Cross Country:40 km of trails between Chamonix and Argentiere
8 April 2017 (7 nights)
7 nights | Guide prices per person
Located close to the southern neighbourhood of Chamonix, the La Rivière-Aiglons residence is situated in one of the most renowned skiing towns in the world.
Comprising of two buildings with wooden façades in the traditional style, the interiors of these fully-equipped apartments are comfortable and modern.
The residence is located 300 metres from the Aiguille du Midi ski lift, which takes you up to 3,842 metres altitude, giving quick and easy access to the pistes.
The town’s shops and restaurants are also close by.
The La Rivière - Aiglons residence in Chamonix offers a range of holiday accommodation from studios for four people, to two bedroom apartments for six people.
Apartment features include a balcony or terrace, a television and a personal safe. Each apartment kitchenette is equipped with a microwave, dishwasher and coffee machine.
One of the great ancient alpine capitals with a huge variety of attractions.
The town of Chamonix, which lies literally in the shadow of Mont Blanc, came to prominence as an alpine capital well before skiing was invented. It has long been an important mountaineering centre (many of the early pioneers in the middle of the eighteenth century were British, incidentally) and still today receives more visitors in summer than winter, though it must be said that many of these are just tourists passing through for a day or two.
Chamonix is quite unlike any of the other major French ski resorts. For a start it is not a ski-out/ski-in destination and has no slope-side accommodation to speak of. Secondly it comprises several quite separate ski areas and you need to use a car or bus service to travel between them.
Chamonix ski holidays benefit from all the advantages of the town — plenty of choice of shops, restaurants and bars and other facilities — as well as all the disadvantages — big, quite noisy and hard to get around. The very centre of the resort is now pedestrianised, which makes it much more user-friendly, although finding parking space close to the centre in high season can be tricky. However I would still say that this is one of only a very small number of ski resorts where a car is more of a help than a hindrance, since whizzing between the different ski areas with your own wheels is much easier than waiting for and using the rather complicated bus service.
Another advantage of Chamonix is that it is just one hour’s motorway drive from Geneva airport, which makes it a popular choice for weekend skiers. Indeed in recent years more and more British skiers have been buying or long-term renting chalets and apartments here, so the resort has an increasingly British flavour.
(Ski Solutions can arrange four-night long weekend breaks here at a variety of hotels outside very high season dates. For further details about Ski Solutions weekend breaks to Chamonix and other destinations please see the Short Breaks page on the website Home Page.)
Chamonix is also a convenient base from which to make day-trips through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the pretty little town and ski area of Courmayeur in Italy’s Aosta valley. Megeve is just one of several other day-trip destinations for those with a car.
Chamonix is served by Geneva with a wide range of flights from nearly all the main UK airports. Transfer time: 1 hr
|Lower Depth:||45 cm||Piste Conditions:||Pockets of fresh powder can be found off piste|
|Upper Depth:||150 cm||Runs to Resort:||Heavy|
|Fresh snow depth:||10 cm||Off-Piste:||Tracked|
|Best Snowfall week||27-Apr-2015||25-Apr-2016||26-Dec-2016 (8%)|
|Best Base week||02-Feb-2015||18-Apr-2016||30-Jan-2017 (8%)|
Cross Country:40 km of trails between Chamonix and Argentiere
Lots of truly awesome off-piste opportunities for experts, but plenty of on-piste terrain to amuse skiers of almost all levels.
Chamonix appeals principally to expert skiers who want to test their skills on off-piste terrain in the company of mountain guides. Pilgrims come from all four corners of the world to ski the legend that is Chamonix. In fact the area that they will mostly be skiing is the Grands Montets glacier, located above Chamonixs satellite village of Argentiere. The lifts here rise up to 3,275m. Although there are a few pistes in this sector, it is much more renowned for its majestic off-piste glacial terrain which, it can never be stressed too often, should only be skied with qualified mountain guides. (Skiers and boarders get only 2 tickets included in their lift pass for the key cable car here, after which it attracts an extra supplement, but even this does not prevent queues building up at peak periods.) Elsewhere in the Chamonix valley, there is testing off-piste terrain to be found at Le Brevent and La Flegere, as well as over the back of the Le Tour area.
