SARL Peak Transfer
44a Chemin du Lai
Chamonix Mt Blanc
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So you have decided to come to Chamonix for your ski holiday, after you have sorted your accommodation, how you are going to get there (hopefully using Peak Transfer!) the most important thing is to sort out your ski pass! Compagnie du Mont Blanc having just released their Winter 2015 – 2016 season dates and exciting new partnerships including Evasion Mont Blanc I know certainly I have not been more excited to get my hands on a ski pass. If you have stayed in Chamonix before or have taken a look at the Compagnie du Mont Blanc website then you know this is not as easy as it sounds! There are so many passes to choose from and so many different skiing area options it can be quite confusing and/ or overwhelming. Hopefully we at Peak Transfer can sort that out for you and make it clear and easy to find and purchase the right pass for your needs whilst telling you a bit about the ski area.
In 1997 the once separate Brevent & Flégère ski areas were connected through the aptly named ‘Liaison’ cable car to make the now Brevent-Flégère area. This area provides a diverse terrain skiing both on and off-piste which you can enjoy in the sun all day due to its South aspect…Perfect for any sunny fair weather skiers amongst you. However, although these areas are now joined both provide a rather different flavour.
Access to Brevent is the closest to Chamonix Centre which is in walking distance (although treacherously steep in icy conditions) from the high street. You can also access by the free winter shuttle or there is a small (chargeable) car park available. The Brevent side is reasonably steep and has only one green run so is not an ideal area for beginners or those with young children. Predominantly aimed at intermediate to advanced skiers it has a bit of everything even to challenge the best of skiers such as the infamous non-pisted (but patrolled) Charles Bozon black run and the vast off-piste terrain available. There is a reason why the Swatch Freewide World Tour is held in Brevent attracting some of the world best skiers every year!
Flégère is slightly more beginner friendly but by no means is this area the best for beginners. It can be accessed in Les Praz by the free shuttle, or has a free (but small) car park. Again vast off-piste and varied pisted terrain is available and is a good shout for a powder day without the masses that Grands Montets attracts, meaning that you can find fresh untouched powder well into the afternoon. For those looking to discover the world off off-piste but without the added dangers that unfortunately come with it there are a number of runs such as the Les Praz black run that although is not the hardest black slope you will come across is left un-pisted but remains patrolled. This is a considerably long run so you can really get your teeth stuck into it!
Summary: 6 Blacks Pistes, 9 Red Pistes, 8 Blue Pistes, 4 Green Pistes, Best for intermediate skiers wanting to branch into the off-piste world and advance skiers looking for varied and interesting steep terrain and natural cliff kickers. New list editions have majorly reduced lift ques including the Brevent gondola 6-man Index chair 4-man La Trappe chair… Ideal! Live info including webcams, lift and piste status visit the Compagnie du Mont Blanc Brevent-Flégère Info Page.
The largest of all the Chamonix Valley ski areas stretching across three mountain sides (Argentière, Lognan and La Pendant) and without doubt the most popular. Located a little further down the valley from Chamonix town centre itself in Argentiére, you can access the area by the free winter shuttle or by car with the use of a large free car park at the bottom of the lift.
It popularity is likely down to its high altitude (3300m) and north by north-west facing orientation guaranteeing and maintaining an excellent base and snow cover making it a ‘dead cert.’ no matter what stage of the season…great for Snow Worshipers. Skiing can be excepted from early December to as late as May. With the new Plan Joran Gondola in place capable of transporting 3,000 people per hour up the mountain and recent updates to other lifts and facilities this ski area has got even better. However, this does mean that sunlight are the comprise for great snow (particularly off-piste). In truth this is a very shady ski area that only gets full on sun in a few selected spots late in the day…sorry Sun Worshipers!
Grands Montets is all about the Freeriding / Offpiste terrain! Reknowned like much of the Chamonix Valley for its long slopes and bountiful bowls the world over you never leave disappointed if your a serious off piste skier. It does not have any of your fancy facilities and features other resorts and areas may have to attract and so no good if you are wanting to hit a snow park, slalom or ski cross. It’s ‘thrills’ but no ‘frills’ ungroomed off-piste skiing and snowboarding with a handful of pistes which make getting from one lift to another a little easier! Again, like much of Chamonix this area is defiantly not beginner friendly due to it’s steep, icy and glaciated terrain. Although some blue runs are listed in this ski area, these in any other resort would be graded red or above, I’m sure of it!
As mentioned previously Grands Montets can be a victim of its on success and ques on powder days, good weather days and peak holidays are likely. Another factor to consider when choosing the area to ski is that the top half of Grands Montets is glacier skiing. Although very popular for off-piste skiing you need to take into consideration that off the piste runs you are skiing on are a glacier and there is a real risk of cravasses and avalanches especially after fresh powder.
BE AWARE the Les Grands Montets téléphérique (3300m) aka ‘the top lift’ is run by a separate company and does not necessarily come included with all lift passes (see Ski Pass section), if not included in your pass tickets can be purchased at the Lognan Lift or at the ticket desk in Argentière. If your planning to hit Grands Montets for the whole day we would say the extra €10 was worth it just for the view of the Aiguilles and Mont Blanc from the observation platform, let alone the endless off piste potential.
Summary: 5 Blacks Pistes, 3 Red Pistes, 3 Blue Pistes, 0 Green Pistes, Best for advanced skiers/ borders and those that know what they are doing off-piste wise wanting a challenging and exhilarating day on the mountain. Not suitable for beginners! Live info including webcams, lift and piste status visit the Compagnie du Mont Blanc Grands Montets Info Page.
