Skip to main content

Ski area in Chamonix

Discover the best of the Chamonix ski area


Chamonix's ski area is unlike many other ski resorts. It's actually made up of five different ski areas stretched out along the valley. Although the town of Chamonix itself is low (1,080m), the highest lift here is over 3,800m - giving you access to some of the world's best off-piste and some awesome vertical.

The main things to know about the Chamonix ski area are:

Easily accessible

Chamonix is only one hour from Geneva international airport, making it one of the most convenient resorts to get to by airport transfer or car.

Great for all levels and abilities

Despite its extreme reputation, Chamonix has terrain for everyone from beginners, to families to off-piste powder hounds.

Access to the Vallée Blanche

An item on many skiers' bucket list, this epic off-piste itinerary is included in the larger of Chamonix's lift passes.

Huge range of accommodation to choose from

From studios and apartments, to high-end luxury chalets with hot tubs - search accommodation in Chamonix.

Resort statistics

Situated in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region of southeast France, Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France.

Tourists first started coming here in the mid-1700s. And in 1924, Chamonix was chosen as host of the first Winter Olympic Games.

Popular both in winter and summer, Chamonix's sky line is dominated by Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi (3,842m). The cable car up the Midi was built in 1955, making it the highest cable car in the world at the time. It's still the highest vertical cable car ascent in the world to this day.

Chamonix resort statistics
Skiable area 61km2
Resort height 1,050m
Aspect All aspects
Highest lift 3,842m (for off piste access)
2,765m (in resort)
Vertical drop 2,800m
Pistes 150+km
Number of green, blue, red, black pistes 6 / 30 / 31 / 10
Longest piste 22km (Vallee Blanche off piste)
Number of lifts 65


Chamonix's ski areas at a glance

  • Chamonix town - two beginner areas with magic carpets, drag lifts, green and blue runs making them the perfect place to start
  • Brévent and Flégère - sunny south-facing side of the valley and the closest to the town centre
  • Les Grand Montets - freeride centre of the valley and home to the largest pisted area
  • Le Tour - cruisey blues and big backcountry, as well as nursery slopes for beginners
  • Les Houches - full of tree-lined slopes with amazing views of Mont Blanc, ideal for beginners and the whole family

Download a PDF of the Chamonix piste map

Free travel between Chamonix's ski areas

You can use the buses or the train to travel between Chamonix's different ski areas. The cost is included in your Chamonix ski pass

A ski lift with the word chamonix on the side

Brévent and Flégère ski area

Brévent and Flégère are on the sunny, south-facing side of the Chamonix Valley with cracking views of Mont Blanc. 

Linked by a cable car, these are the closest ski areas to Chamonix town centre, and there are pistes (and off-piste) to suit skiers and snowboarders of all levels. 

There's quite a lot of steep stuff, but some long flowing groomed runs too. On powder days, the options are endless. 

Find accommodation near Brévent and Flègere

Almost time to put away the skis in Chamonix

Les Grands Montets ski area

Sitting above the village of Argentière and known as the freeride centre of the Chamonix valley, Grands Montets is one of the largest pisted skiing zones in the area.

It tends to be very cold here in the mornings due to its shady northwesterly aspect, and this means it's prone to be icy first thing. On the plus side, the snow here tends to stick around longer than anywhere else in the valley, which makes Grand Montets a great resort for late season skiing.

There are better places in Chamonix if you're a beginner, but for intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders, Grands Montets rocks.

Find accommodation near Grands Montets

About Chamonix ski pass prices

Le Tour and Vallorcine ski area

Also known as the Domaine de Balme, these two villages have a nice mix of wide cruisey blues and easy reds, making this one of the best places in Chamonix for intermediates. 

It's also a good place for beginners. The nursery slopes at La Vormaine (at the foot of Le Tour) are the largest in the Chamonix area, so this is a good spot to learn your turns and perfect your skills.

Domaine de Balme also has some fun off-piste and an awesome snowpark.

Find accommodation near Le Tour

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

Les Houches ski area

About 6km down the valley from Chamonix town is Les Houches. This area is full of gentle tree-lined slopes, making it a great resort for beginners, intermediate skiers and families.

You'll still find plenty of terrain to keep you challenged if you're a competent skier or snowboarder. This is home to the Kandahar World Cup downhill run after all.

Les Houches really comes into its own in poor weather. The trees here help to give you some definition when it's otherwise hard to make out the edge of the piste.  

There's also a great snowpark here for those who like to jib, olly, nolly, and all that jazz.

Find accommodation in Les Houches

Off-piste skiing in Chamonix

Vallée Blanche ski area

This famous 20km off-piste route is on the bucket list for many skiers and snowboarders.

On a sunny morning after it's dumped it down, you'll find the queue for the Midi lift snaking round Cham Sud. It's an early start, but worth it for a day you'll never forget.

