Ski France

Chamonix Resort Reviews

Ski France

Chamonix Resort Reviews

Visitor reviews for Chamonix Ski Resort

Chamonix Ratings

Overall: 4.0. Based on 46 votes and 86 reviews. Vote

Access: 4.5

(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: 4.1

(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.

Scenery: 4.7

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Accommodation: 4.6

(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: 3.9

(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.

Childcare: 3.9

(1) There are no child care facilities at Chamonix, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowsure: 4.0

(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.

Snowmaking: 3.3

(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: 3.8

(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.

Shelter: 3.2

(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: 3.8

(1) The staff at Chamonix are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Chamonix are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 3.2

(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: 4.5

(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.

Beginners: 3.1

(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.

Intermediates: 4.0

(1) No intermediate terrain at Chamonix, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 4.7

(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: 3.4

(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.

Off-piste: 4.8

(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.

Cross-country: 3.8

(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.

Luge/Toboggan: 3.0

(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: 3.4

(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.

Eating: 4.5

(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.

Apres-Ski: 4.5

(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.

Entertainment: 4.5

(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: 4.2

(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): 3.7

(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.

Show all 35 ratings

December 01, 2008
JonnyH from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Whoah, is "Ski Lover" talking about the same Chamonix I know? I've been to Chamonix about a dozen times over the past six years, mainly because I have family there, but also because it is an awesome place. You cannot help but be won over by the scenery, working town atmosphere and many impressive traditional style buildings and architecture in the town centre and surrounding areas. If you go to Chamonix Sud yes, there are a few appartment blocks, but Ski Lover makes it sound like Central Moscow Housing estates from the 80s, which Chamonix is nothing like. Regarding the shops - there is a real variety from top designer outlets to local ski/snowboarding shops, obviously not London - but you came to ski, right? The bars are good, you just need to look around and ask where's good to go. As for the weather I have encountered some of the best days snowboarding here ever. With big dumps of snow at night and blue bird days. Chamonix is a great place to ski and snowboard. Yes if the weather sets in you can be limited as a lot of the skiing is above the tree line (like most is in the Alps), however, find the tree runs over at La Tour or use your free day away to ski at Courmayeur, which, on the other side of Mont Blanc, will generally be sheltered as the weather is dropping in Chamonix. If not, chill out and have a spa day or go snow shoeing or cross country skiing - you're on holiday - use your imagination. As for the ski lifts, Chamonix is going through serious modernization of all its lift system. Brevent has been done for this season, (yes Flegere is older but you can ski over their from Brevant - a great warm up in the morning!). Grand Montet is alway gonna be busy (it's some of the highest skiing in the Alps), but there are two lift systems going up there and it's quick to get up, La Tour has been re-done from Valocine and the front lift is always quick. The bottom line is, if you want to ski/board enjoy amazing scenery (the best I have ever seen in Europe), good eating, lively bars and great little town centre, go to Chamonix. If you want to party, get up late, everyone speaking English, sunny weather - go to the Canary Isles.....
November 25, 2008
Zotar from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
It seems from reading the reviews here it is a bit 50/50 on what Cham is like! I have worked here and been probably 20 times or so since- why? Because the skiing is about as good as it comes. Yes, the place is not ski in/ ski out and there can be queues - but most of that is secondary to the awesome skiing you can get. To be honest I have been a lot, and queuing only really takes place at peak times- i.e. during Feb, so just avoid it then- you would queue anywhere at that time. I cannot believe that people are complaining about the weather- for gods sake this is the mountains!! Basically to summarise a lot of this - if you are serious about your skiing and are up at the crack of dawn to get the best of the snow then Chamonix is for you. I have been to many places and this beats anything hands down. If you are an intermediate, who wants to get up late, waddle to the lift and complains about the lack of sun - you should probably be in Soll or Bulgaria or somewhere like that. As for nightlife, Chamonix is a 'working' French town and there are loads of bars and restaurants, you just might need to look off the main street for the good ones- same for prices- eat/drink on the main drag and it's expensive. Think about i - the French eat out a lot, do you think they pay the prices on the main street?? It does have Michelin stared restaurants as well. Lift system - some old some new - the better (harder) areas I have never had a problem with. For example the Herse charlift on Grand Montets- 6 man detachable chairlift - I have never queued for this, ever, and it has the best bumps to play on! They are investing a lot in the system- New Brevent life in Dec 08 for example. Chamonix has something for everyone - but if you are a 'lazy' tourist and expect everything on your doorstep and everyone to speak English then try somewhere else! If you love the mountains- there is nowhere better.
