A lively resort, which offers some of the most challenging pistes in Europe. Resort Height: 1035m (3,395ft) Skiing Range: Snow Range 1035m (3,395ft) -3842m (12,600ft).
Chamonix is the most beautiful of all the connecting resorts, with wonderful oldie worldly buildings and stunning chalets set in the most stunning scenery. Chamonix is mainly catered chalets with the choice of ski to door too, on most of these properties.
Chamonix is a lively ski resort located in the Haute Savoie region of France. It sits in the Aiguilles de Chamonix Mountains, right at the foot of Mont Blanc – Europe’s highest peak, standing at 4810m tall. As a result, Chamonix enjoys breathtaking scenery and offers some of the most exciting skiing in Europe.
From the resort, the Aiguille du Midi cable car travels up to 3842m, right into the heart of the mountain peaks. Here, 360-degree panoramic views of the Mont-Blanc mountain range simply take your breath away. Also departing from Chamonix is The Montenvers Railway, which makes its way up the mountain sides of the Aiguilles de Chamonix, reaching Montenvers at an altitude of 1913m.
Resting on the rocky mountain ridge, stunning panoramic views can be seen from the station. Stay a while at the Cafe or Restaurant to take in the beautiful views of the Mer de Glace glacier below, or across to Chamonix’s majestic mountain range.
In the resort itself, Chamonix offers something for everyone with an excellent selection of shops, a large sports centre, pretty purpose made walks and a bustling nightlife.
Whilst Chamonix is a well known for seriously advanced skiers, it is still a great destination if you are just starting out on the snow. The vast skiing area opens out to 762kms of pisted terrain, which consists of 5 different ski areas – Grands Montets, Les Houches, Le Tour/Balme, La Flegere and Le Brevent.
Les Houches and Le Tour / Balme are 2 of the best areas for new skiers. Les Houches has 2 short and gentle slopes which are great for learners. The first is at the top of the Prarion cable car, with the second (and more gentle of the two) at the top of the Bellevue cable cars. At the bottom of Balme are three draglifts which make up the Vormaine area. This has a great selection of green and blue runs – perfect for practicing novices and young children.
Chamonix is a simply paradise for intermediate skiers. For newer skiers, both Les Houches and Le Tour offer some excellent blue and red runs to gain confidence on. The slopes of Prarion and Bellevue in Les Houches are a great start – featuring tree-lined blue and red runs which are very gentle. For the braver Intermediate, the 3 best areas are Les Grands-Montets, Le Brevent and La Flegere. Le Brevent offers the easier pistes with the exception of the red ‘Mur du Brevent’ (or ‘Brevent’s Wall’). La Flaine has a good mix of blue and red runs – but some are quite long. Les Grands-Montets offers some of the more advanced pistes but can be quite busy at times.
Chamonix really is the place to choose if you are an experienced skier and there are literally too many great runs to mention. For a few highlights:
Try the 5km black / red run, ‘La Herse’ in Les Grands Montets for great moguls, or maybe the vast comb of La Pendant (Lavancher) – a mix of rock cliffs and powder which descends down 1000 vertical meters. The Pas de Chevre is a fantastic off-piste trail, which runs from the top of the Grands Montets down to meet the Mer de Glace. The Valloe-Blanche, is one of Chamonix’s most famous off-piste ski routes – a 20km run with a vertical descent of 2700m. This run is pure mountain wilderness, with some of the most outstanding scenery. Guides are strongly recommended.
Snowboarders cannot help but be impressed with Chamonix. Like skiers, they can enjoy the endless amount of skiing terrain that Chamonix offers – for every level. But for those boarders who love a bit of fun, The Grands Montets has recently built a snow park which is great for all levels. And at Le Tour you will find a natural half pipe, but this is dependent on the weather.
There’s only one word to describe the nightlife in Chamonix – lively! Here you will find endless late night bars – with many offering live bands and music. But, if it is a nightclub you are after, head to ‘No Escape’ which is open till the early hours.
There are over 100 restaurants in Chamonix to choose from, so there is something to suit every style and budget.
You can never be bored in Chamonix due to its fantastic range of sporting and leisure facilities – a large sports centre, an indoor pool with waterslides, an ice rink, a cinema and a casino. To continue the fun on the snow, try paragliding, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, or an exhilarating Alpine flight.
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