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Ski Resort Life

Why You Should Seriously Consider a Ski Trip to the Alps This Winter

$200/day for 5,000 acres or $75 for 200,000? You do the math. Here’s why skiing Mont Blanc is a far better value than North American resorts.

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The Alps have always been a Holy Grail for skiers. And no mountain in the Alps is more prominent than Mont Blanc, which rises almost 16,000 feet above sea level and is the crown jewel of the Mont Blanc mountain range, home to world-class resort Chamonix. The massif straddles the borders of France, Italy, and Switzerland and contains 11 independent summits, each towering over 13,000 feet.

Mont Blanc Aguille du Midi
The iconic Aiguille du Midi cable car on Mont Blanc runs between France and Italy. Access is included on the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass. (Photo: Getty Images)

It is a veritable playground, especially on skis. And unlike resorts in the U.S., where you’ll pay upwards of $200/day at the marquis resorts, the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass is 74 Euros a day ($75 at the press time) and includes access to four ski areas in France, Italy, and Switzerland. In total, the pass accesses over 200,000 acres of terrain. (To put that in perspective, Park City Mountain Resort, the largest in North America, is around 7,300 skiable acres.)

Resort Guide 2023: The 10 Most Affordable Resorts in the West

The Mont Blanc Unlimited pass includes unfettered access to four European ski areas—Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Les Houches-Saint Gervais, and Évasion-Mont Blanc in France, and Courmayeur in Italy. The experience is rounded out with 50 percent off lift tickets to Switzerland’s Verbier 4Vallées. The pass also includes four beginner ski areas and rides on the Aiguille du Midi cable car, the Montenvers-Mer de Glace train, the Tramway du Mont-Blanc, and the Skyway Monte Bianco cable car.

That’s one hell of a deal, in an industry not exactly known for deals.

Standout Mont Blanc ski experiences include a day exploring the off-piste terrain of Courmayeur, followed by après in the car-free cobblestone streets of the historic village center. Families will find their stride on Les Houches-Saint Gervais, and you’ll need a full week to adequately explore the many mountains of Chamonix Mont-Blanc.

Related: The Average Skier’s Guide to Conquering Chamonix

It’s worth noting that in order to ski Évasion-Mont Blanc and Courmayeur or ride the Skyway Monte Bianco, you’ll need to buy at least a two-day Mont Blanc Unlimited pass. Similarly, the 50 percent day pass discount to Verbier 4Vallées is only valid for passes purchased for six days or longer. 

That said, access to Les Houches-Saint Gervais and the ski areas within Chamonix-Mont Blanc—Brévent and Flégère (connected by lift), Grands Montets, and Balme Tour-Vallorcine—are included in single-day Mont Blanc Unlimited passes. The same goes for the Aiguille du Midi cable car, the Montenvers-Mer de Glace train, the Tramway du Mont-Blanc, and all the beginner ski areas.

For the best pricing, the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass should be purchased online at least three days in advance.