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Chamonix in January 2020 - What weather to expect & what to do

Quiet slopes, great atmosphere and some special events

Featured in: | Ana Hernández, Chamonix Editor | Published
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For many people, January is the perfect time of the year to come skiing. The snow is usually good and the pistes are quiet. While conditions are definitely still wintry and big snowfalls are common, the temperature is beginning to creep upwards and the days are gradually getting a little longer.

Here's a look at the best events for January. For a detailed glance at everything you can do, have a look at our events calendar which is constantly updated with the latest events. 

Why come to Chamonix in January?

After the Christmas holidays are over, January is the quietest part of the main winter season in Chamonix – the only weeks with quieter pistes are the very ends of the season in early December and late April. This means you can have the slopes to yourselves and rarely have to queue for a lift. Despite the quiet slopes, almost every lift will be open and the pistes should be kept in great condition. Quiet conditions on the mountain don’t translate into quiet nights in the town. Outside the school holidays, there are fewer families and more adult visitors. This means that while it is usually easy enough to get a table at a restaurant, the bars are lively with plenty of live music and party nights to keep you entertained.

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What are the weather and snow conditions like in Chamonix in January?

In January, the days start to get longer and the sun gets higher in the sky. As a result, the slopes see more hours of sunshine than in December. However, the temperature still tends to be cold and we can get a lot of snow. At the moment, the forecast is for a week or so of sunny days as we go into January, with perhaps a bit more snow at the beginning of the second week. There is more than enough snow to open all of the pistes in the resort and conditions on the pistes are good but sometimes hard, while off-piste the snow is mostly soft but well tracked.

Chamonix Snow Report & Forecast

What's on in January 2020 in Les Deux Alpes?

Ski races
Chamonix has been hosting winter sporting events since the very beginning, starting with the first winter Olympics way back in 1924. This tradition continues and, every month, there are a number of world-class events happening here. In January, it all starts with a FIS sanctioned night slalom race at the Planards on the 2nd and 3rd. The next week sees the 6th edition of the Kandahar Junior race on January 10th-12th. It’s not the classic world cup Kandahar Downhill race but it’s nice to see the sport’s future champions battle it out on this classic course. 

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French Freeride Junior Tour
January 25th and 26th see a very different type of skiing event as the French Freeride Junior Tour comes to Chamonix. This event is technically open for any competitors aged between 14-17 but it is a two-star event, meaning preference is given to those with a bit of experience in one-star competitions. Nonetheless, even as a spectator, you’ll experience some thrills as young skiers pick the most creative, fastest or death-defying way down the mountain in Brévent.

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Australia Day
On January 26th, our antipodean friends celebrate their national day. Australia Day has become a day to celebrate for all nationalities and it’s now an institution across the Alps. You'll probably see large groups of seasonnaires BBQing on the slopes and then hitting the town afterwards. Bar’d Up in Rue des Moulins is sure to be a popular spot.

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Family fun
Families go first in the charming ski area of Les Houches. To keep everyone entertained after the lifts have closed, the town hosts some special night events. You can ski in the floodlit beginner's piste of Le Tourchet every Thursday of the season from 20:30 – hot drinks included! For those with a more adventurous soul, whizz down the pistes on a traditional paret sledge every Friday from 16:00.

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Jam Sessions at Bighorn Bistro
Bighorn Bistro is hosting a series of Jam Session nights every Sunday this month and every month until the end of the season. There will be a full band in the bar and everyone's welcome to come and play – instruments provided! So, whether you fancy yourself a Bob Dylan or a Satriani, or you just want to enjoy a craft beer with Chamonix's best nachos and some live music, head down to Cham Sud's fave American bistro.

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Après-ski at La Folie Douce
La Folie Douce, the world's most famous après-ski brand, opened the doors of its first hotel last winter in Chamonix with a bang. Their particular take on slopeside partying includes acrobatic performers, live singers, champagne spraying and delicious food and cocktails. Check our their signature Bring the Noise bash every Thursday at the bottom of the Brévent pistes.

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Live music at the Quartz Bar
The Quartz Bar, at the five-star Hameau Albert Premier Hotel, have live music on during the weekends from 19:00 to 22:00. This sophisticated wine and cocktail bar is perfect for an aperitif before a gourmet dinner at the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, or for an elegant nightcap.

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More inspiration...

This is only a small selection of the events taking place in Chamonix during the first month of the year. Take a look at our events calendar for a full rundown.

Events in Chamonix