Who is Chamonix good for?Chamonix Ski Facts
Chamonix Ski AreaPiste and Lift Stats for Chamonix
|12||Black Pistes (34km)|
|25||Red Pistes (70km)|
|27||Blue Pistes (46km)|
|16||Green Pistes (5km)|
|43km||Cross Country Pistes|
Ski Pass Mont Blanc Ski AreaPiste and Lift Stats for Ski Pass Mont Blanc
Chamonix Ski Area HeightMax Vertical and Resort Altitude for Chamonix
|Resort Altitude (Chamonix)|
The French Ski Resort of Chamonix is part of the Ski Pass Mont Blanc area with access to 952km of downhill skiing, with 490 individual pistes, served by 248 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Chamonix itself (152km of pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Ski Pass Mont Blanc ski resorts of Argentière, Combloux, Cordon, Le Tour, Les Contamines, Les Houches, Megève, Passy Plaine Joux and St Gervais Mont-Blanc.
With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
There are seven Airports within two hours drive, so ski weekends, snowboard breaks and short ski holidays to Chamonix are perfectly feasible. Annecy Airport, Geneva Airport and Sion Airport are just one hours drive away, in good driving conditions, so you can be on the piste quickly.
Skiing in Chamonix
Chamonix is a name synonymous with the best and most challenging in mountain sports world-wide and attracts the best practitioners of skiing, snowboarding, climbing and other disciplines each season. It attracts an even greater number of 'wannabes'. However, the resort is keen to point out that you don't have to 'live for skiing' to enjoy what Chamonix has to offer: there are pisted trails for all standards.
Until 1996 Chamonix was one of the few remaining resorts to offer separate passes for different sectors of its skiing, but no whole-resort pass, unless you purchased the huge Skipass Mont-Blanc covering well over 230 lifts in a dozen or so neighbouring ski areas. This changed with the introduction of a range of 'Chamski' passes carefully tailored after extensive research to meet the needs of the diverse winter sports market. The basic 6 day pass includes a day over in Courmayeur, normally subject to a supplement, and two trips on the high Grands Montets lifts, again usually charged at an additional fee.
The Grand Montets is a major part of Chamonix's reputation as a serious skier's resort, and thankfully all the lift installations in the area are currently being drastically improved, with capacity on the Bochard gondola, for example, increased from 1200 to 3000 skiers per hours, dramatically reducing and often eliminating lift lines. The skiable descent possible is from 3275 metres to 1230 metres and the world's record vertical in one day was set here by Canadian Mark Jones, clocking up 51 descents - a vertical of 64, 000 metres (210, 000 feet).
Of the other famous sectors, L'Aiguille du Midi is perhaps the most legendary, with the famous 22km off-piste descent through La Vallée Blanche (take a guide!). Finally mention must be made of historic Le Brévent, where Chamonix's and one of the Alps' first real ski lifts was installed. The descent there is around 1500m.
Snowboarding in Chamonix
As with skiing, Chamonix is the world capital for serious boarders and, after introducing the world's first monoski in 1977, it was fitting that Europe's first 'board carved its way down the slopes of Chamonix in 1981 beneath the feet of Australian Paul Loxton. Rapidly finding favour, boards were soon descending slopes previously rated 'impossible' including 60 degree gullies.
Bruno Gouvy 'boarded the famous Alpine trilogy of Matterhorn-Eiger-Grandes Jorasses in 1988 before taking on the north face of the Aiguille du Midi, the Aiguille Verte and the north face of Les Drus.
Today France continues to push the boundaries of the sport, producing world champions like Jean-Baptiste Charlet (1994) and Karine Ruby (winner of a snowboarding gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics), as well as Arno Adam ( ski extreme world champion).
Chamonix's Snow Park, sponsored by Salomon and staging numerous competitions, is situated on Les Grands Montets.