They are a really cool independent holiday company with three chalets in Chamonix. My friends and I have stayed with them for the last three years and have always had a wicked time!
They offer everything from lift passes and airport transfers to great meals and hot tubs for very reasonable prices.
Extract from my diary... "We all moved outside into the freezing cold, and moved towards the hard ice cliff that we were to traverse, back to the Argentiere Glacier. Split board in ride-mode I followed the silhouettes of our team toward the glacier. The board crashed over ruts of ice, around rocks in what seemed a dangerous delirium as the sun poked his head from behind the crags of rock and powerful ice that was the Mont Blanc Massif.
"We got to the flats of the glacier and stopped to change into walking mode. I looked up the steeps of the Chardonnay Glacier, light twinkling off cravases in blue shards, and I could make out the thin zig-zagged randonnee path we were to follow to the col. I undid my binding, pulled off the steel pin which held my bindings onto the board, tugged at the binding which eventually slid off, split my board into two skis, hooked on the skins, added crampons, levered a binding onto each ski, and then bashed the steel pin back in..."
Check out Boardnlodge on the web who run Haute Route Trips from Chamonix to Zermatt.
A little gay/lesbian/local bar in Chamonix open all night. When all other pubs, bars, clubs have shut their doors, and chucked you out onto the street; there is always the toff. Once you walk through the door there is no going back; the atmosphere hits you like thunderbirds on your first ever night out.
In the pedestrian area of Chamsud with the rainbow above the door.
If you buy a five day lift pass it works out far cheaper than any other options available to you. I bought one this summer on a Mountain Biking holidays. It got me to the top of some amazing trails, whilst saving money!
At any station
All Brits should go do the Vallee Blanche, for sure. Why? Cos it keeps you off the rest of the mountain so people who can actually ski and board properly get to enjoy it.
Otherwise, all you monkeys do is get in people's ways, cut up the powder when it would give so many more people some fresh trax, and generally wipe the snow off faces with your side-slipping! Or at worst, you end up costing my guiding money, cos we've had to abandon in order to come and rope or pull you out of something you're not up to. ...but all mates again in the bar :)
The whole mountain
I have skied in Chamonix for over 10 years and watched a huge rise in visits from British lemmings. They are called lemmings because 95% of Brit skiers and boarders cannot handle the off-piste terrain. If you're not up to handling the world's most dangerous lift-served terrain then go somewhere easier.
Any ski brochure
Climb up to the Argentiere cable-car viewing platform (top station), go to the other end of it and hop over the metal hand-rail onto a rocky knife-edge. There is a permanent but small metal rope attached to the face. If there's enough snow, you can ski down the north-face to your left, in full view of the approaching cable-car. If there's not enough snow, it'll be a rock-field so carry on round the knife-edge / metal-rope until you reach a narrow but rapidly widening east-face. Skis on at the top (you'll need to stick them into the slope at 45' and step into them a la Scott Schmidt technique), a couple of jump turns and a face of powder often relatively un-tracked opens up, joining the usual itinerary further down.
The Goûter Refuge is a mountain hut for climbers attempting an ascent on Mt Blanc. At 3,817m, it's not easy to get to - you would need climbing gear, a good level of fitness and a head for heights! However, once there, you can pop on a pair of slippers provided and dine above the clouds!
It's a 6 hour trek from Nid d'Aigle (catch the cable car to Les Houches, then the Mt Blanc train).
This is a traditional-style gite with a great view of the Bossons Glacier and Mont Blanc massif. The owners are very friendly and the food served is typical of the area. Ask to see their collection of shot glasses!
La Crèmerie du Glacier 333, route des Rives
Nearest station: Les Bossons
Chamonix has changed over recent years - either you want to be part of the huge 'Brit Pack' or try to learn and feel the mountains. Whether alone or with family I most strongly recommend (for the price of a few tanks of petrol) hiring a fully qualified French mountain guide (or Aspirant) for a few hours, who will also be a ski instructor. He/she will know exactly where to go and when, get priorities on transport and above all, take as much time as necessary to make you feel and understand the mountains. Their enthusiasm and knowledge is infectious!
If you enjoy each other's company you can probably exchange phone numbers - I skied with a guide and his son by invitation on a Sat morning for a nominal fee. Instead of instruction, my wife was taken to see a recent avalanche and cross and see some snow bridges.
To ski Vallee Blanche in a collective group is just a rush to get the guide home as soon as possible - with your own guide the day is yours and with good relationship you can be taken far away from the crowd in safety in an incredible landscape.
I just give a general warning, that Chamonix's piste gradings (blue/red/black) can be much more demanding than elsewhere!
Bureaux des Guides (Chamonix or Houches)
An amazing town 80km from Chamonix. Full of culture, fashion and a thriving cafe scene. Great if you want to have a relaxing day away from the valley. Especially good in spring. Really good skatepark too!!!
Return bus ticket 25euros
A lively French bar, featuring the most alternative nights in town. So diverse music, anywhere from salsa to drum n bass! Good place to start/end your night ... Party on!!! Also a great Tex-Mex restaurant upstairs.
Behind Super u.
A fairly uninspiring municipal (but privately owned) campsite. It has lots of space and shade; there are no marked pitches and the toilet/shower blocks are rather elderly.
But the little onsite bar/restaurant serves amazing, very reasonable evening meals and breakfasts.
On the N110 road south of Crespian (easily missed - look very hard for the entrance signs)
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