Ski France

Chamonix Resort Reviews

Ski France

Chamonix Resort Reviews

Visitor reviews for Chamonix Ski Resort

Chamonix Ratings

Overall: 4.0. Based on 49 votes and 87 reviews. Vote

Access: 4.6

(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: 4.0

(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: 3.1

(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: 3.7

(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.

Shelter: 3.3

(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: 4.9

(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: 4.3

(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): 3.7

(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.

Show all 35 ratings

January 26, 2008
jon Hick from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Chamonix certainly ranks as one of the best ski destinations in the world! To get the best out of your visit, book a local French, English speaking, Mountain Guide through Franck Chapon at Chamonix Sport Adventure and experience the Vallee Blanche (longest run in the world), Heli-ski, Ice Climbing, Paragliding, Ski Touring, Ski/Snowboard Lessons. A great all year destination!
April 08, 2019
Simon cook from Ski France France
Don't expect a ski resort; Chamonix is a spectacular mountain town. it would be wrong to try to compare Chamonix with a huge purpose built "ski drome" such as Les Trois Vallees. It does have some of the most challenging world class free-ride terrain and off-piste potential, enough to challenge most people for a lifetime; world class skiing and ski touring but you will have to make an effort and give of yourself to make the most of it.. Hire a guide or join a guided group.
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.
March 18, 2008
sandra from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Had to respond to the pretty negative comments about Chamonix. As beginner skiers, we found Chamonix a really good place to ski. The ESF ski school and the beginner slopes were fantastic (le Tours, Les Planards etc). We did not queue very long for any of the lifts, but I do agree with the comment that the European children do not have any manners on the slopes (whizz past at high speed with no consideration for the beginners) or when queuing for the lifts - they just queue jump all of the time! The ski buses were regular (albeit packed) and took people to a variety of slopes, depending of your level and where you wanted to ski. This was a free service for all guests staying in the town. Our weather was superb - snowing some days, or gorgeous sunshine up on the mountains. The pistes were in good condition throughout out stay. I did not find the prices extortionate - in fact, I thought it was going to be more expensive. We had a good lunch, with drinks for approximately £10 - £15 for 2 in the mountain cafe/bar. The town is larger than I expected, but this meant there was a good variety of restaurants, bars and shops - I liked & preferred this to a small limited village. Overall, we were very happy here, so much so, we have booked another ski holiday here in January, and will try another resort in March 09. I may not have had years of experience skiing, trying different slopes or countries, but the initial impression of Chamonix was that it created a perfect ski holiday for 2 beginners.
March 17, 2008
Wendy Doyle from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Visited Chamonix March 2008, and I really don't know what all the fuss is about. Horrible, dull looking town, have to drive to all the lift stations, queues everywhere, no fun apres-ski, no chocolate box atmosphere or lovely looking hotels like in Austria, and hardly any mountain restaurants, but a good view of Mont Blanc, naturally. Weather was crap, no snow to ski back to the town, let alone have the luxury of skiing back to your hotel. Lift system: diabolical, 2 hour queues just to get back DOWN the mountain at the end of the day at Brevent/Flegere and at £195 for a weeks lift pass that is disgusting value. Only saving grace was my fabulous luxury hotel, the Hameau Albert 1er - wonderful and would go back just to spend a weekend there. Have to say.... did the Valle Blanche - a wonderful experience, but the skiing, ambiance, service, facilities and level of friendliness is not a patch on the many many years I have skied in Austria and loved it. Sorry Chamonix lovers - but this place is HUGELY over-rated and run down me thinks.... and I certainly wouldn't take my children.
March 09, 2008
Mike from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Just returned from Chamonix after my first visit to this resort. I have skied many resorts over the last 25 years of skiing, in most Alps countries and North America so can hopefully offer a balanced view. As a ski resort, Chamonix is not beginner friendly as the ski areas for beginners are very small in comparison to the main slopes. There is a big transition between the beginner slopes and the easiest of the main mountain slopes. The cable car lifts are fantastic - but not for the faint hearted!!. The positives - for decent intermediates and above the skiing is excellent. Varied terrains of pisted runs and an abundance of off-piste. Steeps, moguls, powder, it can all be found easily as it is easy to pick your chosen areas as you ride the lifts up!! There is a variety of ranges, offering a good scope of gradings. The negatives - organisation and customer service is not good. Be prepared to queue - seemingly all the time!! for cable cars, lifts, buses. If you have skied North America this will be a real shock to you and if you are polite and let people through (as we British tend to do) you will never get on. Also that very European thing of queue jumping is all too common. It would be a very simple thing to sort out but would take some investment - something which is sadly lacking. Be prepared to pay over the odds for pretty much everything. Chamonix is an expensive resort to stay in. On the mountain a coffee can be £3 in a paper cup and a beer at the end of the day? The most expensive we found was £10.00 for a pint!! In the town, generally it is about £5.00 a pint. Health & Safety is a very secondary consideration. The ski buses with 30 seats can have up to 80 people on them - most of whom stand up as the driver hurtles along. Valle Blanche is an excellent run, again not for the faint hearted and is a real endurance test. All-in-all, Chamonix is not a place I will be rushing back to.
January 26, 2008
Larry from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
Just returned from a trip to Chamonix! Superb skiing and snowboarding!! Fantastic snow, great off-piste runs, friendly people and a great atmosphere for both singles and families. Choose a hotel in the centre of Chamonix to experience the great restaurants and nightlife. Local buses are available to take you to the resorts. Definitely agree with other reviews that it is best to book a guide - he will take you away from the crowds and find the best ski areas according to the conditions. We too tried Franck Chapon and I would highly recommend him. Will definitely be going back!