Chamonix is located in the heart of the stunning Mont-Blanc ski area in France, close to the Swiss and Italian borders. Widely regarded as the alpine and skiing capital of the world, it is one of the oldest ski resorts and has some of the world’s most exhilarating skiing opportunities.
How to get there
Chamonix is easily accessible by plane or train. If you choose to fly, the nearest airport is Geneva in Switzerland, which is just over an hour away from the resort. From the airport there is a reliable coach service provided by Altibus and there are regular shuttle buses which offer door-to-door transfers.
Travelling by train is a charming (but far less convenient) way of reaching Chamonix, requiring several changes. From the airport, cross Geneva and take a mainline train to Annemasse. From there, take a train to Le Fayet/St Gervais les Bains and then take the Mont Blanc Express, which offers passengers a panoramic view of the resort as it winds up the valley.
Travelling with Eurostar and transferring to TGV is a popular choice with skiers, since it allows them to avoid the check-in delays at airports which can be frustrating during peak season. From Paris, take a high speed TGV to Annecy. From there, it is just a 30 minute journey on the charming valley train to the resort.
Who the resort caters for
Chamonix is an extremely popular resort which boasts excellent skiing opportunities for beginners, intermediates and experts. It is particularly famous for the challenging skiing on offer. Although the valley floor is situated at a low altitude, the ski lifts go up to a height of 3000 m, providing plenty of steep slopes which are ideal for adrenaline junkies.
Chamonix offers plenty of good off-piste activities and its après-ski scene is almost as good as the skiing. The town’s lively streets contain restaurants, bars, and clubs to suit all tastes and there are some delightful artisan workshops which you can browse when skiing becomes too much!
With tourism being its main industry, Chamonix has an excellent range of accommodation, offering plenty of hotels, self-catering apartments, and chalets to suit all budgets. These include the following:
Le Hameau Albert 1er is a four star hotel. It is regarded as one of the best places to stay in the Chamonix valley. Oozing with alpine charm it offers three types of accommodation: traditional and refined, authentic but alternative, and exceptional and chic.
Les Balcons du Savoy is a high-class apart-hotel located in Chamonix’s town centre. Each apartment comes with a balcony boasting stunning views of Mont Blanc and the hotel includes a heated swimming pool, fitness suite, and beauty therapy capabilities.
The Hotel le Chamonix is an excellent value two star hotel and offers a fusion of alpine charm and modern comfort. All of the 16 rooms come complete with Internet access and television and they offer excellent views of the Chamonix mountains.
Chalet Chimere is just one example of the numerous self-catering chalets situated in the Chamonix valley. This newly-built three bedroom chalet, which is located within walking distance of the town centre, has a wood-burning stove, hot tub, and boasts stunning panoramic views.
Chamonix has 145 trails covering a total area of 152 kilometres. It offers slopes suitable for skiers of all abilities, from nursery slopes, trails through trees, off-piste tracks, free ride slopes, and a number of extremely steep, long and ungroomed runs.
That said, the resort is best known for its expert skiing since it boasts some of Europe’s most challenging runs. With Mont Blanc soaring high above it, the resort is renowned for its spectacular views but it can also be one of the most dangerous places to ski. It is therefore well worth hiring a mountain guide in order to ensure that you have fun whilst exploring the local area.
The skiing in Chamonix is spread out over three separate areas, all of which are ideal for skiers of all abilities (although there are some areas which are extremely challenging for beginners.) The Brevent/ Flegere pistes offer south-facing slopes and boast spectacular views of the Mont Blanc Alps. Brevent and Flegere are linked by a cable car.
The Grands Montes pistes are spread over the Argentiere glacier, the Lognan, and the Pendant Mountains. The area offers high-altitude, north-facing slopes with particularly good off-piste, free-ride, and snowboarding opportunities. The Point du Vue (or Pylones) offers particularly exhilarating skiing and boarding.
On the tree-lined runs which are located on the border with Switzerland can be found the Domaine de Balme area. This area is popular as a result of its wide, open, and gentle slopes. It also offers spectacular views of the Chamonix valley.
There are four low ski valley areas ideal for beginners. Les Planards offers red, blue, and green slopes suitable for beginners and intermediate skiers. La Vormaine has a ski kindergarten for young skiers and good slopes for new skiers and snowboarders. At the entrance to the Argentiere ski area can be found Les Chosalets, which is ideal for beginners and children.
Novice skiers are also welcome at Le Savoy, located at the foot of Brevant, as well as in the heart of Chamonix which has a ski kindergarten and boasts artificial snow. Chamonix also offers excellent cross-country skiing opportunities. The trails start at Les Houches, Bois de Bouchet, Le Praz, Argentiere, and Vallorcine.
Downhill Pistes: 152 km
Cross Country Trails: 43 km
Ski Lifts: 49
Max Vertical: 2800 m
Highest Lift: 3842 m
Resort Altitude: 1040 m
Lowest Piste: 1040 m