Ski the Best Slopes in Europe at Chamonix Mont Blanc
The town’s three ski areas are: Brévent/Flégère, which has south-facing slopes with amazing views of the Mont Blanc peaks; the Grands Montets, high altitude slopes facing to the north; and the Balme area, wide open slopes atop Chamonix valley next to Switzerland. There’s also a sister resort at the other end of the valley called les Houches.
If you’re an absolute beginner, skiing Chamonix Mont Blanc is a great place to learn, as it offers five different ski instructor companies each offering multi-disciplinary courses to all age levels. Many also offer guides and group excursions for those more experienced at snowsports, who are certain not to be disappointed by the diverse range of slopes on offer.
And as if snowsports aren’t enough for one trip, there’s a diverse range of other pursuits on offer in the area. Hiking, mountaineering, mountain climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, ice skating and even golf, swimming and tennis are all on offer in Chamonix during the high season months.
No visitor to Chamonix should leave without experiencing the breathtaking panoramic views on offer at no less than half a dozen different local points. The most famous, known as l’Aguille du Midi, is easily accessed by cable car. Taking you to an altitude of 3,842 meters, the peak offers spectacular 360-degree views of the Swiss, Italian and French Alps, including the famous Matterhorn and Mont-Blanc itself.
Once you’re wiped out from a day of skiing Mont Blanc's pristine runs, you may be surprised by the range of cultural and entertainment options in the town: there’s several museums and regular art exhibitions to see, a cinema with occasional live music shows, plus plenty of bars and restaurants and even a bowling alley.
When to Go to Chamonix Mont Blanc
Lift passes for the Chamonix Mont Blanc areas come in two major varieties: The Chamonix Le Pass, which covers the three main ski areas of Chamonix plus the beginner areas; and the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass, which includes the same areas plus several more advanced ski areas at higher altitudes. The base rate for an adult to ski for four hours starts at US$43, and goes up in daily increments all the way to US$1,850 for an annual Mont Blanc Unlimited pass. Discounts for kids, seniors and families are also available.
This very central European location is accessible from a number of different countries and is a great choice when looking for ski holidays in France. Geneva is the closest city to Chamonix with an international airport, from where you can rent a car or take an SAT bus to the slopes. Alternatively, you can travel by train within France to Saint Gervais Le Bains 20km from Chamonix and then take the Mont Blanc Express train. Lastly you can fly to Turin in Italy and take a SAVDA bus to Chamonix.
Odds n' Ends
If you’re travelling with children, be aware of the risks involved with the high altitude. Organizers recommend not taking children under three to above 2,000 meters, while those aged 3-12 should avoid sustained physical activity at more than 2,500 meters and teenagers should avoid sustained activity above 4,000 meters. Babysitters, day care centers as well as youth activity and learning centers are all available at Chamonix.
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