Marathon du Mont Blanc : Chamonix Trail Running

One of the sporting highlights of the Chamonix summer season takes place this weekend – the Marathon du Mont Blanc.

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixThe event comprises 5 main races; the Vertical KM, the 10KM, the Cross du Mont Blanc Half Marathon, the Marathon du Mont Blanc and the 80KM du Mont Blanc, as well as a handful of “mini-marathons” for children.

Hiking in ChamonixThe classic is the Marathon du Mont Blanc; 42km covering 2760m of positive elevation gain and 2 big climbs up and over the Aiguillette des Posettes at 2201m, then dropping back down to the valley floor only to scramble back up again to the finish line at Plan Praz 2016m.

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixYou may wonder who on earth would voluntarily choose to put themselves through this? Well, funnily enough, all of the races are filling up faster and faster each year with tens of thousands of people desperate to take part – only 2000 are lucky enough to gain a place in the marathon, with 1500 running in the Cross and 1000 in the 80km.

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixI hesitate to call them “races” as for most people they’re not so much about what ranking you get as to how much you relish the whole experience. From joining your fellow runners at the start line as the sun comes up over the mountains, to slogging up steep alpine trails, traversing high altitude ridges, trying not to trip as you gawp open-mouthed at the stunning view, channeling your inner mountain goat as you bound down technical descents, scarfing cheese and chocolate at the fueling stations, being cheered on by weathered old farmers as you charge through their cow pastures… it’s about a lot more than “what time did you get?”.

Marathon du Mont Blanc ChamonixOnce you’ve crossed the finish line and got that medal round your neck you may find yourself in need of a little TLC – perhaps a soak in a hot tub, or a relaxing leg massage, maybe even a physio session with a sports fitness specialist? Book your treatment in advance to be sure of availability, those masseurs are going to be very busy over the next few days!

Canyoning in ChamonixIf you’ve decided to make a holiday of it and stay in Chamonix beyond the weekend then take a look at our summer activities to see what you can do while you are here – you can check out the marathon route from above with a parapente flight over the valley, or stretch out those stiff legs with a spot of rock climbing. If you’ve come with the family there are plenty of children’s activities that everyone can enjoy.

marathon-06We’ll be cheering on four of our team members this weekend, as Sophie from Mountain Lifestyle and Meg from Mountain Base are both entered in the marathon, while Sonya and Cherie from Mountain Lifestyle will be running in the Cross. Whichever challenge you’re taking on this weekend, we wish you the best of luck and we’ll see you at the finish line!

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Summer Lift Openings & Discounted Lift Passes in Chamonix

Summer is officially here! The sun might have been getting in plenty of practise over the last couple of weeks but now the real fun begins, when the lift system starts up again for another season of hiking, mountain biking, trail running, paragliding, rock climbing… the possibilities are endless.

Make the most of your time in Chamonix with an extra day on your lift pass for free! For example, book a 6 day pass and only pay for 5 days. This special offer is available on all lift passes of 6 to 9 days, children and family passes included.
Contact us directly to purchase your reduced rate summer lift pass

The following lifts are scheduled to open at 9am tomorrow morning:

Hiking in ChamonixLe Brevent
Looming over the centre of Chamonix, this sunny mountain is one of the most popular spots for paragliding. A gondola lift takes you up to the midway point at 2000m and then a cable car will whisk you all the way to the top at 2525m. There are hiking trails galore, one of the most beautiful being the Aiguillette des Houches via Lac du Brevent.
Paragliding in Chamonix – find out more 

Lac Blanc at Flegere ChamonixLa Flegere
Rising up from the pretty little village of Les Praz is the Flegere cable car, taking you high above the golf course to an Alpine paradise. Fantastic views of Mont Blanc and the Argentiere glacier are reflected in the glassy waters of Lac Blanc. Hiking the trail across from Brevent to Flegere is an absolute must – keeps your eyes open for marmots! There are lots of lakes, mountain huts and remote trails in this area; consider a guided hike to make the most of your stay.
Hiking in Chamonix – find out more

