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Visitor reviews for Chamonix Ski Resort
April 04, 2015
Athan from Belgium
The 'king is naked', and the management has to realize it....
Maybe 100 years ago, when alpinism was an unknown word, the area gathered thrilled pioneers of the mountains and the winter sports. But in the era of snow resorts like Tignes, Trois Vallees or Sankt Anton am Arlberg (AT) this resort seems like an old aristocrat in decadence. The extremely variable weather and the almost always poor snow quality are obvious reasons for not opting for this "famous" resort. Besides, the 50Euros day pass gives access to only one ski resort (of the size of Bansko in Bulgaria) and not to three as the management claims: it requires at least one hour from base-station to base-station to change a station; if you decide so in the middle of the day. All in all, the day pass is overpriced, unless you include in the evaluation the breathtaking scenery; if the weather allows it. The unusual "offer" to cross the tunnel and to ski in Italy requires not only a respectful amount of money and but usually some time spent on the long waiting queues of the tunnel. Local transportation is very poor and a personal car is more than essential. However, the use of public transportation is strongly recommended but never actualized by the local authorities. Above all, in sustainable developed ski resorts of Austria (and elsewhere) the reimbursement of the ski card is self evident. The obligatory possession of the ski card does not influence the will to return back to a ski resort with so many disadvantages.
Based on 34 votes. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Chamonix.
Public Transport: 4.2
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Chamonix, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Chamonix, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 4.0
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 4.6
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Chamonix.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.2
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Chamonix, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Chamonix is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Chamonix relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.7
(1) There are no snow groomers at Chamonix, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Chamonix are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Chamonix is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 3.9
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Chamonix, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.0
(1) Chamonix usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 3.7
(1) The staff at Chamonix are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Chamonix are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.3
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.7
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.6
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Chamonix has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Chamonix, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 3.2
(1) Not even a kicker at Chamonix, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Chamonix, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Chamonix has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.5
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 4.6
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 4.3
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.6
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.6
(1) Overall, Chamonix is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.6
(1) Overall, Chamonix is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
Based on 34 votes. Vote
January 05, 2015
Lawrie McWilliams from United Kingdom
Fantastic scenery but inadequate infrastructure. The key lifts [e.g. Parsa at Brevent] and Grand Montet are woeful.
Huge crowds/very slow/too expensive. I will never fail to be be captivated by the beauty of the place but after ten years of going three or four times a year I have realised that the customers are being taken for mugs. Definitely visit if you can get there, but only in a quiet period; avoid if it's a busy one!
September 09, 2014
Martin from United Kingdom
I love Chamonix; I hate it in equal measure. I've been there in summer and winter and had great times and truly terrible times there.
I'd consider myself a solid off-piste skier with many powder trips under my belt. But I'd still say that without a guide, I'd be really cautious of taking on some of Cham's powder as the danger factor is ramped up on the heavily crevassed glaciers and risk from seracs above. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough or didn't have the right inside knowledge but I struggled to find good stuff in what I'd call a reasonable distance from the lifts. As I said, get a guide who will presumably open it all up for you. You've only got to have one timid off-pister in the group to make the powder off limits without splitting up. Most of us can't afford a guide for the whole week. So while we all talk a good powder game, I'd say for most of us, to get a good shot at enjoying powder on your one week away I'd go elsewhere. Controversial I know!
For a long weekend, the pistes are fine with plenty of variety around the valley. For a week, you really do need to get off-piste so without a guide or a seriously blinkered view of your own mortality you're going to be struggling.
Chamonix, like any mountain centre, is at the mercy of the weather and Mont Blanc does seem to create a bit of a micro-climate. So you may find the powder lines you've researched all autumn are totally out of scope when you get there. Be flexible and prepare to get in your car and try elsewhere.
The town itself is good fun with something for everyone. Want posh? It can out-posh the Beckhams. You want grungy? No problem, Cham can go cheap and dirty as you like. As others have said, it benefits from the authenticity of being a proper town, even though the whole town is geared around tourism.
My advice? Give Chamonix a go, maybe for a long weekend at first. Just don't expect it to scratch all your powder itches without serious investment in guides and a touch of good luck with the weather.