November 17, 2008
mattg from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
"Public transport and availability of taxis in town is dreadful meaning you are forced to drink/drive all the time. " Who forced you to drink/drive? Stay at home please.
September 16, 2008
DC from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Have to say Chamonix is AWESOME! Have been twice and will be going twice in the 2009 season; off piste is fantastic. I have visited a lot of European resorts and some Canadian; Cham beats em all. If you think the lift system is antiquated, try Scotland. Cham's not about class, it's about mountains. [Editors comment: text that is aimed towards an individual has now been removed]
April 21, 2008
Tom Travis from Ski United States United States
I want to counter some of the very surprising negative comments about Chamonix. The cable cars may be old, but they get the job done, and efficiently and quickly transport skiers up to the mid station or summits. The gondola at Bochard on the Grand Montet is new and rapid, and La Herse chairlift is a new, six person speedy lift. Also, Le Brevent has three quite new, speedy chairlifts, and a new high speed six person chairlift whisks skiers up the main slope of La Flegere. The chairlifts on the Vallorcine side of Le Tour are also new. So Chamonix has made a major effort to upgrade and improve its lift system. The biggest problem with lifts, is that when there is insufficient snow to ski from the mid-stations down into the valley, the wait to access the lift back to the valley can be long at Le Brevent and La Flegere. The way to avoid the wait, is to return to the valley before 3:15 PM, but not everyone wants to depart this early. At the Grand Montet this is rarely a problem because the Rierre a Ric trail down the mountain has snow-making. One commentator said the weather is permanently bad. This is a ridiculous statement. The weather is no better or worse than most of the Alps resorts. Indeed, the weather has been clear and rather mild on the majority of the many days over 25 years that I have skied at Chamonix. This April it was sunny for four days and cloudy and sometimes snowy for three days when I was there. The bad thing is that when the weather is cloudy, foggy or snowy, visibility can be difficult since most of the skiing is above tree line. But many ski stations in the Alps are above tree line. Chamonix has a reputation for difficult slopes. However, the majority of the slopes at Le Tour, La Flegere, Le Brevent and Les Houches are blue and red in difficulty. The most difficult area is the Grand Montet, but even there the groomed pistes are mostly reds and easy for an intermediate skier to do. For excellent skiers the slopes at the Grand Montet are an endlessly challenging and exciting. A reviewer said that none of the slopes are groomed, which is false. Every area, including the Grand Montet, cuts pistes into the snowfields and grooms them well. At the Grand Montet, for example. one can ski groomed pistes down verticals of 2072, 2428, 2564, and 3345 feet. A reviewer said a positive is that there are "some good" views. I have skied all over the world and regard the views at Chamonix to be unsurpassed in beauty and splendor. Nowhere else in France or Austria are the views so spectacular. In Switzerland, at Saas Fee and Zermatt, and maybe Grindelwald the views come close, but I still prefer them at Chamonix. A reviewer says the town of Chamonix is filled with Soviet style concrete bloc architecture. Yes, there are a few unfortunate concrete apartment buildings above the main street, but overall, Chamonix retains its architectural tradition and charm. It is a lived-in French town, with far more architectural interest than the modern ski towns of Les Trois Vallees, Val d'Isere or Verbier. Also, along the valley are small traditional towns that, largely, retain their original architecture. Chamonix is full of excellent restaurants--French, Italian, Thai, and even Indian. I can't comment about the night-life but there are plenty of bars. One reviewer stayed in Les Houches and said access was difficult to a supermarket or to bars. Why would anyone without a car want to stay at Les Houches, which is far from the center of Chamonix, and an inferior ski area to boot. A reviewer says that one has to drive or take a bus to every ski station. If one stays in town, one can walk easily (but up a hill) to Le Brevent. Otherwise, it's true that one needs transportation to the ski stations in the valley and that is unfortunate. The Chamonix bus system shuttles regularly between the ski areas and is free, but at peak times, the buses get crowded, and that can be uncomfortable. However, I found this year that the buses run more often than in the past and never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a bus. A reviewer says the ski ticket is expensive. For an American the multi-day ticket is cheap in comparison to the ridiculous prices charged at US ski areas. I regard the Grand Montet as the single best ski station in the world for its variety of runs down vast bowls, the pistes from the summit, the slopes over glaciers, and the limitless off-piste opportunities. I also love the runs at La Flegere, especially the Lachenal bowl, my favorite run in the world for scenery and an exciting, moderately challenging, curving advanced intermediate down hill, and La Floria is not far behind.