Skiing in Courmayeur

Courmayeur ski area

Although it's not strictly part of the Chamonix valley, Cormayeur is included on the Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass. It's easily accessible from Chamonix through the Mont Blanc Tunnel (journey time 30 minutes).

Read more in our detailed guide to the Courmayeur Ski Area.

Evasion Mont Blanc ski area

Evasion Mont Blanc ski area

The Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass might only be the size of a credit card, but with the addition of the Evasion ski area it gives you access to a huge and varied ski area that includes: 

  • Megève
  • Saint Gervais
  • Les Contamines
  • Combloux
  • St Nicolas
  • La Giettaz

Read more about the Evasion Mont Blanc Ski Area 

beginner ski area in chamonix

Beginner areas in Chamonix

Chamonix has a reputation for being an extreme resort, but that's not entirely accurate. Sure - you'll find some of the world's finest lift-accessed off-piste here. But there's also plenty of terrain in Chamonix suitable for all types of skiers and snowboarders - including beginners. 

Whether you're a total beginner, or looking to find your ski legs after a few years away from the slopes, you'll want to check out: 

  • La Vormaine (1,480m) in Le Tour
  • Les Chosalets (1,230m) in Argentière
  • La Poya (1,120m) in Vallorcine / Le Buet
  • Le Savoy (1,049-1,125m) in the centre of Chamonix by the bottom of the Brévent gondola
  • Les Planards (1,062-1,242m) near the town centre and Montenvers train
  • Le Tourchet (1,000m) in Les Houches next to the outdoor ice rink

Once you've exhausted the beginner zones and you're looking for something a bit more challenging, we'd suggest heading up to Le Tour for some nice cruisey wide blues, or down to Les Houches for some sunny sliding.

A skier at Les Grands Montets ski area in Chamonix

Advanced areas in Chamonix

The Chamonix valley is known for its steep pistes and challenging slopes, and it's a mecca for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Grands Montets is where most people flock to for long runs that give your thighs a serious work out. And after a big dump of snow, the off-piste here is almost limitless. 

If you want to go ski touring in Chamonix, the top lift in Grands Montets is your gateway to endless bowls, gullies and ridgelines. But you don't have to be extreme to enjoy it here.

There are plenty of gentler lines too.

Find accommodation near Grands Montets

a kid skiing over a jump in les houches

Snowparks in Chamonix

Are you itching to try your first kicker or rail? Freestyle is great fun and if you want to learn, there's no better place to head than a Chamonix snowpark.

As well as the natural gullies and half-pipes in the Chamonix valley, there are also a growing number of snowparks, boardercross and freestyle zones for you to try out. There are also a handful of fun zones for children.

Summit Park - one of the biggest snowparks in Europe

The biggest snowpark in Chamonix is at Le Tour.

There's also: 

  • a small snowpark at Les Grands Montets
  • a boardercross and airbag at Brevent
  • a funzone/snowpark in Les Houches
The Chamonix ski season isn't over yet

Off-piste areas in Chamonix

Chamonix's off-piste and backcountry skiing is legendary and people flock here from all around the world to experience it.

If you want a detailed guide of where to go and what to do in each of Chamonix's off-piste areas, check out our page on off-piste ski areas in Chamonix.  

To get the most out of the off-piste here, we'd always recommend you hire a Chamonix mountain guide. Their local knowledge and expertise means you'll often get to ski fresh lines even when the more accessible off-piste is completely tracked out. 

If you go with a bunch of mates, the cost of a guide is less than a night out - and you'll end up having an awesome time you can actually remember! 

Snowshoeing in Les Houches

Bad Weather areas in Chamonix

When the cloud comes in and the snow starts to fall, it helps to know where to head to. 

The trick is normally to head for the pistes that are tree-lined, as they help provide definition when everything else seems to be white. Although sometimes when the valley itself is a white-out, the top of the mountains can be bathed in glorious sunshine. 

It's always a good idea to check out the webcams in Chamonix

You can read more about where to go on our dedicated bad weather page.

ski touring

Ski Touring areas in Chamonix

Some of the world's best ski touring terrain is to be found in the Chamonix valley, especially high up on the glaciers at Grands Montets and behind the Aiguille du Midi.

There are also numerous routes from the back of Flégère over towards Le Buet (Vallorcine).

Wherever you go and whatever you plan on doing, we always recommend you hire a Chamonix mountain guide.

Up and out in the wilderness, there are often no real markers for pinpointing where you are. Glacial skiing requires complex route finding, and having someone with you who knows the terrain will help you get the most out of your day.

They might also get you out of a spot of bother if things go south.

More inspiration...

Ready to book your accommodation? Why not take a look at our apartments and chalets to hire in Chamonix