Situated under the Mont Blanc mountain (4,408m), Chamonix is situated at an altitude of 1,050m and has long been one of the world’s most famous, and much loved, ski and snowboard destinations.
The highest lift station is 3,842m (Aiguille du Midi) and is the start of the Vallee Blanche off-piste route (more on this later). Those who prefer their pistes, the Grands Montets rises up to 3,275m, ensuring Chamonix is one of the Alps premier snow sure destinations. Famous for its off-piste, visitors shouldn’t however be fooled it is a resort just for experts as there are 207km of pistes, 15 Green Runs, 40 Blue Runs, 28 Red Runs and 12 Black Runs. There are also 4 parks situated around the valley.
But even in winter Chamonix is much more than just a ski and snowboard resort. A vibrant town, the centre has a vast array of shops to suit nearly all tastes (gifts, mountain equipment outlets, clothing and designer boutiques), as well as many bars and restaurants to enjoy and marvel at the views by day, and atmosphere at night. Adrenalin junkies and fitness lovers who still have itchy feet will also appreciate the vast array of sports facilities (swimming pool, ice rink, luge run, and so much more (see full list below).
So lets firstly start with the skiing and snowboarding and the main areas people head for:
A beautiful village that nestles at the bottom of the Mont Blanc Massif. Les Houches is a great favourite with families, beginners and intermediates with its fabulous selection of wide and flattering blue and red pistes to keep most skiers very happy throughout their stay. Experts are not however left out as this is the home of the FIS Chamonix World Cup Race, the Kandahar which takes place on the Piste Verte. Dropping 1,000m towards the valley floor it is considered by many racers to be one of the most challenging courses on the circuit and close to the Hannenkham in terms of technical challenge.
With many of the runs being south facing, this is the area that sun enthusiasts always head for. This said, the skiing and snowboarding comes a pretty good second too so if skiing rather than sun is your preference you still shouldn’t be put off!! Very much an intermediates paradise on the piste, experts will love the off-piste options too.