Resort Profile: Chamonix

By adamrowden, 15 Nov '12 at 16:41

One of the few serious contenders for the title of World's Most Famous Ski Resort, Chamonix Mont Blanc (as the resort prefers to be known) has the world's biggest lift-served skiable vertical drop of 2807 metres ( 9209 feet ), one of the world's longest runs through the Vallée Blanche at 22 km ( 13.7 miles ) and staged the World's first Winter Olympics in 1924.

Beyond these spectacular statistics is Chamonix's relatively undisputed status as the world's tough mountain sports capital, the subject of endless ski magazine reports each season from editors wishing to prove they descended between the glacial crevasses and lived to tell the tale!

For lesser mortals there are plenty of on-piste kilometres to soak up, all dominated by the spectacular scenery of Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest peak (and Europe's second highest after Mt Elbrus in Russia, although some dispute whether Elbrus is in Europe).

Chamonix's history has been traced to Bronze Age times and its current status was confirmed in a report as far back as 1751 when the locals were described as the most uncompromising men in Europe. Ten years before that Englishmen William Windham and Richard Pococke had been on the first recorded tourist trip, reaching the Mer de Glace.

The first skis in the valley were spotted in 1893 and by 1907 one of the world first cable cars, 'Les Glaciers' was in operation (since removed). Six more were to follow between 1927 and 1963. The Mont Blanc Tunnel opened a few years later ensuring first rate access infrastructure in to the future. Chamonix Mont Blanc itself is a lively town with its own character, not just one created every winter season and reinvented every summer. That character reflects the attitude of its residents and of most visitors - a true love of the mountains.

So, when it comes to skiing and snowboarding Chamonix has some truly cracking off-piste. The most famous is most definitely the Vallée Blanche, which itself is legendary. You simply take the cable car (20 mins) and then leave the summit of the Aiguille du Midi. Once at the top of the Vallée Blanche and start to descend you will realise just how huge the mountains are and will appreciate the wonder of backcountry and off-piste skiing and snowboarding. From the top you will travel over 20km back to Chamonix, and you will love it.

When it comes to on-piste activities, Chamonix doesn’t fail to deliver either. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or expert skier or snowboarder this awesome resort will always have just the thing for you. Freestyle, freeride, telemarking, Chamonix has the terrain to suit all of your needs.

Chamonix does play host to some great après bars including The Jekyll, Monkey, Munster and La Terrasse among others. These establishments are all ace for a beer and entertainment. Take your pick, you won’t be let down.

The Highlights:

- Great off piste
- The Vallée Blanche
- World famous resort
- Some brilliant bars and restaurants

For more resort profiles click here. Or, to find a good transfer company to take you to Chamonix click here.

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