Considered by many as the best freeride resort in the world, Chamonix valley is divided between 5 ski resorts: Grands Montets, Les Houches, La Flegere, Le Tour/Balme and Le Brevent.
These 5 villages known everywhere in the world as Chamonix France ski resorts are among the best-rated places where you can spend your winter holiday.
Here, in this area, you will find all types of slopes you could ever possibly think of: green ones for beginners, blue or red ones for intermediates and many black pistes for experts.
For those of you looking for the ultimate experience we recommend you to try the off-piste terrain which is among the coolest places to practice freeride from the whole world. The most famous area is known as Vallée Blanche with a total length of 20 kilometres and a vertical descent of 2.700 metres.
These places are also extremely beautiful during summertime as there are many hiking trails (ask for trails maps at info centre). Another good news is that Aiguille du midi cable car is working all year so you can admire the world from above in summer, too.
In this article I will tell you everything you need to know about each of the 5 villages from the area:
- General information about each village
- Snow quality
- Where to sleep
1. Les Grands Montets
Les Grand Montets is the largest and most popular ski resort from Chamonix Valley with more than 1.800 ha.
The area is located above the village of Argentiere, a beautiful settlement located 8 kilometres up to Chamonix Mont Blanc.
1.1 General information
The Grand Montets skiable area is split into 3 major zones:
- the lower mountain area between Argentiere Village (1.325 m) and the main station of Lognan (1.975 m) ideal for beginners
- a mixed alpine terrain between Lognan (1.975 m) and Bochard (2.765 m) for intermediates and experts
- steeper alpine terrain, from Bochard (2.765 m) up to the summit (3.275 m) mostly for experts.
The skiable area is serviced by 2 gondolas, 2 cable cars and 4 chairs, all being accessible if you buy the Chamonix Le Pass and Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass.
1.2 Snow Quality
One of the most beautiful places to ski in France Chamonix, Les Grand Montets has most of the piste north-facing orientated and located at high altitude.
Because of these reasons the quality of the snow is excellent throughout the entire season.
Because of the pistes orientation, mornings are pretty chilly with no sun, so make sure to put on your enough thermal layers.
1.3 Where to sleep
Chalets Grands Montets is our top choice for this amazing village, a wonderful chalet with a spa bath and a sauna.
All the chalets have their private patio overlooking the mountains, private bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen.
2. Les Houches
Les Houches is one of the best places to go for beginners and intermediates as the pistes are ideal for these categories of skiers and the views of Mont Blanc are breathtaking.
The slopes are located at altitudes between 900 m and 1900 metres and most of them are sheltered by the trees.
2.1 General information
The resort has two main cable cars, one from the centre of the town up to Bellevue and the other one from Les Chavants to Le Prarion.
Both cable cars are accessible with Chamonix Ski passes and the prices for a day ticket starts from 46 euros for an adult. Not everybody using cable cars are interested in piste skiing; some of them are looking for off-piste experiences.
Most of the pistes are for beginners and intermediates and if you are lucky and there is plenty of snow you can ski on St Gervais side, too.
This is a good place where to set your base if you are interested in exploring Mer de Glace, the largest glacier from the area.
2.2 Snow quality
Being located at so low altitude, the quality of the snow is not as good as the one from the top of the mountains.
That is why during some times of the season artificial snow coverage is assured by more than 120 snow maker machines.
2.3 Where to sleep
It is located 5-minutes drive from the ski slopes offering beautiful rooms with a private balcony overlooking the mountains.
The hotel features a beautiful spa area with a sauna, a hammam and a fitness room.
Guests can relax near the fireplace from the lounge area and can eat a tasty meal at the hotel’s restaurant.
3. La Flegere
La Flegere has all types of pistes you could possibly think of: for beginners, for intermediates, for advanced and even for freeride.
3.1 General information
One of the most diverse places to ski in France Chamonix, La Flegere offers a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding mountains with slopes located at altitudes between 1.000 m to 2.525 m.
There are 56 kilometres of slopes serviced by 17 lifts; in total there are 14 pistes split between beginners, intermediate and advanced.
The beginners’ slopes are mainly located at the bottom of the mountain and can be accessed on foot from Chamonix centre.
3.2 Snow quality
This mountain has a southern position so it is often bathed in the sunlight till the end of the day.
So don’t get dressed with multiple layers of warm clothes as the sun is heating up the area the whole day!
3.3. Where to sleep
Hotel Les Lanchers is our recommendation if you are looking for a good hotel close to Flegere ski lift.
Most of the rooms have a private balcony overlooking the mountains from where you can admire the breathtaking view of the area.
4. Le Tour/Balme
One of the best Chamonix France ski resorts for beginners and intermediates is the Domaine du Balme.
4.1 General information
The main ski area consists of 19 slopes out of which 11 are blue, 7 are red and just one is black.
A brand new lift goes up from the valley to the Vormaine area, the place where you can find most of the beginners’ pistes.
The pistes are located in the forest so you are protected from bad weather while you practice your favourite winter sport.
You can access Vallorcine and Balme ski area from both Le Tour village or Vallorcine village.
4.2 Snow quality
Most of the pistes are in the sun the entire day so dress properly and get up early before the sun starts melting the snow. Look at local television for daily snow reports to find out how the snow quality on that day.
4.3 Where to sleep
Residence and Spa Vallorcine Mont-Blanc, a beautiful 5 stars hotel is our choice for this part of the mountain.
The hotel is located 200 metres from Vallorcine cable cars and offers apartments with a private balcony from where you can admire the beautiful mountains near you.
You have access to the indoor pool with mountain views and the 2 saunas once you book your nights at the hotel.
5. Le Brevent
Le Brevent ski area is one of the most beautiful places where to ski in France Chamonix and is a resort accessible by bus or by car ( near the ski lift there is a parking place for about 250 cars).
5.1 General information
Having just one green slope, the area is not recommended for beginners. This amazing place is more suitable for intermediates and experts.
For experts instead is heaven on earth as they have a super long and challenging slope from Le Brevent to Planpraz “Charles Bozon”.
Since 2009 when a new gondola was open, lines to the ski lifts disappear so skiing in this part of the mountain is a great experience.
By the end of February, here on these steep slopes is held the annual Red Bull Extreme Skiing competition where skiers from all over the world come to show their skills.
5.2 Snow quality
Although most of the pistes are located in the sun, because of the altitude the quality of snow is very good almost the entire season.
5.3 Where to sleep
This is a residential hotel offering suites with balconies overlooking the mountains, an indoor pool and a fully equipped kitchenette.
The aparthotel is located 3 minutes away from the town centre and 1 kilometre away from Brevent ski lifts.
All these 5 places where to ski in France Chamonix are beautiful and have their own charm and picturesque atmosphere.
Choose the one suits you most and don’t forget to share with us your impressions after you come back from your holiday escape.