Skiing and snowboarding for beginners in the Chamonix Valley

Categories: Adventure

The Chamonix Valley, located in the French Alps, is world-famous for its skiing and snowboarding opportunities. While it is known for some of its more challenging slopes, it also offers excellent beginner areas suitable for children and those new to the sport. Here’s a breakdown of beginner areas in the Chamonix Valley:

Le Tour – Vallorcine
– Situated at the top end of the Chamonix Valley, Le Tour (also known as Domaine de Balme) is a great place for beginners.
– It has wide, gentle slopes that are perfect for those new to skiing and snowboarding.
– There are specific beginners’ zones, with conveyor-belt style lifts (magic carpets) to make it easier for novices.
– Ski schools in the area offer group and private lessons for children.

Les Houches
– Situated at the opposite end of the valley to Le Tour, Les Houches provides a more tree-lined experience.
– The “Le Tourchet” area in Les Houches is great for children and beginners, equipped with a small magic carpet and rope tow lifts.
– It’s a little more sheltered, making it a good choice on bad weather days.
– Many ski schools operate in Les Houches, offering beginner lessons for kids.

Le Savoy
– Right in the heart of Chamonix town, Le Savoy is a beginner’s paradise with gentle, rolling slopes.
– It’s very convenient, especially if you’re staying in Chamonix itself. You can often see many ski schools teaching children here.
– Le Savoy is equipped with drag lifts and magic carpets, which are ideal for beginners to get the hang of things.

La Vormaine
– Located just next to Le Tour, La Vormaine is often overlooked but is a gem for beginners.
– It’s one of the largest beginner ski areas in the Chamonix Valley.
– Like the others, it has several drag lifts and magic carpets. Due to its location, it can be sunnier and more sheltered than some of the other beginner areas.

– Situated just a short walk from the center of Chamonix, Planards is another good beginner’s area.
– It has a couple of green slopes and is suitable for children.
– Also on site is a luge and amusement park, making it a fun spot for families.

Tips for Planning Lessons

– Hire Equipment: For beginners, especially children, it’s advisable to rent equipment. This ensures that they get appropriately sized and maintained gear.

Book Lessons in Advance: Especially during peak times, ski and snowboard lessons can get booked up quickly. Consider booking your lessons well in advance to secure your spot.

– Dress Appropriately: Ensure your children have appropriate ski clothing, including waterproof pants, jacket, gloves, and goggles. Layering is key.

– Safety First: Helmets are essential for children and highly recommended for adults.

– Consider Ski Pass Options: Look into ski pass options. Some areas might offer beginner-specific passes, which are limited to certain zones but can be cheaper.

Remember, each child is different. Some may take to skiing or snowboarding immediately, while others may need more time. Ensure the experience remains fun and encouraging, and consider mixing up lessons with other activities to give them a full winter holiday experience as well as a safe and enjoyable experience of one of life’s greatest experiences, the privilege of earning to ski and snowboard.


Learning to ski in Chamonix – A family tale

Once upon a time in the enchanting Chamonix Valley, nestled within the majestic French Alps, a family embarked on an unforgettable winter adventure. The Johnsons, with their two children, Emma and Jake, had heard tales of the wondrous ski slopes this region had to offer, and they were eager to explore.

The first stop on their quest was Le Tour, the valley’s sentinel at its topmost end. The children marveled at the vast expanse of white, with wide, gentle slopes stretching as far as the eye could see. Here, local legends spoke of magic carpets, not the flying kind but conveyor-belt styled lifts, designed to help novices like them conquer the mountain. Under the guidance of friendly ski instructors, Emma and Jake began their lessons, laughing and falling in the soft snow.

After tales of their snowy exploits at Le Tour reached the opposite end of the valley, the Johnsons were beckoned by the whispering pines of Les Houches. Within its sheltered bounds, “Le Tourchet” awaited, a haven for younglings and beginners. The tree-lined experience was magical, with snowflakes gently drifting down, creating an ethereal backdrop for the children’s lessons.

However, a local squirrel named Savvy whispered secrets of Le Savoy into Emma’s ear, speaking of a special place at the very heart of Chamonix town. Following the trail, the family discovered gentle, rolling slopes where countless children were taking their first steps into the world of skiing. With magic carpets and drag lifts, Le Savoy was indeed the bustling heart of beginner’s paradise.

As days turned into nights, tales of their adventures reached an old owl named Vorma. Intrigued, he invited them to his dwelling, La Vormaine. With the sun casting golden hues on the snow, and shielded by the surrounding trees, this overlooked treasure was perfect for Jake, who was now eager to master the snowboard.

As their trip neared its end, the northern lights led their path to Planards, just a stone’s throw from Chamonix’s center. It wasn’t just the green slopes that caught their attention, but the magical luge and an amusement park hidden within its folds, where laughter and joy echoed.

And so, with their hearts full and spirits high, the Johnsons’ journey came to an end. They had not only discovered the valley’s snowy treasures but had also woven their own tale of magic, adventure, and the joy of learning.

And as legends go, if you ever find yourself in the Chamonix Valley, you might just hear the whisper of the wind sharing the tale of the Johnsons and their winter escapade.

Here are some ski school options for children:

Chamonix is a hotbed for ski and snowboard training, offering a range of schools catering to varying skill levels, including those designed specifically for children. Here’s a closer look at some of the top ski schools in Chamonix, Argentière, and Les Houches for youngsters:

1. Yeti:
– Yeti is often associated with the upper beginner level for children who have already had a touch of skiing but are yet to master all the basic skills.
– Location: They primarily operate in various parts of the Chamonix Valley.
– Lessons: Both individual and group lessons are available. Group lessons can be a more social experience, allowing kids to learn alongside peers.

2. Panda Club:
– Overview: Panda Club is tailored for the younger audience. It provides a secure and fun environment for children to get their first experience on the snow.
– Location: They have setups in different parts of the Chamonix Valley.
– Lessons: They offer group lessons mainly, emphasizing fun and safety. The club ensures children are comfortable, often integrating playful activities along with skiing.

3. Ecole de Ski Français (ESF):
– Overview: ESF is the largest ski school organization in France and has a prominent presence in the Chamonix Valley.
– Location:
– Chamonix: Situated right in the heart of the town, offering easy access.
– Argentière: Located further up the valley, it’s closer to some of the more advanced terrains but still caters to beginners and children.
– Les Houches: A great spot for beginners with its tree-lined slopes.
– Lessons**: ESF offers a wide variety of lessons – from private one-on-ones to group sessions. For children, they have the “Piou-Piou” club, dedicated to the youngest skiers. They focus on ensuring children learn in a fun and safe environment, often using mascots and play areas to make the experience enjoyable.


Age Groups: Ensure the school and lesson you’re booking is age-appropriate. Some schools have specific age requirements or groupings.

Skill Level: Each school usually has levels ranging from absolute beginner to more advanced classes for children who might have skied before. Ensure you pick the right level for your child.

Duration: Lessons can vary in duration. While some might be short, others could last an entire day with breaks. Consider your child’s stamina and attention span.

– Language: Most instructors in the Chamonix Valley will speak English, but it’s always good to confirm, especially if your child doesn’t understand French.

When planning lessons for children in the Chamonix Valley, always consider their comfort and safety. The valley is a fantastic place for kids to learn skiing and snowboarding, thanks to its world-class schools and instructors.