For less adventurous skiers, which in this case means intermediates of all levels and good advanced skiers who prefer to remain on-piste, the most entertaining areas are Le Brevent and La Flegere, which are two separate areas nowadays usefully linked at altitude by a connecting cable car. This means that although you cannot actually ski between them, you can start your day on one and finish it on the other though if you have a car it will obviously make sense to finish up where you began, but be sure not to miss the last connecting lift. (By the way, it is subject to closure in high winds.) The easiest access to these two sectors is probably via the six-person gondola running up from close to the centre of town to Le Brevent. From the top station there is then a cable car running up to the summit at 2,525m, where there is a good restaurant with panoramic views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding area. The majority of the runs here are between 2,500m and 2,000m, but their relatively short length is more than compensated for by the awesome scenery that surrounds you.
Although it does have some advanced terrain, the Le Tour sector, which connects with Vallorcine, has plenty of gentle runs to appeal to early intermediates.
The highlight of many visits to Chamonix is a ride up to the top of the two-stage Aiguille du Midi cable car which, at 3,840m, is one of the highest in Europe. This is the departure point for the famous Vallee Blanche off-piste descent. The skiing on this long and spectacularly scenic run is not especially difficult, but the terrain is glacial and so extremely dangerous. The Vallee Blanche should never be attempted except in the company of a qualified mountain guide and is not recommended for those with a vertigo problem, but for all others if offers one of the worlds great ski experiences.
The Chamonix valley offers access to a variety of other ski destinations within less than an hours drive from Chamonix itself. These include Les Houches, St Gervais and the chic resort of Megeve. Deciding which of the many lift passes to purchase during a visit to the Chamonix valley can be tricky, for further information please see the lift pass section of this page.
Great for experts but not so good for learning.
Similar rules apply to boarders as skiers: Chamonix is a place of pilgrimage for the advanced and not the best of resorts in which to learn. The off-piste possibilities are vast and the on-piste runs can push even the best boarders. Head for the Grands Montets for a slice of the action where you will find an impressive fun park and half pipe which hold regular competitions.
Beginners should head for Le Tour although perversely there are rather more drag lifts here than elsewhere in the resort.
For boarders looking for nightlife, you will not be disappointed, there is a bountiful supply of suitable bars and clubs.
AN ADEQUATE SELECTION, BUT NOTHING FOR GOURMETS TO GET EXCITED ABOUT
In general the mountain restaurants in the Chamonix valley are more to be recommended for their views than their food. This is especially true of the Panoramic at the top of the Brevent sector, which must have some of the best views of any mountain restaurant anywhere in the world. However the food is unexciting. A better place to lunch from a food point of view is the newish chalet-style bergerie Altitude 2000 restaurant at the top of the Gondola in Planpraz, which does good grills and has very friendly service. La Flegere has only a self-service restaurant.
On the Grands Montets sector, the large, modern and comfortable restaurant at Plan Joran has both service and self-service sections and is commonly regarded as the best mountain restaurant in the valley. The wonderfully rustic Chalet Refuge du Lognan , which lies off the beaten track overlooking the Argentiere glacier boasts good, wholesome French country cooking.
Generally good tuition and some of the best mountain guides in the world.
