Ski Chamonix France!
The mere mention of skiing in Chamonix tends to conjure images of beautiful people enjoying a winter vacation skiing fast and furious down steep, challenging mountain pistes. We consider the skiing in Chamonix as world class and the centre of the town, Chamonix Mont Blanc, is an absolute delight, having retained its old world charm.
We’ve skied each and every one of the pistes, and our favourites, we’ve returned to over and over again. This synopsis “Ski Chamonix” shares with you our very brief overview on each of the ski areas. Chamonix is a large resort with several ski regions, so there’s a selection to suit all levels of skiing abilities and ski passes to suit.
Don't worry about the confusion with the different types of ski passes, we cover this on the page, Skiing in France: Chamonix Best Value Ski Pass. You'll find the right pass to suit you.
When one refers to the ski resort of Chamonix France, this is a reference to resort which comprises several ski regions within the valley, at the centre of which is the town of Chamonix Mont-Blanc. The villages along the valley are access points for lifts servicing the ski areas that stretch from Le Tour to Les Houches.
Ski Chamonix - The Ski Regions Along The Valley
Here is our brief synopsis on the ski areas in Chamonix. I’ve provided the links to the full description on each ski area.
Ski Areas Accessed From Chamonix Mont-Blanc:
Our impression is that advanced skiers will ski all the runs, but will look for more variety elsewhere. It’s two ski areas linked by a Liaison cable car – it’s a lateral lift that goes between the Brevent and the Flegere ski areas.
What's wonderful about this Chamonix skiing region is, you get to ski a very wide area of the mountain. The individual areas are a bit limited, but put together, there’s plenty of skiing to ski for a day. And the views are great – looking down onto the valley.
Flegere is suitable for beginners making the transition to the next stage as there are both longer green and blue runs here.
As with Brevent, the slopes here are south facing and catch the sun most of the day. It’s very pleasant skiing here. This link takes you to a full report on the Chamonix skiing experience at Brevent-Flegere.
Getting to ski Chamonix’s Brevent is easy. The Brevent Cable Car is just north of the tourist office. Be sure to get the Chamonix ski bus there as it is a fair hike uphill on narrow trafficked roads.
Chamonix Mont Blanc: Orientation Drawing of Town Centre
There’s a poma or drag lift as well as a magic carpet, right in town, next to Club Med, just behind Ave. du Savoy. It’s a great area for beginners. It has a gentle gradient and sited next to a large field.
There are several apartment blocks in this area. It’s about the closest thing to ski-in, ski-out in the resort.
This is a large green piste, ideal for children and beginners and it’s located very close to town, just behind the railway station.
Ski Area Accessed From Chamonix Sud:
The Aiguille du Midi cable car is the access lift to start your Vallee Blanche Chamonix adventure.
The building housing the cable car is located in Chamonix Sud. Lots of day trippers and tourists on Chamonix holidays come up this famous cable car just for the amazing views of Mont Blanc and the stretch of surrounding Alps.
Aiguille du Midi View To Italy
If you’re going to ski Chamonix, you'll have to ski the Vallee Blanche Chamonix. Don’t be daunted by everyone talking it up. Your ski guide will assess your level of skiing ability and take you down a route that suits your ability. There are routes suitable for Blue, Red and Black skilled skiers. We’ve seen the crevasses, so we absolutely recommend you take a guide.
Vallee Blanche Chamonix: A last Look Back Up the Glacier
Ski Areas Accessed From Argentiere:
This was our favourite destination when skiing Chamonix. Argentiere is the access village for the ski area, Les Grands Montets. The black runs here are steep, challenging, fast and fantastic but not cliff-faced scary.
Les Grand Montets is the highest point in the valley at 3275 metres and the top parts are steep and ungroomed. It’s very popular and would enjoy the most amount of skiing traffic on the mountain. There are moguled areas at the top, where skiers are funneled through a passage.
Glacier d'Argentiere from top of Les Grands Montets
The runs are mostly black and red. As usual, we wouldn’t expect the steep black runs to be groomed.
There’s an excellent snow park with boxes and rails near the Marmottons lift.
There’s a small green area at Chosalets at the bottom of the mountain.
While you’re here to ski Chamonix, you must give Les Grands Montets a go.
Les Grands Montets seemed to us to be the most popular ski region in Cham.
Ski Area Accessed From Le Tour:
This region, called the Domaine de Balme is perfect for families and intermediates on Chamonix Skiing holidays. The access village is Le Tour. A cable car takes skiers to the mid level of the mountain and from there, you take other lifts further up the mountain.
It’s mostly red and blue runs in this wide ski bowl. You can see from one end of the ski area to the other.
There’s a green area at the bottom of the mountain at La Vormaine with 3 lifts, dedicated to beginners.
For family skiing holidays, the Domaine de Balme is perfect. Being 1000m lower than the next mountain at Les Grands Montets, it means it’s less steep. The slopes are well groomed and the pistes wide. There are great conditions here with long runs, so long as you don’t mind pomas/drag lifts.
This area is wonderfully sun-blessed for most of the day.
Ski Area Accessed From Les Houches:
The first Winter Olympics in 1924 was held at Les Houches.
The World Cup Downhill events are held here on the La Verte Kandahar. Despite it’s name there’s nothing green about it. When you ski Les Houches, it's really all about the fantastic Kandahar.
It’s long, steep, and very fast. Yep, world class stuff. It’s described on the brochures as legendary. It is.
Les Houches is also terrific on days when there's poor visibility. This ski region is unusual in the Chamonix Valley as the pistes are cut through the forests. As you'll know, trees provide better definition when there's a white out.
Les Houches has a number of minor pistes, nice blue and red runs and an excellent restaurant on the Col de Voza.
The ski runs here at Les Houches, are mostly black and red. It’s ideal for advanced and high intermediate skiers. For that added bit of fun, there’s a snow park with boxes and rails at Les Houches.
As an advanced skier here to ski Chamonix, you mustn’t miss the Kandahar run at Les Houches.
Courmayeur and Verbier:
Skiing Chamonix isn't limited to just the resorts in the valley. We regard this as the best value of skiing in France. The Unlimited Mont Blanc Ski Pass permits unlimited skiing in 3 countries, France, Italy and Switzerland.
Besides the 6 ski regions at Chamonix, this pass entitles you to explore Courmayeur Italy and Verbier Switzerland.
We have a full report on skiing at Courmayeur Italy. We thought this resort was the ants’ pants – just fantastic! Be sure to book the bus early as the buses fill quickly.
Start your day early if you want to ski Verbier Switzerland. The resort is really large and the valleys are efficiently connected. Really terrific skiing here!
Ski Chamonix – our favourite run?
We were after fast, steep and furious runs and Les Grands Montets and when we ski Les Houches, Kandahar always delivered.
Ski Chamonix – the best for families?
For the best chamonix skiing experience for families, we’d recommend Domaine de Balme for its wide ski bowl. It is sheltered and sun drenched with long, wide pistes. We consider Chamonix ideal for family skiing holidays as it has fantastic skiing to keep family members with different ski abilities satisfied and challenged, as well as many interesting non-ski activities.
Ski Chamonix – the best for intermediate skiers?
For intermediate skiers, while all the ski regions have long, well groomed pistes, the best chamonix skiing experience, in our opinion, would be at Brevent-Flagere for its access to an enormous mountain area and the sun blessed slopes make for ideal skiing conditions.
For videos of the ski runs at Chamonix, visit ChamonixVideos.com
. It has footage and commentary of many of Chamonix's varied pistes.
The ski pass choices at Chamonix are great value for those skiing in France.
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