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post #1 of 3
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my family and I are planning to go to chamonix the last week of march.  My husband and I are expert skiers.  My 8 year old can handle most expert slopes and my 6 year old can handle intermediate terrain.  From what I read, we should hire a guide a day or two to check out the off piste terrain.  I'm thinking of doing that and putting the kids in ski school during that time and then skiing with them the rest of the time.  Any suggestions on where to stay exactly, getting around, which places to ski with the kids.It seems like we should rent a car, traveling around on buses carrying our ski equipment as well as our kids seems a bit of a nightmare.  Does anyone have any idea how crowded it will be then.  I'm hoping the crowds will have died down by the end of March.


post #2 of 3

Sounds like a wonderful trip. As for accommodation, apartments, with kitchens, can be rented by the week. I've found apartments to be much less expensive than hotels and much more agreeable. I've stayed on the edge of the village, in Les Gaillands, which is on a regular bus route, with excellent and quick service into central Chamonix (5 minutes away). You might still want a car since you have kids with you, but I found I never needed one. A free bus pass comes with the apartment (and with stays in most hotels).


I agree that hiring a guide is well worth the money. I can recommend Fred Cambe, of the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix. Finding a suitable guide is often a hit or miss affair. All are well qualified, but some are more conscientious and pleasant than others. Skiing the Vallee Blanche route is no doubt the most popular option. Not to be missed in good weather.


I can't comment on the crowds in late March, but be mindful of the school and university breaks in the UK or on the continent. The tourist office can give you a sense of the crowds at that time of year.


This web site is worth a look, in case you haven't seen it already.


post #3 of 3

Late March should be quieter with the various school breaks over with.However Europe can be MUCH busier than the USA and queues are likely. Get out early and catch the first lift, break for lunch at 11,50 and get back out asap if you want some uncrowded piste skiing.


You might like to consider an accomodation only chalet deal contact http://www.skiline.co.uk/ and ask if they can help you. Some chalets will provide a skiing nanny for your kids.


Chamonix is not my favourite resort as the skiing is split up into several areas and I prefer not to yoyo but if it is extreme off piste with lots of vertical then it is pretty good.


You need a guide to get the best out of it and Argentiere is the best area for experts IMHO.


The lift pass options are complex and you should plan what you want to do carefully before committing to one esp if you plan to do the Vallee Blanche.


Do be aware that most years there are multiple deaths on the Vallee Blanche with some falling off the first steep ridge and some finding a crevasse with or without a guide. Oh yes and  no one tells you about poling across the flats and the 40 minute hike at the base. Still it is impressive esp. if you can be the first ones down after a snowfall. N.B. A guide is a MUST in that situation with full avalache gear. However you feel such a wally as some Italien schoolkid whistles past you in jeans and sunglasses, skiing backwards to chat with his mates.


If you want a little old fashioned French charm then visit Megeve and ski on some well manicured pistes.

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