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Pure Powder’s Resort Guide: Chamonix

Location: Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France located in the Haute Savoie region in the heart of the Mont-Blanc Massif. Famed for its spectacular cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix offers abundant snowfall due to its high altitude and is able to operate from early December to early May.

Chamonix Valley

Chamonix is particularly famed for its off piste skiing mostly accessible from the lift system and has one of the most famous off piste ski runs in the world, the “Vallee Blanche”. As it’s a short drive to French, Italian and Swiss borders, skiers are able to find different weather systems in nearby resorts.

With 5 main ski areas, only 2 of these are suitable for beginners (Les Houches and Le Tour) but Brevent offers good ski terrain for intermediates. The majority of runs are better suited to strong, experienced skiers.

Beautiful powder in Chamonix

Getting there:  Fly to Geneva from Gatwick, Luton, Southend or Stansted with EasyJet. Alternatively British Airways operate daily flights from London Gatwick or Swiss Air from London Heathrow or London City.

Chamonix is only 1 hour from Geneva making it one of the most easily accessible ski resorts.

Where to stay: For ultimate luxury, try Hameau Albert 1er known for its award winning restaurant. The hotel also has a fantastic pool and spa.  Alternatively, Le Morgane is a fantastic four star hotel right in the centre of town. The spacious rooms all have balconies and there is a pool, spa and underground parking. It’s also great value. For those on a budget, Hotel Gustavia is the accommodation choice for intrepid skiers but rooms are basic.

Hameau Albert 1er

Highlights: Due to its location, Chamonix offers flexibility in all weather scenarios. With easy access to France, Italy and Switzerland you are likely to find powder nearby even if it’s raining in Chamonix town.

Downsides: The town attracts serious skiers so we feel the resort is a little behind in terms of luxury options. This is better suited for those looking to share a drink with the locals and talk ski tech than enjoy long lunches on piste.

Best piste run: Due to the ever-changing weather, you can find yourself in Italy for the day but still claiming that Chamonix is your favourite resort as they’re all interlinked. But in good weather, head to La Flegere and enjoy the Mont Blanc scenery. The off piste here can also be spectacular.

Peaks and steeps

Best mountain restaurant: This is where Chamonix is let down as there is a real lack of good mountain choices and we prefer to use our days skiing here and enjoy a good dinner instead. The new Les Consorts in the middle of the Balme ski area is a newly renovated farmhouse with traditional fare and a good terrace. Let’s hope it lives up to expectation.

Best restaurant in town: Be sure to book ahead for family-run Le Monchu – a typical French Savoyard restaurant with great local food and service. Also worth a visit is L’Impossible, to be found in a 1754 farmhouse and serving delicious organic food in a stunning setting.

Best après bar: Chambre Neuf is the liveliest bar in Chamonix – usually jumping to the tunes of their local cover band, the Bilboas, you’ll be surrounded by locals and Seasonnaires (always a sure sign of the best place to be). Arrive early to bag a table and settle in. The Micro Brasserie (MBC) is also a favourite for a local brew.

Le Monchu and L'Impossible respectively

Best off piste run: Chamonix is renowned for its epic off piste notably the Vallee Blanche and Argentiere. We’d recommend avoiding the crowds of the Vallee Blanche and instead head to Les Grand Montets which gives access to fantastic powder, or Le Brevant which provides access to some interesting couloir skiing. We strongly suggest we use the expertise of a local guide (see below!)

Best guide: Matthieu is our man on the ground.  With over 15 years of guiding experience, Matthieu knows all the tricks to finding the best powder in Chamonix whatever the weather. As well as a ski guide, Matthieu is also a mountaineer and climber and is a fully certified member of the IFMGA.

Up for beautiful views and down for powdery slopes!

If you are still aching to get out on skis and off piste skiing in Europe is your ticket, get in touch with the off piste and heli skiing experts at Pure Powder!

Posted by: Suzy Small

Top Resorts for your Heli Ski Warm Up in Canada

The Telegraph listed their Top Ten Ski Resorts in Canada, among them was some of our favourites for pre-heli ski warm up.  They are great destinations to try out that famous Canadian powder before you embark on your heli skiing adventure with CMH.   Revelstoke Revelstoke is a small town but is the perfect place […]

Posted by: Georgie Knox

Heli Skiing for First Timers – What are my Options?

Embarking on a heli skiing trip for the first time can be daunting and so we wanted to highlight some options specifically geared towards first time heli skiers. If you are a strong piste skier, have a decent level of fitness and are keen to start skiing in the powder then heli skiing could be […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Heli Skiing in Canada: 4 reasons why it’s special

If you’ve ever wondered why 95% of the world’s heli skiing operators are based in Canada check out our 4 reasons why heli skiing in Canada is a must for everyone’s bucket lists. ONE// TERRAIN They say size doesn’t matter, but in the case of heli skiing, Canada’s sheer scale makes it the perfect place […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Silver Star

Location: Located in the stunning Okanagan Valley, Silver Star is British Colombia’s third largest ski and is an unspoiled paradise where you can expect the famous champagne powder we all know and love.  The varied terrain spreads over the 3,282 acres (1,328 hectares) and attracts every kind of skier. Getting there:  Silver Star is extremely […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Sun Peaks

Location:  Having added two new Alpine zones to their ski area in the 2014/2015 season, Sun Peaks has become the second biggest ski area in Canada, behind Whistler.  It is the perfect warm up destination for anyone who is heli skiing at CMH’s Cariboos Lodge. Getting there:  Easily accessible, Sun Peaks is about a 50-minute […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

How is snow formed?

