© Ali Shayler
The Domaine de Balme area is situated at the top end of the Chamonix Valley; accessed by either of two gondolas, one based in the village of Le Tour and another from Vallorcine on the French/Swiss border.
The Charamillon Ski Area on the Le Tour side of the mountain consists of rich alpine meadows in the summer and wide and varied ski slopes in the winter, great for beginner/intermediates with some steeper slopes and wonderful off-piste in the tree-lined Tete de Balme area on the Vallorcine side. Le Tour has a higher proportion of drag lifts than the other areas in the valley, but these can mostly be avoided by taking the Autannes or the Tete de Balme chairlifts.
As well as the two gondolas, the Autannes chairlift also runs in the summer, taking hikers and mountain bikers up above 2,000m, just a short distance from the border with Switzerland. In winter it can sometimes be quicker to access this area by driving or taking the train to Vallorcine, as the majority of skiers head to Le Tour.
Who should go
|Although access at Nid d'Aigle is difficult
|From 12 months
|Must be kept on lead
|Speed-riding allowed in winter
|Sports & Activities
|Skiing, hiking, mountain-biking, trail-running
Le Tour & La Vormaine can be reached best by car, as the train only takes you as far as Montroc. It takes around 25 minutes to drive here from the centre of Chamonix, or alternatively you can take one of the local buses which will also take around 30 minutes from the town centre. You can travel to Vallorcine separately on the train and catch the gondola up from there to the main ski area which is a good idea if the car park at Le Tour is full.
When to come
Take a look at all the winter lift opening dates and timetables.
How to get passes
You can buy lift passes at the ticket office once you arrive, or buy a pass in advance on line. See all the Winter Lift Prices.