Chamonix - Ski Area Guide
Ski Resort in Ski Pass Mont Blanc, French Alps - 152km of Piste (1,040m to 3,840m)
An historic ski and climbing town on the picturesque side of Mont Blanc, by the entrance to the Mont Blanc tunnel. Chamonix offers the world's greatest lift-served vertical drop. Away from the slopes it is very lively all year round with numerous bars and restaurants.
Chamonix Snow News
The next notable snow forecast for Chamonix is 3cm, expected on 23 March, with around 18cm forecast over the next 7 days. There is significant snow currently indicated by the long-range (7 days+) forecast; but too far ahead to be relied upon.
Who is Chamonix good for?
Chamonix Ski Area
|12||Black Pistes (34km)|
|25||Red Pistes (70km)|
|27||Blue Pistes (46km)|
|16||Green Pistes (5km)|
|43km||Cross Country Pistes|
Ski Pass Mont Blanc Ski Area
Chamonix Ski Area Height
|1040m||Resort Altitude (Chamonix)|
The French Ski Resort of Chamonix is part of the Ski Pass Mont Blanc area with access to 952km of downhill skiing, with 490 individual pistes, served by 248 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Chamonix itself (152km of pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Ski Pass Mont Blanc ski resorts of Argentière, Combloux, Cordon, Le Tour, Les Contamines, Les Houches, Megève, Passy Plaine Joux and St Gervais Mont-Blanc.
With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
There are seven Airports within two hours drive, so ski weekends, snowboard breaks and short ski holidays to Chamonix are perfectly feasible. Annecy Airport, Geneva Airport and Sion Airport are just one hours drive away, in good driving conditions, so you can be on the piste quickly.
Skiing in Chamonix
Chamonix is a name synonymous with the best and most challenging in mountain sports world-wide and attracts the best practitioners of skiing, snowboarding, climbing and other disciplines each season. It attracts an even greater number of 'wannabes'. However, the resort is keen to point out that you don't have to 'live for skiing' to enjoy what Chamonix has to offer: there are pisted trails for all standards.
Until 1996 Chamonix was one of the few remaining resorts to offer separate passes for different sectors of its skiing, but no whole-resort pass, unless you purchased the huge Skipass Mont-Blanc covering well over 230 lifts in a dozen or so neighbouring ski areas. This changed with the introduction of a range of 'Chamski' passes carefully tailored after extensive research to meet the needs of the diverse winter sports market. The basic 6 day pass includes a day over in Courmayeur, normally subject to a supplement, and two trips on the high Grands Montets lifts, again usually charged at an additional fee.
The Grand Montets is a major part of Chamonix's reputation as a serious skier's resort, and thankfully all the lift installations in the area are currently being drastically improved, with capacity on the Bochard gondola, for example, increased from 1200 to 3000 skiers per hours, dramatically reducing and often eliminating lift lines. The skiable descent possible is from 3275 metres to 1230 metres and the world's record vertical in one day was set here by Canadian Mark Jones, clocking up 51 descents - a vertical of 64,000 metres (210,000 feet).
Of the other famous sectors, L'Aiguille du Midi is perhaps the most legendary, with the famous 22km off-piste descent through La Vallée Blanche (take a guide!). Finally mention must be made of historic Le Brévent, where Chamonix's and one of the Alps' first real ski lifts was installed. The descent there is around 1500m.
Snowboarding in Chamonix
As with skiing, Chamonix is the world capital for serious boarders and, after introducing the world's first monoski in 1977, it was fitting that Europe's first 'board carved its way down the slopes of Chamonix in 1981 beneath the feet of Australian Paul Loxton. Rapidly finding favour, boards were soon descending slopes previously rated 'impossible' including 60 degree gullies.
Bruno Gouvy 'boarded the famous Alpine trilogy of Matterhorn-Eiger-Grandes Jorasses in 1988 before taking on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi, the Aiguille Verte and the north face of Les Drus.
Today France continues to push the boundaries of the sport, producing world champions like Jean-Baptiste Charlet (1994) and Karine Ruby (winner of a snowboarding gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics), as well as Arno Adam ( ski extreme world champion).
Chamonix's Snow Park, sponsored by Salomon and staging numerous competitions, is situated on Les Grands Montets.
Chamonix Aprés Ski
Chamonix is a very lively town, thanks largely to the international mix of mountain sports enthusiasts and the attitude of the local population. Snowboarding and skiing videos keep the white stuff coming well into the night for those who can't cope with leaving it up the mountain when the lifts close, then there is a range of bars, night clubs and discothèques open until dawn's light. Popular choices include the Ice Rock Caf‚ where someone parked most of a lorry in the basement, and Wild Wallabies, the Chamonix answer to St Anton's legendary Krazy Kangaruh hedonistic haven.
Other night time possibilities include the only genuine 10 pin bowling alley in the Alps (8 computer checked lanes), a three screen cinema in the recently renovated Vox complex, a Bridge club at Le Majestic and a casino attracting regular Italian, Swiss and international clientelle to the roulette and black jack tables. There are also one armed bandits and video poker as well as the famous Napoleon III room.
Chamonix in brief
Chamonix Ski Resort is:
Excellent for Expert Skiers.
Excellent for Intermediate Skiers.
Good for Beginners.
Excellent for Snowboarding.
Chamonix Season Dates
We have no confirmed season dates for Chamonix.
Usual opening - Early Dec.
Usual closing - Late April.
NOTE:- Opening subject to Snow Conditions in Chamonix.
Chamonix Piste Map
Map of ChamonixFull Page Map of Chamonix
Chamonix Snow Making
Snowmaking :- Chamonix is able to augment natural snow, on 23km of ski runs, with 96 Snow Cannons.
Chamonix Ski Lift Capacity
Ski Lift Capacity :- The 49 Ski Lifts of Chamonix are able to uplift 52,660 skiers / snowboarders per hour.
See More from Chamonix and Ski Resorts in France
Find a Hotel in Chamonix
Ski Pass Mont Blanc Ski Resorts
Other Ski Areas within Ski Pass Mont Blanc.
Ski Resorts near Chamonix
Other popular Ski Areas near Chamonix.
Chamonix Snow Forecast
Snow Forecast for Chamonix
Chamonix Snow Report
For current snow conditions, see our Chamonix Snow Report.
Ask about Chamonix
Ask about skiing and snowboarding in Chamonix in our France Ski Forum.
Skiing at Chamonix
For more information contact Chamonix Tourist Office.