The Ski Club of Great Britain describe Chamonix as "Arguably the best (expert) ski resort in the world, with epic off-piste, awe-inspiring scenery and a brilliant party scene" - and we would tend to agree! It is not the best for beginners and intermediates, but is certainly the place to go for the experts and for off-piste and has a life all of it's own.
The resort is located in the North-West Alps in perfect symmetry 15km from the Swiss border and 15km from the Italian one. The town and the valley are famous for the astonishing views of the Mont Blanc as Chamonix practically lies at the foot of Europe’s highest peak. Because it is bordered by high mountain chains such as the Aiguilles Rouges (Red Peaks) to the North and the Mont Blanc to the South, the Chamonix Valley floor is low and the ski area is famous for the vertical off-piste descent and the network of expert slopes.
Situated at only 1035m altitude with the valley’s highest village Le Tour at 1462m, Chamonix is a busy, purpose-built town with lots of high-end shopping stores and fine cuisine, catering to an international and affluent ski holiday clientele. Those looking for a ski holiday with a buzzing nightlife, great shopping and a cosmopolitan vibe will find Chamonix perfect. It's claim to fame started in 1924 when it was chosen to host the first Winter Olympics, later on followed by being captured on film in one of the James Bond movies – the ultimate badge of fame for a ski resort town. The Chamonix valley boasts five ski areas with Le Brévent and La Flégère facing Mont Blanc, Balme and Les Houches at opposite ends of the valley, and Grand Montets in between with its amazing high altitude glacier pistes. A free bus and a train shuttles between them for those who want to try skiing on all sides of the Mont Blanc.
There is a wide choice of accommodation in Chamonix, from luxury chalets to cozy apartments and studios. The best location to have is in the town centre from which the gondola lift goes up to Le Brévent ski area and peak. Alternatively, for a day of unforgettable sightseeing, take the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi at 3840m and cross off your bucket list the Mont Blanc visit.
Neighboring Chamonix is the smaller town of Les Praz from which skiers can take the cable car link into La Flegere - famous for its red runs and the best panoramic skiing. Because La Flegere is linked with Le Brévent, guests staying in Chamonix or Les Praz can enjoy the best of both domains and have access to plenty of sunny runs. Further up the valley is the charming village of Le Tour from which you can access the wider and more open space Balme ski area at altitudes above 2000m with good snow conditions.
If you are a beginner, this is the place to learn but if you stay in Chamonix, we recommend the slopes close by at the bottom of Brevent unless you don’t mind the 12km distance to Le Tour. The Savoy piste at 1049m has two drag lifts and a carpet for children and can help you get started. At the opposite end of the valley, on the other side of Chamonix is Les Houches, where the slopes get below the tree line and provide good cover in the event of a storm. Chamonix and its valley remains the paradise for expert and off-piste skiers with its deep snow, steep descents and amazing views of Mont Blanc, the glacier and surrounding peaks.