The problem with transport
Chamonix is so vast and spread out across the valley that skiers must rely on transport to get to any of the ski regions.
You can see from the orientation map, the resort starts at the head of the valley at Vallorcine and Le Tour with the fabulous open ski region of Domaine de Balme.
At the other end of the valley, an hour's bus ride away is Les Houches, where you must ski the Kandahar - that's the World Cup Piste. Yes, the WORLD CUP is held right here and it is really amazing to ski alongside the champions when they're training here.
The resort is vast and commuting is unfortunately, unavoidable. No matter where you're staying, even in the center of town, you need access to transport
Chamonix has thoughtfully provided complimentary ski buses and trains to those on a valid pass. This pass applies to trains that ply the valley but this means if you're leaving the valley, beyond St Germain/La Fayet, the full fare will be required to be paid.
The Chamonix Ski Bus is also free to those on a valid ticket. We favored the buses as it takes skiers directly to the cable car terminal, whereas if you caught the train, you still have to hike from the station to the lift terminal.
You'll see the little eco-buses, "Le Mulet" which services just the town of Chamonix Mont Blanc and this too is free to skiers with a valid pass.
If you're a paying guest, you can ask your host for the Carte d' hote which entitles you to free transport in the valley on the train, the ski bus and the Mulet.
If you're in a self-serviced apartment, ask the booking agent and they'll write out the carte for you.
Chamonix is simply lovely and most places in the valley are charmingly delightful but I do consider the most important criteria for accommodation and hotels in Chamonix is to be close to access to transport - either a bus stop or the train station.
One thing to worry about - transport is excellent, frequent and efficient during peak times but the night service is understandably limited. Take care to watch the times so as to avoid costly taxi fares.
It depends on where you're staying and where you want to spend time skiing and partying.
We chose to pay more and our Chamonix apartment was right in the town center where all the action happens both day and night, and as a result we did not pay a cent extra on taxi fares or commuting in the valley. Our only transport costs were car rental for the day trip to Verbier and a train fare to Annecy, the little Venice of France.
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Chamonix - Getting There, Getting Around: