NYE in Chamonix : Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve

Joyeux Noel! We hope you had a fantastic Christmas, whether here in Chamonix or elsewhere…

Where will you be seeing in the New Year? There are loads of options here in Chamonix, from champagne and oysters in a cosy restaurant to dancing the night away in a packed nightclub.

The big news this year is that GORILLAZ Sound System will be coming to Chamonix! They’ll be playing a fantastic 2 hour set, supported by the famous video graphics of Jamie Hewlett. The iconic British DJ crew will be bringing the whole experience to the Salle Olca in Les Houches, tickets are just 45€ and there will be shuttle buses running back and forth between Chamonix and Les Houches.

It’ll be the biggest night in the valley, with the beats dropping until 6am – other guest DJs lined up to keep us going until morning include Stereoheroes, Epic Empire and Chamonix’s very own Mister Pop. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance, this will be a sell-out for sure.

New Years Eve Chamonix party at Monkey BarKeeping it more local is the NYE Dirty Disco at Monkey in Chamonix Sud – no dress code, no entry fee, just come along and be prepared to party hard and late. There’ll be no first lift for you the next day.

If you fancy more of a pub crawl then start your night with apres-ski at Chambre Neuf, calling in at Elevation, MOO Bar and Pointe Isabelle as you make your way to the clock tower in time for the midnight countdown and firework display. From here you can either pop into The Pub on your way to Chamonix Sud, or call into La Terrasse on your way to Rue des Moulins – for a small town there’s plenty of places to party!

 

Chamonix Christmas LightsChamonix also has a massive choice of wonderful restaurants to choose from – you can enjoy gourmet French cuisine such as truffles and oysters or go traditional Alpine with an oozing pot of fondue and a bottle of Genepi. Many restaurants are offering special festive menus and will be lovely places to cosy up for the evening with friends or family. For more ideas of where to eat in Chamonix, take a look at our Chamonix Restaurants Guide for our favourite recommendations.

Chamonix activities, ice climbing in winterIf you’re looking for a special way to see in the New Year then how about trying something new and exciting for 2016?

Ice climbing, ski touring and glacier hiking are all open at the moment and are fantastic experiences that you’ll remember long after you’ve gone home and back to work.

Have a look at our Chamonix Winter Activities page for inspiration and tick a few more things off your bucket list before 2015 is through!

Christmas in Chamonix : Festive Fun in the Mountains

montenvers-christmas-train-2015Santa’s Grotto
If you’ve not sat on Santa’s knee yet and told him what you’d like for Christmas, then hop on the Montenvers train before it’s too late! Special Christmas trains are running over the weekend (included in your Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass) up to the Mer de Glace, where Santa and his elves have set up their workshop in preparation for the big day. Once there you can also see the glacier, visit the ice caves and check out the crystal gallery.

Chamonix Christmas LightsChristmas Market
The centre of Chamonix is lined with little wooden chalets, decked out in fairy lights and offering all sorts of festive treats. Perfect for a bit of last minute Christmas shopping, you’ll find unusual Alpine gifts and interesting local products whilst enjoying a mulled wine – better than battling round a packed shopping centre any day.

chambelles-christmas-2015Chambelles Christmas Concert
Those of you who missed the ladies of the Chambelles Choir in all their sparkly splendour last night have one more chance to catch them for an evening of festive frolics and Christmas carols on Sunday 20th December, 6pm at the Eglise Reformée (church opposite the train station). Entry is free, with all donations going to a worthwhile charity.

Tramway du Mont BlancTramway du Mont Blanc
For a magical ride into the mountains, the Tramway du Mont Blanc is a wonderful experience for all ages. Opening tomorrow and included in your Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass, it leaves from Saint-Gervais and chugs up the mountainside to the ski slopes of Les Houches. Take snow shoes or sturdy boots and get out at Col de Voza for a stomp around in the snow and hot chocolate at the charming old Courant d’Air farmhouse.

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Finally, don’t miss out on the Christmas Eve celebrations in the centre of Chamonix with music, entertainments and a final appearance by Father Christmas himself before he flies off in his sleigh. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from Chamonix!

 

Chamonix Ski Season Kicks Off with Two Events this Weekend

Mont Blanc Ski Challenge ski touring in ChamonixSo, the first ski race of the season kicks off this weekend up at Le Tour with the Mont Blanc Ski Challenge. At 9am on Saturday morning hoards of keen beans will dash off on touring skis to skin up 1400m in a loop around the Col de Balme ski area. It’s a great event to be a part of and there’ll be plenty of people there to support the racers, so go along and give them a cheer.

