Rugged beauty, winter sports, and après-ski: all three are a part of what draws visitors to Chamonix. Avid skiers, snowboarders, and partiers flock to this popular resort, and they are not disappointed. The scenic Chamonix Valley is nestled among some of the highest mountain peaks in the Alps, including the famous Mont Blanc massif (4, 810 meters/15, 632 feet).
There are 145 trails weaving throughout the area adding up to 140 kilometers (87.5 miles). The favorite runs in the area are Le Brevent, Vallée-Blanche, and the Grands Montets. Chamonix is known for its fantastic off-trail skiing and snowboarding opportunities, as well. Including the off-trail slopes, the area offers up to 30, 000 acres of skiable terrain.
Non-skiers enjoy plenty of winter activities such as snowmobiling, ice climbing (best done with a guide), ice hiking, snowshoeing, sleigh riding, and dog sledding, among others. Those who would like to do a little sightseeing in the area may want to visit the Alpine Museum and the Mont Blanc Observatory. Take an unforgettable cable car ride to the Aiguille du Midi (which rises to the elevation of 3, 482 meters/11, 316 feet). A red cog-wheel train climbs from Montenvers to the scenic Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) glacier.
Après-ski is an art form in Chamonix. Restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars, and even a casino fill time not spent on the slopes. Restaurants range from the Chalet le Cerro, a quaint wooden chalet serving traditional foods of the region to L’Eden which serves classic French food with a modern twist. Just a couple of the bars on a long list include Le Stone Bar, an Italian-style bar serving up fine food and wines as well as live music, and, for something different, the Cybar, an Internet café and a fun après-ski meeting place. The Casino of Chamonix is popular with both visitors and locals.Elevation statistics for Chamonix’s Ski resort areas.
|Ski Area||Top Elevation||Skill Level|
|Aiguille du Midi||3843m / 12, 608′||Intermediate/Expert|
|Les Grands Montets||3275m / 10, 745′|
|La Flégère||2450m / 8333′||Beginner/Intermediate|
|Le Brévent||2525m / 8284′||Intermediate|
|Les Houches||1966m / 6450′||All Levels|
|Le Tour||2150m / 7054′|