Chamonix Skiing, hiking, Guest pass, Lift Pass (Chamonix le Pass)

Updated Dec 2022

Chamonix, France – One of the Best Skiing Destinations in the World

Located at the base of the Mont Blanc, Chamonix is one of the best skiing destinations in France. It is also famous for its summer sports. In addition to skiing, Chamonix offers hiking, mountain climbing, paragliding, golf, and mountain trekking. It was home to the first winter Olympics in 1924. There are also several museums in Chamonix. It is a quaint and charming French town that is perfect for skiers and outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the best-known attractions in Chamonix is the Aiguille du Midi cable car. It takes passengers to the summit of the Alps, 3,842 metres above sea level. You can also take a guided walk on the Mer de Glace, a valley glacier that is part of the French Alps. This is the largest glacier in France and loses approximately 30 cm of snow each year.

One of the best things to do in Chamonix in the summer is to visit Le Lac a l’Anglais, a fairytale ruin. It is located near the Gaillands climbing rock and treetop adventure course. This area also offers a few restaurants and shops.

If you are interested in visiting the town of Chamonix, you will need to book in advance. This town is very popular and busy all year round. If you do not book in advance, you will probably have to pay a lot of money for your accommodation. You should consider booking an apartment or a guesthouse instead of staying in a hotel.

Another of the best attractions in Chamonix is the Mer de Glace glacier. The glacier is located on the northern side of Mont Blanc. This glacier is 700 million cubic metres in size and is the largest glacier in the French Alps. You can also take a tram ride to the glacier. You can also see the Mont Blanc gondola, which is only open from June to September. You can buy tickets for this for eleven to fifteen euros.

In the heart of Chamonix, you will find La Petite Kitchen, which serves cafe food and modern European cuisine. There are also several Michelin-starred restaurants in the area. You can also find a good bakery called Au Pain d’Antan.

Other attractions in Chamonix include the Crystal Museum and the Pionniers of Chamonix Mont-Blanc. The Pionniers play summer preseason matches at the Centre Sportif Richard Bozon.

In the winter, Chamonix offers skiing for all levels. There are 13 ski areas in the town and 145 ski trails. The best snow is usually located on Les Grand Montets. The Vallee Blanche run is Europe’s longest trail. It is 12 miles long and winds down to the Mer de Glace. Those who do not want to ski can take a guided glacier walk on the Albert Premier glacier.

Chamonix is also famous for its restaurants. You can choose from some of the best dining in the Alps, including La Petite Kitchen, Bergerie, and Monchu. There are also several street-side cafes to choose from.

Skiing / Snowboarding in Chamonix, France- White Valley, Brevent, Flegere, Balme, Montets, Savoy

Skiing and snowboarding in Chamonix are open from December to May and is not available in summer.

The Ski areas here are –

White Valley (Vallee Blanche) – Glacier skiing. Easiest route is conducive to skiers comfortable on red runs. After skiing the ‘Vallee Blanche” one can follow the Mer de Glace glacier down to the Montenvers Railway station

Les Houches (950-1900m) good for families with low altitude conditions. It is the only slope with below the tree line slopes. Read More —-

The Brevent and La Flegere – very accessible from the town, have skiing for all levels. South facing slopes. Provides great view of Mont-Blanc. Best known for mid to extreme. For beginners the best is Le Tour (close to Martigny).

The Balme area
– These are open slopes at the top of the Chamonix valley.

The Grand Montets with north facing slopes and high and extreme slopes is best accessed from the town of Argentiere.

Smaller ski areas ideal for children and beginners in Chamonix, France include –

Le Domaine de Balme (1400 to 2200m) – This place offers multiple ski slopes – on the Charamillon the gentle slopes face Chamonix Valley while on the Vallorcine (village) side there are tree lines and borders Switzerland.

The Savoy
(1050m) – With artificial snow, this is in Chamonix, at the foot of Brevent. Meant for children and beginners. 

 The Planards (1000-1200m) – this has four tracks – red, blue & two green and this is the largest area for beginners and children. Parking is free.

The Vormaine (1480m) – This is for Ski beginners, children, and inexperienced snowboarders, located near Charamillon.

The Chosalets (1230m) – Located a short distance from Cable car at Lognan. Ideal for children and beginners.

Chamonix France
Chamonix, France (Pic. Tom Podmore Unsplash)

Hiking in Chamonix, France – Le Lac Blanc, Grand Balcon, Le Chalet des Pyramides, Le Col de Balme

At the foot of the glaciers, there are over 350 Km of well maintained hiking trails both low and high altitude types.

The Tour of Mont Blanc affords splendid mountain sceneries, pastures, glaciers and routes. This tour lasts about 7 to 10 days with 5 hours walking per day and crossing three countries – France, Switzerland and Italy.

