Guide to Skiing in Chamonix
In the shadow of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is the perfect playground for adventurous skiers.
Renowned for fabulous off-piste skiing, Chamonix has everything from epic glaciers to endless moguls and gentle tree-lined skiing.
Chamonix is located in the department of Haute-Savoie in the northern French Alps, just an hour's drive from Geneva. With an incredible setting in the shadow of Mont Blanc, Chamonix’s ski area is split into several small, widely separated areas. Two of these sectors can be accessed directly from the town itself whilst the rest are a short drive further up and down the valley. The slopes range from 1035m to 3840m in altitude meaning snow conditions are usually reliable.
Le Brévent ski station is closest to the centre of Chamonix with a cross-valley cable car linking to the compact Flégère ski area. These are the sunniest sectors in Chamonix with impressive views of Mont Blanc. Around 8 km up the valley is Argentiere at the foot of Les Grands Montets, the largest and highest of the ski sectors. Down the valley, 7 km from Chamonix, is Les Houches which offers lots of tree line skiing and is the place to go in bad weather.
Beginner Skiing in Chamonix
Whilst Chamonix is not the ideal resort for beginners, it is still possible to learn to ski here. Close to the centre of town, the Savoy area has two drag lifts and a moving walkway, making it an ideal learning area for children. Les Houches is also good for novice skiers, with two short, gentle beginner slopes at the top of both the Prarion and Bellevue cable cars.
Probably the best area in the valley for beginners is Domaine du Balme which is accessible from the village of Le Tour or Vallorcine. Here you will find various green and blue runs along with some easy reds.
Intermediate Skiing in Chamonix
For a confident, competent skier, Chamonix has much more to offer. Brévent-Flégère offers a host of testing red pistes from the top chairlifts and from the Floria drag lift. The Grands Montets is a little more limited and best suited to advanced skiers. On the slopes of Balme, the red runs aren’t a great deal steeper than the blues although Belle Place provides a longer, more testing run.
Over at Les Houches, there is some good tree line skiing as well as the famous Kandahar ski run, used for the Alpine Ski World Cup.
Expert Skiing in Chamonix
Chamonix is a fantastic adventure playground for expert skiers. The best areas to explore are Brévent-Flégère and Grands Montets. The Charles Bozon run from Brévent to Plan Praz is particularly challenging. The steepest terrain is found at Grand Montets which offers incredible glacier views along with the best snow in the valley. Two black pistes, Les Pylônes and Point de Vue, run from the 3,330m top station whilst runs from the Herse chair and Bochard gondola are also worth seeking out.
There is also a lot of excellent off-piste to be explored, including the famous 20 km Vallée Blanche with a vertical descent of 2700m. This spectacular route takes you through stunning scenery and is accessible with a guide for most intermediate skiers.
Freestyle Skiing in Chamonix
Home to one of the largest snow parks in Europe at Le Tour - Balme , Chamonix has become increasingly popular with freestyle skiers and snowboarders.
Located between 1900m and 2100m, the park is graded from blue to black with a series of jumps, boxes and two pipe lines. Brévent is home to a kicker with a Big Air bag whilst Grand Montets has two boardercross courses.
Explore the slopes of Chamonix from a private luxury chalet.