Chamonix lies at the foot of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s tallest mountain at 4,810 metres.
It has a reputation for challenging skiing both on and off-piste.
It boasts the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, which takes passengers from the bustling town of Chamonix at 1,035 metres in the valley to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi at 3,842 metres.
The first winter Olympics were held in Chamonix in 1924.
Ski season ends in…
Info & Stats
December 12, 2020 – May 1, 2021
Chamonix consists of five resorts spread out over 150 kilometres: Grands Montets, Les Houches, Le Tour/Balme, La Flégère and Le Brévent.
The latter two are linked by lifts, while free shuttle buses connect the others. There are 65 lifts, with 16 green runs, 27 blue, 25 red and 12 black, plus two terrain parks.
The Mont-Blanc Unlimited Lift Pass is valid for all five resorts, Courmayeur in Italy, the 4 Vallées in Switzerland, and one visit to Evasion Mont-Blanc (St Gervais or Megève).
Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass (France & Italy):
- Brevent-Flégère area
- Grands Montets area
- Balme Tour Vallorcine area
- Aiguille du Midi
- Montenvers Mer de Glace train
- Tramway du Mont-Blanc
- Les Houches area
- Courmayeur area
- Evasion Mont-Blanc – St Gervais or Megève
Plus 50% Off 1 Day Pass at Verbier 4 Vallées area (Switzerland)
Stay in the historic town of Chamonix to be close to shops, bars and restaurants, or choose the quieter village of Argentière, family-friendly les Houches, authentic Servoz or the more remote Vallorcine, near the Swiss border.
Non-ski activities and experiences
The Mont-Blanc Unlimited lift pass also offers access to the Chamonix pool, cinema, ice skating rink and museums.
Other activities include snowshoeing, ice climbing, paragliding, mountaineering, dog sledding and tobogganing.
As well as traditional restaurants offering fondues and raclettes, you will find Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Mexican options.
For après, head to Chambre Neuf for live music, the terrace at Elevation 1904 or La Terrasse, or try some local ales at Micro Brasserie de Chamonix.
Location & Trail Maps
Transfer time to Chamonix Mont-Blanc from:
- Geneva airport: 1hr 15min*
- Chamonix has its own train station
Resort altitude: 1,035m
*Transfer time is approximate, by private transfer vehicle and subject to weather and road conditions. Shared shuttle/bus transfers have set departure times, take much longer to travel and don’t offer door to door service which is why we recommend private transfers only.
Chamonix Ski Resort Video
Welcome to the legendary mountaineering town of Chamonix Mont-Blanc. Majestic peaks, incredible views, endless off-piste skiing and a unique vibrant experience awaits you.
Watch this video to find out more…
Chamonix is home to the highest summit in Europe, the Mont Blanc at 4,810m.
The Chamonix ski resort has many different ski areas to choose from, all under the one lift pass: The Mont-Blanc Unlimited.
All of the ski areas offer awe-inspiring views not only of the Mont Blanc, but also of the different surrounding peaks – Aiguilles Rouges, Aiguille du Midi, Aiguille du Dru and Aiguille Verte.
Chamonix also boasts the longest off-piste ski run in the world, “La Vallée Blanche”, which ends with a visit to the ice cave Montenvers Mer de Glace (sea of ice) followed by catching the iconic Montenvers red cog wheel train down to the town centre of Chamonix.
The town itself has an adrenaline-filled atmosphere with lively restaurants and bars and plenty of pretty shops offering everything from souvenirs, ski gear and clothing to locally produced cheeses and saucissons.
Chamonix is the pinnacle destination for free-riders and advanced skiers alike looking for challenging on and off piste terrains with stunning views.
Skiers and snowboarders of all levels wanting to experience a different area every day of their ski holiday will be spoilt for choice and variety.
Be mindful that Chamonix is a valley town and not a ski village. So to get to the different ski fields, you will need to catch the local buses (FREE) which can take anywhere from 10 to 25min and run every 30min.
This makes it not so ideal for families travelling with young children. However, if you are bringing the young ones, you are better off staying near a ski area that caters best for families such as Les Houches with perfect easy groomers for beginners and intermediate skiers.
From a calming yoga session on the mountain top to racing through the night to get to an Italian mountain restaurant on the back of a skidoo, there’s something to suit every taste and budget, both here in Chamonix and in neighbouring Italy and Switzerland.
