Although many come to Chamonix for the extraordinary skiing, there are a wealth of activities during the winter season for those not skiing too. Whether, you â€˜canâ€™t skiâ€™ for any given reason, or â€˜wonâ€™t skiâ€™ Â Chamonix is more than just Â a ski resort and there is always something to entertain you.
Eat, Drink, Shop, Repeat
In the centre itself there are plentiful shops to browse at your hearts content, cuisine to sample from the many restaurants lining the Lâ€™Arve as well as wine bars and nightclubs to dance the night away.
Be a Tourist
Chamonix is steeped in history and there is no better way to explore this than taking in the tourist attractions of chamonix. Take the historic mountain railway from Chamonix Center to Montenvers station just under 2,000m to the foot of the Mer de Glace. Â Â The expansive viewing platform with panoramic scenery encompassing the glacier, Mont Blanc and Les Drus mountain ranges.Every winter a new spectacular ice cave can be explored by taking a further gondola and tackling over 400 steps to descend to the glacier.
Probably the Â most popular and impressive attraction of Chamonix is the Aiguille du Midi. At a mighty 3,842 metres tall. It lives up to its name of the needle. Accessed by two cable cars from Chamonix Centre. Once at the top you will find a maze of tunnels, bridges and open expanses intricately placed to creating various viewing platforms providing alternative aspects of the French, Italian and Swiss Alps. Â You will also find a restaurant, gift shop and museum displaying mountaineering exhibits. Â The brave can now take advantage of the Aiguilles du Midiâ€™s newest attraction Â and â€˜Step into the Voidâ€™. A perplex balcony where you can step out into what seems like thin air at Â over 3,800m with a completely Â unique perspective if your surroundings.
Winter Walks and Snowshoeing Adventures
If youâ€™re someone who likes to get closer to nature rather than tear downhill on two Â overpriced planks of wood missing all mother nature’s subtle attributes. Then how about a more leisurely pace walk around Chamonix, along the Lâ€™Arve river on the valley floor or through the surrounding forests. Within a few minutes walk of Chamonix Centre you can find yourself in Narnia-esque pine tree forests lined with snow and draped in icicles. In winter wildlife normally required to hike high in the mountains to spot can be found at much lower altitudes.
For those looking to venture further afield, you will find countless snowshoeing and cross country ski trails of various lengths and difficulties throughout the Valley, maps and details of which can be found at the tourist office. A winter hut to hut snowshoeing trek is definitely something to tick off the bucket list at least once in a lifetime.
If taking to the sky sounds more like your thing , there are almost as many paragliding take off points and itineraries than there are paragliding Â companies. Take a tandem parapent flight from the iconic Brevent summit , or from the dizzying heights of the Aiguille du midi and see Chamonix and its surroundings from Â a different perspective. Â Your pilot can make Â your flight a tranquil and relaxing experience, or an educational lesson regarding Â notable features in the landscape and the local thermals. If you’re a thrill seeker, then you’re in luck with some of the Â best pilots able and willing to take you on an acrobatic freeride flights where you will find yourself hurtling towards the ground in every which way possible.
Helicopter ride & Pleasure Flights
A rather novel and probably the fastest way to discover the Mont Blanc region and witness all of its 14 glaciers is via a stunning helicopter ride or pleasure flight in a light aircraft. Yes not on the budget side of things but if you have the surplus cash it’s an unforgettable experience not to be missed.
Mountain Spa experience
Chamonix takes its Spa facilities and Beauty Treatments seriously with a excellent selection of Spa hotels and local thermal baths to choose from. There is something so special about relaxing in a bubbling hot tub at night beneath the moonlight and stars illuminating surrounding snowy mountains. HÃ´tel Les Aiglons and the Park HÃ´tel Suisse have reasonably priced facilities accessible to the public. You can enjoy beautiful views of the mountains from the Jacuzzi, take a swim in the heated pool, or lounge in the hammam or sauna.
For those wanting a truly healing and rejuvenating experience can travel slightly further afield to the natural thermals of St Gervais for the Â Les Thermes just 15 minutes from Chamonix. Or perhaps a detour to a Swiss treat of a retreat to the beautiful and impressive Lavey-Les-Bains. Â We can arrange for a physiotherapist, masseuse, or beautician to provide treatments in the comfort of your own chalet. For those devout Yogiâ€™s amongst you there are a vast selection of Yoga classes that you are able to drop into, covering various practises. For those wanting a more personal session we can arrange a private class to take place at your chalet.
Another great way of exploring the spectacular terrain around Chamonix is to take a husky sled ride through snowy forest trails. Learn how to direct and steer your newly acquainted pack or simply enjoy the ride and scenery as a mere passenger. It is a truly glorious sight to see these magnificent powerful animals moving fluidly in unison.
Chamonix is full of things to do, you just need to decide which you want to do first. There are several in and outdoor ice rinks across the valley,. For those that would prefer to watch others doing the hard work or like to see Â a gripping team sport can witness regular professional hockey matches at the Patinoire. The speed of the games is astonishing and the atmosphere at home games is so captivating and you will soon find yourself making alliances and cheering for your favorites. Chamonix has its very own cinema Â with regular English screenings and bowling alley with a small arcade full of old favorites making it great fun and extremely accommodating for families.
This list is by no means exhaustive and we could go on for while longer talking about all the great places to see and things to do. Chamonix really does offer something for everyone and if you would like to find out more please do not hesitate to contact the Chamonix Chalets Office.