© Gwendal Le Flem - Chamonix Unlimited Festival
Enjoy longer sunnier days up the mountain. Don't forget your sunscreen!
The Easter holidays bring families back to the valley for a short end of season break in the mountains. The warmer spring days also brings a party-vibe to the town and the sun / snow conditions obviously warrant a longer lunch break on a sunny terrace to top up the tan, and après-ski seemingly starts a little earlier.
To make the most of the longer sunny days we like get out on our touring skis and split-boards, get away from the lifts, and find that last bit of untouched snow. Also, this is the perfect time to tick the world-famous Vallée Blanche off the bucket list. Whilst some locals are brave enough to bring out their bikes for a quick trip into town, in general it's still too cold and icy to risk any road biking adventures.
Read on for a look at what we like to do in resort throughout April.
What are the weather & snow conditions like in Chamonix in April?
As winter draws to a close for another year, the snow on the lower slopes is usually much heavier by midday. The temperatures rarely dip below freezing, usually falling between a low of 1ºC and a high of 10ºC, plus there's still the chance of snow as April averages four days snowfall, and therefore a powder day isn't out of the question.
What's on in Chamonix in April?
Braderie de Chamonix
The end of season sale with a difference when all the shops in town empty their store rooms onto the street, market-style, and slash prices in an attempt to get rid of the remainder of their stock. You’ll find lots of bargain-bins full of socks, gloves, hats and other such accessories, but you’ll also be able to get great deals on everything from outerwear to skis. On top of bagging a bargain, the atmosphere in town is fun and lively as the streets are packed with people and market stalls.
Chamonix Unlimited Festival
The Unlimited Festival has quickly established itself not only as one of the Alps’ best, but as one of the premier dance and electronic music festivals in Europe. Usually taking place over the first weekend of the month, previous years have featured big names, from Laurent Garnier to Belgian brothers 2manydjs and house mogul Roger Sanchez. The venues are similarly epic with parties at the top of the Aiguille du Midi or at Planpraz in front of the Mont Blanc range, as well as in après-ski hubs like La Folie Douce and Les Caves.
Ice hockey match - Date to be confirmed
An annual tradition in the valley, the Sweden vs France ice hockey match is a friendly competition involving two of the largest local communities in Chamonix – the indigenous Frenchies and the Scandi ski bums – who play against each other for a good cause. The atmosphere is amazing as hundreds of Chamoniards flock to the ice rink to support their team, and the party continues well after the match.
School holiday Skiing
Easter is a popular time for families so the slopes are noticeably busier as soon as the holidays begin. Fortunately, the Chamonix valley ski area is so vast, that even in the height of season you can find some quiet slopes and minimal lift queues. Here's our insider's top tips for the school holidays:
- It will be almost impossible to book private lessons over this period, group lessons are the best option. Make sure to get your ski and snowboard lessons booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.
- If you're not in ski school, be an early bird. Arrive at the lifts before they open so that you get up and away before the ski school classes set out around 09:15.
- Ski over lunchtime. The slopes are calmer between 12:00 and 14:00 while the French take a leisurely lunch break.
- Pre-book your lunch and avoid the queues. Some restaurants offer a Click & Collect service. It's the best way to avoid the queues and make the most of your time in the mountains.
- Seek out the peripheral areas. Try to avoid the busy main ski areas closer to Chamonix town, mainly Brévent and Flégère, and head to the edges of the valley as Le Balme / Vallorcine and Les Houches may be a bit quieter. If you have a Mont-Blanc Natural Unlimited pass, remember that you can also head across the border into Italy and ski in Courmayeur.
- Get off-piste. Competent off-piste skiers can book a local mountain guide and explore the vast off-piste areas in the valley or even go touring to find complete solitude in the backcountry.
Bars & Clubs
There is still time to enjoy Chamonix's legendary après-ski parties before the season comes to an end. Since it's opening La Folie Douce has taken the après-ski hotspot crown, but for a more relaxed affair you can always try one of the Cham-Sud bars for some happy hour discounts - and if you're here late enough in the season there are some wild closing parties.