Springtime in Chamonix : What’s On & Where to Go

With the news that Chamonix golf course is partially open as of today, it really feels like spring is in the air – despite the return of the snow.

Since the clocks went forward a couple of weeks ago, the days have been getting longer and warmer with the emphasis leaning more towards the apres than the ski… Conditions are still fairly good up in the mountains and there has actually been some fresh snow this week but one of the many joys of spring is the amount of possibilities that it brings.

Aiguille du Midi Chamonix webcam view
View from Aiguille du Midi yesterday afternoon

You can have the best of both worlds and go skiing in the morning, followed by rock climbing on a sunny crag in the afternoon. Chamonix has loads of easily accessible climbing walls and even complete beginners can master the basics in a couple of hours with a rock climbing guide. Les Gaillands is the most popular crag in the valley, not only for its myriad routes of varying grades but also for the picturesque lake and the close proximity of the bar and restaurant at Hotel Le Vert – won’t be long until they start firing up the BBQ and getting the tunes on the terrace.

Chamonix rock climbing

The Aiguille du Midi cable car stays open long after all the other lifts have closed. From here you can experience Chamonix from the skies on a parapente flight, explore the seracs and crevasses on a glacier hike, or even get roped up and kitted out for some high altitude alpinism amongst the soaring peaks of the Massif du Mont Blanc before toasting your achievements in one of the sun-traps of Chamonix Sud; South Bar, Monkey or Bighorn.

Paragliding in Chamonix

Water sports such as canyoning and whitewater rafting will soon be up and running again, with all the melted snow from the mountains turning our streams and rivers into gushing torrents. Both activities are great fun and considering you’re going to get soaked through anyway, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like!

Chamonix canyoning and rafting

With discounted prices on lift passes, accommodation and ski hire, spring is a great time to come to Chamonix and work on your goggle tan. This week welcomes the Chamonix Unlimited Festival to town – 5 days of international DJs and musicians rocking the mountains.

Chamonix Unlimited Music Festival

Although the season is not yet over, Chamonix’s best apres-ski band plays their final gig this evening. No Limits will be rocking Chambre Neuf from 6pm so claim your spot on the table, stockpile a few pitchers of beer and be prepared to sing your throat hoarse one last time this winter – SKÅL!!!

Chamonix apres ski with No Limits at Chambre Neuf

 

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Apres-Ski in Chamonix; and now for something completely different…

Halfway through the season and with the busiest week of the year behind us, we decided it was time to let off some steam at Mountain Lifestyle HQ – so we went paret sledding!

Paret sledging apres ski activity in Chamonix

It was the first time for some of us and we were more than a bit apprehensive at the thought of launching ourselves down the 2900m descent of the Pierre à Ric home run – even more so when we were handed our sledges. No brakes, no steering, just a precarious wooden hobby horse perched on a short single runner.

Paret sledging apres ski activity in Chamonix

We gathered round our instructors as they explained how to ride the paret; effortlessly leaning from side to side, casually sticking out a foot for ballast, steering with one hand whilst fixing their hair with the other… Then it was our turn to have a practice run before hitting the big slope and there was a lot of flailing, skidding and squawking involved as we attempted to gain control over the wobbly wooden contraptions.

Paret sledging apres ski activity in Chamonix

We shuffled nervously towards the start of the piste and looked around to see who would be first to launch themselves into oblivion – obviously it was the youngest who were the most fearless and then we all had to follow so as not be shown up by a gang of 12 year olds.

Paret sledging apres ski activity in Chamonix

Funnily enough, we soon found that the steeper the slope, the easier it is to keep your balance. A bit of speed is your friend, a lot of speed is the kind of friend who gets you into trouble and then abandons you to sort yourself out.

Paret sledging apres ski activity in Chamonix

Within minutes all our fears were forgotten and everyone was flying down – shrieking, laughing and tumbling like a herd of lunatics. There had been a dump of fresh snow the night before and by the end of the day it had been pushed up into big soft moguls that were great fun to go flying over – I can’t claim to have landed many of them but falling off is all part of the game.

Paret sledging apres ski activity in Chamonix

Our instructors kept track of everyone on the way down, hanging back for those who didn’t want to go quite so fast and leading the way for those that did, stopping at a few points on the way down to regroup and make sure that everyone was having a great time.

