Skiing Chamonix

Skiing Chamonix

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

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 21/22
    Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass
    Adult - €67 to 72
    Child - €57 to 61.20
    Child u/5yr - Free

    Chamonix Le Pass
    Adult - €46.80 to 58.50
    Child - €39.80 to 49.70
    Child u/5yr - Free

    Les Houches Only
    Adult - €46
    Child - €39.10
    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 Map
     Les Houches Ski Trail Map
  • Les Houches Ski Trail Map
     Vallee Blanche Ski Map
  • Vallee Blanche Ski Map
    Mont Blanc Unlimited Ski Pass Area Map
  • Mont Blanc Unlimited Ski Pass Area Map
    Aiguille du Midi Map
  • Aiguille du Midi Map
    Montenvers Map
  • Montenvers Map

Chamonix Skiing & Snowboarding

Chamonix is not a single interlinked resort but a group of 11 different ski areas spread along both sides of the valley. Of the eleven areas in the Chamonix valley, there are four major ski resorts – sheltered Les Houches, cruisy Balme-Tour-Vallorcine, brilliant, sun-soaked Brévent-Flégère & challenging Grands Montets. Click on the links below for detailed information on each skiing area.

Grands Montets. See the Grands Montets ski trail map.
Brevent-Flegere. See the Brévent-Flégère ski trail map.
Balme Tour Vallorcine. See the Balme-Tour-Vallorcine ski trail map.
Les Houches. See the Les Houches ski trail map.

For beginners & children, six small skiing areas in the Chamonix valley offer exclusive slopes for novices. They are located near the bases of the larger resorts in Chamonix (2), Les Houches, Argentiere, Le Tour & Vallorcine.

The 11th ski area is the massive freeride terrain on the flanks of the Mont Blanc massif accessed via the Aiguille du Midi. See more details below.

Skiing Highlights - The Best Bits of Chamonix

Try these few Chamonix ski & snowboard highlights. There are so many more, but a list can only go so far without giving the entire game away.

  • New to skiing? Learn to ski at La Vormaine near Le Tour village. Close to the valley’s most authentic village, the ski lifts & piste is perfect for novices & children. The setting is spectacularly surrounded by towering cliffs with glaciers clinging to the ridges. The gondola up to Blame ski area is next to Vormaine;
  • Ski the La Chenal run from the Index chair at Flegere early as the sun hits the valley below;
  • Skin up above the Herse chair at Grands Montets & ski/board the previously lift accessed terrain on the Argentiere glacier in blissful solitude!
  • Take the Brevent cable car up to the peak at 2,525m for a cheeky steep slide down (explore some interesting off-piste options on the way!);
  • Challenge yourself to complete the best on-piste valley trails NON-STOP from Bochard to Argentiere in Grands Montets, or from Balme into Le Tour. Super schooming!
  • Ski all the terrain around the Cornu chair at Brévent – both on & off-piste. Lovely!
  • On a powder day, avoid the crowds at Grands Montets & instead take the train & be first on the Vallorcine gondola, then ski off-piste powder on the cold, shaded north aspects along the Swiss border, under the Tete de Balme chairlift.
  • During a storm, enjoy the sheltered runs at Les Houches;
  • When the snow is still good, but the powder day crowds have dissipated, spend the day exploring all the off-piste nooks & crannies below Bochard at Grands Montets. Use the knowledge gained to get ahead of the pack on the next powder morning (set the alarm for extra early!);
  • Ski the Vallee Blanche from both sides (France & Italy) on different routes, then never do it again – there are so many more places in the world to ski!

Ski Lift Passes

There are four lift pass options in the Chamonix Valley - the Chamonix Le Pass, Mont Blanc Unlimited, Small Ski Area passes & Les Houches only passes. All have their positives & negatives.

The Chamonix Le Pass is for good quality pistes in a controlled safe terrain up an altitude of 2,700m. If you generally prefer to stay on the groomed runs or venture off-piste within a secured area, then this is the pass for you. The Chamonix Le Pass gives access to 3 of the main Chamonix ski areas; Grand Montets area (excluding the upper Grands Montets cable car when it existed!), Brevent-Flegere, Balme Tour Vallorcine, and lower down, 4 novice areas - Vormaine, Chosalets, Savoy & Planards. Competitively priced, it is a shame Les Houches is not included.

The Mont-Blanc Unlimited pass allows you to discover the diversity of all the ski areas in the Chamonix Valley as well as providing some access to Italy & Switzerland. If backcountry exploring is your thing and you want the maximum variety of terrain available, look no further! In addition to ski areas accessible with the Chamonix Le Pass (see above), you can also access the upper Grands Montets ski resort (when they re-build the cable car!), Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers train, Tramway du Mont Blanc, Les Houches ski resort, Evasion Mont Blanc (Megeve), Courmayeur ski resort (Italy), Skyway Monte Bianco (Italy) and Verbier (Switzerland). Sadly, access to Verbier & the 4 Vallees is only valid with a 6-day pass and only gives you 50% off the lift ticket price. Additional inclusions are a reduced rate on the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy and free access to swimming pools et al.

