If you are 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.
|Snowparks in Chamonix Valley|
|Grands Montets||Rollers, small jumps, timed runs and boardercross|
|Le Tour||The Summit Snowpark - small, medium and large kickers and jumps|
|Brevent||Airbag and small boardercross|
|Les Houches||Fun Zone - small and medium kickers, features and jumps, as well as tubing and ziplines|
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 - a recreational track sponsored by BMW with videos for recording your run, and a more technical "enthusiasts" route that meets FIS competition standards.
The BMW route is 400m long with 3 jumps, 8 whoops and 2 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 5 jumps, 10 whoops and 8 banked turns. It is the perfect training ground for clubs and competitions.
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 2000m, 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.
Boardercross at Brevent
Over on the Brevent 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. There is a big air bag and a set of rails which 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
There is a small snowpark in Les Houches made up of a few jumps and small features that you can access 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, Flegere and Brevent.