Paret sledging apres ski activity in Chamonix

By the time we cruised to a halt by the new lift station everyone was breathless, grinning and covered in snow – if we’d have been allowed to go straight back up for another go then we definitely would have! I’m already planning a new career for myself as a professional paret pilot and am about to start lobbying for it to become an Olympic sport…

Paret sledging apres ski activity in Chamonix

Paret sledging runs every Wednesday afternoon at Les Grands Montets; you meet your instructors in front of the main lift station at 16:15 and take the last cable car of the day up to Lognon where you will receive your “paret training” and then it’s chocks away. It costs just 20€ per person and is one of the most exhilarating apres-ski experiences you can have! Private paret sessions can also be booked for larger groups on any night of the week on request. Please visit this page or contact us for details and booking.

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!

Late Season Fun in Chamonix : What’s Coming Up in April & May

This weekend sees many of the Chamonix lifts closing, but the season is not yet over! Les Grands Montets will be open until the big closing party on 3rd May and we’ve got plenty to look forward to until then. Coming up over the next few weeks we have…

Corsican Festival in Chamonix

La Corse à Cham

This weekend sees Chamonix turned into a little outpost of Corsica with street stalls, music, dancing, food and drink from the land of Napoleon. Most of the events are free and outdoors, so go and check it out.

Hiking in Chamonix, Lac Blanc Flegere

Hiking at La Flegere

Although the majority of the lift system closes this weekend (19th), the Flegere cable car will stay open for an hour each morning from 8-9am until 24th April for those who want to hike back down again. There are some fantastic trails leading back down to various places such as Paradis des Praz, Argentiere and the Col des Montets. There may still be snow up top, so take sturdy hiking boots and poles.

Monoskiing in Chamonix

Snowtopia

Next weekend (25/26 April) is a chance to try out a whole load of ski and snowboard gear for free up at Les Grands Montets. There’ll be stalls by loads of local independent manufacturers and artisans – ever tried handcarved wooden skis before? If you’ve ever wanted to give monoskiing or telemarking a whirl then there’ll be plenty of that to try as well – onesie optional.

Chamonix Golf CourseChamonix Golf Course

Dust off those clubs and get practicing your swing. The driving ranges are already in use, with the full 18 hole course scheduled to open on 24th April. With exceptional views, challenging greens, a pro-shop and excellent club house, Chamonix Club de Golf is renowned for being one of the best in the Alps. Some of our most beautiful chalets are within putting distance of the course and are also on the main bus route to Les Grands Montets, so you can ski in the morning and play a round of golf in the afternoon – only in Chamonix!

Chamonix Freeride DaysFreeride Day

Celebrate the last blast of winter with one final shindig up the mountain. Les Grands Montets hosts this legendary party every year, where anything goes! DJs, fancy dress ski races, waterslide, giant rail contest, snowtubing, live music, BBQ, beers and more – well worth checking out whether you’re on skis, snowboard or just on foot. Expect the partying to carry on into the night down in town with after-parties in many of Chamonix’s bars.

Lift passes are all discounted by a minimum of 20% from now until the end of the season so take advantage of cheap flights and accommodation to squeeze in one last ski holiday before the end of the season. And, of course, the end of winter is just the beginning of summer fun here in Chamonix!

Chamonix Events : 6 Great Reasons to be in Chamonix this Spring!

Spring is in the air! Longer days, more sunshine and the usual flurries of snow that arrive during March and April are on the way.

Those of us that live in Chamonix year round love this time of year – the bitter cold of January is behind us, the February holiday mayhem is over and the lighter evenings mean that we can enjoy a bit of the apres-ski atmosphere after we’ve finished work! Life definitely chills out a bit once March is underway, leaving us more time to have fun when we’re on the slopes or in the office.

Chamonix is nothing if not diverse and there are some great events lined up over the next couple of months – film festivals, mountaineering awards, music concerts and ski races… this is a great time of year to visit if you want to experience a bit of Chamonix culture!

chamonix cross-country skiing competitionFriday 13th to Sunday 15th of March : Coupe d’Europe Ski de Fond
The best cross-country ski racers in Europe gather in Chamonix for 3 days of competition for the European Cup – races are free to watch and usually take place around the Desert Blanc area in Les Praz. If you’re  inspired and want to give cross-country skiing a try then take a look at our cross-country ski lessons, perfect for learning the basics or brushing up your technique!

Saturday 21th March to Friday 27th March : Spring Music Festival
The hills are alive with the sound of… chamber music, orchestras, piano recitals, choirs, string quartets and just about every other kind of classical music you can think of. Chamonix welcomes musicians from all around the world to play intimate concerts in churches and other small venues. The full programme is not yet confirmed but details can be picked up in the tourist office in Chamonix.

