Chamonix is as an extreme sports paradise – full of gnarly backcountry addicts, high altitude parapenters and vertical mountaineers – but if you thought it was only for the hardcore, you’d be much mistaken.
The host of the first Winter Olympics in 1924 has a distinguished past. It was a ‘resort’ hundreds of years before it became a ‘ski resort’, but Chamonix certainly isn’t living in the past, as one new feature after another is helping it pivot into a modern, funky resort.
The Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley is considered a Mecca for freeriders and off piste skiing, particularly in the Grand Montets ski area. But there’s plenty here for all abilities, with five ski areas, Le Tour, Grand Montets, Flegere, Brevent and Les Houches, all connected by regular buses
With gentler slopes, Balme and Les Houches are best for families, whilst Brevent and Flegere offer sun-drenched slopes and stunning vistas sure to impress all skiers.
This is the perfect choice of destination for anyone travelling early or late in the season, with 90% of Chamonix’s slopes located above 2000m.
One of the world’s largest lift tickets, the Mont-Blanc Unlimited lift pass provides access to a total of 900km of world-class terrain spanning the Chamonix Valley and Italy’s Courmayeur, on the other side of Mont Blanc. What’s more, it gives you access to some stunning additional activities, including the Aiguille du Midi, the Mer de Glace, the new Funivia Monte Bianco (Italy), ice rinks, swimming pools and museums.
A visit to the Aiguille du Midi should be on everyone’s bucket list and is an essential part of any visit to Chamonix. The dramatic cable car journey takes you almost 3km vertically from the town of Chamonix to 3842m – the closest you can get to the 4807m Mont Blanc without hiking or climbing further.
Take it easy and enjoy the views as you prepare to ‘Step into the Void’ – a must for any visit to the Aiguille du Midi. This remarkable feature is only for the brave as you’re invited to step into a glass box, with 12mm thick triple-layer glass panels. The only catch is that the floor is glass too…and there’s a thousand metre drop below you to the ground. This great feature is free, so although there can be queues at peak times, all that’s required of you is the courage to ‘Step into the Void’