The official ESF French ski school here has a good reputation with British clients, as do the more modern Sensation Ski and a number of small independent outfits. Chamonix is home to the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix, the oldest and most venerable mountain guiding service in the world. (Only those born in the Chamonix valley can belong to it.) But there are also other good guiding services operating here, such as Association Internationale des Guides, not to mention a number of first-rate independent guides, quite a few of them British. Some Recommended Ski Schools: Name: ESF Telephone: (+33) 0450 53 22 57 Fax: (+33) 0450 53 65 30 Email: email@example.com Website: www.esf-chamonix.com Adults: 6 full days 340 Children: 6 full days 285 Private: 118 for 2hr for 1-2 pax, 3-4 pax 128 Name: Ski Sensations Telephone: + 33 (0)6 82 10 59 22 Fax: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ski-sensations.com Adults: Children: Private: full day /1- 4 pax 320 Name: Evolution 2 Telephone: 0033 (0)4 50 55 53 57 Fax: Email: email@example.com Website: www.evolution2.com Adults: 5 sessions,2hours 149 Children: 5 full days from 290 Private: Full day 335
The main Chamonix kindergarten is called the Panda Club and is run by the ESF with a branch in both Chamonix and Argentiere. Some Recommended Kindergartens: Name: Panda Club, Chamonix Telephone: +33 (0)4 50 55 90 22 Fax: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.esf-chamonix.com Info: From 3 years old Name: Panda Club, Argentiere Telephone: +33 (0)4 50 55 90 22 Fax: Email: email@example.com Website: www.panda-club.com Info: Ages 3-12 yrs
6 day lift passes: - Under 16: 130 - 16 to 59: 243 - Over 60: 198
Plenty of choice for all tastes and budgets.
For serious skiing gourmets the crucial destination here is the restaurant of the Albert 1er hotel which has superb cooking rated two-stars by Michelin and is priced accordingly. Its annexe property La Ferme also has the Maison Carrier restaurant which serves rustic French fare in appropriate surroundings. The cosy little restaurant of the Auberge du Bois Prin is another gastronomic treat if you can get a table, that is. The Eden at Les Praz and the Jeu de Paume at Lavancher are two other hotels with a good reputation for their food.
In town, LAtmosphere is a perennial favourite and has a good selection of wines from the Savoie region. LImpossible , the eighteenth century barn converted into a restaurant by the original extreme skier Sylvain Saudan, has the best ambience in town and serves hearty Savoyarde specialities which incorporate huge quantities of cheese and potato. Le Sarpe in Les Bois is another place with a good atmosphere and reliable Savoyarde food.
Otherwise Chamonix has countless brasseries and cafes as well as a number of ethnic restaurants you can find Mexican, Spanish, Chinese and even Japanese food in this town.
Just as challenging as the skiing and as much variety.
There is a huge variety of bars and nightclub in Chamonix and, in particular, young skiers and riders imbued with stamina will be likely to find the apres-ski element of their holiday as tiring as the ski/board element. Market forces and fashion tend to mean that the bar scene here changes rapidly, with bars suddenly closing and re-opening with new identities on a regular basis. Apologies, therefore, if this guide is not always up-to-the-minute.
The apres-ski partying begins around 5.00pm in town at bars such as the Chambre Neuf and the Choucas and Driver video bars. After dinner the focus of the action moves to Wild Wallabies (a bar inspired by St Antons famous Krazy Kanguruh), the Mill Street Bar , the Bumble Bee , La Cantina (which sometimes has live music) and the Bar du Moulin .
In the early hours Arbat, which has the best live music in Chamonix, and Dicks Tea Bar are popular for drinking and dancing. Real night owls always end up in Blue Night , which doesnt close until 5.00am.
For those who want a quiet, civilised drink the Cocktail Bar of the Hotel Mont Blanc, which sometimes has live piano music, can be recommended.
Up in Argentiere the Office Bar is the unchallenged centre of all apres-ski activity, but there are also a number of other bars.
A fairly good choice, but not recommended early season.
Chamonix is a decent-sized town with plenty of shops, bars, restaurants and so on to entertain non-skiers. There are also opportunities for ice-skating, curling and indoor tennis and squash. Non-skiers prepared to drive can also make excursions to pretty nearby villages such as Megeve. It is also possible for them to take cable cars and gondolas up the mountain for lunchtime rendezvous with skiers or simply to admire the amazing alpine panoramas. However it is important to remember that the town remains in the shadow of the mountains for most of the day during the first part of winter and so can feel cold, depressing and even claustrophobic until around the beginning of February.