As skiers we are obsessed with those tiny little flakes falling from the sky – constantly on the lookout for the next powder dump and eagerly awaiting those cold mornings when you wake up to find a white blanket covering everything and the perfect powder skiing conditions! But a question we often ask ourselves is […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Do I have to break the bank to go heli skiing in Canada?

Floating through knee-deep powder with only your buddies to keep you company.  A helicopter waiting at the bottom of each run.  Being whisked up to the top of another glorious powder filled peak.  That’s what dreams are made of – but the key question is do you have to break the bank to make making […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

The Top 5 Heli Ski Lodges in the World

Pure Powder have put together their top five heli ski lodges in the world.   ONE// Deplar Farm, Iceland This first-class, modern lodge, located on Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, is a remote retreat ideal for thrill seeking heli skiers who enjoy the finer things in life.  As well as epic heli ski lines down to the […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Skiing Resort Guide: Big White

Location: The third largest ski resort in British Columbia, Big White, is sandwiched between the Okanagan Valley and the Monashee Mountain range.  It has a fantastic reputation for its first-rate powder as it receives an average annual snowfall of 750cm. Getting there:  West Jet and Air Canada run daily flights to Kelowna Airport via Calgary […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

The Ultimate Ski Bucket List – Telegraph October 2016

Canadian Mountain Holidays named one of The Telegraph’s Ultimate Ski Bucket List: ‘The tension of waiting for the weather to break, the expectation as the helicopter rotors begin to spin, the eagle’s eye view of pristine wilderness peaks as you’re flown 
to the drop zone, the deep, dry snow you get to ride… all of […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Iceland – An Adventure of a Lifetime

The Telegraph have named heli skiing in Iceland one of their 50 adventures of a lifetime. ‘Ski from the mountain peaks down to the sea or fly-fish for salmon in glacial rivers accessed only by helicopters. You’ll be staying at Deplar Farm, the ultimate wilderness retreat located in a remote valley in north-west Iceland, surrounded […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder Sponsoring London Screening of ‘Ruin and Rose’

Come and join us on Friday 11th November at The Ham Yard Hotel, Central London for an exclusive viewing of MSP Films newest movie “Ruin and Rose”. We are absolutely delighted to be sponsoring “Ruin and Rose” alongside Surefoot London for the second year in a row.  This new 4K HD definition film features jaw-dropping action […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s Top 10 Ski Blogs

Back in November 2010 we blogged about the ‘best ski blogs in the business’ and now, after some extensive research and deliberation we bring you our newest, hottest top 10 list… These blogs are set to bring you the latest news, fashionable destinations and first-rate tips and advice.  They are 100% guaranteed to whet your […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder’s CMH Heli Skiing UK Tour – October 2016

CMH Heli Skiing Presentations:  For over 35 years,  Pure Powder have been the exclusive UK representatives of CMH Heli Skiing in Canada – the largest heli ski operator in the world.   Each year Pure Powder team up with one of the CMH heli ski mountain guides and set about spreading the love for powder skiing on a […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Summer Adventures in Western Canada

When you think of Western Canada you think of winter.  You think of the cold and the rain and the snow.  What you may not realise is that a summer in the mountains of British Columbia and Alberta is like no other, there are so many activities to choose from, and it is breathtakingly beautiful! […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Heli Skiing in Chile – 5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss

If you’re missing the snow this summer, fear not – there is plenty of the deep powder skiing to be had in the Southern Hemisphere.  And arguably the best place to ski in summer is the central Chilean Andes; famed for it’s consistent (and big) storms and endless terrain this is explorative heli skiing at […]

Posted by: Zillah Bell

Pure Powder feature in ‘In the Snow’

Heli skiing can seem like an impossible dream to many of us. You’ve seen the glossy magazine pictures, perhaps watched a video, but could you really do it yourself?  Most are happy on the piste, but never really see the “wow” factor of off-piste (which seems more like hard work!), and may never have the […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and CMH feature in Fall Line Magazine

Pure Powder and CMH feature twice in April 2015 ski magazine Fall Line.  “Heli-skiing: the ultimate trip of a lifetime.  Fresh lines all day, zero uphill effort, floating through bottomless pow, blah blah blah: sound alright.  Which is why my ski-mad husband and I used the excuse of ‘winter honeymoon’ to book this extravagant and […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

CMH feature in Fall Line Magazine: A Day in the Life of Doug Dykeman

‘Nobody knows the vast, shreddable terrain of Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) – which marks 50 years in heli-skiing last winter – better than Alpine’s chief pilot, whose precision landings have delivered trillions of vertical feet of thigh-deep fun’ To get your hands on the gripping article which takes you into ‘a day in the life of… […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank

Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing in the FT Weekend Magazine

Pure Powder and CMH Heli Skiing were featured in the 16-page ski special ‘Pink Snow’ article which celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of heli skiing.  We took Tom Robbins with us to Canada in order to uncover what all the hype about skiing with a helicopter is. “It is dark when we turn alongside the Columbia […]

Posted by: Charlie Brooksbank