One of the great ancient Alpine capitals Chamonix boasts some of the best skiing and scenery in the Alps, with a large variety of runs and wonderful views of Mont Blanc. It's is a popular destination for international skiers and is consistently rated as one of the top ten in the world thanks to its reputation as a truly bustling and exciting town.
It should be noted that Chamonix is not a ski-in ski-out destination offering slopeside accommodation. The resort is comprised of six separate ski areas, which means that a bus service is required to travel between them. However, this is a small price to pay for the huge range of skiing which is then provided to explore, making the resort such a coveted destination for discerning skiers.
Resort Altitude: 1,035m
Resort Skiing: 3,840m
Total Ski Area: 150km
Green Runs: 7km
Blue Runs: 42km
Red Runs: 55km
Black Runs: 41km
Cross Country: 40 km
The ski area provides a fabulous 150km of downhill skiing accessed by 65 lifts. The resort height is at 1,035m, and with skiing going as high as almost 3,840m skiers can relax knowing that good snow cover will last all season long. Two of Chamonix's ski areas are linked together from the slopes, whilst the rest are separated along the length of the valley and are conveniently connected by an efficient bus service.
Being such a vast area there really is no struggle to find the right difficulty of slopes to suit all levels of skiing. Col de Balme, Le Tour and Vallorcine are gentle areas offering cruisey blues which are perfect for beginners. Les Houches is good for intermediates with long blue runs and a few steeper more challenging runs including Chamonix’s world cup downhill course. Advanced skiers and confident intermediates will want to check out the 20km of freeride skiing along the Vallée Blanche and the legendary off-piste on the Grands Montets glacier.
Chamonix is a place of pilgrimage for the advanced snowboarder, with endless off-piste possibilities and on-piste runs which will push even the best boarders. Head to the Grands Montets glacier for a slice of the action where you will find an impressive fun park and half-pipe which hold regular competitions.
Great tuition options in Chamonix include the Evolution 2 and New Generation ski schools who offer group and private lessons for all abilities, delivered by passionate and professional instructors who are fluent in English. The official ESF French ski school also has a good reputation with British clients.
The main Chamonix nurseries are called the Panda Club and the Piou-Piou Club, both run by the ESF ski school. There are also several private nanny services in Chamonix who can offer additional services such as evening babysitting for families.
Chamonix offers a great selection of mountain restaurants, serving up fantastic food accompanied by stunning views of Mont Blanc. Le Panoramic is a great option, situated at the top of the Brevent sector with some of the best views of any mountain restaurant anywhere in the world. Altitude 2,000 is another fabulous restaurant with tasty grills and welcoming service. In the resort there are plenty of restaurants, for fine dining try the two Michelin-starred Albert 1er or for a more affordable option try the fun Poco Loco bar.
There are a huge variety of bars and nightclub in Chamonix. The après ski partying begins around 5pm in town at bars such as the Chambre Neuf, Elevation 1904 and Le Vagabond. In the early hours, La Terrasse and Monkey bar have good live music and a friendly atmosphere. Real night owls could head to Amnesia, which doesn’t close until 6am.
Chamonix is a bustling, lively town which offers plenty of varied options to entertain non-skiers. Alternative winter sport activities such as ice skating, curling, indoor tennis and squash are available in the town; whilst those with a car can make day excursions to pretty nearby villages such as Megève which has plenty of designer boutiques and fine eateries to enjoy. It is also possible to take cable cars and gondolas up the mountain for a lunchtime rendezvous with skiers.