Chamonix! Think glamorous, world class winter resort... Think... beautiful people! Think...miles and miles of high altitude groomed pistes just below the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc.
We tell you like it us as we have no affiliations with any business in the resort.
So, things are a bit grim snow-wise and that's currently the situation for most (but not all) European ski resorts. Well...at Livigno, the entire resort's open.
The terrific thing about Cham, is that's lots to do, even if you're not skiing, and because the upper slopes are more than 3000m, conditions there will be vastly different to that on the valley floor. Check out the weather report at 3 altitudes - the valley at 1037m, mid level at 2440m and the upper reaches at 3800m.
Top Three Reasons
The top three reasons why skiers return repeatedly to ski Chamonix:
Furthermore, this exciting ski resort is so vast, there's more than enough terrain to also cater for intermediates with wide open bowls, sun-blessed south facing slopes, wonderfully wide corduroy pistes for graceful wide turns.
It's a terrific resort for families or groups with varying ski abilities.
First things first...The ski resort is enormous. It's not a town. It's the entire valley.
So before you do anything else, get your bearings of the main town, hamlets and location of lifts and pistes, so you're able to book accommodation with some understanding of the amount of commuting required.
For first time visitors, these two pages will help you with your research before you book your accommodation:
The resort is about skiing high and
sleeping low. Because the pistes are at high altitude, cover is mostly
excellent and the skiing experience superb.
The nursery areas are at the base of the valley where the gradient is very gentle. The downside is there's limited accommodation adjacent to lifts.
Since all accommodation here is situated along the valley floor, hotels that advertise proximity to lifts may well be located next to drag lifts at nursery slopes.
This is the main square in town and where all the action happens.
Ideally you'd stay close to here.
You'll need to understand that despite hotels advertising a location in Chamonix, that can mean anywhere along the valley, and it generally takes about an hour by road or train from one end of the valley to the other.
If convenience and good location matters to you, be sure to book at the main town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. And even then, there are desirable premium locations as well as seedy areas which even locals describe as "Mordor".
This is the cable car terminal for the Aiguille du Midi at Chamonix Sud. There's masses of apartments closeby all of which advertise closeness to the lift.
a tourist cable car for sightseers and the access lift for those
adventurers skiing the Valle Blanche, and there's no groomed piste access via this lift. This locality, however, is terrific if you're after a budget location.
Check out the page on Hotels which has tips on central locations. Proximity to bus stops will make for less of a drudge at the end of a great day skiing. Find our page on the Chamonix Ski Bus to check that your hotel is close to bus stops.
Okay, the good news is that the buses and trains are free around the valley, but the bad news is access to the ski buses.
I guarantee you, even 500m is a huge long way when you're in ski boots lugging your gear after a long day's skiing. Just as bad are hotels just on the outskirts of town - it's a common complaint that the buses are full to brimming by the time they leave the center of town. The buses don't stop when they're already packed to the gunnels.
You know about the usual suspects in the Valley
You simply cannot help but feel beautiful here amongst all the glamorous folk and uber fit climbers and skiers.
But, to make for a trouble-free vacation, do a little research before making bookings. This small investment in time will go a long way to ensure you get the best value and for a smooth worry-free time abroad.
This is what it's like skiing the Vallee Blanche - totally natural, complete with crevasses and ice towers. It's sensational!