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Charmonix. Help! [early Jan vs mid March for family trip]

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Family trip to Charmonix. Do we go first week of January or second week of March? We want a great experience during college breaks!

Thank you!
post #2 of 7

I'd recommend mid-March over early January, principally because there is a better chance of stable weather and better coverage on the glaciers (in case you plan to go off-piste (e.g. Vallee Blanche or Argentiere glacier). I'd suggest you check out Chamonix.net for more info, if you haven't done so already. The tourist bureau would likely have the weather and snow stats at their fingertips. http://www.chamonix.com/chamonix-mont-blanc,0,en.html

post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drwwhip View Post

Family trip to Charmonix. Do we go first week of January or second week of March? We want a great experience during college breaks!

Thank you!

 Second week of March is the better choice. You are much more likely to get a good day to do the regions signature run the Vallee Blanche. Accommodation should also be cheaper, the week including Jan 1st is high season. 

 

Have you skied in Europe before. Chamonix is not the typical interconnected ' big ' ski area. It suits people looking for some hairy chested off piste stuff but there are better resorts if you are looking to ski around large areas on cruisy blues and reds. 

post #4 of 7

While I tend to agree there are better resorts for cruising blues and reds I'm not sure I agree with the idea one must be a macho ski mountaineer to enjoy skiing in and around the Mont Blanc massif. As you likely know already there are several ski areas in the Chamonix valley (Les Grand Montets, Brevent, La Flegere, Les Houches, etc.) Each has something different to offer. For more on this, here's a useful link http://www.ski-chamonix.net/#axzz3pcT05Ycx Once on that page you might also want to check out the link to Free Top Ten Tips.

 

In addition to what you'll find in the Chamonix valley, Courmayeur is nearby, on the other side of the Mt. Blanc tunnel.  The restaurants alone are worth the visit to Courmayeur. Plus you'll often find better conditions in Italy when conditions are unfavorable on the French side.

 

The Chamonix Unlimited lift pass makes it relatively easy to go to Courmayeur for the day or even to trundle off to Verbier.

 

And if you happen to be interested in off piste skiing there are routes for most ability levels, though I'd recommend going with a guide. Most of the guiding companies offer affordable off-piste tours which any intermediate skier could handle with ease. For a sampling have a look here: http://www.chamonix-guides.eu/activites/Fp/Rechercher/ID_SAISON/2/ID_PRODUITCATEGORIE/15/winter/off_piste_skiing/17-winter-activities.htm

 

For a certain kind of skier it doesn't get any better than Chamonix.

post #5 of 7

March makes more sense than January.  Chamonix is not a convenient area since the lifts are strung out up and down the valley.  However, if you are not adverse to a relatively short ride to get to the lifts, it offers an amazing array of lifts, terrain, snow conditions and vistas.  It's easy access from Geneva and more reasonably priced than many other French and Swiss areas. 

post #6 of 7

If you plan on doing a lot of off-piste skiing, then go for March. If you plan on sticking mostly to the marked pistes, then I'd suggest going somewhere else entirely.

 

Most of the marked pistes in the Chamonix area are actually at fairly low altitudes relative to other ski areas in the Alps. If you plan on sticking to the pistes, then there are other resort areas that would be better bets for good conditions in early-Jan or mid-March.

post #7 of 7

Echo the above.  March probably better for decent coverage.  There are lots of better alternatives for a week of piste skiing but the pistes in CHX aren't terrible there just aren't that many of them and the proportion of cruisey blues is less than many other places (if that matters to you)

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