Do something a bit different than the usual fondue and wine this Valentine’s Day – treat your loved one (and yourself) to a magical experience in the mountains.
Soirée Bachais For the full Alpine experience you can ride up the ski slopes after dark on a snowcat or skidoo to the fabulous Chalet Bachais where you’ll be greeted with an aperitif on the terrace. Enjoy a traditional Savoyard meal with local cheeses, washed down with several glasses of wine, and then feel the wind in your hair as you sledge back down to the charming village of Combloux where your transport home awaits. Book Soirée Bachais
Snowshoe Under the Stars Snowshoeing is a great activity for those who want to go off the beaten track and explore the valley away from the ski areas. Your snowshoe guide will take you on an evening adventure through the forests, finishing up at a cosy restaurant where you can wine and dine before hiking back with full bellies and rosy cheeks. Book Snowshoe Under the Stars
The Italian Job If you like your romance with a bit of adventure then The Italian Job is the one for you – skidoo up to an Italian restaurant on the ski slopes of Courmayeur, enjoy a delicious meal and maybe end up dancing on the tables, then ski back down by moonlight. We take care of getting you there and back, so you can relax and enjoy a prosecco or two. Book The Italian Job
Start your night off with wine tasting at ChaChaCha, where the sommelier will guide you through 6 wines, explaining the differences between them as you sip. This friendly and informal experience usually costs 15€ but clients of Mountain Lifestyle get a special price of just 12€. You’ll then be able to navigate the wine list with confidence when you go for dinner!
Chamonix Restaurants Chamonix has a number of excellent restaurants, you can’t fail to impress if you take your date to any of our favourites including L’Impossible, Munchie, L’Atmosphere, Cap Horn or La Revola. Albert 1er, at the hotel of the same name, has 2 Michelin stars awarded for their gastronomic take on traditional Savoyard cuisine. Set menus start from 42€ for a two course lunch and if you go à la carte then the sky’s the limit!
This week one of the Mountain Lifestyle team enjoyed a great day out with the ESF on their Mont Blanc Discovery day; off-piste skiing in the Italian resort of Courmayeur. This is what she made of her Italian adventure…
We met at 8.30 at the Maison des Guides in Chamonix and everyone who didn’t have their own was lent an avalanche transceiver for the day. We then set off through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Courmayeur, a short journey of about 30 minutes.
We were a bit of a mixed group so our guides used the first run to assess our ski/snowboard abilities and put us into appropriate groups, so that we could all keep up with each other.
My group was a mixture of skiers and snowboarders, all with a bit of off-piste experience under our belts. First of all we went to the top of the Crest D’Arp to go off-piste. It was a challenging morning of skiing steep terrain with a descent of about 1500m from Col D’Arp down to Dolonne, via a wide gorge and through the woods.
Our instructor, Raf, was fantastic – he had a very kind relaxed nature which made you feel at ease the whole way. He stopped on several occasions to give us information about the mountains that surrounded us and was happy to give tips and advice on handling the terrain.
Once we got back on the piste it was time to have lunch at Château Branlant. The food was delicious; we tucked into selection of charcuterie meats and cheeses to start with, followed by a main dish of risotto and ravioli, then a selections of desserts and coffees. They also catered for vegans with a lovely mushroom barley dish served with roasted vegetables. All with a few glasses of red wine, of course – viva Italia!
After lunch we split into different groups depending on what type of terrain you wanted to ski, then we all headed back in the direction of the car park – either down the pistes, or off-piste through Val Veny.
Everyone in the group commented on what a great day it was. It was so much fun to go off-piste with our lovely guides, have some delicious Italian food and meet a group of like-minded people.
So, if this sounds like your kind of day out the Mont Blanc Discovery days offer an unbeatable opportunity to experience the first-rate skiing of the Mont Blanc region. You’ll enjoy the best off-piste routes in the Chamonix valley, the Aosta valley (Italy) and Valais (Switzerland) with a team of experienced mountain guides and ski instructors.
Every morning your instructor or guide will join you at your hotel or residence to drive you to the chosen site in a private minibus. Group sizes are kept to a small size of 4-8 people so that you benefit from the attention of the guide. You can book for one (87€), three (244€) or six (450€) days and explore a new area each day to enjoy the best of the available snow conditions. Your guides enjoy the day as much as you will and they’ll take you to their favourite places for lunch.
Forget the queues! Priority ski lift access and reserved cable cars means that you get to spend more time skiing and less time waiting in lines. Your guides enjoy the day as much as you will and they’ll take you to their favourite places for lunch.
