Europe, France, Travel

Skiing in Chamonix, France

An hour outside of Geneva, nestled in the French Alps, you’ll find the ski town of Chamonix. For any avid skier or snowboarder, this name will not be foreign as Chamonix is regarded as one of the top ski destinations in the world.

Getting To Chamonix

As mentioned above, Chamonix is an hour outside of Geneva which is easy enough to get to from any country in Europe or abroad for that matter. From Geneva, either rent a car or take one of the many shuttle services offered. The shuttle services will generally take you directly to your chateau or hotel as Chamonix is quite small.

The Town of Chamonix

chamonix-downtown

Charming and beautiful, Chamonix is everything you’d imagine a French Alp ski resort town to be. With mountains jutting skyward on either side, the town offers many places to grab breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the main street, you’ll find boutique shops with local Chamonix merchandise as well as some of the well-known alpine outfitters.

For a particularly great meal, make your way to La Caleche for some cheese fondue, steak grilled on a hot stone and superb wine. We ate here for my buddy’s birthday and it did not disappoint.

Where to Stay?

To truly get the European ski trip experience, you must stay at a chateau. For some reason, the word chateau screams expensive but in all reality they are very reasonable and go down in price with the more people that go.

We had quite a large group and one of the girls found this amazing place a stone’s throw from the ski lift. The chateau came with a personal chef, 2 hot tubs, 2 saunas, a massage room, countless bedrooms and a perfect view of the mountains. It was the ideal location.

Hitting the Slopes at Plan Joran and Croix De Lognan

chamonix-peak

The town is nice but more than likely the main reason you’re heading to Chamonix is to hit the slopes. In all honesty, I am not an avid skier, although I did do my fair share of skiing in my youth. Upon taking the gondola up Croix De Lognan, my initial thought was, “Ah hell, what have I gotten myself into”. Croix De Lognan‘s slopes are steeper than the likes of some of the resorts I have skied at in the USA and from the top looking down, can be quite intimidating. However, to use an overused cliché, thank god skiing is like riding a bike and it took only a run or two to get my ‘ski legs’ back.

chamonix-slopes-940

With that said, I would give Croix De Lognan and Plan Joran a moderate to advanced difficulty rating. If you constantly use the snow plow technique, I would probably avoid the Chamonix slopes as they aren’t for the faint of heart.

Other Things to do and See in Chamonix

The highest peak in all of Europe is accessible from Chamonix, and this peak of course is Mont Blanc. Well, to clarify, you can get to the top of Aiguille du Midi via a Gondola ride. Aiguille du Midi is adjecaent to Mont Blanc. Standing tall at approximately 12,600 feet, it serves as the ultimate vantage point and picture platform.

After enjoying the gondola ride up, grab a coffee and snack from the cafe and watch the extreme athletes take their leaps of faith down toward the valley below. There’s a good chance you’ll see your fair share of base jumpers, off piste skiers, snowboarders and paragliders take flight from the apex of Mont Blanc.

In Conclusion

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, this is a must do, plain and simple. If you’re not a skier or snowboarder, Chamonix still has plenty to offer and if you find yourself near enough to the area it definitely warrants a stop.

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