Les Houches SummerLes Houches
You can reach Les Houches in 3 ways; the Bellevue cable car, the Prarion gondola or the Tramway du Mont Blanc. The first two options are the most convenient but the tram is a real experience, starting in Saint-Gervais and gently chugging up the mountainside to the highest point at Nid d’Aigle beside the snout of the Bionassay glacier; this is where many a Mont Blanc expedition starts from. The Les Houches area is a tranquil haven of goat pastures, wildflower meadows, gentle hiking trails and cross-country mountain bike tracks. Make sure you pop in to the goat farm at La Charme to taste some genuine local cheese!
Climbing Mont Blanc – find out more

summer-chamonix-le-tour-03Le Tour & Vallorcine
Right on the Swiss border, these rolling hills and sweeping trails are a mecca for hikers and mountain bikers. A large network of dedicated trails and bike routes make it easy to explore the alpages. There are also a couple of mountain restaurants with sunny terraces looking out over panoramic views of the Chamonix valley.
Mountain biking in Chamonix – find out more

The Aiguille du Midi cable car and Montenvers-Mer de Glace train are open year round, with the new attraction Step Into the Void scheduled to open soon. Les Grands Montets is scheduled to reopen on the 27th June.

Please visit our Chamonix Summer Activities page for more inspiration on what to do during your visit.

Feeling the Heat? Our 5 Favourite Places to Cool Off in Chamonix

Hiking in Chamonix, Lac Blanc FlegereLac Blanc, La Flegere
One of the most stunning spots in the Mont Blanc Valley, this picturesque mountain lake gets its name from the white peaks reflected in its calm surface. You have to earn your refreshment though, as Lac Blanc is at 2352m! Take the Flegere cable car up to 1877m and then the hike across takes about an hour and a half through high alpine pastures, where it is common to see bouquetin, marmots and other mountain wildlife. Then kick off your hiking boots and dip your feet in the icy cold water while you soak up the magnificent view. If you really want to explore the area then consider booking a hiking guide to show you the valley in all its glory.

Lac de PassyLake Passy
For a taste of Costa-del-Chamonix, head to Lac de Passy where you’ll find a sandy beach, ice cream kiosks, BBQ grills, shady trees, pedalos and even a nearby go-karting track. You can get there by train to Saint-Gervais and then a walk of about 4km but the easiest option is to get a group of mates together and book a minibus through our partners at Haute Transfer – they’ll pick you up and drop you off from your door, so you won’t have to struggle too far with the coolbox, deck chairs, snorkels, picnic, inflatable crocodile…

Chamonix swimming poolCentre Sportif Richard Bozon
Located right in the centre of Chamonix is the local sports centre with indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The indoor section is open all year round and has a 25m swimming pool and a smaller childrens play area with bubble pools and a slide. The outdoor area is open from 20th June 2015 and features a 50m swimming pool, a children’s splash pool, slides, sunbathing decks and a park area with duck pond, table tennis and a snack kiosk, not to mention incredible views of Mont Blanc while you’re doing your backstroke. Entry to the sports centre is reduced with your Carte d’Hote guest card, issued to all Mountain Lifestyle guests on arrival.

Hotel les Aiglons swimming poolDeep Nature Spa
An oasis in the mountains, the Deep Nature Spa at Hotel Les Aiglons is the perfect place to kick back and relax after a long day of sightseeing. With an outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room you can unwind whilst looking up at Mont Blanc and planning your next day of activities. They also have a luxurious spa where you can indulge in a massage or beauty treatment, and then perhaps enjoy a glass of something sparkling from the bar… Mountain Lifestyle guests enjoy a 10% discount on all spa treatments at Hotel Les Aiglons.
Paradis des Praz ChamonixParadis des Praz
One for the kids and the young at heart! Paradis des Praz is a magical little clearing in a shady pine forest where a bubbling mountain stream widens into a natural paddling pool. With a playground, rope swings, ponies and a snack kiosk there is plenty to keep everyone happy on a sunny day. It is within easy cycling distance of Chamonix and is located along an off-road trail, so why not hire a bike and make a fun day out of it?