Chamonix Ski Areas

The wide variety of Chamonix ski areas offer alpine/downhill skiing and snowboarding in the Chamonix Mont Blanc region.

The Chamonix Mont Blanc area is a skier’s paradise, nestled in the heart of the French Alps. With a diverse range of slopes catering to all levels, it offers unparalleled mountain experiences. Here is an overview of each of the ski areas:

And if you’re ready to choose your Chamonix ski pass, click here.

Les Grands Montets

Ski Level & Difficulty: Suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers. It offers some challenging black runs and offpiste skiing.

Ski Lifts: A mix of cable cars, gondolas, drag lifts, and chairlifts.

Vertical Drop: Approximately 2,000 meters.

Elevation: Peaks at 3,295 meters.

Total Ski Area: Around 28km.

Notable Features: Known for its north facing slopes, which ensure good snow quality throughout the season. It’s a haven for freeriders.

Les Grand Montets is the most renowned controlled skiing area in the Chamonix Valley, France. It is often revered for its challenging terrain and consistent snowfall, standing as a mecca for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts around the globe. Its exact geographical coordinates are 45.9749° N, 6.9253° E. From my knowledge (up to September 2021), here is a comprehensive description of Les Grand Montets:

The skiing area is anchored around the mighty Aiguille Verte mountain, which reaches a dizzying height of 4,122 meters. This colossal massif stands guard over Les Grand Montets, casting an awe inspiring silhouette against the Alpine skyline. However, the skiing area itself spans an elevation range from 1235 meters at the Argentière village level to 3300 meters at its uppermost point. It boasts a respectable vertical drop of about 2065 meters, offering thrilling descents for skilled skiers and snowboarders.

Access to the different altitudes of Les Grand Montets is facilitated by a network of lifts. There are a total of eight lifts including one cable car, five chairlifts, and two surface lifts (though the exact composition may change over time due to updates and maintenance). The cable car to the top is the Téléphérique des Grands Montets (not operating at present due to fire), offering panoramic views of the surrounding valley.

One of the highlights of Les Grand Montets is the Argentière Glacier run, which takes full advantage of the impressive vertical drop and is often coated with a fresh blanket of powder. However, it is an ungroomed, unpatrolled route and is recommended only for advanced skiers with avalanche training and equipment. There are a variety of other runs too, catering to different skill levels.

The base level of Les Grand Montets is characterized by the village of Argentière. There, you’ll find plenty of amenities, including car parking. As it’s a popular destination, parking can get busy during the peak season. It’s advisable to arrive early in the day to secure a spot. You may also find paid parking lots in the village that offer more space and are often less crowded.

For those who appreciate a good après-ski experience, Les Grand Montets does not disappoint. Mountainside restaurants dot the area, offering warm and inviting spaces to rest and refuel after a day on the slopes. The Restaurant du Lognan is a notable mention, located at the mid-station of the Grands Montets cable car. It offers a mix of quick snacks and hearty meals to cater to skiers’ varying appetites. Its sun soaked terrace is a perfect spot to take in the breathtaking mountain views.

Visitors to Les Grand Montets will also find ski schools, equipment rental shops, and guide services at the base level, making it an accommodating area for beginners and those looking to improve their skills. The unique blend of natural beauty, challenging terrain, and excellent facilities have made Les Grand Montets a legendary site in the skiing world.

However, as with any popular outdoor recreational site, it’s important to check the local regulations and guidelines, weather conditions, and lift operation schedules before planning a trip to Les Grand Montets. The area’s offerings and conditions can vary greatly depending on the time of year and environmental factors.

Where to ski in Chamonix

La Flégère – linked by cable car to Les Brevents

Ski Level & Difficulty: Suitable for all levels.

Ski Lifts: Gondolas and chairlifts mainly.

Vertical Drop: 1,800 meters.

Elevation: Peaks at 2,487 meters.

Total Ski Area: 20km.

Notable Features: Spectacular panoramic views and great sunny terrains. Connects with Brévent.

Les Brevents – linked by cable car to La Flégère

Ski Level & Difficulty: Mixed. Offers both beginner slopes and challenging black runs.

Ski Lifts: Cable cars, gondolas, and chairlifts.

Vertical Drop: 1,500 meters.

Elevation: Peaks at 2,525 meters.

Total Ski Area: 25km.

Notable Features: Direct access from Chamonix town and offers southfacing slopes with exceptional views of Mont Blanc.

Le Tour – linked to Vallorcine

Ski Level & Difficulty: Beginners and intermediates.

Ski Lifts: Chairlifts, drag lifts, and gondolas.

Vertical Drop: Approximately 1,000 meters.

Elevation: Peaks at 2,165 meters.

Total Ski Area: Linked with Vallorcine, offering around 29km.

Notable Features: Gentle slopes and panoramic views.

Vallorcine – linked to Le Tour

Ski Level & Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced.

Ski Lifts: Gondolas and drag lifts.

Vertical Drop: Not as significant as other resorts.

Elevation: Peaks around 2,265 meters.

Total Ski Area: Linked with Le Tour, offering around 29km.

Notable Features: Quiet, picturesque, and forested.

Les Houches

Ski Level & Difficulty: All levels.

Ski Lifts: Cable cars, gondolas, drag, and chairlifts.

Vertical Drop: 900 meters.

Elevation: Peaks at 1,900 meters.

Total Ski Area: 55km.

Notable Features: Forested runs and hosts World Cup downhill races.

Les Planards

Ski Level & Difficulty: Beginners and families.

Ski Lifts: Chairlifts and drag lifts.

Vertical Drop: 300 meters.

Elevation: Peaks at 1,242 meters.

Total Ski Area: 5km.

Notable Features: Ideal for children and those new to skiing.

Le Savoy

Ski Level & Difficulty: Novice.

Ski Lifts: Drag lifts.

Vertical Drop: Minimal.

Elevation: Lower elevations.

Total Ski Area: Small beginner area.

Notable Features: Situated in the heart of Chamonix, perfect for learning.

Les Chosalets

Ski Level & Difficulty: Beginners, especially children.

Ski Lifts: Mainly drag lifts.

Vertical Drop: Minimal.

Elevation: Lower altitude.

Total Ski Area: Small.

Notable Features: Gentle slopes perfect for learning.

Off-piste Aiguille du Midi/La Vallée Blanche

Ski Level & Difficulty: Advanced, offpiste.

Ski Lifts: The Aiguille du Midi cable car.

Vertical Drop: 2,807 meters.

Elevation: Peaks at 3,842 meters.

Total Ski Area: Approximately 20km offpiste route.

Notable Features: Europe’s highest cable car offers access to the legendary Vallée Blanche glacier run.

The Chamonix Mont Blanc area presents a diverse range of skiing options. From the sheer adrenaline thrill of La Vallée Blanche to the gentle slopes of Le Savoy, there’s something for everyone. Beyond skiing, the breathtaking views, worldclass facilities, and the charm of Alpine towns make it a must visit destination for winter sports enthusiasts.