March 18, 2014
Exseason from United Kingdom
Spent a season in Chamonix. It is a great place but only if you love mountains; it is not a resort. There is something about it; some quality, it just has "it". I have skied in quite a few other places, but the ski mountaineering here is incredible. A car is great, yes, but of little use when your departure is miles from your exit unless you have two. The train system (and bus) is absolutely spot on. Just plan accordingly with the timetables. Or hitch a lift!
The pistes are pretty poor compared to Verbier, Zermatt etc. But it isn't about that! Consider yourself warned.
As for rude people etc. Utter garbage. Everyone is here to celebrate the mountains. If you want some Disney resort with service, go to North America.
January 20, 2014
corm from Switzerland
I live in Geneva and have a huge choice of ski slopes 2 hrs from my door. I like Chamonix the best (actually more in summer). In winter, there is something for everyone. True, it suits better the intermediate/expert skier but I have 2 young kids learning now and they fit in just fine. Yes, it's marginally more expensive than other resorts but it offers a lot more. Also, true that the major areas are not linked but each provides sufficient skiing for an entire day for piste only skiers. For those willing and able to ski off-piste there are no limits. The locals are not friendly, I hear you say, well it's 90 pct probable you've been served by a Brit, a Swede or a non local French. The French, generally, are surly so get over it. You're here to ski, not make new friends with bar and restauarant staff. Learn the language, at least the basics, it may actually break down some barriers! :-)
January 01, 2014
DB from United Kingdom
If you're a good off-piste skier and the futility of sitting on chair lifts gets too much then the Cham valley is the place to be.
One lift up, skis on the shoulder or skinning and you can access some of the best snow ever. There is a mixed bag of excellent day/multi-day tours/steep slopes, etc.
Beware, do not venture without avalanche rescue kit and possibly crampons/ice axes/ropes. If you don't others will get very annoyed and rightly so. In the mountains everyone looks after each other and all chip in if things go wrong.
It is the spirit of being in the mountains which gives Cham it's unique appeal and gives skiing a real purpose.
November 19, 2013
Rsputin from Switzerland
I am fortunate to live in Geneva and, within 90 mins, have access to the best skiing on the planet. Having skied all over the globe it makes me laugh that people even have the cheek to complain about Chamonix, the resort that gave birth to extreme snow and mountain sports.
It's a no holds barred free ski resort, it's not for beginners nor intermediates but then it doesn't pretend to be. It's a 'balls to the wall' ski mountaineering resort for advanced to expert skiers.
If you don't fit that bill and want to plod around on pistes all day, to shake of that apres-ski hangover go to Morzine, Avoriaz, Flaine etc etc.
If you want to ski the steepest steeps and be surrounded by amazing scenery come to Chamonix. The lift served off-piste with only a 30 min tour or hike is off the chart.
Yes, it's disjointed but it works in the off-piste skiers favour because it keeps the piste/semi off-piste skiers constrained and stops everything being tracked to high heaven early doors.
As for the language issue, simple, learn French, it's not hard. As for the cost, try going to Courchevel or Verbier. Some people really need a dose of reality.
Hands down the best ski resort in Europe, possibly the world.
November 20, 2012
Migrated crow from Australia
After reading lots of reviews from "piste heroes" and tourists with bad attitude I felt compelled to share my opinion of this unique place. Please don't try to compare Chamonix to any other "resort." Chamonix is a real town that operates all year round. It happens to be surrounded by skiable mountains one of which, L'Aguille du Midi (3842m)is open all year round. This peak is strictly for mountaineer skiers of which there is an abundance in Chamonix. The ski areas are not linked but they each offer a great day of skiing piste & off-piste if you are an accomplished skier. The Chamonix area beats every other "resort" in the world for vertical drop. Try the top of Les Grand Montets down to Argentiere a couple of times for a morning warm-up! Chamonix is in France so please at least try to speak French. Chamonix has no more "rude" French than any other resort I have been to. One can be unlucky with snow in any resort, however, Chamonix has an incredible record for number of lifts open and snow cover. There is a huge amount of skiing above 2000m so even when many other European resorts are struggling for snow, Chamonix runs will often remain open as there are mid station lifts on almost every mountain at 2000m. This also makes it a fabulous place to ski in springtime too. Skiing is a fabulous sport which can be practised anywhere there is snow. I don't really care where I ski as long as I ski. I don't manage to get to Chamonix much these days, but without doubt all my best skiing has been done in Chamonix : powder, steeps, touring, bumps, jumps, speed, most vertical in a day, and the list goes on. Simply an amazing and incomparable place full of amazing people. Do yourself a favour before you go there. Learn a little French but more importantly, learn how to ski. You can practice at one of the lower, flatter, more Anglo resorts.
