Chamonix, France

The ultimate guide to Chamonix ski holidays in 2015 & 2016.

Ski holidays in Chamonix

As the global capital of winter sports, Chamonix’s history, skiing and scenery make it a true alpine legend. Every seasoned snow lover should come here at least once; skiing the awesome terrain from a proper mountain town with the Mont Blanc massif as your backdrop will make for a week to remember.


At a glance:
traditional mountain resort varied, high altitude terrain incredible panoramic views

Great for:
Groups Off-piste après ski non-skiers snow sure

Chamonix Ski Resort

The legendary 17km Chamonix Valley is located in the north-west Alps nearby the Swiss and Italian boarders. Set at the foot of the stunning Mont Blanc and surrounded by breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc massif, this town is not only one of the most beautiful places in the Alps but also offers a fantastically diverse skiing and snowboarding experience. It’s said to be the world capital of mountaineering as well as skiing and functions as a holiday destination all year round. This sets Cham’ apart from other purpose built ski resorts. It’s a proper mountain town which offers a fantastic combination of traditional Savoyard charm, modern conveniences and legendary après ski. In Chamonix, off-slope opportunities are endless so non-skiers are especially well looked after.

The Chamonix valley is made up of five main ski areas:

1) Aiguille du Midi
2) Les Grands Montets
3) Brevent / Flegere
4) Les Houches
5) Balme (Le Tour & Vallorcine)

The famous Aiguille du Midi cable car leads you to the world’s largest lift-served descent, La Vallée Blanche. The most popular area is sizeable Les Grands Montets above Argentiere, while Brevent and Flegere are two sunny lift-linked areas above Chamonix town. 6km below Chamonix is family friendly destination Les Houches and Domaine de Balme covers the picturesque Le Tour and Vallorcine areas and rubs shoulders with Switzerland.

Overall Chamonix has 173km of varied terrain from cruisey tree-lined slopes to white-knuckle powdery steeps. All areas are connected by a regular free bus service and 54 lifts but some prefer having a car to get around (we prefer the bus). If you have a thirst for more and want to experience the Italian and Swiss Alps too, the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass gives access to Courmayeur & Verbier as well.

stats & faq

Where:France, Alps.
Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Geneva (GVA)90km, 1h5
Chambéry (CMF)139km, 1h30
Winter Skiing: December - May
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 51km 44%

  • 36km 31%

  • 30km 25%

Resort Altitude:1,035m
Top Altitude:3,852m
Bottom Altitude:580m
Longest run:22km (Vallée Blanche)
Slope Orientation:N, S, E, W
Vertical Drop:2,800m
Skiable Vertical:2,700m
Night Skiing:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 140cm
  • Base
  • 30cm
  • Forecast
  • 20cm

Web Cam

Chamonix web cams

View our detailed Chamonix snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Chamonix snow history.

Downhill Runs:117km
Beginner slopes:44%
Advanced slopes:25%
Ski Pass Prices:Mt Blanc unlimited: €266
Chamonix le pass: €185
(adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Courmayeur, Verbier, Megeve

Skiing in Chamonix

Having hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix is a Mecca for advanced skiers around the world (even James Bond was here in The World is Not Enough).

There really is an endless amount to discover, especially for the more capable.

For the ultimate in alpine adventure get a guide, clue up on avalanche safety and you’ll have an unforgettable experience.

Because of the superb advanced terrain, it’s often wrongly assumed that Cham’ serves novices poorly. There are 4 great beginner areas: one in the town centre, another nearby and two more at Grands Montets and Le Tour. With amazing views and extensive terrain, there’s no better motivation and under the expert instruction of the local schools you’ll be skiing in no time.

Balme has lots of wide, gentle slopes for confidence-building and 2000 and Savoy are two good greens in Brevent. Confident snowploughers and intermediates will also enjoy the Brevent/Flegre area which has slightly steeper, longer runs.

Anyone more advanced will love this town... On piste, there are long steeps such as the black Point de Vue in the Grand Montets area which provides lift access to some great off-piste too.

There are two absolute "must" trails that offer a dramatic experience with spectacular views. First is the legendary Kandahar run in Les Houches (where the annual race takes place) and second the famous Vallée Blanche offers a descent you’ll never forget. It’s the longest lift-served run in the world and has a vertical drop of 2700m, taking you 22km down the glacier. You’ll need to hire a guide but it’s definitely worth it.

