How to Ski Chamonix, Mont Blanc – France

Only managing a cheeky ski-weekend away this year instead of a week-long break, we picked Chamonix as our destination as it’s very easy to get to.  It’s only an hour from Geneva by car so it’s perfect for a weekend trip unlike most of the other resorts which can be 2-2½ hours drive.  This is my How to ski Chamonix guide which I wish I’d known before going as it was a steep learning curve.  With so many different ski areas and different types of passes we finally worked it all out!

How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores
1st day – ready to ski!!

Chamonix in France is a resort with a huge ski area although it is quite spread out.  There are 5 main regions but also plenty of others within easy driving distance of the town so there’s plenty to choose from each morning.  You can get a free bus to all of them but we chose to drive our hire car every morning to a different ski area.  There’s only one ski area (Brévent-Flégère) that you can ski into and out of Chamonix Town from but even that is quite a walk from the main area so the bus or a car is still advisable.  You don’t need to worry about parking – there are huge car parks at the bottom of each slope and the prices are not expensive (about €1 an hour if they’re not free!)  We chose to ski Brévent-Flégère, Balme-Vallorcine and Les Grands Montets on our three-day trip.

Lift Passes

If you’re skiing for a week, I’d recommend getting a six-day pass as you end up getting one free day’s skiing.  We bought individual passes each day as we were only there for 3 days and weren’t sure where we’d want to ski everyday.

All the 3 regions below (excluding Les Houches) are covered on the Ski Chamonix – Le Pass (€50.50 a day or €252.50 for 6) but to go up to the top of Grands Montets you need to purchase an add-on.

There is also a cheaper pass (€43 for 1 day or €215 for 6 days) which covers just Les Houches and would be a great option for beginners.

The more expensive Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass gives you access to plenty more areas (10 in total – in 3 different countries).  All of the Chamonix regions, plus Megève, and Evasion Mont Blanc – the top of Grands Montets and the Agulille du Midi.  You can also ski Courmayeur in Italy and Verbier in Switzerland.  If you purchase this then you also get to use the Cham Val’ – a leisure centre with a pool, ice rink etc, 1 descent on the Luge and access to the Funivie Cable Car to take you up to the top of Mont Blanc where you can see 3 different countries (Italy, Switzerland and France).  This costs €62 for a day or €299 for 6 days.

You can see all available lift passes here.

Ski Chamonix – Le Pass

Brévent-Flégère

This ski area is very close to Chamonix town centre.  We skied this area on the first day and it was probably my favourite ski area of the lot.  Two separate mountains with a Cable Car to link them so you could ski two different peaks and valleys fairly easily.  The runs were a complete mixture and it would be suitable for all abilities with plenty of greens, blues, reds and blacks to suit everyone.  The only problem being that the run down into Chamonix is a fairly taxing black so if you are not an expert skier it is best to take the Cable Car down at the end of the day. How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores

You can walk from town to the Plan Praz cable car to take you up the mountain (but it’s quite a trek up a steep hill – we drove) and ski back into town at the end of the day.  For lunch – I’d highly recommend the La Cabane des Praz restaurant – just make sure you don’t spend all afternoon there, it’s easily done!).  An elegant fine-dining restaurant beautifully decorated like a ski lodge with a fantastic wine list.  It’s ski-able from Les Praz, again though, with a black run back into town but you can also take a Cable Car instead.  You can read all about my fantastic lunch there in this blog post.

How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores
La Cabane des Praz

The mountains get the sunshine most of the day and you get to ski facing the incredible Mont Blanc.

Balme-Vallorcine

We skied this area on our second day and found this area great for off-piste, plenty of skiing to be done there.  If powder and off -piste are your thing, this is definitely the area for you. How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores The actual pisted runs varied from fairly flat (not great for boarders) to fairly steep (not great for beginners) with little in-between.  We also felt like we skied it all in a day and there would not have been enough to do there to warrant spending any more time in this area.  There is also an amazing view down into the Chamonix Valley which is absolutely stunning.

How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores
View down to Chamonix in the Valley

For lunch we skied down into the tiny picturesque village of Vallorcine to an amazing restaurant called Le Café Comptoir.  I can only suggest booking though as we weren’t able to get into the fabulous restaurant.  We still had a lovely lunch on the terrace but it was from a very small set menu.  The menu inside is exquisite and definitely worth booking for.   Again, there is a steep black run back to the car park but it is also accessible by taking the Cable Car back down.

