Chamonix Ski Resorts

Chamonix France, home the famous Vallee Blanche.
Chamonix has a glorious valley location below the Mont Blanc massif
Ski powder at Chamonix (photo - LGA Tours)
Ski into Le Tour, the most authentic of the Chamonix valley villages
Head up to sunny Flegere for some of the world's most panoramic skiing
Plan Joran gondola rises above Argentiere for access to the legendary Grands Montets
Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix France
Les Houches ski resort at the head of the Chamonix valley
View to Montenvers & the Mer de Glace from Flegere
Lunch at La Bergerie de Plan-Praz is a feast for the senses
Chamonix France
Fresh lines are reward for effort at Chamonix
Balme-Tour-Vallorcine has the best beginner intermediate terrain at Chamonix
La Chenal run at Flégère offers superb intermediate skiing
Test yourself on the steeps of Le Brévent above Chamonix
Chamonix has some of Europe's best après ski locations including Plan Praz at Brevent
Challenge yourself in the upper reaches of Grands Montets ski area in Chamonix
Protect Our Winters by taking the train to Chamonix
Chamonix France
Glide into Chamonix France at least once in your life!

Chamonix Ski Resorts

Readers Ratings

Chamonix

Chamonix3.5/515
Chamonix3.5 out of 5 based on 15 reviews
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    87%
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    93%
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Chamonix Ski Areas

Balme Tour Vallorcine
Brevent Flegere
Grands Montets
Les Houches

    Chamonix Ski Resort Map
  • Chamonix Ski Resorts Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,000m – 3,840m (2,840m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    6 to 14 metres
  • Lifts (61)
    14 Gondolas / cable cars
    21 Chairlifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Chamonix Ski Resorts
    Early December to early May
    8:30am - 5:00pm

    Aiguille du Midi ( for Vallee Blanche)
    All year except early Nov to mid Dec
    8:10am - 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 170km
    Longest run – 22 km (Vallee Blanche)
    Expert - innumerable
    Advanced - 15%
    Intermediate - 35%
    Beginner - 50%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 19/20
    Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass
    Adult - €67
    Child - €57
    Child u/5yr – Free

    Chamonix Le Pass
    Adult - €44 to 54
    Child - €37.40 to 46.80
    Child u/5yr - Free

    Les Houches Only
    Adult - €37.40 to 44
    Child - €31.80 to 37.40
    Child u/5yr – Free
    Balme Ski Trail Map
  • Balme Ski Trail Map
    Brevent Flegere Ski Trail Map
  • Brevent Flegere Ski Trail Map
    Grand Montets Trail Map
  • Grands Montets Ski Trail Map
     Les Houches Ski Trail Map
  • Les Houches Ski Trail Map
     Vallee Blanche Ski Map
  • Vallee Blanche Ski Map

Chamonix Ski Resorts France

Legendary Chamonix in France should be on any ski or snowboard bucket list. Chamonix has an allure for the hard core & adventurous, with world renowned off-piste skiing and freeriding. Some of the lines are so challenging that one may need to wear a diaper (or nappy, incontinence pad) to avoid embarrassment!

The area is dominated by the highest mountain in Western Europe, 4,810m Mont Blanc. It serves as a playground for extreme sports enthusiasts and the ooh aah brigade. 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"! One only has to view the engineering for the amazing Aiguille du Midi cable cars in order to comprehend that parts of Chamonix are on the edge.

If you’re not an expert ski mountaineer, Chamonix also has a 'softer' side for those who just want a relaxed European ski holiday. The 11 Chamonix ski areas have more than 170km of piste on which to cruise, including several excellent learn-to-ski areas. The 4 main ski resorts are Grands Montets, Balme-Tour-Vallorcine, Brevent-Flegere & Les Houches. There are plenty of restaurants & bars to enjoy the famous food & wine at each resort.

Pros & Cons for Chamonix Ski Resorts

Pros

  • Glorious location & surrounding mountains;
  • Good range of piste trails for all abilities on all aspects;
  • Excellent off piste & freeride terrain including glaciers & tree skiing;
  • Generally, quite good value (for a large French ski area!);
  • Excellent après ski & restaurants in a wonderfully vibrant town;
  • Easy access by bus or train from Geneva airport.

Cons

  • Ski areas are not lift interconnected;
  • Limited ski-in ski-out accommodation;
  • Transport between the different ski areas can be extremely busy during peak times;
  • Lift infrastructure is getting quite dated in some parts;
  • Lift pass options are needlessly complex;

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • Chamonix and all the surrounding villages are lively real towns not just resorts;
  • World’s most extreme ski lift & terrain;
  • Valley elevation is quite low and often has no snow;
  • Ski areas spread across a huge area.

