The official sites on the ski resort Chamonix, will tell you all about the magnificent skiing and the various tourist attractions. Yes, Chamonix really is fabulous but from an independent's perspective there are a few downsides.
Chamonix town and the ski region of Brevent
Not A Ski-in, Ski-out Resort
If you're after a ski-in, ski-out type of resort, Chamonix France is not the place for you.
High altitude skiing
The geography of the valley and the mountain range here lends itself to the vast terrain and excellent conditions offered by the 5 major regions of the Chamonix resort. It is because the pistes are located at such high altitudes that snow coverage is excellent and reliably so.
The downside, of course, is that settlements located on the valley floor are no where near the high altitude pistes.
The valley floor sits at about 1900m, whilst the runs, at Les Grands Montets, for example, goes from 3500m to 2000m.
This photo above shows where the town is located in relation to the slopes. Frankly, not having accommodation on-snow is a minor inconvenience given the benefit of access to such extensive terrain of groomed mountain areas. Ski-in, ski-out chalets are dependent on levels of snow dumps to make the traverse across to lifts or tows located low enough in the valley. Some of the apartments in the Savoy region of Chamonix Mont Blanc are close to the Savoy Poma or drag lift, to qualify as ski-in ski-out when there is sufficient snow cover.
The photo below illustrates the point - the town, villages and hamlets are sited along side the River Arve, the lowest areas in the valley.
Chamonix Holidays: Village by the River
On-snow accommodation is dependent on sufficient snow cover in the valley to get to the nearby lifts. There is accommodation advertised in the village of Argentiere as being ski-in, ski-out. But, the majority of accommodation in the ski resort is on the valley floor.
The photo above illustrates the villages
are on the valley floor built alongside the River l'Arve. The high alps
in the background is where the fantastic slopes are located.