Ski Chamonix France
If you ski or snowboard, Chamonix France should definitely be on your bucket list. Chamonix has an allure for the hard core and adventurous in particular, with world renowned off-piste skiing and riding. Some of the lines are so challenging that you might need to wear a diaper.
The area is dominated by the 4,810 metre Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, which serves as a playground for extreme sports enthusiasts. Between ice climbing, paragliding and extreme skiing, it’s not surprising that Chamonix has been described as the "the death-sport capital of the world"!
If you’re not an expert mountaineer, Chamonix also has a softer side for those who just want a relaxed European ski holiday. The Chamonix ski areas have more than 170 kilometres of piste on which to cruise, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy the famous food and wine.
Chamonix Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The Chamonix area offers a sensational amount of skiing and snowboarding terrain, both on-piste and off-piste. Chamonix has a network of more than 60 lifts, and it’s accessible with only one ski pass. Ninety percent of the skiing area is above 2,000 metres and a long season is guaranteed with lifts open into May to provide access to glaciers and permanent snow fields.
Whatever sort of skiing you want and whatever your ability, you will find a suitable ski area in Chamonix. In the Chamonix Valley there are 8 varied ski resorts as well as easy access to others in Italy and Switzerland.
The “Vallée Blanche”, the most famous (and crowded) 20km long off-piste run in the world, is accessed by a spectacular cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi (3,842 m), which when constructed in 1955 was the highest cable car in the world.
Top class skiing can be found at Les Grands Montets
(The Grand Montets) that features long vertical and exceptional snow quality. It’s primarily an advanced mountain with an abundance of steep terrain. The ski resort also has a snow park and a boardercross course.
Sunshine abounds at Brevent-Flegere
. With slopes for all ability levels, it’s an idyllic place to gently acquire a tan. Le Domaine de Balme
has slopes for various levels, but it’s probably the best ski area in the valley for beginners and intermediates. Tree lined slopes can be found at Les Houches
which is the home of the Kandahar World Cup skiing event, and a great spot if the foul weather sets in.
For beginners and children there are four skiing areas in the Chamonix Valley that offer exclusive slopes for novices: La Vormaine, Les Chosalets, Le Savoy and Les Planards.
Getting your head around the different types of ski passes for the Chamonix area is a complex task. See our Chamonix ski terrain
and lifts page for more information.
Where is Chamonix?
The town of Chamonix and Chamonix Valley are located in south-eastern France in the French Alps. Lying at the foot of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is very close to the borders of Italy and Switzerland.
Geneva is about an hour away (85km – 53 miles) and there are various companies that offer airport transfers from Geneva airport to Chamonix. From Paris there’s a Snow Special TGV that operates on Friday nights and the weekend. The train trip takes 5.5 hours.
The ski areas in Chamonix Valley are not lift-linked (Le Brevent and La Flégère are the exception), so it’s necessary to use the free buses to get around the valley to the various ski resorts. There’s also the efficient shuttle bus “Le Mulets” that loops around the town at very regular intervals.
Chamonix Hotels and Accommodation
Accommodation for the Chamonix area is either in the historic town of Chamonix or one of the many nearby villages. There is no ski-in ski-out accommodation and no one area is the perfect accommodation location for skiing. As most of the ski areas are not interconnected you’ll need to catch a bus to get most ski resorts anyhow. If you want to stay near the nightlife downtown, choose a hotel in Chamonix itself. If you prefer a peaceful and quiet place, the villages of Argentière or La Flégère are very nice.
Accommodation styles vary somewhat with a wide variety of hotels, guest houses, holiday centres or furnished apartments of all categories, modern and traditional. Chamonix chalets abound, many of which provide very plush accommodations. And at the other end of the spectrum there are various budget options including cheap hostels.
See Chamonix accommodation listings here >>
Why Ski or Snowboard at Chamonix?
The Chamonix area has a classic lively European ski resort feel, offering the oldest and most famous ski resort culture. Chamonix has a long rich history including the hosting of the 1924 Winter Olympics. The Chamonix locals do a great “fondue savoyarde” (melted cheese with bread) and they certainly know how to do great après-ski. Hell they probably invented it?!
Chamonix has it all and more – sensational skiing and snowboarding terrain across multiple mountains and countries, awesome scenery, really friendly locals, easy access and full resort facilities.