- 2015/2016: Cha/Chamois: New 4-person high-speed chairlift
- 2014/2015: Plan Joran: New 10-person gondola
- Elevated between 1,035 m and 3,300 m, the Ski Resort is among the 10 highest elevated Ski Resorts in France. The vertical drop from summit to base is 2,265 m. The average difference in altitude between base and summit of Ski Resorts in France is 884 m. Most runs are therefore relatively long.
- Season starts on 25 Nov and ends on 1 May (157 days). Average season duration in France is 122 days.
- Average snow depth during the season (25 Nov to 1 May) is 291 cm at summit elevation and 14 cm at base elevation. Snow coverage is usually best during March, offering an average snow depth of 453 cm at summit elevation and 14 cm at the base.
- Chamonix Mont Blanc features 101 sunny days on average per season. The average for all ski Resorts in France is 100 sunny days. December is the sunniest month with an average of 22 sunny days.
The Ski Resort
There are no less than ten ski areas above the Chamonix Valley at the foot of the mighty 4,810-meter Mont Blanc. The four largest are Les Houches, Brévent-Flegère, Les Grands Montets and the Col de Balme. The “Mont Blanc Unlimited” ski pass gains you access to roughly 70 lifts across all these areas.
The World Cup resort of Les Houches is dominated by easy to intermediate runs spread across the slopes of the Bellevue, Col de Voza and Prarion. Kids and beginners can enjoy plenty of practice areas at the mountain stations of the lifts – the perfect place for them to make their first turns on snow. If you are already more advanced, the family-friendly forested runs in Les Houches are ideal. And if you want to take it to the next level and seek out a real challenge, then the black-marked Kandahar run will be up your street. The three-kilometre World Cup course is only suitable for top skiers by virtue of its steep sections. Freeriders can also take to the pow from the summit areas of Bellevue and Prarion.
With unbelievable views of Mont Blanc, the 2,525-metre peak Brévent is a treat for skiers. The mountain’s slopes lead steeply down to the Plan Praz. The Cornu chairlift carries skiers and snowboards to the challenging Bouqetins run, from where you can take the Liaison lift over to Flégère. Here, most trails are marked red. Overall, this ski area is suited to more advanced skiers – and even the valley runs down into Chamonix and Les Praz are unsuitable for inexperienced skiers. The steep channels in Flégère are one of the legendary venues in the Freeride World Cup. However, you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy off-piste conditions here. There is plenty of powder to be had in the area between the black-marked Floria and Pylones runs. In Brévent, the Charles-Bozon-Route is the place to go for a journey into ungroomed terrain. Meanwhile, freestyle skiers can practice their jumps in a safe environment with the Big Airbag kicker near the Plan Praz mountain station.
Les Grands Montets
This glacier ski area below the Grands Montet extends up to an altitude of 3,275 metres. Another lift allows access to challenging and largely ungroomed runs on the Rognon Glacier. Overall, the 29 kilometres of trails in this area are best suited to good to very good skiers. Only the runs down from the Marmottons and Retour Pendant chairlifts offer practice slopes for beginners. Freeride fans should take the Bochard lift up the mountain. This provides access to several untouched slopes like the Dream Forest. If you descend all the way down to the end of the Mer de Glace glacier, you can continue on to Chamonix via Montenvers. There are challenging obstacles to be circumnavigated at the Tabé Lift, while video recording even allows freestyle riders to later view their moves online.
Col de Balme
The villages of Le Tour and Vallorcine are the entry points to the ski area Col de Balme. This is an ideal destination for families and skiers who love leisurely carving down groomers. The lifts lead up to 2,250 metres and allow access to 29 kilometres of runs, most of which are rated easy or intermediate. In addition, dedicated practice areas are accessible at the valley station in Le Tour. There is not a black-marked run in sight. Col de Balme is also an ideal destination for newcomers to freeriding. The off-piste routes here are relatively flat and less rocky than in the other ski areas around Chamonix.
On Mountain Dining
The ski area Les Houches offers twelve mountain restaurants and lodges. Regional specialities can be enjoyed on the inviting sun deck at Le Hors Piste. La Cha next to the La-Cha lift is a cosy and inviting establishment, while the Salle Hors Sac at Prarion mountain station is particularly popular due to its central location.
If you also want to enjoy breath-taking views over your lunch, then the mountain station of the Brévent lift at 2,525 metres is the place to head for. In addition to delicious dishes, you can also lap up a unique view of Mont Blanc itself. Hungry skiers can expect a rustic atmosphere and excellent French cuisine at the La Bergerie mountain restaurant at the Plan Praz.
Les Grands Montets
You can even have lunch at an altitude of 3,275 metres in Le Top. If it’s a snack you’re after, head for the Plan Joran mountain station. And the traditional Crémerie du Glacier located at the valley station is the perfect place to round out a day on the slopes.
Col de Balme
The ski area Col de Balme has five different restaurants on the mountain. Sun worshipers should head to Le Petit Chara, located at the Charamillon mountain station at an altitude of 1,850 metres.
The most challenging run in Les Houches is the World Cup Kandahar run at a length of 2.2 kilometres, covering a vertical difference of 680 metres over this distance. If you’d prefer something a little longer then take the lengthy run between Prarion and Belleue, the longest in the ski area. There is even a timed section on the Col de Voza where you can measure your time against your friends.
If you are looking for a real challenge in Brévent-Flégère, don’t miss the Bouquetins Piste. It drops down 350 metres in altitude in just one kilometre. However, the longest run in the ski area is some six kilometres in length, from Le Brévent via Blanchots and Nants to Chamonix. If you love pushing your limits, then there are even a couple of sections for pitting your skills against the clock.
Les Grands Montets
The run from the mountain station at Grands Montets to Argentière encompasses six kilometres of groomers and a vertical difference of 2,023 meters. The Point de Vue and Chamois runs are also worth riding.
Chamonix is the starting point for numerous ski tours in the region. The Haute Route, which leads for 180 kilometres straight through the Wallis Alps to Zermatt, is absolutely legendary. If you prefer a slightly more leisurely way to discover the mountains around Chamonix, then there are also some excellent winter hikes.
Après-Ski and Nightlife
After dinner, it is always worth rounding out the evening at the Les Caves wine bar, with different DJs gracing the turntables here most nights. If you prefer live music and cocktails, then head over to the Le Privilege Bar.
Dining and Restaurants
Traditional Savoy cuisine and French specialities with exclusive wine accompaniments await guests at the restaurant La calèche in the heart of Chamonix. Numerous historical regional artefacts dotted throughout the establishment make the atmosphere truly special. The high-class Côté Glacier restaurant also focusses on regional cuisine and boasts a one-of-a-kind location at the foot of the glacier.
Infrastructure & Rental
Ski Rental Shops
From Munich, take the A 96 motorway towards Lindau am Bodensee. After crossing the border into Switzerland, continue on the A 1 past Winterthur and Zürich. There, you should take the A 12 and follow it until the La Veyre intersection. The A 9 then continues towards Martigny. Leave the motorway at exit 22 towards Chamonix and follow the Route de la Forclaz. From there, you can easily reach all of the resorts in the Chamonix ski areas.
By public transportation
If you are travelling by airplane, Geneva is your best option – some 100 kilometres away. From there, you can take a three-hour train to the ski area. There are also trains running from Zürich to Chamonix.