- Aiguille du Midi cable car to the summit (3,842m) – This is the number #1 tourist attraction in Chamonix with stunning views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley.
- Montenvers train & Mer de Glace – (sea of ice) Experience the best views of France’s longest glacier at the Montenvers – Mer de Glace site. Take the iconic rack and pinion train to the top at 1913m and then descend by cable car and around 500 steps to visit the ice cave within the glacier.
- Paragliding – See the Chamonix valley from a totally different perspective, 1000 metres above the ground on a tandem paragliding flight
- Husky rides – Every Wednesday, subject to snow conditions, you can learn to drive your own sled from 8 years of age, or enjoy the ride as a passenger from any age.
- Paret sledge – Parets are traditional wooden sledges with one runner. Take the last lift up to experience the slopes of Grands Montets on a paret, once the skiers have gone home. Open to kids from 12 years of age.
- Sledging – Babies and toddlers can get a taste for some downhill action on the small slopes in Chamonix town centre. You can also take sledges on dedicated slopes at Les Planards or at the top of Prarion in Les Houches.
- Deluxe Igloo & Fondue Adventure. Head off into the Swiss forests (not too far from Chamonix!) to ride the 3km sledging track as many times as you want. You’ll then strap on your snowshoes for a beautiful hike to the real snow igloo, where after working up that appetite you’ll enjoy a traditional cheese fondue.
- Luge Alpine Coaster (toboggan on rails)- ride along the 1300m track at the bottom of the Les Planards beginner ski area, in Chamonix town centre. Children can ride from 3 years old, and unaccompanied from 7
- Outdoor ice-skating rink with unbeatable views of Mont Blanc. Or witness a local game of ice hockey.
- Swimming pool – there is also a fun zone with slide, rapids and massaging jets and a sauna and hammam.
- Museums – At the Alpine Museum, explore the history of the Chamonix valley, including the beginnings of mountaineering, the first ascent of Mont Blanc, winter and summer sports and the birth of tourism.
- French language lessons – since Chamonix is a town centre and suitable for longer term stays, some people like to combine their France snow holidays with an immersion in French language and culture.
- Other activities – these include wilderness evenings, Ice climbing, snow yoga, Fat biking, Massage, Spas & Wellbeing, art galleries, markets, Wine tasting / Cocktail tasting / Whisky tasting, shopping and much more…
Chamonix is a 1-hour 15min drive by private transfer from either Lyon or Geneva Airport.
Chamonix has its own train station in the town centre but depending on where you’re coming from, a private transfer is usually the best option, especially if arriving/departing from either Lyon or Geneva airports. There are many train stops and changes and it takes twice as long by road.
Top Snow Travel can also arrange helicopter or scenic flight transfers from all airports or other ski resort altiports in the region.
Next winter Chamonix is scheduled to open from December 12th 2020 to May 1st 2021
The Mont-Blanc Unlimited lift pass provides unlimited access to Brévent- Flégère area (Chamonix), Balme area (Tour – Vallorcine), Grands Montets area (Argentière), Les Planards, Le Savoy, Les Chosalets, La Vormaine (Family ski areas), Megève & St Gervais (Evasion Mt Blanc ski area), Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers Mer de Glace, Tramway du Mont-Blanc, Courmayeur (Italy).
January 2nd to Feb 6th 2021 is the cheapest and best time to go (low season), followed by 6th March until mid-April 2021 (the shoulder season).
For Australians travelling to France to ski during our January summer holidays, we benefit from the cheaper rates on offer in the French ski resorts’ low season. This happens to be when the French and Europeans go back to work and school after the 2 week Christmas and New Year holiday period.
Europeans and the Brits flock to the resorts through February into March (DO NOT TRAVEL from 6th Feb to 6th Mar 2021 as this is the French school holidays). The slopes are extremely busy, the queues at the lifts are long and the price for accommodation is very expensive during that time. Even all the restaurants are booked out!
Typically, in January, the snow is dry with the largest build up. It is also the coldest time, so you will need to make sure that you dress warmly. It is still wise to choose a high-altitude resort in case mother nature has not been kind earlier in the season. Bear in mind though, that snow-making is used to supplement natural snowfall in high traffic areas.
So, not only is January the cheapest time to go skiing in the French Alps, it is also the best time to go thanks to the weather conditions, the lack of queues, more availability and choice of accommodation and you get to breathe fresh air with your loved ones, rather than with thousands of other people!