Balme Tour Vallorcine IS the best and probably the only ski area in the valley for beginners. It is also a great ski area for intermediates and young familes. Saying that it’s a brilliant first day skiing, to find those ‘ol ski legs’ even for the most advanced skiers, especially if its been a while! Located at the far end of the valley (near the Swiss border), if staying in Chamonix centre does require a significant bus journey (around 30 minutes) or car which you can park in the large free Montroc car park at the bottom on the Charamillon gondola. Something to consider if booking into beginner lessons as most ski schools will ask to meet in this ski area rather than Brevent-Flégère or Grands Montets ski areas.
The beginner (Vormaine) area is ideally located at the bottom of the ski area with a number of drag lifts for novices or young children with its green and blue runs. the rest of the ski area is mostly long greens, blues, and reds which in combination with no restrictions (of the mountain variety) to sunlight means that your in the sun all day (weather depending obviously). Making learning the ski/ snowboard that little bit more enjoyable!!!
A relatively new chair lift has now connected both the Le Balme Le Tour & Vallorcine ski areas which has really added value to now even greater ski area. These new lift additions provide great accessibility which means less queuing and more skiing. Vallorcine and Le Tour are sublimely unspoilt traditional villages with stunning scenary upon alpine pastures with gruelling breathtaking panoramic views overlooking the entire Chamonix valley from the slopes or beautiful tree line skiing on the Vallorcine side.
But don’t be fooled, there is something for everyone not just beginners! Although many of the locals would love it to remain a well kept secret (sorry guys), the back-side of Le Tour and hidden off-piste forrest runs down to Vallorcine train station provide plentiful off-piste possibilities and are generally a locals favourite within the Chamonix Valley.
Summary: 1 Black Piste, 7 Red Pistes, 11 Blue Pistes, 2 Green Pistes, Best beginner and intermediate skiers or to break you in nicely for more experienced skiiers. Also great for some tree-line off-piste…if you know where to look! Live info including webcams, lift and piste status visit the Compagnie du Mont Blanc Balme Tour Vallorcine area Info Page
There are a number of ski passes to choose from in the Chamonix valley but the MONT BLANC Unlimted and the CHAMONIX LePass are the two main and cheapest options for those skiing for the week/ weekend in the valley. Depending on your skiing ability, preferences, timescale and additional attractions you would like to see will determine which is the right pass for you.
The MONT BLANC Unlimited is the ‘all singing, all dancing’ ski pass on offer. Not only does it give you unlimited access to the Chamonix Valley Ski areas mentioned above but to also access to resorts in three (yes we said three!) different countries! By purchasing this pass you have (limited) access the the Swiss, 4 Vallées Ski Resort of Verbier, and to the Italian Ski Resort of Courmayeur on the opposite side of Mont Blanc itself. Both of which are probably the best day trips to be had from Chamonix, that we at Peak Transfer can provide private personalised transfer service for you, but more of that in a another blog article! New for this 2015 – 2016 Winter season Compagnie du Mont Blanc have partnered with Evasion Mont Blanc providing access to the neighbouring ski areas of Saint Gervais & Megève.
Here is a summary of the areas covered by the MONT BLANC Unlimited Pass:
This is truly the ‘carte blanche’ equivalents of the ski pass world, but with that comes the rather expensive price tag. The main thing we at peak Transfer would advise you to do it have a think about what areas you could realistically cover and mange in your holiday time frame. For the keen experienced ‘first to last lifters’ or the ambitious ‘ski safari lovers’ amongst you its a no brainer that this is the pass for you! Even for the less ambitious of us, if you are planning any extra curricular activities such as swimming, ice skating or visiting a museum or two after a day on the slopes. Or you plan taking in the notorious and infamous sites of Chamonix such as the Aiguille du Midi, Tramway du Mont Blanc and Montenvers Mer de Glace train this pass may actually be of better value for you. However, if you have no interest in skiing further afield than the Chamonix Valley itself the CHAMONIX LePass option might be the best bet.
For more information and the opportunity to purchase the MONT BLANC Unlimted Ski Pass online please visit the Compagnie du Mont Blanc website. Passes are also available to buy at Campagnie du Mont Blanc Office (details below) or at Most base lift station ticket desks.
If you plan to keep things simple, or just can’t face the thought of travelling further than the Valley to ski (because you are on holiday after all!!!) then the CHAMONIX Le Pass gives you access to all the Chamonix Valley ski areas for a lot less than the Unlimited Pass. Its also a great option for those perhaps on the beginner to intermediate side of skiing or are planning to bring their family and are unlikely to run out of ski slope to explore within the week or so they plan to stay in Chamonix. The main things to note would be the ‘top lift’ of the Grands Montets Ski area is not included in this pass. However, like mentioned previously this can be easily purchased for the days you actually plan/ make it up there.
Here is a summary of the areas covered by the CHAMONIX LePass:
Benefits of the CHAMONIX LePass include:
For more information and the opportunity to purchase the CHAMONIX LePass online please visit the Compagnie du Mont Blanc website. Passes are also available to buy at Campagnie du Mont Blanc Office (details below) or at Most base lift station ticket desks.
Address: 35 Place de la Mer de Glace, 74400, Chamonix Mont-Blanc.
Tel: +33 (0)4 50 53 22 75
If you would like to travel to the slopes in style, beat the ques, scrapping over parking spaces and make the start and end of your ski day stress free, Peak Transfer offer in-resort transfers across the Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc Evasion Ski Areas. We also offer competitive and low cost Day Trips to/ from resorts covered by the MONT BLANC Unlimited Ski Pass including Courmayeur, Verbier, St Gervais and Megève. Leaving you to just think about how hard you plan to hit the slopes that day and reminisce the days events with friends and family heading back from the slopes. Just sling us an email with your requirements here and we will sort it all out for you.