The first thing you’ll notice on a ski holiday to Chamonix is that everyone behaves like they’ve been there before, like they know all the best après ski spots and are expert skiers who regularly tackle the most challenging off-piste terrain. Don’t be fooled! Looking cool and walking around like a local is all part of the Chamonix swagger. |
Start off on the right foot with our guide to the best skiing to be had in the extreme winter sport capital of the Alps.
Best First Run
If you’d rather not hit a black run the minute you arrive, then get your ‘ski legs’ back on the glorious Vallée Blanche glacier piste. A wonderful, gentle, 20km run from the stunning peaks above Chamonix, this will get you in the mood to tackle those black runs in no time.
Most Challenging Piste
Tackle the black run down from Brevent early in the morning and you might well have one of Chamonix’s most challenging runs all to yourself. But beware, at the end of the day this is most ‘Cham’ skiers’ preferred route back to the resort so it can get very busy.
Best Off-Piste Runs
There are so many great off-piste areas in Chamonix that any ‘best’ selection is entirely down to personal preference. That being said, my own personal favourite is a way down to the resort from Aiguille de Midi which takes you on a beautiful run through the trees. My advice is to be sure to take a guide with you for any off-piste exploration, not only for the obvious safety reasons, but because they always know where the best snow is and how to avoid the crowds.
Skiing in Bad Weather
The best areas to ski in during heavy snowfall, or worse, thick fog, is down below the tree line. The trees will protect you from the worst of the snow and wind, and will help to break up stubborn fog. Off-piste, this could be the perfect time to explore the ‘Magic Forest’ around the Plan Roujon chair lift at Grands Montets.
Best Time of Year to Visit
It’s impossible to say when the best snow will be found in any of the Alpine resorts because this can change so much from year to year, so a last-minute deal when you can check the weather in advance can be a great idea.
If you’re booking a ski holiday to Chamonix in advance, it’s worth bearing in mind that December can be great if the snow comes but it can also be very busy. January is cold but the snow is fantastic and the slopes are not busy at this time of year. French families descend on Chamonix in February as this is when the school holidays start, so it can get rather hectic. For spring snow, March is great with the warm sunshine making it possible to enjoy outdoor lunches and après ski. April brings increased snowfall and warmer temperatures, making early spring another excellent time to visit.
How to Get There
The nearest airport to Chamonix is Geneva. Regular flights by a range of carriers are available at different price points throughout the ski season. The easiest way to get to Chamonix from Geneva airport is to book an airport transfer with a company like Shuttle Direct before you set off.
If you’re travelling on your own, you can book a shared transfer in a minivan or coach or, if there’s a group of you, you might want to book a private transfer exclusively for you and your mates. Just be sure to let the shuttle company know what equipment you’ll be travelling with when you make the booking, in order to be sure that you’ll be met by an appropriately sized vehicle.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you need an airport transfer to Chamonix from Geneva, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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