One of the finest ski resorts in France Chamonix boasts three areas considered the best in the world and certainly on many skiers bucket list.
The most thrilling pistes, with steep deep reputations are:
Chamonix is a large resort built at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is steeped in mountaineering tradition and has retained a lot of its gracious charm and many old attractive buildings.
In summer, it is known as a world class climbing/ mountaineering centre while in winter, skiers come specifically to do the famous Vallee Blanche Chamonix.
Ski Resorts In France
Chamonix - Overview
This resort is also famous for the very impressive cable cars that take visitors to the top of the Aiguille du Midi for not just spectacular views over the Alps, but this "to be admired" engineering extends to further lifts that go across to the Italian Border at Pointe Helbronner.
It is easily reached from Geneva via the motorway the "Route Blanche". It takes about an hour by car from Geneva airport to Chamonix Mont Blanc, the main town in the resort.
The ski resort of Chamonix France, is a commune that starts at the Geneva end, at Les Houches, goes through the villages of Les Praz and Argentiere and to Le Tour at the Swiss end of the valley.
The skiing at Chamonix is somewhat inconvenient as it is divided into 5 separate areas linked by bus. The Chamonix Ski Bus is free for those on a valid ski pass. The 5 areas are:
While there are lifts from town at Chamonix Sud, up the Aiguille du Midi, there are no groomed pistes in this area. This lift serves sight seeing visitors and skiers to the off-piste Vallee Blanche.
For an overview of the ski areas, please refer to Chamonix Ski Areas.
Vallee Blanche Overview
You'd be hard pressed to find winter resorts with this most fantastic ski experience - an adventure down the glacier. Skiing the glacier is not as you'd imagine a smooth expansive tongue of hard packed snow, but is incredibly dangerous.
...but entirely do-able, even for intermediate skiers...as long as you have a guide and you're fully equipped with safety gear.
Yes, a good intermediate skier should be able to ski this 22 km route.
main difficulty with the Vallee Blanche is, it is dangerous and skiing
around the area of the seracs is particularly tricky. The glacier cracks as it descends down the mountain and it is these enormous deep crevasses, hidden by snow that are so very dangerous.
You'll see ice towers down the Vallee Blanche
Seracs, are enormous towers of ice. The glacier does not have a smooth surface. As you can imagine, the glacier is traveling down the mountain side and goes over undulating and uneven sub-terrain. It cracks as it moves downhill and resulting seracs and deep crevasses form.
We highly recommend skiing with a ski guide. This terrain should always be done with the guide. Not only will the guide share with you interesting features and expert knowledge as you ski this unique route, but he knows the safest routes and where the stable snow bridges are located.
It seems, should an accident occur, the cost of rescue is astronomical. So go with a guide - he has all the safety equipment and you'll be kitted out with safety beacons, ropes and shackles.
Choose a clear day to explore the Valle Blanch. You'll appreciate the spectacular beauty of the region.
Ski Resorts In France
Chamonix Review Of Ski Regions
We much prefer winter resorts like this, full of charm and character and unmistakeably stylishly French, rather than the new modern resorts where you could be anywhere in the world from Korea to Le Trois Vallee.
The Chamonix lifts are fast but crowded especially at peak times. The snow conditions are excellent on the high mountain areas for the majority of the season.
Although inconvenient that the ski regions are not interconnected, the free ski buses are frequent and efficient.
For the relative locations and suitability of the 5 main ski regions : Chamonix France Review
For a brief discussion of each of the 5 main ski regions: Chamonix France 5 ski regions.
More on Orientation of the Valley: