Chamonix

Overview

Chamonix is a year round alpine town with a long history of alpine sports, people come from all over the world to ski, board and climb in this iconic resort. During the summer Chamonix is probably busier than during the ski season with tourists from all over the world some merely to ride up the Aiguille Midi and gaze at the majestic Mont Blanc some to actually climb it. Having visited during the summer it is interesting to travel up to  the viewing platform with tourists in shorts and flip flops standing next to climbers with ropes crampons and all their various climbing paraphernalia.

For those choosing Chamonix as a ski destination it is as unlike the high altitude archetypal French resort as it could possibly be. All of these resorts have been designed to allow visitors to be as close to the skiing and the lifts as possible, Chamonix hasn't been designed at all!

In the village centre are two lifts, the Aiguille Midi which takes you to the Vallee Blanche glacier and the Brevent gondola. At opposite ends of the Chamonix valley are the villages of Les Houches and Le Tour with Vallorcine, Argentiere and Les Praz in between. All of these areas can be accessed by the regular bus service or the hourly train service. The full unlimited lift pass covers all of these areas plus Courmayeur in Italy and Verbier in Switzerland. To gain the full benefit of the unlimited pass a car is a very good idea.

The skiing in Chamonix is ideal for confident intermediates with a lot of challenging slopes, for those wanting to venture off piste (OFF PISTE SKIING SHOULD ALWAYS BE UNDERTAKEN WITH A QUALIFIED MOUNTAIN GUIDE) there is a large selection of excellent runs that would be a good introduction to off piste skiing, if conditions are good the famous Valle Blanche is within the reach of confident intermediates.

This is without doubt an experts resort with steep and deep terrain and some of the most famous off piste terrain anywhere in the world. Chamonix would be included as one of the resorts than brought to the publics attention the Extreme Skiing phenomenon and was featured in the 1980's film The Blizzard of AAhhs starring Scot Schmitt and Glen Plake. For the expert this is a must visit resort.

Beginners will find nursery slopes in Chamonix town at the Brevent and the Planards, for slopes suitable for progression a bus ride to Le Tour is your best bet, but our opinion is that there are many places that are better suited to beginners.

For boarders like skiers the terrain suits experts the most, and for those wanting steep and deep will get the most from Chamonix. There are terrain parks at Grand Montets and Les Houches. 

Chamonix is very popular for short breaks, with a myriad of flights into Geneva with Chamonix being little over an hours drive and hoteliers willing to take reservations for less than 7 days means that it is an ideal destination.  

Positive

  • Some of the best off piste in the world
  • Easy access from Geneva airport
  • Great for non skiers
  • Good intermediate/expert areas
  • Lively apres ski 

Negative

  • Disjointed ski area
  • Bad weather can shut the best runs
  • Not many good mountain restaurants

Offslope/apres ski

For après ski this has to be one of the best with a large selection of bars and clubs. From the live music and dancing on the bars and tables of the Chambre Neuf next to the train station to more upmarket lounge bar Le Privilege. There are many many bars in Chamonix due mainly to the fact that it is a large town and has a year round clientele.

The resort also offers a huge amount for the non skier. With a large sports centre with swimming pool, ice skating and gym. For those who love their "contact sports", if you get a chance to see an ice hockey game whilst in Chamonix go......because you will not be disappointed.  Non skiers can buy the Cham Gourmand pass and go up to one of three mountain restaurants and meet friends (the cost of the pass is credited against your meal)

Our View

Great resort for expert and confident intermediate skiers. Superb for skiers looking for a buzzing nightlife. Really popular weekend destination.

At a glance

Chalets:
21
Hotel & Apartments:
32
Pistes:
152km.
Resort height:
1035m
Top station:
3840m

Suitability

Experts:
5 stars
Intermediates:
3 stars
Beginners:
2 stars
Non-Skiers:
5 stars
Scenery:
5 stars
Resort charm:
4 stars
Nightlife:
5 stars