:


Indoor “surf” pool. Image credit:


Projected SkiLine at Tignes. Photo credit:

The project has shocked environmental groups. They are worried about competition by the resorts to build similar projects, transforming the mountain landscape into a giant theme park and it can lead to an excessive use of the mountain, denaturing the landscape by transforming a natural framework into an artificial framework. Some would question the wisdom of building such infrastructure so far from major population centers such as Lyon or Paris.

And we have just heard about similar “theme” project at Squaw Valley.. There are already few of them in the world. The well-known one is in Dubai. And here is the project for Paris. Can you imagine skiing in Paris??

Tell us what do you think! Would you like to ski year round in indoor ski resort or would you prefer to preserve the mountains and nature?

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6 thoughts on “First Indoor Ski Area In The Alps Proposed Due To Uncertainty of Natural Snowfall

  1. I know it is “predicted” and glaciers have melted, but according to the data apparently? there really has been no decrease in snow cover in the northern hemisphere for the past 20 years.

    if anything, the snow coverage may be slightly increasing according to those graphs.

    You can see the data plotted a little differently here

  2. Indoor ski areas should remain in the cities. Who is going to drive to the mountains to ski indoors?

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