Grands Montets

The toughest of the ski areas, probably not recommended for beginners.  The runs are mainly red and black with not much for beginners at all.  It’s steep and enables you to ski the greatest height losses in the world.  If you go to the top and ski the Argentière glacier you can even ski late in the year until May as it’s so high.  How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & ExploresThere’s a lovely restaurant that we went to on the slopes called La Table du Plan Joran.  It has a buffet style restaurant with the usual pizza, pasta, salads etc and also a fine-dining area.  We went for the fine-dining set meal and were impressed at the standard of the food.  Not what you’d normally get up the mountain.  We had slow roasted beef cheeks, soufflés and an amazing truffle soup.

How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores
Posh souffles up the mountain!

The main resort and most of the runs are available on the Ski Chamonix – Le Pass.  You need to pay extra to use the Grands Montets ski lift which takes you up to the top and pre-booking your ride is advised.  It fast tracks you through the main queue so you don’t have to wait in line.  The lift takes you up so you can ski the Argentière glacier and plenty of challenging black runs.  The run back down to the bottom is a wide red which is doable for most abilities, or you can just take the Cable Car back down again to the bottom.

Les Houches Pass

Les Houches

We didn’t actually ski this area but it’s supposed to be the most picturesque of all of them.  Lots of easier runs (blues and greens) through the trees and a great choice for beginners.  The ski pass to this are is cheaper which reflects the level of ski runs I think – not so much here for he more advanced skiers.  Top Tip: buy your lift pass there rather than in town ahead of time as it works out cheaper

Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass

The Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass covers all the areas that the Ski Chamonix- Le Pass covers as well as Les Houches and plenty more regions…

Aguille du Midi – This is reached by a Cable Car from Chamonix Centre.  From its height of 3,777m, its laid-out terraces offer a 360° view of all the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. A lift brings you to the summit terrace at 3,842m, where you will have a clear view of Mont Blanc.  If you’re brave enough you can try Le Pas Dans Le Vide – A Step Into The Void onto a 2.50 m glass cage out over a 1000 m precipice.  with nothing between you and the drop apart from a layer of glass, it’s not one for those who are afraid of heights!How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores
The Pipe is a long steel gallery of 32m to allowing you to walk right around the whole of the summit. How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores
There is also the Panoramic Mont Blanc Gondola which takes you over the Glacier du Géant to the Pointe Helbronner in Italy. It is open from June to September.  You can even ski all the way down into town but the run is unpisted and you must have a guide with you.

The Mont Blanc unlimited Pass also allows you to Ski Mont Blanc and you can also ski Verbier in Switzerland and Courmayeur in Italy!

You will also have use of the leisure centre in Chamonix where you can ice-skate and swim.

Chamonix Town

Chamonix town itself is a typical picturesque Alpine Town.  Most of the centre is pedestrianised during the day and there are plenty of shops and cafés if you want some time off from skiing.  There are bars and restaurants aplenty, everything from the standard Irish Bars to some very chic nightclubs with serious dress codes!  We went to a couple of bars for après ski which were buzzing – one even had a live band and people dancing on the tables.  Elevation 1904 and Chambre Neuf are the ones to look out for!How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores

Our hotel was half board so we only ate out one night but I can definitely recommend Le Chaudron for all your Savoyard Specialities!  Fondue, Raclette, Tartiflette and Chateaubriand.  Perfect after a hard day’s skiing.

I hope this gives you a bit of an insight into how to ski Chamonix.  As i said, for us, it was a steep learning curve so hopefully this post has given you some inside information to make your holiday planning that much easier!  Bonne voyage and good skiing!How to ski Chamonix by Emma Eats & Explores

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112 Comments Add yours

  1. Enlightenment for Schmucks says:

    You take amazing pictures! I have to admit I’ve only ever cross-country skied, and I’m a big foodie, so I spent more time reading about the restaurants than the slopes – very informative.:-) This is a great travel piece for anyone thinking of taking a trip to the region.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Thanks – I have to say the food for me is usually the highlight too. Lunch is the best part of the day

  2. kage2015 says:

    I don’t ski anymore. Now I sit with a hot chocolate and take in the beautiful views and watch everyone else out there enjoying the snow.

  3. Kaycee says:

    Oh, I haven’t been skiing in forever and I want to so badly! I living in Florida, so the only skiing we do is jet skiing. 🙂 Love your pictures and I would so love to visit France one day.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      There’s some pretty good skiing in your country too – so I’ve heard, never skied America myself though!

