Chamonix Ski Resort, France

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  • Resort height: 1035m
  • Highest lift: 3842m
  • No. of lifts: 65
  • Guide lift pass price: £290
  • No. of slopes: 262
  • Total piste: 155km
  • Transfer times: Geneva: 1hr 15mins

Resort rating

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Intermediates:

Snowboarding:

Off piste:

Après-ski:

Non skiers:


Overview of Chamonix

For skiers and mountaineers, Chamonix is a veritable Mecca. Well known for having enough steep and challenging terrain to last a lifetime, the ski areas also provide a balance to suit the more intermediate end of the spectrum. Grands Montets, Brévent-Flégère, Les Houches and the Domaine de Balme each have a variety of pistes, but the real boon is for the advanced or expert skiers. Skiing off the Aguille du Midi (with a guide) for example, is a bucket-list item.

Chamonix has a permanent population and is a working town with schools, a library and the like. It’s just as busy in the summer as in the winter and this makes it feel homely and welcoming all year round, unlike some of the purpose-built resorts. You will need to hop on the valley buses to make the most of the huge ski area available on your lift pass, but it’s worth it. When you get back to town at the end of the day, the variety of food and après on offer will taste all the better when you know you’ve earnt it.

3 Things We Love About Chamonix

  1. Almost unrivalled off-piste opportunities
  2. A vibrant town with a great variety of hotel accommodation, restaurants and bars
  3. The opportunity to cross the border to Italy and ski in Courmayeur

Skiing and Snowboarding in Chamonix

With the peak of 4,810m Mont Blanc looming overhead, skiing in the Chamonix valley can be a daunting experience. If you’re keen to explore, have a sense of adventure and you want to develop your technique, you will find the challenges of Chamonix to your liking – even as a novice. What you won’t find are miles of undulating blue pistes within a huge interconnected ski area.

Beginners will find some nursery ski areas just outside Chamonix town centre. A bus stops at the foot of each one so access is easy. Savoy is ideal for total beginners with its travellator style ascent and then the slightly larger Planards is a good step up for getting used to chairlifts. The real bounty for novice skiers though is in Le Tour. Lovely cruisey runs to keep you entertained all day, but you’ll need to take the bus from town to the top of the valley.

Intermediates and advanced skiers will love Le Tour too, especially if you’re getting your ski legs, but you’ll also have the five main areas to explore, each accessed from town via the Chamonix valet bus service. 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.

Exploring the off-piste options is something Chamonix is known for – and rightly so. The opportunities for fresh, deep powder and steep descent are abound. However, Skiworld would always recommend booking a qualified mountain guide, a) to find the best skiing and b) for their on-mountain expertise and safety.

Lift Passes in Chamonix

Most British visitors to Chamonix will get the ‘MBU’ pass – the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass – which provides you access to all the ski areas in the valley as well as some added extras which are well worth exploring during your stay.

Courmayer in Italy and the entire 4 Valleys ski area including Verbier, in Switzerland, are included on the MBU pass. Get yourself to either via one of the many bus services from Chamonix, get your pass scanned at a lift pass office and you’re good to go.

For short breaks, or total beginners, you can save some money by purchasing ‘Le Pass’ instead, which only covers the local areas of Brevent-Flegere, Balme (Le Tour-Vallorcine) and Grand Montets, as well as the beginner areas - La Vormaine, La Poya, Les Chosalets, Le Savoy and Les Planards. You can upgrade this pass to an MBU by paying a supplement.


Activities in Chamonix

If the extreme skiing is all a bit much, try out these fun activities instead during your visit to Chamonix:

  • Husky dog sledding – Explore specially marked forest paths as the driver of your own sled of trained dogs and gaze at the beauty of the mountain landscape.
  • Aguille du Midi – It might be a step too far for you to ski, but you can still take the two-stage cable car up to the viewing area at this iconic summit. Here you'll enjoy breath-taking views of Mont Blanc and the Valle Blanche below. Those with a head for heights can also ‘step into the void – a glass box suspended 1000m above the valley floor!
  • Mer de Glace – Travel on the mountain train from Chamonix to the top of the glacier at 1913m, then take the cable car and a short walk to the fabulous ice cave. There are a couple of small restaurants, a mountain refuge and a small museum at the top too.
  • Paret Sledging – Take the last lift of the day up to the Grand Montets ski area and toboggan back down on these traditional wooden sledges. Great fun for a group or family!
  • Paragliding – With a range of take-off points in the valley, this popular pastime is a great experience in Chamonix. Pair up with your expert pilot and soar through the air from 1000m back to the valley floor. Your neck hairs will never be the same again.
  • Ice Climbing – Book a guide, hike through the woods to a frozen waterfall and pit your wits, skill and strength against a wall of ice! Suitable for beginners and experts alike, this exhilarating activity is becoming more and more popular.

