Chamonix Mont-Blanc ski resort is located partially on a glacier that stretches across three mountainsides: Argentière, Lognan, and La Pendant.
The village is located at 1.035m and the lifts lead you up to cloud-busting 3.274m providing skiers and boarders with a massive 2.233m vertical drop. Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a mountain town, strategically situated on the border of three countries: France, Italy and Switzerland.
Chamonix ski area
Chamonix is divided into 3 separate ski areas which run along the valley from Le Tour down to Les Houches. All the ski areas are easily accessible by bus from the town centre - the closest area (Brevent) is a 5 minute bus ride or a 15 minute walk while the furthest area (Le Tour) takes about 15-20 minutes to get to by bus. The bus service is very regular at the beginning and end of the day but can get a little sparse in the middle.
Each area offers something different which makes skiing and snowboarding in Chamonix a lot of fun. The Brévent-Flégère sector, situated on the sunny side of the valley, offers a range of pistes from beginner to advanced. These areas are linked by a two-way lift and both provide stunning views of Mont-Blanc on a clear day. If you’re based in Chamonix town, we recommend heading up on the first Plan Praz lift (08:45am) to enjoy the first rays of sun and the freshly groomed pistes.
Les Grands Montets is often considered as the most challenging ski area. Situated 8km north of Chamonix and forming part of Argentière, this zone is a must for thrill seekers in search of steep pistes and/or powder. There still are, however, options for intermediates and beginners with several more mellow blue slopes as well as a brand new beginners area being built for winter 18/19.
Le Domaine de Balme/Le Tour is at the top of the Chamonix valley and offers a range of pistes. This open ski sector has a dedicated beginners area, a variety of red and blue pistes and a sponsored snow park. A long, blue slope links to the woodland runs situated above the Vallorcine village. This ski area is also a great place to practice your off-piste technique.
Chamonix is the ideal playground for the intermediate or advanced skier; the valley’s steep sides are not the ideal place for beginners although if you learn to ski here you can probably ski anywhere.
If you have a 2-21 day Unlimited Pass you can ski in Courmayeur. Access is via daily shuttles from Chamonix (for a fee) or via the cable cars that link to Aiguille du Midi.
On the mountain, in all of the ski areas, there are restaurants with stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif.
During the winter season there is the apres-ski scene with live music from 4pm in several venues, most notably Chambre Neuf and the La Folie Douce, but there are plenty of quiet and cosy meeting spots for a vin chaud and a chat.
Once the skiing is over at the end of the day you’ll still find plenty to keep you occupied in town. There is an excellent selection of restaurants to choose from, ranging from Michelin (Albert 1er) starred fine dining to street food that will line your stomach for the après-ski (and rest assured there are dozens of great bars and clubs to choose from!). More unusually for a French ski resort, there are several places serving less traditional cuisine, including Mexican, Indian, Chinese and Japanese places.
There is a multitude of fabulous shops - Chanel, Napapijri, Patagonia, Helly Hansen...
Quite apart from this there is a cinema, a bowling alley, a casino, an ice rink, a modern sports centre with a pool, gym etc and tennis and squash courts. There is also a museum which gives a fascinating insight into the history of the valley in both geological and human terms. For a day’s pampering we now have a wonderful spa – QC Terme has opened their first spa outside Italy, situated on a 3000 sq metre plot in the centre of Chamonix and close to Chalet Valhalla.
As in any self-respecting French town there is a bustling open-air market on Saturday mornings which offers a plentiful array of local produce, including some particularly wonderful cheeses.