Wednesday 25th – Saturday 28th March : Chamonix Adventure Film Festival
4 days packed with exploration, adrenaline, adventure and imagination. Inspirational film screenings and photo exhibitions as well as your chance to get involved in innovative workshops and courses. A must for all mountain enthusiasts! You can find more information and the programme of events on the Chamonix Adventure Film Festival website

Friday 3rd to Monday 6th of April : Jour Blanc
A long weekend of non-stop partying with music in the mountains during the day and down in the town at night! The Jour Blanc Unlimited Festival brings the best electronic music acts to breathtaking stages all over the Mont-Blanc range. All the events are accessible with the special Unlimited Festival pass that also works as your lift pass to all the Chamonix ski areas. Book your lift pass online and we’ll collect it for you in time for your arrival – no waiting at the resort office or queuing at the lift station on your first morning!

Chris Bonington © Piolets d'Or
Chris Bonington © Piolets d’Or

Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th of April : Piolets d’Or
The Piolets d’Or is an awards ceremony with a difference, it doesn’t celebrate the “winner” as such, but the people who show the most passion and embrace the true spirit of exploration. Credit is given for first ascents and descents, but emphasis is laid more firmly on team spirit, innovation, imagination and respect for the mountains. There will be exhibitions, lectures, debates, film screenings and awards in both Chamonix and Courmayeur – with this year’s coveted lifetime achievement award going to British mountaineer Chris Bonington. You can find out more on the Piolets d’Or website. Explore the mountains for yourself with a mountain guide – spring conditions are perfect for mixed ice and rock climbing, glacier hiking and ski touring.

Friday 17 to Sunday 19 of April 2015 Corsican Festival La Corse à Cham
For 3 days the streets of Chamonix will be drenched in the sounds, sights, flavours, and hopefully sunshine of Corsica! We’ll be treated to music concerts, dancing, market stalls, cookery classes and Corsican culture. Just take a stroll around town to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy some free entertainment.

Chamonix chaletWe have some great last minute accommodation deals during March and April, keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest deals or have a browse at our self-catered chalets and apartments and contact us to request our best offer!

Forget Paris, Chamonix is Where the Love is at this Valentine’s Day!

So, you’re in Chamonix for the most romantic day of the year? Oooh la la… Swerve the busy pistes and do something special together with one of our favourite winter activities.

Skidoo to Restaurant in ChamonixDiner à Deux
Go for dinner. Really? That’s it? You can do that anywhere! Hang on, how about skidoo up under the moonlight to a cosy mountain restaurant, enjoy a wonderful meal with local wine, ski or sledge back down under the stars… ahhhh.

See here for more ideas on how to spend a truly special evening…

Spa Pre Saint Didier in CourmayeurChill Out
Indulge in some serious relaxation. The daily grind is hard work and being on holiday is your chance to unwind and spend some precious downtime together. The Pre Saint Didier Spa is the perfect place to do this, you can even combine it with a day out in Italy for the ultimate romantic getaway.

Find out more about our favourite spas in the Chamonix area…

Paragliding in ChamonixOn the Wings of Love
Flying over Mont Blanc is an unforgettable experience; either snuggle up in a helicopter, or wave to each other from the air as you each do a tandem parapente flight. Either way, you’ll have done something very special to remember the day!

Read on for details of all our air adventures…

Husky sledding in ChamonixMush!
Take the reins and drive a team of huskies through the snow while you steer the sled. Husky sledding is great fun and you’ll get the hang of it in no time, either drive your own sled or travel as a passenger.

See here for more information on husky sledding…

Snowboarding Les Grands Montets, Chamonix Mont BlancPlay Safe, Stay Safe
If you ski or snowboard together then you should know how to look out for each other. Take one of our avalanche awareness or off-piste safety courses to make your days out on the mountain as fun and safe as possible.

All off-piste courses and mountain guiding can be found here…

Chamonix Wine TastingDiscover Fine Wines
Toast your happiness with an excellent wine. Our partners at ChaChaCha offer wine tastings every evening of a selection of 6 wines, sampling the finest of various regions. Book through us and get a special 20% discount, leaving you enough cash to splurge on a nice bottle to take home!

Contact us to book your place…

Chamonix Christmas LightsWe also offer a great choice of other activities and we’re happy to organise something special on request – visit our website or contact us for a chat to see what we can do!

If you’re looking for information on the best bars and restaurants in Chamonix then take a peek at our resort information pages, where you’ll find the lowdown on all our favourite places to eat and drink.

