Chamonix - Pros and Cons

Aug 22nd, 2006, 03:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 479
Chamonix - Pros and Cons

I am currently planning a ski trip to Europe with a group of friends in Feb 2007. I am keen to go to Chamonix but is facing resistance from some of the group members. They have provided me with a list of Pros and Cons as follows,

Pros for Chamonix -

* Great resort, both famous and infamous. Great food. Looks like great accommodation where we intend to stay. Great views and vistas.

* Close to Geneva

* Great skiing for intermediate to expert skiers. Fantastic long runs.

* Can ski to other resorts, as well as to Courmayeur. But one must take off-piste runs to get to them.

* Probably paradise for expert skiers due to all the hairy runs - steeps, powder, trees, cliffs, couloirs, ski touring !

Cons for Chamonix -

* When the weather gets bad, it will be very difficult for most skiers. The
wide expanses offer no protection from the weather.

* Really bad queues, especially in the middle of FEB. We are talking
up to 40 minutes during nice weather, since Chamonix is so popular. Traffic within the town can be bad also.

* There should be plenty to keep intermediate skiers occupy as the runs can be long, though lacking in variety. Having said that, no one wants to play the same golf course for 1 week. Some think that the choice of runs available is very limited and will get bored quickly.

* The good runs are the off-pistes, and a guide is a must. If you stick to
marked runs, there is a chance a good intermediate skier may get bored.

* Ski areas widely separated and the group will be split up during most of the trip, some on this mountain and others on another mountain.

* Lift system is antiquated and not well connected. Bus rides might be required in between runs. Nearing end of day, you'll be waiting forever to take a lift (from higher areas) down to valley. They also operate a
booking system when the queue is greater than 30 minutes.

* Poor snow down near valley.

Can someone comment on the validity of the above points?

Much appreciated!

swagman is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2006, 04:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 221
Other negative aspects :

In the English-speaking countries, Chamonix has been considered THE French ski resort (undiservingly in my view), since the British discovered the place in the 19th century. It is now a very touristy place, still full of Anglo-saxon holiday-makers, but with little architectural charm, outside the expensive modern chalets around. The place does not get the sun during the winter (mountains around are too high) but gets all the pollution from the nearby motorway and Mont Blanc tunnel.

There are many nicer ski resorts in the French Alps : Megève, Tignes, La Plagne...
Trudaine is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2006, 04:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,176
Can you off-piste to Courmayeur?

You can - and thousands do - off-piste from Italy across the Vallee Blanche to the outskirts of Chamonix. And there's lots of off-piste accessible from Chamonix all over the place.

But as far as I'm aware, the best you can do going from Chamonix to Italy (and it's a nasty journey, involving climbing up ice steps) is off piste to a point where you can climb up to the Punto Helbronner teleferique station, then get the teleferique (expensively) down to La Palud for a bus to Courmayeur.

Bear in mind that in February, especially around French half-term holidays, all your worries about crowds, queues or messy connections is true many times over. And the French Alps are awash with resorts that handle crowds a lot, lot better.

Go to the readers' revies in the Chamonix section of for a lot more very mixed views on Chamonix in peak season.
flanneruk is offline  
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