If you’ve ever skied, you’ll have heard of Chamonix. This is a place that needs no introduction. Sitting in the shadows of the mighty Mont Blanc, it hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924 and is renowned as one of the global capitals of skiing and adventure. And with a shed-load of extensive sure snow backcountry, it’s easy to see why.
The Chamonix valley twists and turns for over 20km, with several lift systems and mountains included on the Mont Blanc pass. At 24km long, the epic Vallee Blanche is the world’s longest off-piste ski descen. And the renowned Pas de Chevre involves a climb to the top of the Grand Montets to ski down to the Mer de Glace and on into Chamonix. If glacial skiing gets you going, hit the Glacier de Toule down towards the Courmayeur. At the bottom, catch the cable car back up to the top and hammer down the other side of the Vallee Blanche.
Looking for a top touring option? Le Tour begins off the back of the lift system with great routes down towards Vallorcine and Switzerland. With some of Europe’s biggest and best untracked terrain available just a short ski tour from the pistes and lift stations, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.
The resort sits at 1,035m and the ski lifts reach 3,800m, so the range and choice of skiing available in Chamonix is pretty stellar. The high altitude big Glacier runs are at their peak in April, and even if the weather turns, you can still ski the long cruising runs below the tree line. For off-piste or expert skiers, Chamonix takes some beating. It more than merits its worldwide reputation as a freeride capital which is confirmed by its inclusion on the Freeride World Tour.
But it’s not just for the experts, even newcomers to off-piste skiing can get their kicks here. With just a short hike or small traverse from the pistes, there’s top powder and off piste fun to be had at Grand Montets, Brevent and Flegere, Vallorcine and Les Houches.
Plus, the resort itself deserves a special mention. Chamonix is a proper town and not like other ski centres. As you stroll the pedestrianised streets, you’ll meet people from every corner of the globe and be overwhelmed by the sheer choice of food and entertainment on offer, 24/7.