Chamonix, famous for its position deep in a valley under Mont Blanc, is one of the world’s most famous Alpine resorts, with many people choosing it for their annual winter holiday or corporate winter event. But for many, Chamonix can be a bit, well, ‘marmite’! For some, Chamonix’s magic and proximity to Geneva airport is priceless, for others they are surprised by its spaced-out nature and worried about its reputation for ‘hard-core’ skiing.
We look at why Chamonix is such a special place, and why it could be a good option for your corporate ski event or ski weekend.
In 1924 Chamonix hosted the Winter Olympics, and since then has a world-renowned reputation as the ultimate winter sports destination. As a ski resort, it has a reputation for offering excellent skiing for experts, as well as a wide range of other winter activities, unrivalled scenery and a busy town centre.
The town offers a range of accommodation, from five-star hotels, to self-catering apartments and chalets for all budgets. In recent years the town has seen an increase in new 4* hotels and many dated hotels have undergone a much needed modern face lift. You will find many hotels have superb meeting room facilities, AV equipment and are flexible with regards to your arrival day. There is also a plethora of restaurants and shops – perfect if you have non skiers in your group. What Chamonix isn’t is a purpose built ski in/ ski out resort and you have to transfer to each of its four separate ski areas. Something to bear in mind for your group.
Here at Corporate Ski Specialists we love Chamonix and think it offers a lot for corporate groups.
Why consider Chamonix for your corporate winter event:
Resort centre and shopping
For non-skiers and skiers alike, Chamonix has a buzzing town centre with an abundance of shops, restaurants and bars. If you are looking for outdoor kit, you won’t find a better selection than in Chamonix. Every Saturday morning, the town hosts an outdoor market, brimming with local crafts and produce.
If you are looking to dine out or enjoy a post skiing beer or vin chaud, Chamonix has a huge concentration of bars and restaurants – with something for everyone. As well as a multitude of restaurants serving traditional French cuisine, there is an Indian restaurant, Chinese restaurant and several Italian restaurants.
A choice of ski areas
Even though Chamonix doesn’t have one huge ski area, it does offer four different ski areas, each one offering something slightly different. The Brévent-Flégère sector, which is the closest to the town centre, offers a good variety of slopes with incredible views. There is also a small beginner’s area which was created a few years ago.
If you don’t mind travelling up or down the valley, there is the chance to ski in the wildest of the four areas, Le Tour, or alternatively the famous Grand Montets sector which is next to the village of Argentière. This offers some of the more challenging skiing, with some exhilarating off-piste routes which will impress even the most expert skier.
On the other side of Chamonix is Les Houches, home to the Kandahar World Cup Downhill race. This is a good area for mixed abilities, with most of the easier skiing higher up, and some longer, steeper runs through the trees back to resort. It is also the lowest altitude of the four ski sectors.
The spectacular mountains and views
You can’t get more spectacular views than in & around Chamonix. Whichever direction you look you are greeted with a breath-taking view of high peaked mountains and glistening glaciers. You can also see Mont Blanc standing at 4809m, the second highest mountain in Europe. If you are looking to get even closer to the mountain views, a quick ride up the Brévent or Flégère cable cars bring you to a panorama facing Mont Blanc and the famous Aiguille du Midi cable car.
Montenvers railway & Aiguille du Midi
Chamonix offers two very special journeys for non-skiers, which shouldn’t be missed during a trip to Chamonix. To experience the mountains closer up you can travel on the famous Montenvers rack and pin railway which goes from Chamonix town to Montenvers at an altitude of 1913m and allows you to witness the Mer de Glace glacier and the ice grotto. If you want to get even higher, the Aiguille du Midi cable car goes from Chamonix to the 3842m peak, the closest you can get to the summit of Mont Blanc without hiking or climbing. A spectacular journey that will impress anyone.
Activities for non-skiers
If your group still wants to do some snowy activities, but doesn’t fancy downhill skiing, Chamonix offers the option to cross country ski – the trails start just outside the town centre – snowshoe adventures, try biathlon or go husky dog sledding. We can organise any of these as a group activity – no matter the size of the group. Alternatively, Chamonix has an indoor ice rink where you can skate, but also enjoy an ice hockey match. Chamonix currently plays in the highest-level league of ice hockey in France, so you might be in for a treat.
On bad weather days there is a cinema and a large sports centre with a pool and gym as well as indoor climbing facilities. For the culture vultures, there is the option to visit one of the numerous museums and learn about the incredible local history of the town and the mountains. It is even possible to get involved in the Escape Rooms Game, an interactive live escape room where you are locked into a themed room and you solve puzzles to get out.
The proximity to Geneva airport
Last but not least, many people love Chamonix because it is only around one hour from Geneva airport, making the journey time from the UK to resort very short. And you avoid the long, windy mountain drive that some resorts require to access them. For a corporate group, the short transfer time is perfect if you are coming from different locations and only staying for the weekend.
We can help your plan your corporate winter event in Chamonix. Just give us a call or email us.