chamonixOne of the world’s most famous ski resorts, Chamonix is a lively resort in a spectacular location beneath Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest mountain. Although key in the development of the ski industry, the resort’s history stretches back far beyond winter sports.

It first attracted British travellers as long ago as 1740 with the first accommodation opening in 1770 and mountain sports really beginning in 1786 with the conquest of Mont Blanc.

The nineteenth century was one of high profile visits from the great and the good of that century and Chamonix’s importance continued in to the twentieth century, staging the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

Any visitor to Chamonix will be immediately overwhelmed by the spectacular scenery of high mountains and glaciers, with a massive wall of rock and snow rising from the1000m valley floor up to 4810m above. For skiers this means some of Europe’s highest lifts, serving some of the world’s biggest ski-able verticals, including arguably the longest ski run on the planet, the famous 25km (16 mile) Vallee Blanche off-piste descent. Every year millions of winter sports addicts arrive to pay homage to this great ski area, and although Chamonix is quite low compared to modern resort developments, 90% of the skiing is above 2000m, the highest lifts amongst the highest in the world, so good snow cover remains virtually guaranteed at the top.

weather

Partly Cloudy
Monday 18/06/2018 0%
Partly Cloudy
Intervals of clouds and sunshine in the morning with more clouds for later in the day. High 63F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.
Clear
Tuesday 19/06/2018 0%
Clear
Mainly sunny. High near 70F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Wednesday 20/06/2018 100%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Mostly sunny in the morning, then thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 69F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%.
Thunderstorm
Thursday 21/06/2018 90%
Thunderstorm
Thunderstorms. High 69F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
Partly Cloudy
Friday 22/06/2018 20%
Partly Cloudy
Considerable clouds early. Some decrease in clouds later in the day. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 64F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.
Clear
Saturday 23/06/2018 0%
Clear
Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. High 63F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph.

 There are probably more convenient and cheaper places to learn to ski than Chamonix, as, it is likely you will need to walk or take the ski bus to reach the nursery slopes (unless you have a particularly fortunately located accommodation). Areas the resort recommends for beginners are Vormaine in the neighbouring village of Le Tour, Les Chosalets at Argentiere up the valley, Le Savoy at the base of Chamonix’s local Brevent slope, served by two drag lifts and an easy to ride conveyor or Les Plenards, two minutes from the town centre, a large area for beginners with two greens, one blue and one red run. A beginner’s pass is available at a lower cost than the area pass.

Chamonix’s international clientele (two thirds arrive from outside France, almost half of them from the UK) give the resort a cosmopolitan feel .There are more than 100 bars and restaurants to choose from, catering for all tastes, and later on several night clubs and a casino. Popular venues include Escape and The Pub.

With a fragmented ski area and the most expensive lift tickets in Europe for children, Chamonix cannot be easily recommended for families. Children aged four and older pay around 80% of the full adult ticket price. There is a choice of non-ski nursery care with the Panda Nursery, or beginner classes at the ski school’s snow garden for children aged three and older. Chamonix does have good facilities for families too in the resort itself with the swimming pool (complete with water slides), ice rink, cinema and lots of good restaurants.