Slopes: 700 km devided over 4 regionsAltitude: 1035m - 3842m
Difficulty: medium - expert
Apres Ski: excellent
Best powder period: March / April
What is there to tell about Chamonix? Or what is there not to say is really the question... This town has it all: the highest mountain in Western Europe, 4 different ski areas with a total of approximately 700 kilometers of slopes, almost unlimited backcountry for free riders, good restaurants, nice bars and clubs and a global appeal.Busy busy busy Chamonix
The town is popular in both summer and winter and usually full of tourists looking for the "real" mountaineering ...
The ski resort of Chamonix is not the most suitable for beginners. Because Chamonix focuses on free riders. The slopes are not the best maintained of all wintersport resorts where you can go. But when you’re there for the pow, that does’t really matter. And a lot of people are there for the pow.
The skiregion is divided in small skiregions, which means that small areas have to facilitate many people. Many of the lifts are a bit older in the region...And that means that you might have to wait on busy days before you can take the lift up. The classic Chamonix area, the Grand Montets, is usually very crowded, especially after a fresh dump of powder. This big crowd of visitors is a disadvantage. Chamonix offers ridiculously beautiful off piste possibilities. But the fresh snow is usually already turned into crud very soon after a fresh dump.The village
After skiing or boarding, there is plenty to do in the village. On the central square you will find many bars and while exploring the streets you will discover a few nice pubs and bars and places that would be perfect for a good bachelors party.
Next to restaurants and nightlife, you can also find technical sports shops. Do you need new boots? Visit the Boot Room. There you can find two boot fitters who also fit Alpine Racers. So if you need new boots, make a visit.
Chamonix also satisfies shopping needs you might have. In the main-street there are many fine clothing stores. So if you, your girlfriend, your wife or anyone else likes browsing in luxurious shops, then in Chamonix you’re in the right place.
Next to entertainment, food and shopping you can also participate in a tour over the glacier, ‘Mer de Glace’ . Here you can see the changing climate in the Alps by looking at the melted glacier. You can see how far the glacier has shrunk in recent years.Italy
From Chamonix it is just a short ride by car, through the Mont Blanc tunnel, to Italy. Within 35 minutes you can get from Chamonix to Cormayeur. Cormayeur has a totally different climate than Chamonix. So it might be usefull to travel in between in case you are chasing either fresh pow or a load of sunshine. It may just be that in Chamonix (on the French side of the Mont Blanc) it snows and on the Italian side the sun shines. The Italian side is a bit more suitable for beginners. Cormayeur has better groomed slopes and an easier level than the slopes on the French side but also offers very nice free ride possibilities.
In Cormayeur you can find nice restaurants, good food and above all a warmer atmosphere on and off the slopes than in the French part of this ski region.
Chamonix is deffinably one of those destinations that you must have seen..whether for free riding, or a recreational snowboarding or skiing holiday. It is a place where basically any powder lover must have been once in his or hers lifetime.
What do you think of Chamonix?