Hidden gems & all time favourite ski areas
The ski area is so vast it can be difficult to know where to start skiing. So we have put together some of our favorite runs throughout the Chamonix ski area.
Whether you're into moguls, steep and long descents or simply beautiful, quiet pistes with great snow, we hope that these suggestions will hit the spot.
Big ski area with lots of lovely pistes for all abilities
In general the Brevent-Flegere skiing area is excellent for those of intermediate ability or above and has enough runs at different levels to keep mixed ability groups happy all day long.
Brevent and Flegere are two separate ski areas, linked by a cable car. Brevent can be accessed from Chamonix centre, the lift station is just a few minutes walk from the tourist office, and Flegere lift station is beside the golf course in the nearby village of Les Praz. Together they form one of the biggest ski areas in the valley and offer a great variety of terrain for skier and snowboarders of all abilities.
Le Brevent is perhaps a little harder than La Flegere but still has a couple of nursery slopes that are suitable for beginners, Le Brevent offers some steep skiing off the top with some exhilarating hikes along the ridge line with lots of gnarly descents down the mountain face. From the Col Cornu, there are some traverses that get you into all sorts of fun, and down the backside towards Flegere, the runs are steep, as is the off piste.
In Le Brevent, highlights include the red intermediate piste run from the top of the Cornu and the Charles Bozon black run descent from the top of the Brevent. The Charles Bozon is a black run that is accessed from the top Planpraz-Le Brevent cable car and is a definite ‘goodie’ for testing your techniques. Because of its high altitude, the snow on the Charles Bozon run usually remains in superb condition throughout the season.
The homerun from Brevent is via Les Nants, a winding cat track that leads through the forest back to Chamonix town centre. Nants is a long run that on a sunny day offers some beautiful views across the valley towards the Aiguille du Midi, Mont-Blanc and the snow covered Chamonix valley below. Although this is classified as a black piste is actually not very steep, but it is quite narrow in places so you need to be aware of other people. On this route you’ll also often see people taking more direct lines between the zig zags of the run, if you’re tempted to follow watch out for rocks! The bottom of the run brings you out at the top of the Savoy beginners’ slope; from here it’s easy to head back up on the Chamonix-Planpraz gondola or down the Savoy run if it’s the end of the day. We recommended you avoid doing Nants at the end of the day though as it can get busy. Instead, do it in the morning after it’s been freshly groomed and is quieter and then take the gondola down at the end of the day.
La Flegere is known to the locals as 'riders paradise'. Lots of fun runs, mostly fairly easy, with cat tracks to jump off and big open off piste sections for letting rip on a powder day. Speed junkies should look out for the speed zone area near La Chavanne where you can race the clock down a designated run, if that doesn't sound appealing then you can watch the action from a deckchair on the terrace of the nearby bar halfway dpwn the La Chavanne piste.
La Flegere bowl is challenging and fun, and after some fresh snow it opens up a world of possibilities that you don't have to be an expert freerider to enjoy, intermediate riders shouldn't get into any trouble here. Also all down the front side there are kilometres of open ground, but be aware, light snow cover can obscure rocks and heavy snow cover can bring a high risk of avalanches; La Flegere may be a very "beginner-friendly" area but the off-piste terrain can be treacherous and avalanche-prone. Some of the tops of the cliffs can also become very windswept and icy making it difficult to stop. If in doubt if you can’t see over it, don’t ski over it.
The Index chairlift opens up access to some of the longest runs at La Flegere. Lachenal piste is a red run that’s almost black giving good intermediates a technical challenge with its physically demanding, consistently steep upper section. After a fresh snowfall the whole Lachenal bowl offers exceptional off piste but can also be avalanche prone so if it’s closed it’s for a very good reason; don’t ignore the signs!
If you take the little Floria draglift from the top of the Index Chair you’ll find the Crochues and Floria pistes which are great runs for long steep skiing, with the Crochues the less difficult of the two; often groomed to perfection, they’re great for carving on first thing in the morning. The shorter Chavannes chairlift gives access to some easier blue runs and some gentler off piste to the skiers left for those trying powder for the first time.