See the extensive Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass area map.

The Mont Blanc Unlimited pass has some superb inclusions and is undoubtedly convenient, but comparatively expensive. It is difficult to include more than one or two ski resorts in a day so it may be financially beneficial to plan your local itinerary (& looking at the weather forecast!) before buying a multi-day pass.

Small Ski Area passes are available at each of the six novice ski areas (see below). They are quite cheap and are best purchased on a daily basis.

The Les Houches Ski Pass is great value. Not included in the Chamonix Le Pass, Les Houches ski lift tickets are best bought on a day to day basis as required.

Chamonix for Beginners & Children

For complete novices. Beginner & children, Chamonix valley has six great value skiing areas with slopes dedicated for those on the “L” plates. Each area has a local lift pass at a vastly reduced rate, providing a great value Chamonix ski experience!

Vormaine ski area is situated next to the village of Le Tour at the foot of the Balme ski area. We rate it the nest place in the valley to learn to ski.

Chosalets is a small slope situated at the entrance to Argentiere, near Grands Montets.

Savoy is right near the centre of Chamonix at the foot of Brevent.

Planards is close to the Chamonix centre, just across from the Montenvers train station. It is the largest area for beginners and children.

Poya ski area is in the village of Vallorcine near the base of the Balme ski resort.

Tourchet is in the middle of Les Houches village & has night skiing.

Chamonix Off-Piste Freeride Skiing

At the risk of stating the obvious, off-piste & backcountry skiing can be dangerous. In Chamonix, alot of the off-piste skiing is particularly dangerous! The entire valley has serious off-piste, freeride & backcountry ski opportunities that attract vast numbers of the world’s best skiers. But it is not all extreme. The north side of Balme & the sunny slopes of Brévent-Flégère have some wonderful approachable terrain, as does the lift accessed zones in Grands Montets, particularly the Combe de la Pendant.

Off-piste skiing from the Aiguille du Midi or top of Grands Montets generally involves glaciers and comes with all the accompanying risks (e.g. crevasses, avalanches, ice pinnacles). If you are free-riding take appropriate safety equipment including an avalanche beacon, shovel & snow probe, plus the knowledge to use it (or avoid the need to!). The International Emergency number from any mobile phone is 112.

If in any doubt, or just want to explore some new terrain in relative safety, get a local mountain guide.

See our Chamonix Lessons & Guiding page for more information on getting a mountain guide.

Aiguille du Midi & the Vallée Blanche

The aging Aiguille du Midi cable cars & top station are either a true engineering feat or the plans made real of a madman. You must admire the engineers and workers that conceived & built this lift system. The lift base is in the centre of Chamonix across the river from the train station. The famous Vallee Blanche (3,842m to 1,035m) ski route is accessed from the Aiguille du Midi, as are other freeride ski routes of varying extremity.

See the Vallée Blanche ski route map here.

The Vallee Blanche (White Valley) is a long off-piste (i.e. not marked or patrolled) skiing route predominantly on glacier terrain. It is only undertaken if weather & snow conditions allow. The standard route (voie normale) is suitable for advanced skiers or strong intermediates when snow conditions are good. It is strongly recommended to do this skiing odyssey with an experienced high-alpine mountain guide. Alternative access (easier) is from Skyway Monte Bianco in Italy (see Courmayeur section below).

Boasting the world's longest lift-served vertical descent of 2,807m, the Vallee Blanche is an amazing experience not to be missed. During the 20km (ish) journey you ski the Mer de Glace passing huge seracs (towers of ice) and spectacular crevasses. If there is adequate snow you can ski down to Chamonix (rare these days), or alternatively finish at the Montenvers railway terminus and take the train back into town. The Montenvers exit requires a short, but strenuous, walk up from the glacier.

See the Montenvers area map here.

Courmayeur Ski Resort & Skyway Monte Bianco Italy

Courmayeur is on the other side (the sunny side!) of the Mont-Blanc tunnel in Italy and offers numerous possibilities for skiers of all levels. Courmayeur ski resort and the sensational Skyway Monte Bianco offer a great addition to your ski week in Chamonix. They have numerous off-piste freeride challenges in their own right.

Courmayeur is more relaxed than Chamonix and often has better snow. The Skyway Monte Bianco up to Punta Helbronner is one of the best lift systems in the world (and we have travelled on quite a few!!). Access to the Vallee Blanche is generally more pleasant & reliable than from the Aiguille du Midi. The Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass covers both the Courmayeur ski area and the Skyway Monte Bianco. The major downside is the travel time to get there from Cham & the exorbitant cost to the Mont Blanc Tunnel for your car.