  4. sam says:

    Awesome layout and incredible pictures! It almost felt like I was there 🙂 Keep up the good work!

  5. What a fantastic post. I used to Ski loads as a teenager and miss it loads!

  6. I’ve never gone skiing, but trying new things is my watchword for 2017, so I’m definitely going to look into this!

  7. wanderlustayne says:

    What a very informative post! I haven’t been skiing or snowboarding for a while but this definitely made me feel like it’s over due! Thanks for sharing x

  8. Bilyana | OwlOverTheWorld says:

    I haven’t try skiing, I’m more snowboarding type of person (although I haven’t try snowboarding either 😀 ), however, Chamonix is the perfect place to do so for sure.

  9. LOVE THIS! I am just home from Courcheval and LOVED that too! great post, stunning photos!

  10. This looks like a DREAM! I’ve always wanted to come here! I’ve been to Zermatt and that was incredible. As an avid mountain explorer I’d love to climb some peaks and snowboard here!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Haha I’ve never been to Zermatt but I’d love to visit there!

  11. Zen Jen says:

    You took some great photos. Thanks for such an awesome review.

  12. Fuss Free Helen says:

    A great guide. I was over the other side of Mont Blanc in Courmayeur last year. If you go back it is a must to get the Sky Way up to the top.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I’d love to go back – three days wasn’t enough – we wanted to get a day’s skiing in Courmayeur and Verbier too so we could say we’d done all three countries! And we missed out on the sky Way so I’m sure we’ll plan another trip soon!

  13. Love the photos, it brings me right back to the snow filled mountains! What a wonderful weekend.

  14. I have never been on a ski holiday before, sounds like there’s a lot involved to ensure you have all the right equipment and passes x

  15. Lisa prince says:

    wow this is amazing i wish i could go here what an experience

  16. danasiafantastic says:

    I’d love to go skiing one day in Chamonix. The Le Pas Dans le Vede gave me chills just looking at the picture!

  17. I’ve skied in quite a few places in France such as Val Thorens, Alpe d’huez and always have an amazing time. I haven’t had a chance to visit Chamonix though but it looks and sounds fantastic and love some of those views! Hopefully in the near future! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I love the Three Valleys too – Val Thorens has some great runs!

  18. We’re going to Chamonix at the end of the month for a weekend so this was great to read, we’ve been before but that was about 10 years ago. Live your restaurant recommendations, will see if we can book some before we go!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      You’ll have such a good time. And the restaurants are well worth a visit!

  19. nannyjenni says:

    Your photos look stunning! I would love to try skiing one day but doubt I would be any good

  20. Louiela says:

    Fun-filled winter experiences in France…tho I never tried skiing yet 🙁 who knows, it might be in France as well 🙂

  21. How magical! It looks like such an amazing place to ski and I love your photos!

  22. Skiing always looks so glam! I would love to learn to ski. I went to the Dolomites a couple of months ago and it peaked my interest

  23. It gives me travel envy! I’d love to go skiing x

  24. Jessica says:

    Oh my goodness! What a beautiful ski area. I think that glass cage would have been really fun!

  25. tami298 says:

    Ooh, it looks so pretty and seems like you had fun! I’d love to travel there some time. 🙂 Great post!

  26. It looks like a stunning place to go skiing! Thanks for the detailed guide.

  27. Oh my! This looks like such an amazing place. Gorgeous photos!

  28. AManjul says:

    Detailed descriptive post even includes tempting food.

  29. Looks like a fabulous trip. I don’t ski but would love to just enjoy the outdoors and the beauty.

  30. How beautiful! Skiing is surely on my bucket list. We live in central California, so not a lot of places to go skiing close by 🙂

  31. alisonrost says:

    Pretty you with your super cool glasses and fluffy hood. I’m not much of a skier .. but I certainly be up for reading a good book and taking in the views!

  32. momknowsbest15 says:

    That glass cage thing looks so freaky. It has an incredible view though.

  33. Chelsey says:

    Would never of thought I’d say this, but you’ve inspired to try learn how to ski. Looks so therapeutic and pictures look amazing !!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      When you’re flying down the mountain it its such an amazing feeling – so freeing!

