16 Reasons to Choose Chamonix for Your Company Retreat
Corporate retreats have grown and grown in popularity over recent years, and are becoming an annual part of many company’s calendars as they look to improve team morale, communication and all-round well being among their employees.
Once stigmatised by stories of over-indulgent corporate parties and excess on company expense, the corporate retreat is enjoying a well-deserved resurgence in interest, fuelled by a wealth of different ways for companies to better engage their staff.
The new sentiment behind such retreats is an inclusive, team-based approach which allows employees to interact with colleagues they might not normally have a chance to, employers to nurture teamwork and to identify cross-disciplinary skills, and for the staff as a whole to learn more about themselves and eachother.
Some of the best ways to achieve these goals is to arrange activities for everyone to get involved in that you wouldn’t normally do, and for everyone to enjoy themselves and not feel like they’re at work. What better place then, than the beautiful valley of Chamonix? Nestled in the Alps, in the junction between France, Switzerland and Italy, Chamonix is a world-renowned ski resort in winter, and a popular holiday destination in the summer – and what’s more, it’s home to Mont Blanc, Europe’s tallest mountain (not the nice pens). Here are just some of the reasons to choose Chamonix for your company retreat.
Emerging from the snow in the warmer months of the Chamonix valley are the area's picturesque golf courses, making gold one of the most popular summer sports here. Chamonix is home to numerous golf courses that are well equipped to cater for novices and holidaymakers, so there’s no reason not to enjoy a few holes in this beautiful Alpine setting.
2. Water Sports
By far one of the most popular sports here is white water rafting. By late springtime the winter melt water is flowing furiously down the river Arve, providing an exhilarating ride. It’s an excellent way to encourage team bonding, as you’ll need everybody to pull their weight to make it out! Aside from white water rafting you can also enjoy kayaking, canyoning and hydrospeed.
3. Walking & Hiking
When the climate has warmed and the snow has melted, a beautiful green valley emerges with vast pine forests, lush meadows and an abundance of natural life. What better way to relax and enjoy the scenery than to walk or hike at your own pace around the different features of the valley? Walks are accessible to all and well sign-posted; and lifts or cable cars can take you to easily to higher points.
4. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is growing and growing in popularity in Chamonix, with more and more biking-friendly tracks popping up all the time. The valley - as well other surrounding valleys - are full of great tracks that are all well maintained throughout the year. Just make sure you pick up a free pamphlet on the riding tracks from a tourist office so you don’t end up on the wrong track!
5. Yoga & Fitness
Yoga fans, or just those who prefer to unwind in a more calm and relaxed way, will find in Chamonix an idyllic place to practice your downward dog and be more mindful. Regular group sessions take place all the time by experienced teachers and often include beautiful trail walks and wholesome food.
6. Wine tasting
Many winemakers over the years have opened bars in Chamonix and the surrounding towns to allow visitors a relaxed way to the taste their wines and to learn more about France’s most famous export. Becoming highly popular in the warmer summer months, connoisseurs of all levels can enjoy a glass or two of wine, and even spirits, with many bars also offering local spirits, for those who prefer whisky to wine.
Unsurprisingly, skiing is by far the most popular sport in Chamonix, and is why thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world come every year – it’s even regarded by some as the best freeride resort in the world. With its 5 ski resorts, a skier of any experience can make the most of the valley - so if you’re here over winter, there’s no excuse for avoiding the slopes!
As well as skiing, the resorts and runs in Chamonix offer a wealth of options for snowboarders too. There are some serious off piste areas surrounding Chamonix, and some great kickers and halfpipes for those who like to ride with a bit of flair.
9. Glacier Walking
Glacier walking is a great way to see landscapes you never normally would, and to do so whilst learning the basics of mountaineering and working as an effective team. Visit the Mer de Glace (literally, Sea of Ice) France’s biggest glacier, at 7km long and 200m deep.
10. Ice Skating
If you prefer to slide around on the harder stuff, there are plenty of options for you in Chamonix. With a range of both indoor and outdoor ice rinks, there’s fun to be had for all ice skaters.
11. Husky Sledding
For any animal (especially dog) lovers out there, dog sledding is an exciting way to see the landscape and to learn something new. Whether you just want to sit in the back of a sled or learn to “mush” for yourself, there are options for everyone.
It’s not always one of the first things you think of when imagining an Alpine valley, but paragliding is unique and exhilarating way to see the natural landscape for those who enjoy a good thrill ride.
Mountaineering is a tough, challenging and rewarding sport that requires strong teamwork, and for which Chamonix is actually pretty famous. The different sides of Mont Blanc offer challenges of different degrees for would-be climbers, meaning whether you’re a novice or a master, you’ll find the perfect challenge for your level in the world capital of mountaineering.
14. Helicopter Tours
If you’re determined to get an aerial experience of the valley but aren’t quite up for paragliding, helicopter tours are a fantastic way to see the valley from a unique perspective, and from a comfy seat. Running all-year round, you’ll see vastly different views depending on what time of year you come.
As you might expect for an internationally renowned destination found where three countries merge, Chamonix is easily accessible. Geneva airport in only an hour’s drive away, and there are also good, regular bus and train services.
Chamonix’s location allows you to escape from the busy, hectic city and office environment without sacrificing that all important civilisation. Here you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of the valley’s natural beauty whilst still staying in state-of-the-art chalets complete with hot tubs, conference facilities, and plenty of friendly faces.
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