Chamonix is a top freestyling destination with natural obstacles and 2 snowparks at Grands Montets and Les Houches. Both have a good range of rails, jumps, tables and banked turns to suit all abilities.

Chamonix après Ski

Not only world famous for its terrain, Chamonix has renowned après ski too with a vibrant atmosphere to soak up after a day on the hill. Spend an evening at chic Le Privilege, sample the amazing cocktails at Clubhouse or enjoy tasty food and lively evenings at The Jekyll or Micro Brasserie. For serious culinary indulgence, there are some great fine-dining venues including Michelin starred Auberge du Bois and Albert 1er. Good Italian restaurants in Chamonix include l'Impossible and there are lots of places to enjoy traditional cuisine too, while the deserts at Patisserie Richard are perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

There are oodles of things to do on and off the snow for non-skiers. With Chamonix’s fantastic reputation for snowsports, you can try snow-kiting, speed-riding, ice-climbing, paragliding and snowshoeing. There are 17km of winter walking paths with great views of the Mont Blanc massif and with taxi skiing available even non-skiers can enjoy the pistes. Paintballing, ice skating, luging, tobogganing and husky rides are some other great outdoor activities on offer; inside there’s a casino, cinema, bowling alley and climbing wall. The leisure centre has a swimming pool, fun pool (with waterfall, rapids and a waterslide) and a wellness area with solarium, jacuzzi and sauna.

For a unique winter experience, take the famous Montenvers rack and pinion cog-railway from Chamonix to the bottom of the Mer de Glace (France’s largest glacier) and have a tour of the stunning Grotte de glace / Ice Cave - don’t forget your camera!

When is the best time to ski Chamonix?

Don’t be put off by the relatively low altitude of the resort itself because 90% of the pistes in the Chamonix valley have an altitude over 2,000m, providing skiable terrain from December through to May. Because of the varied terrain facing N, S, E & W, you can find good conditions whatever the weather or time of day. If it’s very windy or there’s lots of snow, Les Houches has some lovely sheltered tree-lined runs as well as over 120 snow cannons if a little extra coverage is needed. If its warm and wet, the Grands Montets is north-facing and high, so it holds the snow well into May most years.

When’s best to visit largely depends on what you want from your Chamonix ski holiday. We love it during Christmas, New Year and school holidays where the atmosphere is lively and infectious, but those prefering peace, quiet and less traffic on the piste might prefer quieter (and cheaper) dates in January or March.

Browse all Chamonix ski deals or read about holidays in December, January, February, March or April.

Peak dates

You can enjoy a traditional white Christmas in Chamonix, where Father Christmas visits on ‘Le Train du Pere Noel’ as well as making a magical torch-lit appearance. Children will love the Christmas workshops and tasty treats while performances from the Chambelles choir, gospel choir and carol singers add to the festive atmosphere. Browse Chamonix Christmas ski holidays ‣

Chamonix appears in lots of ‘top ten’ lists as a New Years Eve destination - and it’s no surprise why. New Years Eve in Chamonix is amazing thanks to the fantastic range of après ski venues. The atmosphere is buzzing and it’s hard to think of a better way to see in the New Year than in the presence of the Mont Blanc massif! Browse Chamonix New Year ski holidays ‣

A child-friendly ski destination, February half term in Chamonix will keep all ages entertained. With fantastic childcare services for little ones, craft workshops and snow-fun for all the family, it’s a great way to spend your week off. Browse Chamonix Half Term ski holidays ‣

Because of its high altitude terrain, a ski holiday in Chamonix at Easter combines great skiing and fun activities for all ages and abilities. Browse Chamonix Easter ski holidays ‣

top Chamonix accom

Hotel Heliopic

Hotel Heliopic

Hotel Les Aiglons

Hotel Les Aiglons

Hotel Excelsior

Hotel Excelsior

Chalet Hotel Sapinière

Chalet Hotel Sapinière

Residence La Rivière Apartments

Residence La Rivière Apartments

Hotel Gustavia

Hotel Gustavia

La Chaumière Mountain Lodge

La Chaumière Mountain Lodge

Pointe Isabelle

Pointe Isabelle

Richemond Hotel

Richemond Hotel

Club Med Chamonix Mont - Blanc

Club Med Chamonix Mont - Blanc

Chamonix reviews, 4.5 star rating and resort and ski area information is collated by SNO man from staff experience and customer feedback.
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