Ski Holidays in Chamonix
Chamonix ski resort is one of the oldest and most popular resorts in Europe. Resting beneath the towering Mont Blanc, Chamonix offers some of the best skiing experiences you can find anywhere in Europe and indeed, the world. It is the ideal resort for thrill-seekers on and off the pistes, offering some of the best skiing conditions on the slopes as well as some of the best non-ski entertainment in Europe. Just over an hour's drive away from Geneva and nestled beneath some of the highest and most notable Alps in France, the village of Chamonix, while beautiful and charming, still yet possesses a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere with its lively shops, bars and restaurants.
The village is fraught with character, with some of its old Victorian buildings still firmly in place as a proud reminder of its Alpine past. Chamonix also operates a pedestrianized, car-free resort centre allowing holidaymakers the safety and freedom of access to its shops, restaurants and quaint little cafes.
Chamonix’s history and credibility as a ski resort are steeped in history. It has always been known to possess an adventurous Alpine spirit and it was documented that as far back as 1760, a well-known scientist from then Geneva promised a handsome prize for the first successful ascent of Mont Blanc. We don’t know if anyone took on his challenge but we do know that the spirit of adventure very much remains and thrives in Chamonix until this day. Chamonix was also the host of the very first Winter Olympics in 1924 and it still remains a destination of choice for free riders across the world, whether skiing or snowboarding.
Chamonix village sits at an altitude of 1,035 meters with ski slopes reaching higher and up to 3,842 meters altitude; ensuring a ski season that carries on well into April, at which point the glacier skiing is at its optimum best. With one of Frances's longest skiing seasons, it ranks among the country’s most popular ski holiday destinations.
Overall, Chamonix has a great blend of just about everything that can attract any skier profile. From its awesome snow conditions and facilities to its almost unparalleled apres-ski scene, it is hard not to see why this is one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe.
There are up to 150 kilometres of runs that are distributed across several different ski areas which all cater to different ski levels and ability levels of visitors to Chamonix.
There is a designated children ski area in Le Savoy at 1,049m serviced by a rolling carpet and 2 drag lifts. Adult beginners can nurture their skills on the easy greens on Les Planards before graduating to the international standard blues and reds for confidence building.
Intermediates will find 8 blues and 13 red runs on Les Houches. Located only 6 kilometres away from Chamonix, a Mont Blanc full-cover ski pass will be required to gain access too these slopes and the 360 panoramic views from the top are absolutely worth every minute spent here.
Thrill seeking advanced skiers will be rubbing their mitts together in excitement when they get to Grand Montets; a large ski area covering between 1,325m to 2,765m. The area covers the Argentière Village to the mixed terrains of Lognan, Bochard and up the very steep Argentière glacier at up to 3,275m altitude.
Previously rated 10 out of 10 for snowboarding by the World Snowboard Guide, Chamonix is a well-recognised European snowboarding capital and extreme snow sport destination.
The Summit Park on Les Grand Montets is one of the main snowboarding attractions in Chamonix and one of its only parks. It plays host to snowboard competitions during the season, most notably the Freeride World Tour. Great for participants and spectators.
The wide open slopes of Le Tour and Les Houches are highly recommended for beginners. Confident beginners should head over to La Vormaine which is located at the foot of Charamillon and has a dedicated freestyle area fitted with a few cool features.
Brevent-Flegere ski area is great for mixed abilities but is mostly frequented by advanced snowboarders and confident intermediates. It has a freestyle area and some great powder in the bowls. Brevent has an airbag jump; great for attempting those backflips.
Advanced snowboarders should check out the Vallée Blanche run. It's an absolute beast of an off-piste run ( but well worth it!) from the top of the Aiguille du Midi ( 3,842 metres) down to Chamonix village (1035 metres). It is a full day of unforgettable snowboarding featuring stunning mountain scenery and a 2,800-metre vertical drop. Bucket list stuff, this.
Snow Conditions at Chamonix
The village and resort of Chamonix are situated at an altitude of 1035 metres however the majority of pistes and ski areas are located at much higher altitudes; the highest of which reaches up to 3300 metres. Here is a breakdown of some of its overall snow conditions:
Les Grand Montets is particularly known to have very good snow conditions with the ski season open until May, due in no small part to its lofty 3300 metres summit. Les Grand also has north-facing pistes making for fantastic powdery snow preservation working in tandem with its high altitude; it’s no surprise it has locally earned the nickname, “snow-pocket”. It’s also important to note that the top lifts may occasionally be shut in bad weather.
With the resort at a modest altitude, there are high chances of patches at the lower areas but with most of the skiing done at the mid to high altitude pistes where the conditions are more reliable, it still makes for great skiing in general. All the slopes, with exception of Les Houches, are located mainly above the tree lines.