April 05, 2008
Sue from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
We have visited Chamonix, as a mixed group (ages and abilities), for the last 2 years during the Easter holidays. I can't believe the negative feedback I have just read, as we found it a perfect place for the beginners to learn the ropes last year, and then to practice their techniques this year on the lovely long green runs at Flagere. The intermediates had fun on blues cruisin' all over the resort but especially Le Tour, whilst the more adventurous tackled the reds between Flagere and Brevant, and the experts enjoyed a couple of tours from a local ski guide. The weather was snowy and sunny - just what you want (65cms fell in one day)! Prices are comparable to the rest of the Alps and our chalet (Vert et Blanc) was superb again. Even non-skiers had plenty to do. Queues have to be expected at peak times during the day, but they can be avoided. I have to agree with Matt though that a bit of local knowledge is extremely useful! We will go back.
March 28, 2008
matt from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Reading these reviews of Chamonix makes confusing reading - Chamonix appears to be the Marmite ski resort !! I went for the first time over Easter 2008 where I was treated to 80cm new snow and sunshine. I had two very very good days which helped me forget about the prices, poor service and queues. I think you have to be there at the right time and have a bit of local knowledge - otherwise you could end up leaving some of the negative comments here. I rode at Le Tour / Grand Montet and there was plenty to do. Compared to most other French resorts I find the shonkyness charming. If you want motorway pistes, fast lifts - better look elsewhere. The mix of customers is also a plus - I must have heard 10 different languages the first day. I will remember charging down the ( bottomless ) Bochard black run in the sunshine, looking uphill to see massive rooster tail contrast against the blue sky and majestic peaks. Those days don't happen often !!
March 27, 2008
Ski lover from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Negatives: Weather conditions are permanently awful - zero sun and lots of mist and fog (proof is if you go over to Courmayeur it's immediately much better!) Lift system antiquated, slow and dirty - well behind most decent resorts - every cable car I went on belonged in a museum. Runs are completely ungroomed & horrible - again, well behind most decent resorts - poor mountain infrastructure and signing etc, make the mountain feel dangerous and unpatrolled with the result that the entire resort may as well be designated off-piste. You can hardly ever ski down anywhere with resulting enormous queues caused by small antiquated cable cars and second cars often not being used - arrogant lift staff don't seem to care and the concept of customer service is clearly a complete mystery to them. Mountain restaurants are awful - often far worse than low-end motorway service stations. Public transport and availability of taxis in town is dreadful meaning you are forced to drink/drive all the time. Decent nightlife is zero - one grotty club, two moderately upmarket bars where you can't even get table service (or have any ventilation...) and can't even buy a bottle of vodka. Rest of the nightlife is 100% tatty pubs full of drunk, unshaven blokes on lads trips to the mountains or chavvy kids "doing a season". Town itself is full of horrendous concrete blocks out of a communist country and full of mid to low-class English blokes and French families on a tight budget i.e. zero style or class whatsoever. Shops are all low class and seem to cater only to "outdoor types" with no style and on a very limited budget. You have to drive everywhere, the car parks at the ski areas are always full and the ski areas are disjointed and limited. At €30 a day, the lift pass is almost as much as Courchevel for a resort with runs and lifts in 10x less good condition and 10x less terrain. Useless place to take family or beginners unlike many other challenging resorts which offer something for everyone. Positives: Some good scenery which you can enjoy on the rare occasions when the entire mountain isn't shrouded in mist and fog. Some good access to off-piste terrain. Stunning Aigle du Midi and Vallee Blanche which the town trades on yet you hear of fatalities on it all the time, again reinforcing the impression that this is a dangerous and poorly managed place to ski. Proximity to Geneva airport is a real bonus.
March 24, 2008
Paul from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