Our 5 Favourite Bad Weather Activities

OK, so some may say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes but we say when you can’t see your hand in front of your face and the light is so bad that you can’t tell if you’re skiing uphill or downhil that it’s time to call it a bad weather day and do something else instead. Chill out, wait for the skies to clear and enjoy one of our favourite “day off” activities.

Spa Pre Saint Didier in Courmayeur
Spa Pre Saint Didier in Courmayeur

Spa Day – when it’s cold outside and there’s a complete whiteout up the hill, conditions are perfect for treating yourself to a pamper session in a warm cosy spa. Mountain Lifestyle guests benefit from 10% discount at Deep Nature Spa (in Hotel Morgane and Hotel Aiglon) – just use the voucher in your welcome pack or call into our office in Chamonix Sud to pick one up. Or make a day of it and visit the wonderful Pré Saint Didier thermal spa in Courmayeur, Italy – steam rooms, saunas, outdoor hot tubs, things that shoot jets of water in unexpected places… we offer return transport for just over 20€ a head (180€ for an 8 seater minibus). Alternatively, stay in the comfort of your accommodation and have the spa come to you with an in-house massage treatment. Have a look at our Spas & Massage page for more information.

Husky sledding in Chamonix Mont Blanc, family activities
Husky sledding in Chamonix

Husky Sledding – you don’t need to be able to see where you’re going, as long as the dogs can! Even in a blizzard the huskies know their job, you just have to hang on and enjoy the ride. Your musher will give you a quick intro on how to steer your sled and then you’re off – charging through the snow as the dogs do what they do best. Great fun and available to anyone over 8 years old, younger children can ride as a passenger with an adult. More information on husky sledding

Snowshoe hiking in Chamonix Mont Blanc
Snowshoe hiking in Chamonix

Snowshoe Tour – harsh weather up the mountain doesn’t just bring people down to the lower parts of the valley, if often brings animals too! Crunching through the snow on a snowshoe hike is when you are most likely to see deer, chamois and even the occasional wild boar. Your guide will take you on a magical tour of the forests and trails of the valley. Book a full day and you might even go further afield to a monastery where they breed the famous Saint Bernard dogs, or up to a mountain hut for a traditional Savoyard lunch. If you’re looking for something to entertain the kids we have a fantastic play group where they will have their own snowshoe adventures on easy trails in safe company, see here for more details

Paret sledding in Chamonix
Paret sledding in Chamonix

Sledging – hang on tight and race your friends to the bottom, loser buys the first round of drinks! Paret sledging is one of our most popular evening activities, just 20€ per person and loads of fun, you take the last lift up Les Grands Montets and whizz back down the Pierre a Ric – all 2800m of it. If you want to combine sledging with dinner in a traditional mountain restaurant then have a look at our Tornieux or Combloux trips for an unforgettable evening in the mountains. Details of all activities can be found on this page

Courmayeur in Italy
Courmayeur in Italy

Day Trip – with so much to do here in Chamonix it’s easy to stay put but we’re also lucky to have so many wonderful places to visit within a stone’s throw. Just a quick scoot through the Mont Blanc tunnel and you’re in the charming town of Courmayeur in Italy – a friendly bustling little hub of old stone streets, fantastic restaurants, glamorous boutiques, tantalising delicatessens, excellent wine cellars, cosy bars… need we say more? We offer a regular bus service every Tuesday and Thursday for just 30€ return per person, or you can book a private 8 seater minibus for 180€ any day you like. Read more about day trips to Italy here

As well as offering all the ski areas included in the Chamonix Le Pass lift pass, there are also loads of extra activities offered free of charge when you buy the Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass, making it the best option if you want to do more than ski or snowboard:

Aiguille du Midi cable car Chamonix
The new cabins on the Aiguille du Midi cable car
  • Aiguille du Midi Cable Car
  • Montenvers Train & Mer de Glace
  • Alpine Coaster
  • Tramway du Mont Blanc
  • Swimming pool & sports centre
  • Ice Rink
  • Chamonix Museums

You can also ski in Les Houches, Courmayeur and Verbier with the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass, giving you more options when bad weather closes much of the Chamonix lift system. Find out more about Chamonix lift passes here

Keep up to date with weather forecasts, snow conditions, lift openings and live webcams on our Snow & Weather page. Please be aware that although we’re very glad to see so much snow, the avalanche risk is going to be high over the next few days – please be patient and stay safe! If you have any doubts about the risks you can call into the Office de Haute Montagne near the tourist for expert advice on snow conditions and mountain safety.