How Tignes started its own X Games



The sport-fuelled resort of Tignes, adept in showcasing new and alternative sports was the logical venue to host the first 3 years of X Games in Europe.

Its assets? Maximum credibility thanks to its huge freestyle and freeride culture, the X-tra large Tignes - Val d'Isère ski area renowned for its exceptional off-piste skiing and tailor-made facilities at 2100m that had successfully been used during many international events:

  • 1st freestyle ski championships in… 1986!
  • 1992 Olympic Games: Freestyle Skiing competitions (moguls, jumps etc.)
  • Since 1979: 27 Freestyle Skiing World Cups
  • Tignes Airwaves: the biggest European gathering for alternative sports, launched in 2004 and continued for 4 more seasons
  • 1st Freeride Ski Championships in 2001 and 3 Freeride Skiing World Cups organised in 2007, 2008 and 2009.



Armed with their GPS, Chris Gunnarson and Frank Wells, the pro snow shapers from American company SPT (Snow Park Technology) studied the location in minute detail in order to create a 3D plan of the slopestyle obstacles and the shape of the SuperPipe. These snow pros have been travelling the freestyle planet with their state-of-the-art equipment for 15 years to create the greatest competition spots for the best competitors in the world. And the X Games is their favourite playground…


Work began in July 2009 to transform the half-pipe into an XXL SuperPipe. Three weeks of excavation, a week of drainage, an extra week to finalise the shape, extended by 50m above and 20m below and the relocation of trenches for electric wires: the list of work carried out to reproduce the Aspen superpipe was huge but it was worth it! Two new snow canons were also installed at the top of the Pipe for optimum snow conditions.  

The slopestyle course also needed some improvements: blocks made of rock were relocated to create a slope reserved for snowmobiles (“uphill road”) and new snow canons were installed on the lower part of the Double M piste (an increases from 15 to 22)…






The SuperPipe is the main event of the X Games. And it is often the image of this illuminated supersized half-pipe that fires up the imagination of freestyle fans everywhere... Its king-size dimensions offer riders maximum speed and range.

The SuperPipe in numbers:

  • 176m long (120m for a classic half-pipe)
  • 19m wide
  • 7m high (4m for a classic half-pipe)
  • 44,000m3 of artificial snow produced.



Slopestyle is a course that features obstacles made of snow (big air, table, hip) and artificial obstacles (rails). Slopestyle obstacles are built on the “Double M” piste that runs alongside the Lanches chairlift right in the heart of Tignes Val Claret.

Slopestyle in numbers:

  • 6 obstacles
  • Approximately 800m long
  • 190m of vertical
  • 115,000m3 of artificial snow produced.

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