Chamonix Ski & Snowboard Terrain

The Chamonix area offers a sensational amount of skiing & snowboarding terrain, both on & off-piste. Chamonix has a network of more than 60 lifts, but they are not all interconnected. Ninety percent of the skiing area is above 1900m elevation and a long season is the norm, with some lifts open into May.

Whatever sort of skiing you want & whatever your ability, you will find a suitable ski area in Chamonix. In the Chamonix Valley there are 4 main ski resorts, 6small local ski hills, the Aiguille du Midi and other resorts nearby in Italy & Switzerland.

Of the 4 main resort areas, world class skiing can be found at Grands Montets, 8km up the valley near the village of Argentière. The ski resort features a huge vertical & exceptional snow quality. It’s primarily an advanced mountain with an abundance of steep off-piste terrain. Note that a fire in Sep 2018 destroyed the top cable & will not run for the foreseeable future, limiting access to some of the best freeride terrain to those willing to skin up to ride down!

Sunshine abounds on the southeast facing slopes of the impressive Brevent-Flegere ski resort, the closest to Chamonix. With piste trails for all ability levels, a diverse off-piste, it’s an idyllic place to both ski/snowboard and gently acquire a tan while soaking in the stupendous views across the valley to Mont Blanc. Don’t be tempted to do the valley trails unless the valley has deep snow, or you are on crappy hire skis/board.

At Balme Tour Vallorcine ski resort you will find the most mellow of the Chamonix resorts above the villages of Le Tour (3 km further up valley from Argentiere) & Vallorcine (on the opposite side near the Swiss border). With no real advanced trails, it is best suited to beginner & intermediate skiers on the piste, whilst it has some tasty freeride powder offerings on the shaded north side under the chairlift (including tree runs) & either side of the excellent valley trail into Le Tour.

Tree lined slopes can be found at Les Houches ski resort, the lowest elevation of the main Chamonix ski areas. Located 8km down valley, it is a great spot for sheltered tree skiing or during a blizzard.

For beginners & children there are 6 small learn-to-ski areas in the Chamonix valley that offer exclusive slopes for novices. One of the best is La Vormaine at the base of Balme near the lovely village of Le Tour. The area has glaciers hanging over the high ridges, adding to the experience.

The Vallée Blanche is the most famous (& crowded) 18-20km long off-piste run in the world. It 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. In addition to wonderful views & incredible feats of engineering at the Aiguille du Midi, it also provides access to a host of other ski routes, many of them serious enough that a fall will result in death. An easier access route for the Valle Blanche is via Punta Helbronner in Italy.

Getting your head around the different types of ski passes for the Chamonix can be a complex task. See the Chamonix resort map showing the different lift pass areas here.

See our Skiing Chamonix page for more information.

Where is Chamonix, France?

The town of Chamonix and the Chamonix Valley are 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. Gateway airports are Geneva (GVA) & Lyon St Exupéry (LYS). It is possible to access the Chamonix valley via Italy from Milan Malpensa (MXP) airport if one has a rental car or happy to pay for a private transfer.

Geneva airport is about an 1hr 15min away (105km) by road. There are various options for airport transfers from Geneva airport to Chamonix including the train, bus or private transfer. Buses provide the cheapest and most efficient journeys between Geneva or Lyon airports to Chamonix & are the recommended mode of transport.

Search & book bus tickets to Chamonix here.

The Mont Blanc Express train runs between Saint Gervais les Bains & Martigny in Switzerland. From Switzerland, trains from Geneva to Martigny & onward to Chamonix via Vallorcine are straight forward. From Lyon train journeys to Chamonix are best undertaken by bus! From Paris Gare de Lyon there’s a Snow Special TGV that operates on Friday nights and the weekend. The train trip from Paris takes 5.5hr.

The Powderhounds usually recommend taking the train & bus to any ski resort, but for those that just cannot abide public transport or are travelling in larger groups, a private transfer from Geneva or Lyon may be the most efficient mode of travel if one doesn’t have a car. Search & book private airport transfers here.

The ski areas in Chamonix Valley are not lift-linked (Brevent & Flégère are the exception), so it’s necessary to use the free buses to get to the various ski resorts. We recommend leaving your car parked!

See our Travel to Chamonix page for more information.

Chamonix Accommodation

Accommodation for the Chamonix ski areas is either in the vibrant, historic town of Chamonix or one of the many nearby villages. No single place provides the perfect accommodation location for skiing in the valley. As the ski areas are not interconnected you’ll need to catch a bus to get to most ski resorts regardless of where you stay.

A few nights in Chamonix is a must on any visit to the area. If you want to experience the restaurants, shops, services & nightlife downtown, we recommend choosing a hotel in Chamonix itself. Accommodation styles vary somewhat with a wide variety of hotels, guest houses, holiday centres or furnished apartments of all categories - both modern & traditional. Chamonix chalets abound, many of which provide plush accommodations. At the other end of the spectrum there are various budget options including cheap hostels.