Brévent et Flégère, however, has south-facing slopes and does tend to receive a lot more sunshine which does get warmer later in the season, so look out for fast-changing conditions in that area when spring comes around.
Some of the patchy areas on lower altitudes have snow making facilities but could yet be tricky in the later seasons despite the snowmaking. Le Tour, however, nearby to Les Grand Montets is known to be the snowiest village in the area.
Whew! Where do we even begin to unpack the buzzing Chamonix apres-ski? Undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous apres-ski locations, the Chamonix night-life is packed with vibrant parties, buzzing club lounges and loud DJ sets all season.
Chambre Neuf is one of the top apres-ski spots in Chamonix. Open every day from noon until late at night, this bar is the place for awesome live music featuring great bands and lots of tabletop dancing! Great location just opposite from the train station in the village, it has some of the best party atmospheres in the resort.
A favourite among locals and visitors, Elevation 1904 is a lively bar at the perfect place for drinks and meeting other skiers. It sports a lovely traditional Alpine interior and a great outside terrace. The central location makes it a good meeting spot and they serve amazing gourmet burgers too. Great place to catch up after a long day on the slopes. Good friendly vibes in there.
Visit the Chamonix Social Club for an amazing evening of partying and lots of laughs! A definite must-go lounge for an elegant evening, the social club features a very modern, chic interior and funky disco settings. The live DJ set features famous dance and house tunes and if you’re one for cocktails, there is a great selection of these made by experienced pro’s.
La Folie Douce, known for throwing the best parties on the slopes across Europe have opened a hotel in Chamonix and it is host to The Janssen Cocktail Club, a cosy, elegant lounge serving some of the very best cocktails in Chamonix. Open from 3 pm to 2 am, you can also catch some amazing nighttime views of Mont Blanc from here!
Many facilities are available in Chamonix
There are many ski hire operators in Chamonix, but to save yourself the trouble of sifting through your options, it’s less hassle to grab your gear through Erna Low. Our longstanding relationships with resort outlets mean that we can always arrange the best quality kit for your skiing style and aptitude and ensure that it’s ready for swift pick up at a location near your Chamonix accommodation.
It’s also easy to pre-order your Chamonix ski passes with Erna Low for all your children, adult and group discounts throughout the season. Choose between the Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass, Chamonix Le Pass and the Les Houches Pass depending on the area cover. Pre-book your ski pass for any of the above ski areas and find it ready and waiting for you when you need it. By doing so you are skipping in front of the long queues at the resort. Contact us to see what’s on offer for your holiday dates.
As expected of a high-profile ski location like Chamonix, there is a plethora of fantastic spas and swimming pools to choose from after an eventful day on the slopes.
Check out the QC Terme Chamonix spa which is a luxurious wellness centre which comes with stunning mountain views. It has heated pools, waterfalls and hydro jets, salt rooms, saunas, steam baths and much more. Le Spa Du Mont is located within the 5-star Vallorcine Hotel; an amazing establishment with 5 -star spa treatments and all ultra-modern facilities and treatments. Other notable mentions include The Feel Good Club Sports and Spa wellness centre in La Folie Douce Hotel in Chamonix.
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Children are very well catered to in Chamonix. Here is some information on entertainment and facilities for children.
There are several Chamonix ski schools and instructors for young children to choose from. We can also very easily arrange enrolment for your children as well as part of your booking. Our partners have highly-trained, English speaking ski instructors who can train very young children to young teenagers. Get in touch for additional details, we will love to hear from you and assist you with this.
There’s plenty of entertainment for the kids at Chamonix. Children from 3 years old (unaccompanied from 7 years old) can ride the Luge Alpine Coaster; a mini roller coaster ride with great spins and amazing fun. Children can also go sledding down the hills, take husky rides or even go on the Montenvers train ride- a red cog train that goes up the side of the mountain and has panoramic views of the Mer de Glace glacier. Indoor entertainment includes the cinema and sports centre with indoor heated pools and watersports for kids.
There are a good number of creches and kids clubs at Chamonix. The majority of these have English speaking childminders ( please inquire before booking) and the kid’s clubs will have programs in English.
Chamonix ski area is split across the five surrounding mountains of Les Grands Montets, Aiguille du Midi, Brévent and La Flégère and Le Tour. Most of the slopes are north-facing apart from Brévent and La Flégère which are south facing. The village is at an altitude of 1,035 metres and with Les Grand Montets the highest mountain at 3, 842 metres. Mixed ability pistes on the mountains at Chamonix caters to all skill levels.