March could almost be described as a perfect month to ski Chamonix. It’s cheaper and therefore quieter, the days start to become longer, the sun is higher in the sky and the temperatures allow you to tackle the terrain at your leisure.
This is the perfect month to enjoy long lunch breaks on the mountain, sit back on a sun terrace (we like the one at Vagabond), and take in the views of Mont Blanc. The snow in March is usually in good nick and as many of Cham’s slopes face north (sheltered from the sunshine), you should find some decent powder.
March Snow History
Average snow depth
Average snow depth
March ski rating
Historically, there’s a whopping 379cm of snow at Aiguille du Midi (the top of the ski area at 3842m) and 56cm at town level (1037m). They say you should ski above 2000m for the best conditions at this time of year and 60% of Cham’s runs are above 2,500m. There are also nearly 100 snow making guns to top up the slopes if the snow gods need a helping hand.
It’s difficult to know where to begin when it comes to skiing in Chamonix. If you’re an expert, March can be a good time to go off piste and Chamonix absolutely shines in this area. When there’s a good depth of snow (like there usually is at this time of year), the rocky bits at Les Grand Montets, which is north facing, are well covered and the area comes into its own. Here, try the Combe de la Pendant, which is a huge bowl with loads of cornices and drifts that runs into a gulley. Face, in the same area, is a steep and challenging descent (we think the best way to experience it is with a guide).
The great thing about Cham is that as well as having some challenging off piste terrain, there’s plenty of backcountry that’s suitable for powder virgins. The glacier run, Vallee Blanche, is famous for its length (at 22km, it’s the longest run in the world) and spectacular views – it’s definitely worth the price of a guide, which is an absolute necessity if you want to tackle it.
On piste, there are loads of black runs for experts. Les Grand Montets has some great, steep ones like the Point de Vue run (on the Glacier des Rognons) or Pylônes, but bear in mind these are nautrides i.e. not groomed. Again, with this area facing the north, it’s usually ideal in March.
While Cham is known for its high level skiing, beginners are most definitely catered for. Further down, the Marmottons area has a network of gentle blues, suitable for lower intermediate skiers. There are 22 beginner and intermediate runs at Domaine de Balme, providing loads of variety and loads of chances to keep on improving.
If you like to party hard and do so from the morning right through to the early hours, be sure to see whether Black Weekend is taking place this year. This massive, unmissable event has in the past featured over 20 live acts (past performers include Naive New Beaters & Acid Washed) and DJ sets (LuLuxpo & Carl Craig in recent years) spread over three stages, including two at high altitude.
If art is your thing, there are plenty of galleries in the town as well as exhibitions including paintings of the Alps, local and contemporary art and photography. If you’re a Francophile (or not) and want to soak up even more culture, be sure to check out the regular markets that usually take place in Chamonix.
March is the perfect time to enjoy an après beer on a sun terrace and soak up the magnificent views (look out for Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe). Places we like include Café La Terrasse (in the centre of town), Vagabond (at Le Brévent) and Les Rhododendrons (at La Praz).