Le Lac Blanc – Famous for its scenic and pristine beauty, this beautiful lake in the Aiguilles Rouges mountains at an altitude of 2352m offers an great experience. It is less than two hours walk from the Flegere Cable car. Facilities to stay overnight are available.

Grand Balcon Nord – This north facing terrace provides an excellent panorama of Chamonix’s peaks. Walking time is a little over two hours. One can start from the Aiguille du Midi cable car or the Montenvers train station.

Grand Balcon Sud – This faces the Mont Blanc. Altitudes range from 2000m (in Planpraz) to 1877m  (in Flegere). The walk time is about two hours. One can start from the Flegere cable car or the Brevent Cable car.

Le Chalet des Pyramides – With a walk time of about an hour and a half and an altitude of 1895m, this provides an excellent view of Chamonix valley. Starting is from the Bossons chalet.

Le Col de Balme – At an altitude of over 2100m and with a walking time of about two and a half hours, these paths offer excellent view of the Chamonix valley, Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges Mountains. The starting is at the Cable car of Le Tour.

Getting to Chamonix – By Air, Rail and Road

By Air: The closest airport to Chamonix is Geneva Airport. From there one can take a bus to Chamonix which is a runs regularly daily.
Other airports nearby

 are Lyon Saint Exupery International Airport (over 200 km) and Annecy Airport (90 km Approx).

By Rail: One can access Chamonix by a small local train from St. Gervais-les-Bains. TGV lines run to St. Gervais-les-Bains. One route is to take TGV from Charles-de-Gaulle airport to Lyon, from there transfer to St. Gervais-les-Bains and then continue to Chamonix. ‘Mont-Blanc express’ train connects to Servoz and Les Houches.

By road: Chamonix is connected by road (via the tunnel under Mont Blanc) to Courmayeur in Italy. It also connected by road to Martigny in Switzerland. From Geneva it is a little over an hour drive on the Autoroute Blanche (A40) Motorway. Road conditions available at +33(0)4 50 53 05 51.

Chamonix, Mont Blanc – Tourist spots/Guest pass /Lift Pass (Chamonix le Pass)

Lift Pass at Chamonix (Chamonix le Pass)

This provides entry to the three main ski areas and the beginner’s slopes (excluding cable car at Grands Montets). The Lift Pass Unlimited provides access to all of Chamonix’s ski areas, the sightseeing lifts, and trains – Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers train, and Mont-Blanc tramway.

Aiguille du Midi Chamonix France
Aiguille du Midi Chamonix France (Pic. Robert K. Unsplash)

Within the Chamonix valley, commuting between the different ski areas is made possible with the help of frequent shuttle buses. Both the lift pass and the guest pass (supplied by the accommodation provider) provide free access to these shuttle buses. 

With the unlimited pass one can capture Mont-Blanc experience in one trip!

The Aiguille du Midi cable car – This cable car takes one from 1035m at the centre of Chamonix to 3842m above giving an all around view of the Mont-Blanc chain.

Aiguille du Midi Cable car system

Brevent Cable car– Covering the south facing areas with views of the Mont-Blanc range, this cable car take syou to 2525m above.

Flegere cable car
– This is the starting point for a number of hikes. Great views from the Praz Village at around 1900m.

Montenvers Train – This takes one up to 1913m above to the Montenvers site. This is a rack and pinion rail system. The views include Mer de Glace glacier, the drus and the Grands Jorasses.

Montenvers rail

Mont-Blanc tramway – The route covered by this is between Fayet or Saint Gervais to Nid d’Aigle (over 2300m above). Can get good views of the Bionnassay glacier.

Le Tour – Charamillon lift–  The Charamillon and Balme gondolas and the Autannes chairlift take one up to view the Chamonix valley and the Mont-Blanc range from a different angle. It starts from the village of Le Tour and Vallocirne.

Grands Montets cable car – Starting from the Argentiere village, the Lognan cable car (over 1900m)  and the Grands Montets cable car (3300m) takes to viewing points  covering Argentiere Glacier, the Aiguilles Rouges, Mont-Blanc and the Drus.

 Les Bossons Chairlift – This is new. To view the Bossons Glacier, this starts from the top of Bossons village and transports one to over 1400m above. This is the departure point for two of the hikes – The Pyramids and the Junction.

Hiking in Chamonix –

At the foot of the glaciers, there are over 350 Km of well maintained hiking trails both low and high altitude types.

The Tour of Mont Blanc affords splendid mountain sceneries, pastures, glaciers and routes.

Skiing / Snowboarding in Chamonix, France:

Skiing and snowboarding in Chamonix are open from December to May and is not available in summer.

The Ski areas here are –

White Valley (Vallee Blanche) – Glacier skiing. Easiest route is conducive to skiers comfortable on red runs.