Skiing the Alps is an experience one will never forget. I grew up skiing the Rockies on an annual basis which are rather old, more rounded mountains. The Alps are younger mountain ranges than those found in the US which lends itself to more steeper runs. For beginner skiers, this is good to know!
Also, it should be noted that ski runs are denoted in different colors for difficulty level: blue (easy), red (intermediate) and black (expert). This sometimes varies depending on the country so before jumping on a Piste (ski lift) be sure to understand what you’re getting yourself into!
Also, be aware of the lifts that carry you up by a small disc that fits between your legs. I call it the crotch rocket and while I thought it was fun, my husband did not…
Our ski experience landed us in Chamonix, France. Chamonix is a beautiful, picturesque ski town with a lot more to offer than just skiing!
We stayed in a ski chalet called Chalets de Savoy – very central and walkable to pistes and the city centre. It housed 4 adults very comfortably and included a kitchen area for cooking. Our contact:
For dinner, my husband and I ate at Le Petite Kitchen and would recommend it!
Another night, we ate at La Caleche which was a fondue type of restaurant. The atmosphere, while pungent, is warm with mountainous décor. If you like exotic cheeses and dipping your meat in them, then this is your spot. There are other items on the menu as well for those of you not as interested in the fondue style.
On a day to give your legs a break, take a ride up the Aiguille du Midi cable car/tramway. The views are spectacular and unlike anything you can see from skiing. We could see the Matterhorn from where we were! Chamonix is situated on the French, Swiss and Italian Alps so you could see all three countries from this view. For the ambitious, you can bring your equipment up to ski down the glacier. Some ski, some hike. In any case, this is not an “easy” route so come prepared and do your research prior to committing to this excursion.
At the base of the town, take the train to the base of the glacier, La Montenvers, where the above mentioned skiers complete their journey. Hike down over 400 steps to the bottom of the glacier. As it moves and melts each year, they just add more stairs. Sad. The glacier was beautifully blue and you can even take a walk through a carved out portion of the glacier which is pretty neat.
One night we decided to drive over to Italy for some good Italian food at Restaurant Al Camin in Courmayeur. We didn’t realize we would have to pay 40 euro to go through the tunnel to get to Italy. I think there is a way to get to this side of the mountain for free with your ski lift pass but at the time, we were unaware of this. The dinner was amazing. It was, of course, owned and operated by Italians who were very nice to us and fed us endless digestives.
We didn’t partake in too much après ski after a full day’s worth of skiing…but we did stop by La Terrasse which was bustling with young people. It was large enough inside and also had patio seating which is where we sat as it was a nice day.
In the city centre, stop by Cote Macaroons for some treats and tea. It’s the perfect afternoon snack post ski to warm up. I failed to find a website but they are located at: 136 Rue Joseph Vallot Chamonix-Mont-Blanc 74400