Last week we were desperate to squeeze the last bit of snow out of the ski season so we headed to Chamonix to see what snow we could find! We chose Chamonix because I’d found super cheap flights to Geneva airport (£17 one way!) – I then booked the car hire through the French desk of Europcar which works out as being about £40 cheaper than the Swiss desk of Europcar, although be warned that finding the French Sector is rather confusing (if memory serves it’s up a level once you’ve gone through arrivals) and does take longer to exit the airport if you choose to go out through the French Sector.
Once we’d got the car we headed for the hills (quite literally), and within an hour were in the Chamonix valley. We dropped our bags at the charming apartment in Les Houches and then were advised by a friendly local to head straight for the Argentiere Glacier, which was particularly high and still laden with snow. We were not disappointed. The snow conditions were amazing for the time of year – with around 85% of the runs still open and covered in lovely white powder. The only issue was that this is very much a good intermediate resort – the blues are kind of red, the reds are rather scary, meaning it’s definitely not the place to get your ski legs!
However we made it through the afternoon with plenty of laughter and more importantly without any tears, and then headed back down on the cable car to check out Chamonix. One of the brilliant things about Chamonix is that your Mont Blanc ski pass not only includes numerous ski resorts (Megeve, Courmayer and the six resorts reached directly from the Chamonix valley) but it also includes free ice skating, swimming and one free run on the luge d’ete every day for the duration of your pass. So with the ski lifts shut we went straight to the luge and blasted down the course – it was so exhilarating! We then popped home, got changed and headed back into Chamonix for a bite to eat.
The following day we decided to try out La Tour, a ski area further along the valley that we’d had been advised had more gentle runs that Argentiere. As it was much lower than Argentiere we were concerned about the snow conditions, but we needn’t have been. Although the snow was certainly patchy in parts the runs were all skiable and lovely. Glorious tree-lined blues and lovely wide reds, all easily accessible with stunning views.
At the end of another successful day we headed straight back to the luge – and this time we all went even faster. This was followed by a trip to the swimming pool – complete with water slide, rapids, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room! By the end of our swim we were all exhausted so we headed home for a raclette – ski food of the Gods!
On the third day we had a slight issue – my son wanted to conquer the black runs of Argentiere, whilst my daughter (and myself if truth be told) was more inclined towards the sweeping blues and reds of La Tour. So we compromised and spent the morning in La Tour and then drove back to Argentiere for the afternoon. Mission successfully completed we returned our ski gear to the friendly chaps in the shop at the bottom of the Argentiere cable car and headed back to Chamonix for our final luge (in case you haven’t realized it yet – the luge was a definite holiday highlight.). It was then time for a mooch around the shops followed by dinner, drinks and a few games of cards before heading home to get ready for our 3am wake up call (ie iPhone alarm) and journey back to Geneva Airport.