  34. fussfreejen says:

    I have never ever skiied. But having read my friend’s blog about her skiiing holiday last year and now this, it makes me think that maybe it is something I need to seriously consider. Just looks wonderful and so exciting. Wonderful scenery.

  35. bettybrico says:

    Wow those photos are gorgeous. Right now I’m just struggling to keep the rent paid; going on a vacation like this is beyond the scope of my dreams, but wow, wouldn’t it be amazing?! Sounds like a wonderful time.

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Ski Holidays are definitely not cheap there’s a reason SKI is an acronym for Spend the Kids Inheritance!

      1. bettybrico says:

        Haha never heard that one, but it’s great!

  36. Cathy Glynn says:

    This place looks so beautiful. My son went with school and had a fabulous time. Such a great post too x

  37. vanessa says:

    These photos are amazing. I MUST visit!

  38. The place is awesome! I would love to ski there but I would rather stay indoors and enjoy the stunning scenery.

  39. hann182014 says:

    I’ve never been skiing, it is something i would love to try x

  40. Scott says:

    I went skiing in the Black Forest once, but never in France. Looks like I missed a great place!

  41. Your photos are amazing & looks like you had a lot of fun. I’ve only been there once, in the middle of the summer so not much snow … and it was a nice, quaint town to visit.

  42. I have never gone skiing before. I would love to one day.

  43. I lived in Canada for a few years and during that time, I wish I had known how to do snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Your experience looked like such a great time and I can tell I am definitely missing out on some snow fun!

  44. kemomilo says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I have never been skiing before but it is on my bucket list!

  45. Nancy L. says:

    Wow! I have got to visit Chamonix. I am not the best at skiing, but the view is absolutely stunning and I’m pretty good at putting away souffles! It looks like a dream vacation to me! 🙂

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      The food is definitely one of my favourite parts of the trip too!

  46. Jess says:

    You make those ski goggles look really cool, ya know! Sounds like Les Houches would be the right place for me, I’m definitely not a strong skier.
    I don’t know if I’d have the balls to walk along that glass either!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Ha thanks! Birthday present from my brother and I love them! Chamonix is great as there’s runs for skiers of all abilities!

  47. Kari Ann says:

    Wow what a beautiful view! I have never went skiing sadly, It is on my bucket list 🙂

  48. Lottie Guyon says:

    I’ve never been skiing before and I’m not sure I’d enjoy it much, but it looks absolutely gorgeous and some great info!

  49. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve always wanted to go on a snow trip. I’m just slightly terrified as I’ve never been skiing before and I’d probably be horrific! Kat x

  50. Amber says:

    Ooo I’m impressed with this place. I’ve never gone skiing before. One day, maybe. But I just hate to be cold.

  51. We are not skiers, but this little village, the restaurants and the views gives me a little inspiration to at least try it one day! It looks to be a whole new world of the outdoors that we have not tapped into yet. Perhaps in a few years when the kids are bit older!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Even if you don’t ski, the mountain towns are absolutely adorable. Everything looks so pretty covered in snow!

  52. All I have to say is WOW. Okay, I definitely have a new bucket list item… and I feel like it’s going to be moving to the front of the line! The photos are unreal. Thanks for sharing this info with us! It’s always nice to have an individual perspective rather than just travel sites or brochures! xx Julia

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Skiing is so much fun – you should definitely give it a go. And the views are spectacular – it’s so worth it!

  53. I love how beautiful everything look but skiing is definitely not for me, I am not a fan of snow x

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I love the snow, but not the cold. Good thing about skiing is that you’re all bundled up so you’re nice and cosy!

  54. Steve KingUk says:

    I havent been skiing in absolute years and am not too sure I could even remember how to do it now!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It’s like riding a bike – you cant forget!

  55. Jen says:

    Wow. Sounds like a very exciting adventure. Surely got a spot in my bucket list.

  56. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to go skiing. I love all of your photos, I see I’ve been missing out on a lot of fun by not trying this fun sport.

  57. stephanie says:

    I’ve never been skiing before but I would love to go on a ski holiday this year x

  58. cheskaaanels says:

    So much you need to know when skiing but I would LOVE to go on a ski holiday!!

  59. Jo Wiggins says:

    I used to go skiing every year but having been for about 8 years now. Never managed to get to Chamonix though x

  60. Clair says:

    Ah this brought back memories. I visited here on a school trip back in 2009!

  61. I’ve never been skiing before, but I would love to go! I’d probably injure myself though! xo

  62. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go skiing and this place looks incredible, your tips in this post were so helpful!

