If you're new to the slopes there's a good chance that you'll be wanting to try your first kicker or rail soon. Freestyle is great fun and if you want to learn there is 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 and a handful of fun zones for children.
Snowpark at Grands Montets
The snowpark at Les Grands Montets has a few rollers and small jumps, boxes and rails to practise on. There are also two boardercross tracks, one is a blue, one is a red.
There's a recreational track sponsored by BMW with videos for recording your run, and a more technical "enthusiasts" route that meets FIS competition standards. The route is 400m long with three jumps, eight whoops and two banked turns. Video recording systems and stopwatch timing makes it great for challenging your friends and having some fun souvenirs to watch at home. The Enthusiasts route is 800m long and includes five jumps, 10 whoops and eight banked turns. It is the perfect training ground for clubs and competitions.
Access to the snowpark is via the Marmattons chair or the Bochard gondola.
Snowpark at Le Tour
The Summit Park at Le Tour is billed as one of the biggest snowparks in Europe and is much bigger than the one at Grands Montets. Situated at 2,000m, it benefits from great snow conditions and has routes graded from blue through to black with the most advanced routes meeting FIS competition standard. A regular competition takes places here once a year called Ride the Snake, making the most of the large kickers and jumps.
If you go through it you can appreciate it really is a beast. It includes modules such as jumps, boxes, whoops and step-ups, plus two pipe lines on the black route. There is also a CoolZone here where you can chill out, watch the riders coming through the park or just admire the view of Mont-Blanc.
Use the Téléski Le Col to lap it.
Whilst this area has endless natural hits you can play off, there's no actual park here, but there is a kicker with an airbag next to the beginner slope.
Over on the Brévent side of the valley, there is often a small boardercross area which is mostly maintained during peak holiday periods. You'll find it by turning off to the right about a third of the way down the Cornu piste.
The big air bag and a set of rails are located just under the Parsa chairlift. So if you want to practise before you take on the big kickers in Le Tour then check this out.
Fun zone at Les Houches
The Bellevue snowpark has one route for beginner and one for expert freestylers. Expect to find small and medium kickers, features and jumps as well as tubing and ziplines. Access is from the top of the Crozat chairlift.
There is also a play area for children at the top of the Prarion gondola. Head over to the Ecole chair lift where you'll find inner tubes to slide down the hill on, a toboggan run, zip wire, and other child friendly activities. It's free but you do need a lift pass to get up there.
While the freestyle areas in Chamonix are getting better and better each year, you’ll find no shortage of lips and hits in the natural terrain of the valley which can often be more fun for trying tricks than the snow parks. Le Tour has lots of potential for this with a few natural half-pipes formed by gullies at the side of the pistes, as does Grands Montets, Flégère and Brévent.