Chamonix is famous for freeriding, and it won’t disappoint. There’s everything you can imagine, from gentle rolling powder fields to 55-degree no-fall gnarly couloirs. If you’re coming for your first pow experience, head to Le Tour and La Flégère where the terrain is a bit mellower and off-piste runs are pretty obvious from the lift. For more of a challenge, Le Brévent has got some easy-access short hikes. Head to the top of the Brévent cable car and investigate from there! There are a lot of steeps around here, so the appropriate experience and equipment is required. Remember: never just follow tracks!Basa Stevulova firing one out in Chamonix. Photo: Matt Georges
The Grands Montets is a favorite with the ABS-backpack-and-helmet-crew, and tends to get very crowded. This is all glaciated terrain, so if in doubt hire a guide. I generally avoid it on a powder day, but if you get there early enough it’s worth a couple of runs. Get there for 7.45am and expect some good old barging when they open the doors.
The real gem of Chamonix is the Aiguille du Midi, which at 3892m is probably the highest lift in Europe. This really is serious terrain with big cravasses everywhere and no pistes, so hire a guide. There’s the famous 17km-long Vallée Blanche as well as other options with steeper terrain. Again, it gets busy on sunny powder days, especially in the spring, as people come from all over the world for this run.