The secret to Chamonix’s world renowned skiing is its steep couloirs and its endless accessible challenging off piste terrain.  However, that doesn’t mean there is not a lot else for those  skiers looking for skiing a little less  adventurous or those new to  our favorite pastime in the  Alps. With  4  self contained resorts with the Chamonix Le Pass Area and the extensive ski access of a further 4 ski domains stretching 3 countries with the Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass.

The four Chamonix resorts on their own boast 49 lifts and 152km of marked pistes compared to the Mont Blanc Unlimited’s 248 Ski Lifts and 952 km of marked piste. Not to mention the numerous off-piste itinerary runs such the infamous Vallée Blanche.  The majority of the skiing occurs above 2,000m, on both north and south aspects making Chamonix a more snow sure resort than most in the Alps. Lifts can open as early as November and run  through to the beginning of May.

Chamonix’s lift system has benefited in recent years, with heavy investment in high-speed lifts, waving bye to those powder day ques.  The latest addition includes the brand new Plan Joran telecabine from the bottom of Grands Montets providing rapid access to the delightful bowl offering extensive off-piste opportunities and challenging pisted reds and blacks.

For the Budding Beginners

Children and beginners are well catered for on the dedicated nursery slopes within walking distance of Chamonix Centre of Planards and Savoy. The Les Houches ski area is a particular family favorite of many in the Chamonix Valley with is varied gradient and terrain to suit ages and abilities. Novice skiers planning to attend lessons are likely to find themselves in the Vallorcine Tour Balme area which has some of the most beautiful, sunny beginner friendly blue runs in the Valley.

For the Improving Intermediates

Intermediate skiers will feel at home in the sunny heights of Brévent-Flégère with  various terrain to challenge the ambitious and flowing blue and red runs to perfect your big carving turns  or to simply enjoy  cruising around the mountain from one chocolat chaude to the next. From one sun kissed resort to another intermediates will love the treeline skiing bliss and  a gentle introduction to  the world of powder skiing on the sides of the slopes. If you are after a challenge then you can take of the Kandahar  Men’s  Downhill World Cup run in Les Houches, a nice brag to have in the arsenal over dinner perhaps.

For the Adventurous Advanced & Powder Hounds

For those looking to push themselves, Chamonix is plentiful in big bumps and steep terrain, in fact it’s well known for it ,there is a reason why Chamonix host the Swatch Freeride World Cup every year on the steeps of Chamonix. The entire region is a backcountry paradise comprised of  gargantuan glaciers, cool couloirs and  powder   draped bowls. You are literally spoilt for choice. The Grands Montets  magnificent bowl becomes a  enormous skier and boarders playground on a powder day with the pisted slopes merely there to maker getting to a lift easier for your next powder run.

However, it’s imperative to remember that the whole Grands Montets is situated on a glacier, and only  the marked pistes are protected from  crevasses. It’s a must to have your avalanche safety kit and a good idea to book a guide if not familiar with the area. Brévent-Flégère has its own fair  share of challenging slopes and usually is the start point of the Freeride World Cup. Whether you want to stick to marked, but un groomed black runs of the Charles Bozon, or go backcountry skiing, or ski touring the  world is your oyster with routes leading into Switzerland and other French resorts enough to  keep the adrenaline pumping for weeks, if not longer.

Vallée Blanche

We could not discuss Chamonix’s skiing repertoire and not mention the Vallée Blanche! It’s probably the most famous off-piste line in the world,Skiing on epic glaciers, under searing rock spires on and beside Europe’s tallest mountain, definitely one to go on the bucket list. Starting from the dizzying heights of 3,842m from the Aiguille du Midi, just under 1000m from the Mont Blanc summit. You will take on a number of Mont Blancs longests and renowned glaciers on your descent. This might not be the most technical off piste terrain with nice gentle gradients sandwiching the occasional short steep section but the views and prestige gained from the Vallée Blanche experience are second to none.

In good snow conditions, it’s possible to ski all the way from the Aiguille du midi (3,842m) to Chamonix itself at (1,100).   But normally the route ends  near the end of the Mer du Glace with a hefty 400 plus steps (due to glacial recession) to tackle up to the Montenver gondola and train station. That’s when you can sit back and relax whilst taking the  mountain train back to Chamonix Centre where a well deserved tipple of choice and lively crowd  will be waiting for you.

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