Ski in Chamonix, France
Chamonix is separated into three main ski areas, each with a variety of ski runs levelled from green (beginner) to black (advanced). The nearest area is 5 minutes from the centre of town, and the furthest is a 15 minute drive down the valley. The ski areas are large and diverse, offering plenty of options to keep even the most experienced of riders thrilled.. and that's without mentioning the vast expanse of back country terrain - phenomenal! There are plenty of experienced and qualified guides in Chamonix, ready and waiting to take you exploring.
Summer in Chamonix
Chamonix truly is a wonderful place in the summer. The scenery turn a lush green as everything comes back to life, and as the snow melts, waterfalls appear everywhere. Exploring the mountains at this time of year is like exploring a different world. The cable cars re-open, the pistes become hiking and mountain bike trails, and as the river level rises it opens up a new adventure playground...
Despite the altitude the summer weather can be very hot, so why not cool off in the lakes and waterfalls all around the Chamonix valley. If you fancy some water sports, why not try some rafting, or water skiing and wakeboarding at Lac Passy.
History of Chamonix Mont Blanc, France
In 1741 two Englishmen, Windham and Pococke, discovered the 'Chamouny' valley and its glaciers. Their expedition was met by a small rural community of mountain farmers. Windham and Pococke explored the valley and visited the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice). The stories of their exploits, published in literary journals throughout Europe, started a craze to find out more about Chamonix. Madame Coutterand opened the first guest house in 1770. By 1783, celebrities such as Saussure, Goethe and Bourrit, had visited the valley and raised its profile. Around 1500 visitors ventured to Chamonix each summer. Two local men Paccard and Balmat, made the first ever ascent of Mt-Blanc in 1786. The first luxury hotel was built in 1816 (The Hotel de l'Union), followed by 'la Couronne', 'le Royal' and many more. In 1821, 'La Compagnie des Guides' was created following an accident on Mt-Blanc. The fact that Chamonix was an established town before a ski resort means that there is much history and culture to be found here. Restaurants and bars are filled with mountaineering memorabilia, and descendants of the original settlers still inhabit the valley.
If you ski or snowboard you will enjoy the tremendous variety of terrain that the Chamonix valley has to offer. Gentle family runs through the trees, immaculate cross country pistes, snow parks or breathtaking glacier descents such as the Grands Montets and the Vallée Blanche (guide recommended). If you're looking for something a little different, the mountain professionals also offer their services for ski touring, free-ride, ice climbing, and paragliding.
Many of the lifts and railways also give access to exceptional viewpoints and mountain restaurants. There are marked winter hiking and snowshoeing trails, a tremendous sports complex including 2 indoor heated pools, an ice rink, keep fit and spa facilities, tennis/squash courts and indoor climbing walls.