A quick post to address a few points made by Dan of France in his 20 March entry. I have spent the last couple of months in the Chamonix valley and sadly have to leave soon. First, I agree with some of Dans points. The lift system generally needs some improvement, especially the cable car up to Flegere, though I do not agree that the the Argentiere / Grands Montets lifts are generally "old / slow": queue times here are generally fine given its popularity (there's a choice of fast chair or cable car up from Argentiere). I also agree that Chamonix is geared to strong intermediates / advanced skiers and there is a big step-up from the valley-floor nursery areas to the blues and reds on the mountains. A number of beginners visited me this season, however, and were won over by the spectacular scenery, old-town charm and excellent nightlife. Picking up on a few of Dans negative comments: - I don't agree that Chamonix is "very expensive": there are plenty of cheap options for eating, drinking and sleeping in Chamonix, which, being a year-round normal French town, has plenty of standard-priced supermarkets, fast food chains, 'happy hours' and competition between the 100 plus eating and drinking venues. - Dan said that (at the time of his visit) "very few runs to the villages were open": there are 4 main ski areas in the Chamonix valley (Le Tour, Argentiere, Brevent-Flegere, Les Houches). At the time of Dans post (20 March) runs to the resorts were open in 3 of the 4 main areas. Only Brevent-Flegere's home runs were closed. - "If you are not in Chamonix there is literally no nightlife in the other villages". This is simply not true. In Argentiere alone there are 11 bars, 1 nightclub and at least as many restaurants. Bars are generally open til 2am, the nightclub later. - "The pistes are unkempt...". Piste bashers operate in all ski areas every night. A minority of pistes are intentionally left unbashed; these are clearly signed. - "Poor selection of mountain restaurants - all very expensive..." The standard price for a ham baguette in most restaurants is EUR 4.00 (ie. cheaper than London) and some restaurants do excellent hot meals (main course and dessert) for EUR 12.00. The majority of restaurants offer astonishing views of the Chamonix valley and its amazing mountain ranges. Overall, I think the skiing in the Chamonix is excellent, particularly for advanced skiers. Grands Montets deserves its reputation as one of the great off-piste mountains in the world due to its height (1200-3300m), aspect (north facing), contours (huge natural bowls, countless gullies) and gradient (consistently 20-30 degrees: perfect red - black pitches) and quality of snow (currently 500cm at the top: keeps powder snow even when 15C in the valley). Right now, the majority of its huge surface can be skied by strong intermediates: it is not a mountain reserved for daredevils - the joy is that off-piste here is accessible to many. The Chamonix valley is not, however, a single purpose built resort so lacks the convenience of many other resorts. This is a product of its history (real living town and villages) and its remarkable geography in surely the most picturesque and extraordinary location in the Alps.
March 20, 2008
Dan from Ski France France
Just got back form a week in Chamonix – we stayed in the village of Le Houche. I do have mixed feelings about this area. I think you must choose very carefully about coming here – you need to think about what you want from a holiday. I frequently hear that Chamonix is one of the best places in the world but it certainly wasn't for me! However, I can see that if you are a very confident expert boarder/skier you will get the most out of this resort. As a decent intermediate boarder and average skier there are dozens of resorts I would have rather spent my money in. Good points; - There is a lot of challenging terrain, off piste/ski and climbing opportunities for the very extreme people!!! - Very impressive, dramatic scenery - A choice of resorts to explore - The town of Chamonix itself, although not a bustling hub of excitement, was far and away the best out of the 5 in the valley. - Regular bus system to connect you to villages. Bad points; - Very expensive - If snow is not perfect – you are left with lots and lots of ice on some quite steep runs – not for beginners. - Very few runs down to the villages were open - Which leads to very, very long queues …. - ….on a slow old antique, rusty, lift system. - If you are not in Chamonix itself there is literally no nightlife in the other villages. - Despite a decent bus service – it is still an inconvenience and means it adds more time between you and the slopes. - Long queues up and down in Chamonix, La Praz and Argentinere owing to old slow lifts. - The pistes are un-kept which means little opportunities to let rip with some high speed carving – a lot of time was spent navigating your way through lumps and bumps. If it wasn't for the poles you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between off and on piste. - Poor selection of mountain restaurants – all very expensive with long queues again! - The walk up to the gondola Overall – if you know what you are going for (i.e some extreme off-piste skiing) and the rewards of your holiday outweigh the bad points, then I suppose it could be brilliant – it's definitely best to stay in Chamonix itself as the others offer very little to do – we stayed in a self catering chalet in Les Houches – only to find the supermarket was 2 miles away and we didn't have a car!!! It seemed like a holiday full of inconveniences – we had a mixed ability group and certainly would not recommend it for this purpose. To get the most out of Chamonix you have to ensure you are going for the right reasons and have the ability to make the positives outweigh the negatives. I can imagine that Chamonix, in the right conditions for the right person, offers a very good holiday. But definitely not for us – we won't be heading there again soon.