Introduction to Chamonix
Chamonix Valley has a well deserved reputation for a mecca for extreme skiing and snowboarding. However, Chamonix is suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced, there is something here to suit all. If you like to cover vast distances on well-groomed runs Chamonix will not suit you but if you want to focus on technique Chamonix has a huge variety of runs and terrain to challenge every level of skiing and snowboarding.
Beginner Skiing and Snowboarding
Teleski de Savoy nursery slope at the bottom of Le Brévent is very near the centre of Chamonix town and ideal for beginners getting to grips with skiing and snowboarding. It has 2 drag lifts and snow cannons. At the base of Le Tour there is La Vormaine, a huge area of green slopes offering wide runs serviced by drag lifts; very popular with beginners especially those wishing to learn telemark skiing. There is also Les Planards, 5 minutes from the chalet, with drag lifts and a chair lift great for both skiing and snowboarding beginners.
Le Tour is an ideal ski area for intermediate skiers and snowboarders to find their legs on the variety of blues and red runs. The wide pistes are great for developing technique and gaining confidence. LaFlégère and Le Brévent are homes for many blue and red runs ideal for intermediate skiing and snowboarding. Though be warned that some of the reds would warrant black status in other Alpine resorts. Most strong intermediate skiers and boarders are able to do the Vallée Blanche with a Mountain Guide. Strong intermediates will be able to ski and snowboard all of Chamonix’s ski areas though not all of the pistes.
Included on the Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass is Courmayeur just through the Mont Blanc Tunnel in Italy. Courmayeur is a wonderful little resort just 20 minutes away and offers plenty of runs for intermediate skiing and snowboarding. Very pretty with lots of trees so good on bad visibility days. The pizza, pasta and prosecco is great too!
Advanced Skiing and Snowboarding
The legendary Grands Montets has a gnarly reputation for advanced skiing and snowboarding. It also has a fun park frequented by some of the top freeriders. Having said that all of the ski areas offer challenging adventures for the more proficient especially on a powder day. A huge descent from the top of the Grands Montets in powder is definitely a run to remember. Overall the valley has over 30,000 acres of ski-able off piste terrain using the lift system. If you don touring kit and are prepared to put some effort in the possibilities are endless. All the ski areas give access to off piste and unlike some resorts off piste is not a taboo. Chamonix is also host to the Red Bull Extreme skiing and snowboarding competition as well as the location for a lot of extreme skiing and snowboarding videos.
The Aiguille du Midi and the Vallée Blanche offers some fantastic advanced skiing and snowboarding options beyond the “normal route”. Various options exist for advanced off piste routes which can involve some steep pitches, couloir skiing plus avalanche and serac danger. The advanced routes are far more heavily crevassed and change each year as the glacier moves. A Mountain Guide is strongly recommended. We know many of the guides in the valley and can arrange guides for you.