  63. We’ve never been skiing before but would love to! 🙂

  64. I’d love to try to ski one day, although I don’t think I would be very good!

  65. This place looks amazing, I’ve never really be interested in skiing but I’ve recently warmed to the idea. I don’t think I would be any good but it does sound like a lot of fun! xo

  66. I am not that coordinated to ski but it looks like a bunch of fun! I would go to enjoy the beauty of nature though!

  67. This kind of reminds me of Mont Tremblant in Canada, I would ride the lift up and down for views cause I don’t ski lol

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      It’s worth it just for the views though!!

  68. Ryan Waters says:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. This is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable.

  69. Tiffany Bobbsemple says:

    I’ve never been Skiing before, but you definitely make me want to go.

  70. Lubka Henry says:

    I like going for a short break someone in the mountain, but I don’t think ski is my thing ;))

  71. Alfonzowords says:

    Se manfique! what an awesome photo journal and descriptions. Makes me wanna get on a plane right now lol. Always wanted to ski

  72. Elizabeth O. says:

    It’s been a long time since I last went skiing. This is awesome! I love how beautiful the view is, it’s breathtaking as always!

  73. What a beautiful place to visit. I’ve never been snow skiing but I would love to try it.

  74. fashionmommy says:

    The mountains always look so stunning, but skiing is something that scares the life out of me!

  75. Leticia says:

    Ooh I’ve never been skiing, looks like you had so much fun! Not to mention those stunning views, your photos capture it so well, thank you for sharing ☺️

  76. Candice Nikeia says:

    Wha an adventurous and thrilling trip! I love all the beautiful mountains and snow!

  77. This is great information! I always wanted to visit there and try skiing, I’ll have it on my mind. Thank you so much for sharing.

  78. Chamonix looks amazing. We’d love to learn to ski and this sounds like a fantastic resort for it!

  79. Stacey says:

    Hobnobbing with the rich and famous, huh. Never been to Chamonix but its on my bucket list. Its quite expensive but its truly an experience. That glass floor looked awesome!!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I thought it would be glitzy and glamorous but it wasn’t like that. I thought there would be ladies in high heels and fur coats with handbag dogs everywhere, but it was just like any other ski resort!

  80. Oh wow this place looks absolutely fabulous! I haven’t been proper skiing before but my friend is an instructor and spends half the year living in switzerland and the other half in New Zeland. Its alright for some eh! xxx

  81. Krysten says:

    I have not been skiing in about 5 years and even then, it was in Tahoe, not France, so I’ve never experienced anything quite so picturesque. I would love to come to this area one day, for the beautiful views if nothing else.

  82. I’ve never been skiing but I want to try snowboarding. Hopefully your guide and tips can work anywhere that we try it for the first time.

  83. Dannii says:

    Lots of great tips here. I haven’t been skiing for about 15 years, but I can’t wait to go back.

  84. What a great post! Anyone who skies have certainly heard of this place. Unfortunately I have never been able to visit. I wish I was able to ski little bit more but now with little kids and a husband who doesn´t ski, it´s a little bit more limited.

  85. Kira C says:

    I have never really learnt how to ski or snowboard but it’s always been something I’d love to try out so I can visit places like this! So beautiful!

  86. deesreview says:

    I have never been skiing b4, but I would so love the opportunity to see and ski those beautiful slopes. Super amazing post from start to finish!!!!!

  87. Skiing in just a beautiful place, surrounded by such majestic magnificent snow capped peaks, must be surely an exhilarating experience. Chamonix Valley is absolutely spectacular. Oh so beautiful!

  88. great info, will visit once sure

  89. Kitty Kaos says:

    I have never been skiing I fear i would break my leg but the views and the whole idea of log cabins and hot chocolate sounds amazing and right up my street x

  90. looks like you had a good time there and I would love to visit someday, Glad that you share this

  91. neha says:

    This is like a complete skiing guide. I don’t know skiing but I am very much interested to learn and try. Mont Blanc looks like the perfect spot to try some skiing

  92. FlightsServices says:

    Such a lovely Post! Thank you for your sharing!

  93. I have never tried skying before but would sure love to give it a try out

  94. I’ve never been skiing before, but it’s one of the things on my bucket list. Not only do I want to experience skiing, but I want to take in all of the beautiful views in person.

I'd be thrilled to hear any comments you have. I read each and every one and it means so much to me!