Chamonix is probably best known as the skiing and Alpine capital of the world. With its 5 ski areas, it offers the perfect ski holiday for any level!
BREVENT / FLEGERE (1030M - 2525M)
Le Brévent and La Flégère are linked by a cable car, forming the largest ski area in the valley. On the sunny, south side of the Chamonix valley you can expect to catch a tan! Both skiers and snowboarders are guaranteed to find something to their liking from the vast array of moderate, challenging and difficult runs. For freestylers, there are five rails and a fully supervised (by instructors) airbag to practice or have a go at jumps. Lunchtime stops include ‘Le Panoramic’, situated at the summit of the Brevent Mountain, good food and quite simply the best view of the Mont Blanc summit in the valley! Or try ‘Le Bergerie de Plan Praz’, famous for its wood fire grilled steaks and traditional cuisine. Be sure to book a table to avoid disappointment. These two ski areas offer one of the most outstanding panoramic views of the Alps, including a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc, and are the closest to Chamonix town centre.
LES HOUCHES (950M - 1900M)
Les Houches skiing combines long descents through pretty tree-lined slopes, with amazing views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley. Its great advantage is that most of the skiing is through pine and larch forests. Not only does this make the skiing here charming, but the trees can offer shelter if the winds are strong elsewhere or more contrast for skiing on those white-out days. It is great for mixed ability groups who want to ski together.
From the summit, enjoy a spectacular 360° view of the Mont-Blanc massive. Our favourite lunch time stop, ‘Les Vielles Luges', is a 250year old alpine farm chalet, oozing charm and packed full of local history. Ask your chalet manager or instructor to book in advance.
GRANDS MONTETS (1235M - 3300M)
Les Grand Montets pistes are spread over three mountain sides: The Argentiere glacier, Lognan and the Pendant. In comparison to linked ski-systems across the Alps, the Grand Montets area isn’t huge, but the sheer number of combinations of possible descents both on and off piste, combined with the consistent steep gradient of its slopes, is one of the reasons why Les Grands Montets is a favourite with many skiers and riders in the valley. Don’t be put off by the word 'steep', there is plenty of intermediate level skiing here too and you should have a go in one of Europe’s most famous ski ranges.
There is also a border-cross zone, with a timed racing system to enable riders to explore their limits. For lunch, you must try ‘La Crèmerie du Glacier; family run since the beginning of time, famous for its traditional Savoyard specialities, croutes, grantins and fondue.
LE TOUR (LE DOMAINE DE BALME) (1453M - 2270M)
If you are just starting out with skiing or snowboarding and have heard that Chamonix is only for advanced skiers, don’t believe it! Beginners and sun lovers will find this area is perfect for you. Set in the heart of a nature park, the snow-covered alpine pastures offer numerous possibilities on two distinct mountain sides. From Charamillon, enjoy the wide open gentle slopes overlooking the entire Chamonix valley and on the Vallorcine side, ski the beautiful tree-lined pistes bordering on Switzerland. A great place to ski for beginners and intermediates with some interesting runs for advanced skiers, as well the freeride park zone with jumps and rails for those who want a challenge.
LE VALLEE BLANCHE / AIGUILLE DU MIDI (3842M)
The Aiguille du Midi translates as the ‘needle of the South’. From the summit of the highest cable car in Europe, with its great viewing platforms, it offers the most spectacular views in Chamonix. A ‘must do’ for all visitors to the Chamonix valley, you really do feel like you are on the roof top of Europe! The Valley Blanche (La Vallée Blanche) ski run starts at the top of the Aiguille de Midi and finishes in Chamonix’s town centre (snow permitting).
The Valley Blanche is an unmarked, unmaintained, unpatrolled and unchecked high mountain ski itinerary for experienced skiers only. A guided tour offers one of the most spectacular mountain descents for keen skiers and boarders to be found anywhere in the world. After exiting the ice tunnel, you are straight on to the infamous ‘arête’. During the descent you will ride more than 20 kms of off-piste glacial terrain. This can be extended to approximately 30 kms if, snow permitting, you are able to make your way right back to Chamonix (as opposed to taking the Montenvers train). The vertical drop is 2,700 meters and you are sure to feel it in your legs. Good cardio fitness is also reccomended.
There are four descents, differing in levels of pitch and difficulty, from “La Classique Vallée Blanche” to three further itineraries. Lunch is either a light picnic which you can carry in your rucksack or, depending on which route you are taking, you can stop off at Le Refuge du Requin mountain hut for traditional Savoyarde meals. It is highly recommended that you have a fully qualified mountain guide to accompany you on the Valley Blanche; they will provide you with the necessary high mountain equipment and will know the terrain. This is high mountain and glacial terrain, it is not suitable for beginners and we recommend you fully consult with a guide beforehand regarding suitability and your level. Please ask you chalet manager for more information on booking a guide.