Après Ski in Chamonix

  • La Folie Douce, Chamonix – Party the afternoon away at the hotel of this iconic après ski brand. Expect the usual dancing and cabaret, albeit with a little less anarchy.
  • Le Janssen Cocktail Club, Chamonix – Also located in the Folie Douce Hotel, this cocktail bar is open until the early hours when you need a suave solution to your party predicament.
  • Elevation 1904, Chamonix – Serving local and international beers, cocktails and ‘pub grub’ style food, Elevation has a chilled-out vibe for a more relaxed après ski.
  • The Office, Argentiere – With its sports-bar vibe, The Office is a great place to hang out with the locals, talk about skiing, drink some beers and watch sport.
  • Les Marmottons, Argentiere – Right on your way home, the terrace at Les Marmottons is the perfect tonic for that nagging question “should I do one more run?”. The live music and refreshing frosty beers will change your mind in a hurry.
  • Amnesia, Chamonix - Chamonix's largest nightclub, located at the south end of town. Theme nights are as common as big-name DJs and all-night parties! Enough said.

Places to Eat in Chamonix

Dining on and off the mountain is a case of “what?” not “where?”. There are loads of options from the valley floor at Les Houches to the top of the Aguille du Midi. Here’s just a small selection…

  • Arrêt Bougnète – Ski to this hearty and good value restaurant from the piste next to the Vallorcine lift station and enjoy the classic Savoyarde dishes like Tartiflette, Raclette and Crozets and Galettes.
  • Le 3842 – Not necessarily a ‘restaurant’, more a café. But there’s something unique about a toasted panini and an espresso at 3,842m above sea level, whether you’re skiing down afterwards or not.
  • Casa Valerio – A great Italian alternative to all the cheese, if you need it. Classic pasta, pizza and meat dishes in a relaxed and clean-cut restaurant. Great service and not at all pricey.
  • Bighorn Bistro and Bakery – When you need a big portion of comfort food, head to the Bighorn. Mexican-inspired American classics, as well as modern twists on French staples, make this a great choice for a mixed group. Vegan options are well catered for too.
  • Le Matafan – When you need a fix of haute cuisine, Le Matafan delivers. Exquisite dishes, creatively crafted and immaculately presented. It’s a dining experience with all the bells and whistles included elegant amuse bouches and a relaxing bar for a digestif to finish your meal.

Family Features

As well as the fun non-skiing options in the Activities tab, Chamonix also offers the following amenities for families:

  • Under 5’s ski for free - Whilst they may not be tackling the black runs, it’s a good cost-saver to know the little ones won’t cost you a lift pass.
  • Kid’s Clubs - The ESF runs kid’s clubs at Le Savoy and Les Planards beginners’ ski areas. Instructors not only teach the basics of skiing to children aged 3 and up, but ‘fun’ is the name of the game – and there’s lots of it.
  • Chamonix Sports Centre – Richard Bozon Sports Centre features a 25 meter plus a kids play pool and includes river rapids and a water slide. Also, there’s indoor rock climbing and ice skating rinks, both inside and out.
Apartments (4)
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    Ski essentials in Chamonix

    Organising ski hire has never been easier. Select your preferred departure date and see what discounts we offer when you pre-book. (Please note helmets are not included. Please call if you'd like to hire one).

    Up to
    15% off

    Bronze Silver Gold Platinum Ski Saver
    Adult   (14+ yrs) Skis | Poles £96 £82 £142 £121 £174 £148 £203 £173 Book your ski hire at the same time as purchasing any lift pass and save an additional
    £20 per person
    Ski | Poles | Boots £120 £102 £163 £138 £203 £173 £237 £201
    Snowboard £142 £121 £174 £148
    Snowboard | Boots £163 £138 £203 £173
    Child   (6-13 yrs) Skis | Poles £92 £78
    Ski | Poles | Boots £115 £98
    Snowboard £92 £78
    Snowboard | Boots £115 £98

    Find out more about our ski hire

    Ski essentials in Chamonix

    A lift pass is a necessity for every ski holiday and often a sizeable chunk of your holiday budget. As a result, and using our 35 years of experience, we have sought great value prices for you, so browse via resort and date to see how much you can save!

    Six Day Full Area Pass Ski Saver
    Senior   (65-79 yrs) £247 Book your ski hire at the same time as purchasing any lift pass and save an additional
    £20 per person
    Adult   (15-64 yrs) £290
    Child   (5-14 yrs) £247

    Find out more about lift pass options we offer

    Ski essentials in Chamonix

    No matter what level you are – first time skier to seasoned pro, everyone can find ski tutorial to suit their level. Browse our ski lessons via date to see our current rates. Prices based on morning lessons – subject to availability.


    Ski School is now available for the 19/20 winter season. Please call our ski experts on 0330 102 8004 for advice and to book lessons.

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    Source : Chamonet.com