Inside Track: Chamonix

Chamonix isn’t particularly famous for its pistes; generally you go up to the top and ride straight back down again. Still, that means no traversing endlessly to get to a certain run, and there is some quality piste-riding to be had if you know where to look. For beginners and intermediates le Tour is pretty mellow and forgiving. Facing south-east, it gets a lot of sun even in mid-winter. Beware of the killer flat spots though!

James Stentiford getting barreled, on the pistes of Chamonix believe it or not. Photo: Sam McMahon

The piste under the Index lift at la Flégère is a classic, where you’ll find the majority of the local crew on a sunny spring day. With plenty of side hits and cat-track jumps, it’s the perfect spot for freestylers. If you want to find a crew to ride with just hang around there long enough and you’ll come across some friendly Brits. The Pierre à Ric, which takes you to the base of the Grands Montets from the mid station, is one of my favorite runs in the valley. It gets seriously mogulled, but when freshly groomed you can straightline it from top to bottom – be prepared to hang on for dear life!

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