A Trip to Chamonix – The Spiritual Home of Skiing

by Jules on April 2, 2014

Skiing

It’s often hard to know where to ski, especially with all the latest resort developments and new low cost European areas in the world of the powder. However, one place has a soft spot in the hearts of skiers. It is also an excellent place to learn to ski if you are a beginner or an expert. If you book a ski lesson in Chamonix you will certainly be in good hands.

Chamonix, Mont Blanc is historically one of the traditional havens of Alpine adventure and winter sports and its history as a competitive arena goes as far back as 1760 when a prize was offered for climbing it.

The area saw notable growth at the turn of the 20th century and was the first home to the Winter Olympics in 1924. It’s an extreme environment where the lovers of climbing and those dedicated to skiing come together over its beautiful valley.

Chamonix is a mecca for those that love snow sports and those that want to take their skiing to the extreme. It’s a proving ground and known as ‘Le Grand Ski’, which says a lot.

The peaks and glaciers of the area rise 12,500 feet over the valley below, with Mont Blanc overshadowing everything below at a colossal 15,767 feet.

For tourists, the best way to make the most to Chamonix is to hire a professional guide who will be able to gauge the best runs for you, ensuring you’re challenged while also safe.

The skiing is split between five areas in Chamonix and these can be accessed via a number of base villages. There are 50 lifts in the area and each is there to transport skiers of different abilities and experience to the slopes suitable for them. For beginners Les Houches and La Flegere are both popular areas with numerous trails.

For those in the advanced intermediate stage Les Grands Montets is a very popular area and one that will challenge, while Aiguille du Midi, which requires two cable cars is bordering on advanced territory. However, for those looking for a spectacular ascent of over 7,000 feet it’s worth it if you are of the ability to do so. This trail down the Vallee Blanche glacier showcases Mont Blanc at its finest and it’s from here you can truly understand why the French are so proud of it.

Chamonix

Of course, Chamonix is not just about the skiing. The area’s long history as the pinnacle of skiing means that it’s developed as a tourist destination and a spot that’s ideal for the weekend trip. The village area itself is filled with beautiful luxury stores, fantastic restaurants and ski shops of course.

A great nightlife is also on the cards and there are a vast number of bars and clubs for people who are of such a persuasion to enjoy, as well as a glitzy casino. However, in a place with so many serious, experienced skiers the thrill of the snow comes before the glitz and glam.

Getting There

  • Plane – The best way is to fly to Geneva from your nearest airport. In the UK most London Airports fly to Geneva
  • Car – Chamonix is around 100km from Geneva Airport by car and hiring a car is an option. Alternatively, there are a number of transfer companies such as peaktransfer.com  for example, that will deliver you and your party to your chalet door.
  • Train – It’s possible to take Eurostar or Rail Europe to the area and it’s a comfortable alternative to flying. It’s also quite inexpensive if booked in advance. Chamonix and Vallorcine are both stops on the line and a night train runs from Paris to the area – often the best option.
  • Bus – Bus is also an option and is competitively priced too.

Chamonix is one of the world’s most spectacular ski resorts and also one of the most prevalent due to its history, terrain and the folklore associated with it. For anybody who wishes to experience skiing at its purest it’s still truly a very honest place to do so.

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