Chamonix Ski Resort

In the shadow of Mont Blanc, the Chamonix valley attracts off-piste skiers, freeriders and ski tourers from all over the world. There is plenty of piste skiing too but it's scattered around Chamonix itself and the nearby villages of Argentiere, les Houches, le Tour and Vallorcine.

With several ski areas distributed across the huge mountain ranges to north and south, a thriving town in the centre and smaller, charming mountain villages in the valley, there's something for everyone in Chamonix. Adventurous skiers have most to gain from a visit, however, because Chamonix is the sacred citadel of off-piste skiing in Europe, and Mont Blanc is its altar, and the valley's numerous mountain guides are its high priests. And even if you're a beginner  or an intermediate level skier, there is nowhere like the Chamonix valley's steep sided mountain peaks to remind you of man's insignificance compared to nature. First impressions are breathtaking; the Chamonix Aiguilles dwarf the town, making you crane your neck to see the sky. And the view just gets better the higher you go from the valley floor.

At 4,810 m (15,781 ft), Mont Blanc and its massif are magnets to skiers, mountaineers and all extreme sports devotees. For skiers, a long season is guaranteed with lifts open into May; there are glaciers and permanent snow fields, ski runs with a vertical elevation of more than 2,000m (6,562ft) and the Vallee Blanche, the most famous (and crowded) off-piste run in the world. All this only one hour from Geneva airport; in many ways, Chamonix is a resort like no other.

There are disadvantages though: the skiing is scattered along a long valley (it's 24km from les Houches to Vallorcine) and the only lift pass that covers it all is very expensive. Most of the ski areas are not lift-linked, so waiting for a bus or a train to commute between them is the norm. With the basic lift pass, you have to pay extra to take the two highest lifts - Les Grands Montets and Aiguille du Midi - and usually you have to book a specific departure time well in advance rather than just turn up on the spur of the moment. And as for ski-in/ski-out accommodation, forget it unless you want to stay in a mountain refuge.
So Chamonix can be hard work. But the scenery, the skiing and its unique vibe make it worthwhile.

Chamonix Pros and Cons

+ Excellent off-piste
+ Beautiful scenery
+ Attractive town centre and mountain villages
+ Vibrant, fun nightlife
+ Quick transfers from Geneva
+ Skiing to suit all standards (but not in the same place)
- Inconvenient journeys to and from the slopes
- Separate ski areas spread out along a long valley
- Can be very crowded especially at weekends
- Expensive lift passes for what they cover

Chamonix Rating

  • Ski Area star rating
  • Snowsure star rating
  • Advanced star rating
  • Intermediates star rating
  • Beginners star rating
  • Ski Lift System star rating
  • Lift Queues star rating
  • Scenery star rating
  • Resort Charm star rating
  • Apres Ski star rating
  • Non-Skiers star rating
  • Getting There star rating

Chamonix Statistics

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionHaute Savoie
  • Base1,035 meters
  • Summit3,842 meters
  • Elevation2,807 meters
  • Beginner31 %
  • Intermediate47 %
  • Advanced23 %
  • Longest trail22 km
  • Total lifts47 
  • Funicular
  • Chairs30 
  • Surface lifts16 
  • Riders per hour54,660 

5 Day Snow & Weather Forecast

  • 22nd Sunny 16° 0° Clear skies New Snow 5cm
  • 23rd Sunny 13° -1° Clear skies New Snow 5cm
  • 24th Sunny 13° -1° Clear skies New Snow 5cm
  • 25th Sunny 15° 2° Clear skies New Snow 5cm
  • 26th Sunny 18° 2° Clear skies New Snow 5cm

Best Hotels & Apartments in Chamonix

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