Chamonix is known for having some of the best skiing and views in the world with amazing off-piste terrain, deep powder, and lively mountain culture. While the glacier and crevasses of the area can make adventures beyond the ski areas dangerous, not all of the skiing in Chamonix expert-level. Chamonix offers a variety of options for most skiers, and hiring a guide is a must for any first time visitor.
Here are a few reasons why skiing in Chamonix should be at the top of your priority list this winter.
There's a Wide Range of Terrain for a Variety of Experience Levels
The skiable terrain in Chamonix Valley is vast. This allows for skiers ranging from beginner to expert to enjoy the amazing skiing and beauty of the area. Whether skiing groomers under the shadow of Mont Blanc at Les Houches or shredding the steep and deep at Brévent-Flégère, there's something for everyone in Cham.
A Vibrant Après Scene
Like most epic European ski destinations, Chamonix has a lively après scene with a range of bars and restaurants. After all, why let a great day in the mountains end when the sun goes down? The bars, restaurants, and shops that are open are dependent on the season, so it is a good idea to go with people in the know to make sure you end up exactly where you want to be.
The Birthplace of Guided Skiing
Chamonix is a great place to sign up for professionally-guided skiing to explore new terrain safely while still enjoying everything the area has to offer. The crown jewel of ski descents in Chamonix, the Vallée Blanche, descends a massively long glacier and is perfect for those looking to find why a guided ski tour is a great thing.
Watch: The Making of "Face of Winter" - Chamonix
Skiing Quality Snow
Due to the direction the mountains face, the resorts in the Chamonix Valley get quality snow that stays awesome longer in the colder temperatures. The Grand Montets ski area is a great example for this. The north-facing skiable terrain of the ski area stays sheltered from the sun all the way up until early May, and sometimes longer.
Seeing Beautiful Views and a Charming Town
The area is renowned for its beautiful mountain views and pristine town. You don't even have to be a skier to appreciate them (but if you are, you still will probably fall in love with the place).
Wide Range of Adventurous Non-Skiing Activities
Chamonix offers a variety of options for skiers, but there's also a large number of mountain activities for those who want to try something new. Whether it's mixed alpine climbing, top-rope ice climbing, hiking at lower elevations, paragliding, or more, it's pretty much impossible to be bored in Cham.
Skiing and Exploring Multiple Countries
Chamonix is located on the borders of France, Italy, and Switzerland. Skiers can access terrain that is located in all three countries and explore the surrounding areas, including the diverse terrain of Courmayeur, Italy, and Verbier, Switzerland, during day trips beyond the Chamonix Valley. Signing up for a guided trip makes this especially easy.
Taking in the Rich Skiing, Mountaineering, and Cultural History
The area and the town itself has a rich cultural history not only for France but also for the ski community. The first luxury hotel in Chamonix was built in 1816, and a railway to the town was constructed in 1908. It was the host of the first-ever Winter Olympic Games in 1924. The historic buildings that remain are beautiful reminders of the area’s history, and Chamonix and the great Mont Blanc area has thrived as a destination for mountaineers and skiers since.
Chamonix is Easy to Reach
Chamonix and it's numerous ski areas are a relatively short drive or shuttle from the Geneva Airport which makes the place faster and easier to access than other notable French resorts.
More about Chamonix: To the Extreme
Watch: Marcus Caston in Chamonix
Callie Rhoades contributed to this article.