November 03, 2012
Grey on a Tray from United Kingdom
I read a lot of the reviews here with bemusement.
Chamonix is Chamonix "full stop". It is unique, beautiful, sometimes infuriating but hit it on the right day and it will give you moments, or longer, of the reason we go to the mountains: Freedom and experiences that can never be equalled. It is, without doubt, a wild place. Go up high for a while and, whatever your level of experience, enjoy as the saying goes "how can you ever know the valleys if you have not been in the mountains". Cham for me is the best!
October 19, 2012
Jamie Jones from United States
I agree with another reviewer. The problem with Chamonix is the ubiquitous know-it-all Brit and their attitdes. It's like the greedy New Yorker where I live. They can't comprehend that the place and people where they are visiting is different from the wicked city where they come from. That's why I like Chamonix in the off season.
[note from the editor: names of other reviewers etc are omitted]
June 02, 2012
ivan from France
This is really funny to read so many British people expecting to find more French "English speakers". In lot of Chamonix restaurants, you need to speak English. If not, no chance to place your order...
I went several time in UK and I have not cross many people speaking French....English is still not the native world language...
June 14, 2011
alex from Greece
I believe "Le Grand Montet" resort is the best of Chamonix.
Great for off-piste skiers!
April 18, 2011
David from United Kingdom
My wife (skier) and I (boarder) went for the last (long) weekend in March and had a brilliant time. Chamonix is different from other resorts I have been to in that it is a proper functioning mountain town and access to some of the slopes is via a free local bus. There are slopes close to the centre - Brevent - with access to Flegere, and the Aiguille du Midi but to make use of the other slopes - La Tour, Grand Montets, Les Houches and even Courmayeur, in Italy, you hop onto a free local bus, which we found to be very frequent and no problem at all. We skied / boarded at La Tour, Grand Montets and Courmeyeur during this visit and found the slopes to be excellent and varied and some of the best off-piste I have known. The town itself is beautiful with many period buildings and the Mont Blanc massif setting is quite stunning. There is also lots to do away from the slopes - the cinema shows films with English subtitles and the ice rink was great - we hope to catch an ice hockey match next time we visit. There are lots of bars and restaurants in town and we found the prices to be surprisingly reasonable if you look off the main high street. All in all, we had a great time and feel like there is so much more for us to explore in the valley - we will definitely be back and are planning for a week's visit next year.
March 08, 2011
Ian C from United Kingdom
Why go to Chamonix? Only go if the following apply -
1. You want a diverse, multicultural skiing experience steeped in mountaineering/skiing history and located in fabulously rugged terrain.
2. You are at least a strong intermediate skier/boarder with a sense of adventure and are willing to get off-piste, even if it's not back-country.
3. You are willing to make a few compromises in the process - unlinked ski areas, busy buses, average lift system.
4. You like a good party but the skiing comes first - it's a party town but the majority of skiers/boarders are there for the mountains not the beer.
5. You are adaptable and can change plans when needed. Most runs are above the trees so when bad weather arrives then local options can be limited. Having a car is a lifesaver as there are many other neighbouring resorts that are more enjoyable when the cloud comes down e.g St Gervais, Courmayeur
Given the above criteria, this is one truly epic ski resort. If they don't apply to you then I wouldn't bother because you will be frustrated and disappointed.
March 07, 2011
Bryan from United Kingdom
We were in Chamonix for a few days - Feb 15-18 2011. Our intention was to ski off-piste and then the Vallee Blanche, however, the snow was so poor it was not worth skiing anywhere in the Chamonix valley. This was mid season and daytime temperatures were 7-8 degrees! - muddy puddles everywhere! We did go to the Grand Montets area and skied the few runs there which were ok considering the lack of snow. But on the advise of the locals we went through the tunnel (47 euros return) each day to ski in Courmayeur. Here there was good snow and some great off-piste areas, although the pisted area is limited.
I'm sure we were unlucky with the snow conditions, but I certainly won't rush back to Chamonix. Is it a ski resort or a mountain town that has a few ski areas around it? You need a car so you can drive to where the snow's good - not a very convenient ski holiday unless you get snow right to the bottom, which I gather does not happen often. The next week we were in Tignes which was brilliant - far bigger linked pistes and great off-piste.
