Overview of Chamonix
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc or simply Chamonix, is located at 1035m above sea level, at the foot of the majestic Mt Blanc in the Chamonix Valley. Far from a samey purpose-built resort, it's actually comprised of several villages and hamlets; some such as Argentière and Les Houches are well known in their own right as ski destinations. As the host of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix is steeped in winter sports history and to this day remains the capital of ski-mountaineering and a true bucket-list resort thanks to it's challenging terrain, iconic peaks such as the Aguille du Midi and an après atmosphere that is second to none.
Skiing and Boarding in Chamonix
The Chamonix Valley is considered by many to be the Mecca for off piste skiing. However, as a novice or intermediate you shouldn't be put off as there are plenty of blues to keep you busy. Chamonix is a challenge for everyone and will progress your skiing no-end.
There are five main areas making up the 'ski area' which are accessed by free resort shuttles. Les Houches, La Flégère, Le Brevent, Les Grands Montets and of course Chamonix itself, home of the Aiguille du Midi (off piste only via the famous Vallee Blanche). Interconnecting resorts such as Brévent, Vallorcine and Courmayeur in Italy can also be accessed on the full area lift pass. Locally there are about 50 ways to get up the mountain to access the 150km of pistes via a combination of cable cars, gondolas, chairlifts and drag lifts.
The best area for novice skiers is the Teleski de Savoy. It's an is an ideal learning area for children, plus being located practically in the centre of Chamonix on the way up to the Brévent cable car, it's convenient too. For the more challenging runs, the Grands Montets in Argentière should be on your check-list. Finally, for advanced skiers the choice has to be the Aiguille du Midi cable car up to the Valle Blanche. An off piste itinerary, the longest in Europe; 22 hair-raising kilometres! A mountain guide is strongly recommended.
Staying in Chamonix
The town does well to combine the traditional alpine style buildings and more modern style properties in resort and you'll be glad to know there are accommodations to suit all budgets. Most hotels offer a board basis of at least B&B and many of the larger ones provide skier shuttles to the lifts, however having a vehicle in resort is quite a popular option to efficiently access all the ski areas on your own schedule.
Chamonix has a great mix of shopping from ski shops to haute couture and boutiques. The town centre is busy and vibrant; a melange of shops, hotels, cafes and bars – definitely the place to be after skiing.
Dining Options in Chamomix
Everything from hole-in-the-wall take aways to fine dining restaurants such as Michelin starred Le Bistrot or Albert Premier are present in resort. If you're looking for an après bar or late night options Chamonix also has you covered with places like Chambre Neuf and La Terrace. On mountain there are lots of options too, notable mentions include Les Vieilles Luges in Les Hoches and Chalet Refuge de Lognan in Argentière