Ski touring in Chamonix with a mountain GuideSki touring is a fantastic way to get away from the pistes and lift systems and retreat into the untracked snow of the Chamonix backcountry. You can learn the basics on an introductory ski touring course where an instructor will teach you how to skin uphill, make kick-turns, use couteaux before skiing back off-piste. If you want to take it further we also offer longer ski tour courses of 2 to 5 days, where you’ll get to explore classic Chamonix ski touring routes and learn how to go further off-piste safely.

nordic monster testFor those who prefer to take things at their own pace, the Nordic Monster Test will also be taking place this weekend at the Foyer du Fond. From 10am on Saturday you can try out all the latest cross-country ski equipment, completely free of charge. There’s usually a prizes to be won at the tombola, as well as ski waxing lessons, cakes, crepes and hot drinks. Members of the Chamonix Ski de Fond club and staff from Ravanel Sports will be on hand to give you advice and chat about their favourite sport – if you’re lucky they may even take you for a spin around the trails and give you some top tips!

 

Cross-country skiing in Chamonix Mont BlancChamonix has around 20km of groomed cross-country ski trails, through the pine forests of Bois de Bouchet and alongside the river at Desert Blanc – there’s even a shooting range for biathlon training! Cross-country skiing is easy to master and can either be a gentle cruise or a full-body workout, depending on how hard you want to push yourself – book a cross-country ski lesson to get yourself started and find out why we love it so much.

Chalet in ChamonixThis weekend’s events are only the first of a whole heap of activities both on and off the mountain that will be keeping us busy this winter.

If you’ve not planned your winter holiday yet then don’t miss out, take a look at our Chamonix accommodation before it’s all booked up.

Hello winter! Getting our ski legs back with a private ski lesson

Even folks who are lucky enough to live in Chamonix can benefit from a few tips to improve their skiing. This is what happened when a member of the Mountain Lifestyle team took a private lesson with Chamonix ski instructor Rachel Kerr…

Living in Chamonix for the last six years, I have firmly resided in the snowboarding camp, so last winter I was ready for a new challenge on the mountain, and having skied as a child decided to revisit life on 2 planks instead of 1. I wasn’t quite the complete beginner, but my sketchy technique from 25 years ago was certainly in need of some “fine tuning” from an expert.

12322843_887431241347581_4015209336478610302_oRachel Kerr, independent ski instructor, based in Chamonix for the last eleven years, was the perfect choice for my private half day lesson. Collecting me from home on a cold, cloudy, snowy morning, we headed straight for Grands Montets “for the best visibility”. On the way to the mountain we chatted about what I wanted to achieve from my lesson, and any previous experience I may have had.

Heading up together in the lift, Rachel assessed my equipment, made a few small adjustments, and we were off! Through a series of practical exercises, we made our way from the top of the Bochard to the bottom of the home run stopping every couple of minutes to fine tune and practice the moves and explain why they were important to improve my skiing.

10888467_729637287126978_358188656103605977_nWith Rachel making regular adjustments and encouragements, the varied terrain at Grands Montets tested all aspects of my technique and ability. Her years of experience in teaching really shone through in how she broke down and explained every aspect of what was required in terms of weight distribution and body positioning, which as a snowboarder is quite a different discipline.

As a result of her positivity and constant encouragement my confidence grew. By the time I reached the end of our 3 hour lesson, I had been skiing on one ski at a time, making speed stops, begun to master the finer points of parallel turns, and was happily flying around Grands Montets’ red runs, albeit with burning thigh muscles. I definitely deserved my chocolat chaud at the bottom!!

Taking on board everything I learnt in only a few hours, I was raring to go again to try out my new found techniques and confidence. I skied almost as much as I snowboarded last winter, and by the end of the winter season had invested in new ski equipment, and am raring to get back onto the mountain this winter!

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If you’d like to book a ski lesson with Rachel, or with any of our other ski instructors, please contact us for more details.

10954564_744251688998871_5668283101689446267_nNow is the perfect time to brush up your skills in readiness for winter, the lifts at Les Houches and Les Grands Montets are opening this weekend, with the rest of the Chamonix valley scheduled to open within the next couple of weeks.

Visit the Mountain Lifestyle website to check live lift schedules and keep an eye on snow conditions with our Chamonix webcams.