I didn't find it especially expensive, nor find anyone unfriendly, but I went there to ski!!.
March 06, 2011
Mark from United Kingdom
If I could sum up Chamonix in one word it would be ‘fantastic!’
I’ve seen a fair number of negative reviews of Chamonix on this site, and my own personal experience is the complete opposite. I found there was lots to see and do even if you weren’t enjoying the slopes, and it made for an unforgettable holiday with long lasting memories!
There is a lot of freedom once you get up into the slopes and you are free to go off-piste if you choose, or spend time perfecting your skiing/boarding skills on the great runs there are on offer! Chamonix is not directly marketed at beginners, but that being said there are a good deal of blue and green slopes to be found. Le Tour for example would be a good place for beginners to start. I went with two beginner boarders and I myself am an intermediate skier and we found the slopes at the majority of runs we went to easy to traverse, even slopes signed as reds could easily pass for blues so don’t be worried if you read that Chamonix is strictly NOT for beginners!
A big criticism I’ve seen here about Chamonix is expense. Chamonix is no more expensive than any other ski resort in my experience, and in fact compared to Meribel for example, it is considerably cheaper! It would be entirely possible to blow hundreds of Euros if you went out to restaurants night after night, then off drinking afterwards in the main square and the high street, however, there are many bars and restaurants more towards the Chamonix-sud end of town, and down the streets leading away from the high street/tourist trap areas that are substantially cheaper (we found a place where you could get a pint of lager at more or less the same price you would in the UK!). If you want to save money, you could try making packed lunches and taking them up onto the slopes with you as the restaurants there can be very expensive as you’d imagine. When it comes to accommodation, staying in a place away from the town centre, such as Chamonix-sud, will be cheaper and will still be within walking distance to the centre and other points of interest.
I think the thing to remember is that ski resorts are generally not cheap holidays, so I think paying a bit more for things than you would normally is justified as you’ll being having such a great time!
Another criticism I’ve read is the lack of grooming on slopes, the antiquated lift systems, crime and rude locals. Well, it’s true that slopes are generally ungroomed, I myself didn’t have too much of a problem with this but I guess it’s all down to personal preference. There were a few groomed slopes at some of the sites for example, such as a Brevent, but generally they just let Nature get on with it. The lift systems have, within the last year or so, been replaced with modern counterparts, so therefore no issues there anymore. Personally, we didn’t experience any crime but that’s not to say that there isn’t any there, just use common sense such as locking rooms, not walking around with large amounts of money and not leaving your personal belongings unattended, and you’ll be fine. Remember that travel insurance is your friend! Finally, I found all the locals to be friendly and helpful. Having a D grade in GCSE French, I’m not the best French speaker, however, I did have a go at it and I think the locals appreciated me trying. The majority of people you encounter will speak English to a degree, so as long as you’re polite and try your best then they’ll try in kind!
My only gripe with Chamonix would be that you cannot ski directly into town, you will have to drive (or more commonly) get a bus to and from the piste you want to go to. These can often be crowded and you’ll probably have to stand for the duration of your journey, however, if you get your timings right and go early in the morning (before 9am) and return late afternoon (no later than 4pm) you’ll generally avoid the rush and may even be able to secure yourself a seat! Buses are regular, however, and free to use. You may also encounter a few Essex/Londoner ‘lad‘ types, as they seem fairly common there which came as a surprise to me, so be prepared to witness a number of them, generally drunk and not doing the stereotype of the British lager-lout image any favours!
So, in summary, be prepared to have a great time, Research the place properly before going to see if it caters for all your needs and go at the off-peak times if you can to get the most for your money - there are loads of deals out there for Chamonix so it’s possible to make huge savings if you just search around online.
March 05, 2011
Peter from Canada
Chamonix is for real skiers, not for showing off. As far as having to speak French once in a while... well, what do you expect? Chinese?
One of the best places I have ever been for expert skiing and scenery. Les Grands Montets is a must.
March 03, 2011
David from Brazil
In Chamonix "If you're not French, be prepared to be a second class citizen. Your money is wanted, but you will only be barely tolerated." Sadly totally true.
