Located on the border of France, Switzerland and Italy, Chamonix is the original home of alpine sport. Since the 19th century, thrill seekers have sought adventure amongst its towering peaks, and tales of their daring climbs and first descents are the stuff of local legend. When entering the famous valley, views of flowing glaciers, steep mountain walls and of course Mont Blanc (4810 m) will not go unnoticed; this is a resort that looks like no other.
Having hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, Chamonix developed a vast lift system operated by the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc Chamonix (or just ‘The Company’ as it is more ominously known) and now offers the full spectrum of riding, from easy to very extreme terrain. That said, many of its lifts are long in the tooth, and it is the gnarly side of Cham – epitomised by an insanely steep cable-car that sweeps you up a pinnacle of rock known as the Aiguille du Midi – for which the place is rightly famous. You know a resort must have some pretty special steeps when freeriders like Neil McNab and James Stentiford call it home.
Did you know?
Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, which wasn't without teething problems. an error in the scoring meant that the bronze for ski jumping was held by the wrong man for 50 years. Also, the curling event was on recognised as 'official' in 2006, so the winning Great Britain team never got their gold medals.