In the Shadow of Mont Blanc
High in the French Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc, the legendary Chamonix ski resort has lured the most daring skiers to its slopes for over a century.
Home to the very first Winter Olympics, its reputation is world-famous, boasting the world’s highest lift-served vertical (3,842m) as well as longest ski run.
While Chamonix certainly draws the most seasoned of skiers, intermediates and beginners are well-catered for on the powdery slopes - they just need to know where to look.
France’s Chamonix resort is spread out across four mountains and several ski areas. This unique layout means there is always a new corner to explore on the Chamonix piste map.
The town sits at the centre of the valley, at a staggering 1,035m. As France’s oldest ski resort, cosy and luxurious Chamonix chalets nestle amongst chic bars and Michelin-starred restaurants, adding a vibrant, cosmopolitan charm to your Chamonix ski holiday.
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Chamonix Ski Areas & Slopes
Sunny, south-facing Brévent-Flégère offers some of the most spectacular Mont Blanc views
Intermediate-Advanced: The majority of slopes here are challenging, with a number of narrow off-piste sections jutting through forests to the Chamonix valley floor.
Beginners:Those new to the slopes can find their own flow on the gentler, green and blue pistes between Plan Praz and La Flégère.
Les Grands Montets
This is the largest and most challenging of Chamonix ski areas, as well as the most famous.
Advanced: Long, steep and towering over 3,000m, Les Grands Montets is the first port of call for experienced skiers.
Intermediate: This Chamonix ski area is off-limits for beginners. However, gentler banks around the Lognan middle station are a great starting point.
Le Tour Balme
At the end of the Chamonix valley, Le Tour offers some of the ski resort’s lowest altitude slopes.
Intermediate: Entry-level off-piste spots with relatively smooth plateaus run through the woodlands here.
Beginners: The best spot for beginners looking to get away from the Chamonix valley-floor and build their confidence, with two green pistes and a longer blue run
L’ Aiguille du Midi and Vallee Blanche
The crowning jewel of Chamonix, L’Aiguille du Midi reigns with a mythical status.
Advanced:There are no pistes here; this is expert-only territory. It’s home to the fabled Vallée Blanche, a staggering 22km glacier descent.
Ski Holidays in Chamonix
Chamonix Ski Passes
With six different ski lift systems, some planning is required to ensure you buy the right Chamonix lift pass for your ski holiday.
Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass (MBU) gives you access to the entire Chamonix Valley and neighbouring spots, including unlimited descents from the resort’s highest ski lifts. Prices start at €65 per day for adults.
Chamonix Le Pass ski pass provides access to the three main Chamonix ski areas: Brévent-Flégère, Le Tour Balme and Grand Montets, as well as the valley-floor areas. Prices start at €53 per day for adults.
The Chamonix Family Ski Pass is available for families of two adults and two children (age 5 to 14), with additional children up to a total of five going free. Prices average €164 per day for the Chamonix Valley pass, and €201 for the MBU.
There is a fantastic range of Chamonix ski schools for groups and individuals at every level. The main ski school catering for children is ESF. Experienced skiers looking to take on new heights will also find a range of Chamonix adventure courses, such as the teeth-chattering ‘Pack Adrénaline’ at ESF.
No matter how light you decide to travel, there is an abundance of Chamonix ski rental and snowboarding options across the entire resort. Chamonix Mont-Blanc Tourist Office includes a list of ski rental options here.
Family Fun in Chamonix
Family skiing holidays require a lot of planning to cater for so many different age groups and ski abilities. Look beyond Chamonix’s technical hotspots and you’ll find many ways for families to enjoy the alpine magic together. La Flégère’s greens and blues are perfect for younger children, and the Mont Blanc Legend park is a fun way to gently introduce young ones to the Chamonix slopes.
Chamonix Winter Sports
Snowboarding Holidays in Chamonix
Renowned for its freeride terrain and steep vertical descents, Chamonix is the world capital for any serious snowboarder. Discover a snowboarding paradise on Les Grands Montets’ off-piste stretches and terrain parks, while the slopes of Le Tour offer up natural half-pipes and exhilarating tree runs.
With more than 40km of immaculate slopes and alpine stretches, the Chamonix resort offers a number of breath-taking cross-country trails across the French Alps. You can even follow the footsteps of the greats along the very first Winter Olympics trails from 1924.
When to Go?
The Chamonix Valley is graced with an enviable snow record, thanks to its high-altitude and unique microclimate. Snow cover is usually guaranteed on parts of the ski resort from early-December until late April, often beginning as early as November and running into May.
View the latest BBC snow report for Chamonix here.
Les Grands Montets opens over weekends in November if enough snow has fallen, with the full resort opening towards the middle of December when the Chamonix Ski Season officially begins. All lift openings are subject to change, maintenance or bad weather.