I tried my best to speak all the French basic sentences I know to satisfy the French's snob needs to feel appreciated.... and it still doesn't work.
I've been travelling around Europe during the last years and I never had problem to communicate speaking English before (and as you can see, English is not my native language).
They never respect arrival order in ski lift lines. Neither supermarket line... anywhere!
Well... talking about what matters: Mountains... If you don't care about the lack of direction signs, you will have a lot of fun.
My favourites: Le Brevent and Grand Montes.
February 14, 2011
Tibster from United Kingdom
This will be our third season in Chamonix and I can honestly say the more you go there, the more you love it.
I have seen some of the comments made here and they are not entirely true. Most people do not speak perfect English but they will try to speak your language. I have never had a language problem in Chamonix and once required the Police help to point me out towards the nearest garage to sort out a car problem. They were kind enough to actually drive in front of me.
Food is fantastic, ski lifts are absolutely great and the slopes are perfectly maintained. I am an experienced skier but my wife and co are not. We have managed to find slopes to fit all of us, ESF (French Ski School) is great. There are lot of things to do in town especially when the local hockey team (Les Chamois) is playing. I recommend this as a great evening out (tickets are only a few Euros).
Never had car problem or hear of thievery, etc..
All in all for a French holiday resort you get what you pay for and in Chamonix is definitely worth it. Hotel Alpina in the centre of the town is absolutely fantastic and their restaurant is also very good. A bit pricey but if you don't want to spend that much on food there are the little bistros where food is basic, cheap and excellent.
We'll be there is three days and can't wait.
February 03, 2011
Steve from Germany
Chamonix seems to be full of hoards of British/Irish blokes. Most of the bars appeared to be gay over-30 bars.
January 28, 2011
Martin read from United Kingdom
I have my brother living out there (Chamonix) for the past 8 years. What a fantastic place.
Le Garage is the night spot to hit. 'Shin bre neaf' probably spelt wrongly was hired by my brother for his 40th and what a party place. Great atmosphere and food.
Chamonix for me every time, in Europe. It's a happening place. Expensive but what isn't when you're on a ski holiday!
January 04, 2011
valley chimp from United Kingdom
Just got back from a New Year break. Bringing in the New Year in the town square is brilliant that is if you don't mind the occasional flying firework.
The bus system sucks. Two hours of waiting only to have three turn up at the same time.
As far as the variety of skiing goes, don't bother if you are a beginner. If you are intermediate it should be ok just go to a different area each day.
Chamonix comes into itself if you look at a resort and spot the lines that are outside the pisted runs and are willing for a little graft to get to the lines. Don't forget your shovel/probe transceiver though.
It is France so please learn to speak French, or at least try your best. it will be appreciated by the locals.
One last thing. Keep your kids out of MacDonalds. It has no place being in Chamonix.
June 05, 2010
James from United Kingdom
I've done three seasons in Cham (Chamonix) and have snowboarded all over Europe and Canada. In my time in Chamonix, I've seen the best and worst it has to offer.
Here's the deal.
When it goes well, Chamonix can be a great place. The mountains are huge, and steep, varied and beautiful. You're free to roam and stomp in ways most European resorts can't offer. That's providing you are a very good standard skier or boarder who likes hardcore alpine stuff and are prepared to put up with pretty rubbish ski buses, long queues and London rush hour standard travel (the town is in a valley and you can't walk to any of the pistes).
When it goes badly, which it can very easily, it is a very bad place to be.
Firstly - and people don't talk about this - there's a lot of theft in the town and on the mountain. I've seen a lot of people lose their boards and skis and, worse, luggage. Holiday accommodation is targeted by thieves and some unlucky people have even had their luggage stolen within minutes of arriving.
It gets worse because the police do not speak English. The attitude is: you're in France, so speak our language.
This also goes for if you've been the victim of a violent crime. Be prepared to pay for an interpreter, who you will have to find and pay for yourself.
If you drive an English car, don't be surprised if it gets vandalised or broken into.
If you're not French, be prepared to be a second class citizen. Your money is wanted, but you will only be barely tolerated.
Put simply, Chamonix has always had a rough reputation (justifiably) and is a proper town. So don't expect a pure cute alpine village designed to cater exclusively for foreign holidaymakers.
And just hope you don't get unlucky.
