Skiing in Chamonix

  • Sports & outdoors
  • France
  • 5 min read
Skiing in Chamonix

A ski holiday in Chamonix in the French Alps is a must for any seasoned or intermediate skier. There are plenty of slopes for the beginner too!

Skiing in Chamonix

Ideal for beginners and intermediates, as well as the advanced skier, the Chamonix valley offers some of the finest slopes in the Alps. 

As one of the most famous skiing resorts in Europe, Chamonix is a wonderland for every kind of winter sports enthusiast. Chamonix hosted the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924, is criss-crossed by some of the world’s most incredible cable cars, ski lifts and mountain trains, and boasts an excellent range of hotels, bars and restaurants. 

Where is Chamonix?

The Chamonix ski resorts are located in the French Alps close to the borders with Switzerland and Italy. The town of Chamonix is overlooked by some of the most dramatic peaks in the Alps, most notably Mont Blanc.

Driving to Chamonix from Calais

It takes around 8 ½ hours to drive (with tolls) from our terminal in Calais to Chamonix, via Arras, Dijon and Geneva before a spectacular finale winding through stunning alpine scenery. Driving to Chamonix certainly gives you a lot more room for luggage and ski gear than you would get on a plane!

A red two carriage train chugs through a snowy landscape on a beautiful winter’s day

Exploring the resort

Chamonix is made up of five amazing resorts dotted through the valley: Les Houches, Grands Montets, Domaine de Balme, La Flegere and Le Brevent. Aside from enjoying time on the slopes, there are also plenty of other activities available. 

A popular choice with families is the Arbre Aventure, where the whole family can zoom between trees on zip wires, climb up rope ladders and daringly skywalk! Or why not take a train to the Mer de Glace, the largest glacier in France? Explore the Ice Caves within the glacier, which have to be cut afresh every year. 

A carriage of a cable car travelling at altitude amongst a high range of cloud and snow-capped peaks

The highlight of any Chamonix holiday is a trip on the spectacular Aiguille du Midi cable car, which rises 3780m up the steep mountainside of the same name – the highest vertical ascent of any cable car in the world. There are breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc range, and for those with a supreme head for heights, the chance to ‘Step into the Void’, a glass box suspended at the summit with 1000m of nothingness below your feet. 

Chamonix’s ski area

Each of the Chamonix ski resorts has a good range of runs for all levels of ability. 

Where to find the best snow

Seasoned skiers usually make for the north facing slopes of Les Grands Montets for the best powder in Chamonix. Occupying a position at the end of the valley, Les Grands Montets offers some of the most challenging black and off-piste runs. The slopes here reach 3,300m and are usually open until early May. 

Two skiers going uphill a slope with a dramatic range behind them

Chamonix for beginners

Les Houches resort is the most family friendly and has the best low-altitude conditions for beginners. It is more sheltered, with some excellent tree-lined runs. Beginners have two gentle slopes at the top of the Prarion and Bellevue cable cars.  

The Savoy area at the foot of the Brevent is ideal for children and beginners, as is Les Chosalets near Les Grands Montets. The Planards is only a 5-minute walk from the centre of Chamonix and offers perfect learning slopes, artificial snow and a kindergarten. 

Chamonix for intermediate skiers

Intermediate skiers can head to the Domaine de Balme in Le Tour, around seven miles from Chamonix. There are wide open blue and red runs here. Les Houches offers intermediate skiing through the trees. Some of the best blue runs in Chamonix are found on the Brévent – Flégère slopes, which give skiers an incredible view of Mont Blanc as they weave their way down moderately challenging runs. 

Two skiers skiing down a wide slope with tall snow-capped peaks in the distance

Chamonix for experts

Chamonix has a plethora of black runs and off-piste routes. One of the most famous off-piste runs in the world is the Vallée Blanche, an 18km journey with 2,800m of descent. The Aiguille du Midi cable car takes skiers to the top of the mountain. Take note, however, there are severe hazards on the Vallée Blanche. Poor visibility can affect navigation and there is no slope management here. Use a mountain guide and even then only experienced off-piste skiers should attempt it! 

Chamonix’s après-ski

From the terraced restaurants on the slopes to the bars in the middle of town, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining and partying in Chamonix. 

Food with a view does not come any more spectacular than Le 3842, the restaurant at the summit platform of Aiguille du Midi. It’s the highest restaurant in Europe! 

Like many eateries on the slopes, it closes after the lunchtime serving, but fear not. Down in the town there are places like Chambre Neuf, which has live music and DJ sets during the ski season, happy hours and everything you would expect from a quintessential après-ski bar. The bar is part of the Hotel Gustavia, a famous old Chamonix hotel that dates back to the 1890s. 

Skiers relaxing with drinks at a bar on a ski slope

Make the most of your ski holiday by travelling with LeShuttle

Skiing in Chamonix is only about 8-9 hours away from the LeShuttle terminal in Calais. The first part of your ski holiday in the Alps is a 35-minute run from Folkestone, easily accomplished by beginners, intermediates or experts alike! 

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