This last week has seen glorious weather return to Chamonix after a nice little top-up of fresh snow last weekend – clear blue skies, warm sunshine and soft spring snow.
So, it was with some trepidation that we ventured through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Courmayeur this week – would it be as good? Thankfully it was a fantastic day with the same great weather conditions, lovely snow and a typically amazing Italian gourmet lunch break!
On arriving at the top of the cable car we were a bit worried to see large patches of grass and mud surrounding the lower pistes but once we got up higher the snow cover was great and the pistes were groomed to perfection – we were still finding stretches of untouched corduroy at 4pm! The snow on many faces stayed cold and fresh all day, with not a patch of ice or rock to be seen. Access to Courmayeur is included in the Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass, which from Saturday 11th April is on special offer!
We topped it off with a trip to the Pre Saint Didier Spa and spent a few hours soaking in the outdoor jacuzzis and pummeling tired muscles in the jet sprays. It’s a great apres-ski option as the entry price is reduced after 5pm, giving you 4 hours of bliss for less than the price of a half hour massage. If this sounds like your kind of apres-ski then we can provide transport there and back in a comfortable 8 seater minibus, just contact us for details.
This weekend is a great time to visit Courmayeur as tomorrow night the town will be hosting the official award ceremony of the 2015 Piolets d’Or. From 9pm alpine enthusiasts, explorers and mountaineers will gather at the Palanoir Cinema to celebrate the greatest expeditions of the year with the legendary climber Sir Chris Bonington being the guest of honour and recipient of the Piolets d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award. The event is free entry and open to all, with the awards being followed by live music.
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.
Diner 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.
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.
On 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!
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.
Play 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.
Discover 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!
We 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.
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 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 – 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 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
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
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:
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.
This week I’ve been doing more cross-country skiing than Alpine skiing, making the most of this crisp clear weather. There are plenty of cross-country trails in the valley and conditions are a bit more dependable than up on the mountain.
The most obvious trails are the ones that start behind the sports centre and wend their way through the Bois de Bouchet forest and alongside the river. They’ve had snow cannons on the first bit and the coverage is actually really good, no slushy bits or stones showing through. Unfortunately the track is a lot shorter than usual as the snow cannons only go so far and the natural snow cover is a bit on the sketchy side after that. If you just want to do laps of the parapente field though, it’s great exercise and perfect for beginners. The good news is also that they’ve reduced the trail pass price until they can open more of the area – just 5.50€ instead of the usual 11€.
Higher up are the beautiful tracks at Les Houches – high on the Prarion plateau they overlook both the Chamonix and the Saint-Gervais valleys. The trails are more challenging up here with a few hills to push yourself up and a few fun descents to test your balance on! They are also open to snow shoe walkers, if that takes your fancy.
For gentle cruising along wide open trails with the occasional foray into snow-frosted forests, you can take to the trails at Argentiere. Starting near the Les Chosalets beginner ski slopes you can keep to the short circuit or you can go all the way to Vallorcine via Le Buet and then reward yourself with a hot chocolate and a crepe at the railway station café!
One of the best things about cross-country skiing is that you can try it out without coughing up a fortune. Trail passes are nowhere near as expensive as lift passes, Chamonix and Argentiere both cost 11€ and Les Houches is 16€ or included in your Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass. The kit is fairly cheap to hire and if you want to have an expert show you the ropes then consider booking a lesson, it’s not as hard to learn as Alpine skiing or snowboarding (or as painful!), so you’ll nail the basics in no time and with a bit of practice you’ll be flying round the tracks like a biathlete!
Once you’ve got the taste for it, a trip to Val Ferret is a must. Just the other side of the Mont Blanc tunnel is a beautiful valley with a river running the length of it and cross-country ski tracks lining either side. This being Italy, there are also fantastic restaurants all along the way and wonderful places to stop for a coffee and a piece of cake (not that the only reason we ski is to justify crepes and cakes, of course). Our partners at Haute Transfer run regular scheduled trips in a warm comfortable mini-bus for just 30€ return. If you wanted to explore further and combine it with a shopping trip to Aosta or dinner in Courmayeur we can arrange that for you, just contact us for a chat.
You can read more about cross-country skiing and snow shoeing on our Nordic Activities page.
A little birdie (well, France Meteo, actually) tells us that there is more snow on the way this weekend – mild temperatures means that it may fall as rain down at valley level but it will provide a welcome top-up of snow on the higher altitudes. Have a great weekend, whatever you do!