Search & book all Chamonix ski accommodation here.

If you prefer a peaceful and quiet place but still in splendid mountain surrounds & quick access to ski lifts, the village of Le Tour is the perfect option. Access to Chamonix is via bus.

Search & book all Le Tour ski accommodation here.

Between Chamonix & Le Tour, Argentière sprawls around the base of Grands Montets. Nice in the old town near the gare (station), not so nice near the ski lift base, Argentiere has loads of apartments for rent that will suit many. Access to Chamonix is via bus or train.

Search & book all Argentiere ski accommodation here.

Toward St Gervais at the start of the valley, Les Houches has a range of good value ski accommodation, away from the thrust & parry of Chamonix. Connect to Cham via bus or train.

Search & book all Les Houches accommodation here.

The quietest & most remote the Chamonix villages is Vallorcine. Close to the Swiss border, Vallorcine is in a deep dark valley but has the benefits of low crowds & a train station, gondola & valley trail all in the same location. Connection to Chamonix can be on the train or if skiing to Le Tour, via the bus.

Search & book all Vallorcine accommodation here.

Chamonix Ski Rentals, Guiding & Clothing

Ski rentals are available in all the Chamonix valley villages. Search & book ski or snowboard rentals with our partners in Chamonix here.

A confusing array of ski instructors, ski schools & in-resort guides ply their trade in the Chamonix valley ski resorts. Ski lessons can be arranged on arrival. Mountain Guides are best arranged prior to you trip, but the best utilisation of their services is totally dependent on snow & weather conditions.

[AdListings Filter="France Chamonix Guiding"]

If you need a new ski outfit comprising modern jacket, pants, gloves & googles, Chamonix is one of the French ski resorts served by a ski clothing rental company. Order online & your ski outfit is delivered direct to your accommodation at the resort.

[AdListings Filter="Chamonix Ski Rentals Clothing"]

Why Ski or Snowboard at Chamonix?

The town of Chamonix has a classic lively European ski resort feel, offering the oldest and most famous ski resort culture. It has a long rich ski history & its vibrancy is palpable, particularly in the hours immediately after skiing. The Chamonix locals do a great “fondue savoyarde” (but face it, it is just expensive melted cheese with bread!) and they certainly know how to do seriously good après-ski. Hell, they probably invented it!

Chamonix has it all and more – sensational skiing & snowboarding terrain across multiple mountains & countries, awesome scenery, great non-ski activities, friendly locals, easy access & full resort facilities. But with all that comes the crowds……..

Nearby Ski Resorts

A range of superb ski resorts are very close to Chamonix. Just to the west of the Chamonix valley is the collection of ski resorts with 445km of combined piste called Evasion Mont Blanc. The ski resorts include Megeve, Les Portes du Mont Blanc & Les Contamines.

In Italy on the southern side of Mont Blanc in the Aosta valley is wonderful Courmayeur & La Thuile. Nearby across in Switzerland is the mega resort of 4 Vallees which includes the challenging Verbier plus a smattering of lesser known 'local' resorts that we are in the process of discovering for ourselves!

Review

The Powderhounds reviewed Chamonix in 2019 & had a great time, even though we had no fresh snow. Click on the review link in the left column to read its inciteful prose!

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Tours in or near Chamonix

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Chamonix Mont Blanc Powder Skiing Safari
GUIDED OFF-PISTE ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Ski off-piste for 6 days around Mont Blanc, discovering the largest glacial ski area in Europe. Ski descents of between 1500 & 2800m in virgin snow via the most beautiful summits & passes in Chamonix France & Courmayeur Italy. Custom tours only, get a group of 4 together for 7 nights of adventure.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
Based on group of 7 for min 7 nights.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,189
View Details
 
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Chamonix here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Chamonix Alps Ultimate Women's Ski Tour
GUIDED SKI TOUR | WOMEN ONLY
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Days
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Ski 3 countries in one week with an all female group based in the legendary Chamonix. Experience the Grands Montets, Aiguille du Midi, the Valley Blanche, Verbier & Courmayeur in amongst the highest peaks of the Alps.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in USD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,995
View Details
 
Chamonix Ultimate Alps Ski Tour
HOSTED & GUIDED SKI TOUR
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Days
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Ski 3 countries in one week based in the legendary Chamonix. Experience the Grands Montets, Aiguille du Midi, the Valley Blanche, Verbier & Courmayeur in amongst the highest peaks of the Alps. Join a fixed date tour or customise your own private tour.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in USD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,995
View Details
 
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Chamonix here
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