March 22, 2010
Dan from United Kingdom
Having spent two seasons plus in Chamonix and visited many, many other top class resorts throughout Europe all I would say is, Chamonix is amazing, special and unique but you will only get the best out of it if you are there for a month or more.
If you're planning on a one week holiday and don't know Chamonix well, then I wouldn't even consider Chamonix.
As I said the place is amazing, but I think you'll have a far better time going to another resort, i.e, Tignes/ Val d' Isere, Serre Chevelier, the Three Valleys, etc etc.
March 21, 2010
Dave from United Kingdom
We have skied all over Europe and graduated to Chamonix 10 years ago, but still visit other resorts. The main problem is that too many people will decide it has the best skiing in Europe and is a real town, so thank goodness for others. The more the better as far as we are concerned.
March 01, 2010
Dan Johnson from United Kingdom
It's great that folk are leaving negative reviews about Cham (Chamonix) - leaves more space on the mountain for those of us that appreciate what a special place the Chamonix Valley is. For those who don't the answer is simple - don't come back!
February 14, 2010
dgz from United Kingdom
Having spent a season here at Chamonix, I think:
The valley ski pass is about EUR 260 for 6 days: given the price, you would expect something pretty amazing. Well, the lifts are mainly old and slow. The pistes are pretty limited in their scope. The valley ski bus is ok, but not amazing. You have to remember that Chamonix pistes are all on the same aspect - no multi valley skiing here.
Bottom line. Don't waste your money coming to Chamonix if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced piste skier. There are far better resorts for your requirements out there.
However, if you are an experienced off-piste skier with ski mountaineering experience, then this place is amazing! A good guide is recommended for a couple of days to really get the most out of a week here. The lines are stunning.
I would like to point out that even if you like off-piste, unless you don't mind exposed routes/ski touring, all the easy access off-piste is tracked out within a day or two in Chamonix. You are far better going to the quieter Portes du Soleil resorts for off-piste that is easy to access and is not trashed.
Some people comment that the weather is poor. Possibly true, but it is at the bottom of the Mont Blanc Massif!!! What do you expect? Of course, it will probably have worse weather.
January 20, 2010
oliver from Ireland
I have been to Chamonix 4 times and I love it. The off-piste in Grand Montet is excellent. Loads of powder bowls to ski in and out of very near the piste. Brevent also has some good runs. The views from everywhere are spectacular. The buses are awkward (just get early and you'll be fine). The nightlife is ok but has anybody else noticed it's mostly blokes who go skiing.
January 12, 2010
J from Ireland
Been to Chamonix a few times & heading again this year. Some great skiing/boarding available but not suitable for rookies, kids, or anyone not willing to tackle some steep, tough slopes. Make sure you stay in Cham itself in order to have any sort of night life and car hire is a must (or else face needless queues for buses, gondolas etc). Also Vallee Blanche is well worth doing. Do hire a guide - it's pricey but will keep you from falling off the Arete or into a Crevasse on the way down, so money well spent in my book. Grand Montets is also good, especially when there's plenty of powder.
January 05, 2010
Martin from United Kingdom
Put simply, Chamonix is not great for:
* Novices, families with small children etc. There are plenty of places to ski, but there are better resorts for this, which are more convenient and better set up.
* "Beautiful people" apres-ski. Apres-ski is great in Cham, just a bit more grungey. It is a top resort, but does not have the same "scene" as say Verbier or St Anton.
* Endless blue and red groomed pistes - go elsewhere for this, say 3 Vallees or La Plagne.
* Endless linked pistes - you need a car or be prepared to put up with the buses. It is 8 miles from Cham up to La Tour and 5 to Grands Montets.
So if you want a trip with lots of cruising around and ski-in ski-out, Chamonix is not the place for you. Certainly I took two kids under 5 once, and it was a poor choice.
BUT BUT BUT... Chamonix is unique. It has the biggest vertical drops, a huge variety of difficult, challenging runs, fantastic off-piste, unique views. La Vallee Blanche - 13 miles down a glacier and the highest vertical of any run in the world. Les Grands Montets is a skiing Mecca. Some of those runs from the top lift are simply incomparable - leg burning, lung bursting drops of 1500m in 4.5km of trail.
For decent skiers who fancy a challenge, Chamonix is fantastic. It also has the Midnight Express late night snack bar, with the Super Double Midnight Burger - unique, amazing, challenging, incomparable. Sums up Chamonix really.