Skiing and Boarding Tips and Ski Lessons, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
Go and get professional lessons for a few mornings in a row if you are a beginner and even if you are an intermediate - that is my advice! It will correct a 'rusty' technique and get you started on the right foot to better enjoy your holiday. Spend the afternoon working on what the instructor told you in the morning.
If you are a beginner, start at Le Vormaine which is a green piste that keeps its snow into the end of the season and is close enough to allow you to progress on to the gentle slopes at Le Tour, which is walking distance. Avoid skiing at Les Grandes Montets until you are a strong intermediate (able to ski red runs confidently) or you will spend the day locked up in fear on the steeper slopes there. The blue runs at Les Grandes Montets are steeper than the red runs at Le Tour, and the red runs at Les Grandes Montets are nearly like black runs in the rest of the valley.
If you are with friends who are more experienced, let them do whatever they want during your lesson and arrange to meet up for lunch on the same hill where you are getting your lesson. Otherwise, you will end up being miserable falling around all day long and getting frustrated trying to follow those who are more experienced. After lunch, ski together for a bit when the others are already tired from the AM and happier to go at your pace. Intermediates will enjoy plenty of ski runs at Le Brevent and Le Flegere, while more experienced friends will find sections of off piste to play on very close to the piste, allowing the whole group to stay relatively together with everyone skiing at their own level.
Don't overdo it on your first day - take it easy so that you have something left in your legs for later in the week when you gain more confidence.
Fondest memory: I recommend lessons from any of several ski schools in town in order of preference. BOOK IN ADVANCE especially in February half term and spring break :
BASS Chamonix (British Alpine Ski School) http://www.basschamonix.com/
Evolution 2 (French owned but only employs English or English-speaking instructors) http://www.evolution2-chamonix.com/
All Mountain Performance (English owned, best for advanced skiers) http://www.allmountainperformance.com/
ESF (Ecole de Ski Français) in either Argentiere or Chamonix http://www.esf-argentiere.com or http://www.esfchamonix.com/
Despite its reputation many other big ski resorts are better.
The area is composed of four satellite ski areas . La Flegere, Le Brevant , Te Tours and Les Houches. Skiable vertical drops on these areas is around 500 m.
You have to take a bus from Chamonix to the base lift ( ie. ski-in /ski-out does not exist ) These are intermediate areas with limited choise at each .
The major attraction is Le Grand Montet
with a vertical drop of 725 meters from the base to the mid station and a drop of 1300 m from the top to the mid station. Same as the others,take a bus from Chamonix.
Skiing the upper cable car is a must , but it can be brutal if it starts to snow .
The views at Chamonix : No one can compete.The mountains go straight up .
The Valley Blanche Glacier was the reason I chose to go to Chamonix . It was closed due to snow conditions.
Before you set your sights on the Vallee Blanche monitor the snow conditions and confirm that the " Vallee' is indeed open.