Chamonix Bucket List: Things To Do In The Haute-Savoie
Host to the first winter Olympics in 1924, the pedestrian-friendly village of Chamonix is the epitome of alpine charm with its classic wood chalets set against the backdrop of Mont Blanc. The ski area attracts high-end adventure travelers from around the globe with its expansive, experts-only backcountry terrain and off-slope thrills like paragliding. Skiing the Vallée Blanche, a 12.4-mile glacier descent, is truly a unique experience, and even non-skiers can get a taste of the high alpine scenery by riding the Aiguille du Midi, the highest cable car in Western Europe. The Club now has three chic chalets in this bucket-list vacation destination, giving Members unrivaled access to the slopes as well as the town’s fantastic restaurants, bars, and spas. Here are the experiences not-to-miss on your next ski getaway.
1. Ski the Vallée Blanche
Hire a guide and tackle one of the most iconic off-piste descents in the Alps. This 12-mile tour begins at 9,200 vertical feet and crosses a spectacular glacier in the heart of Mont-Blanc Massif. Celebrate your accomplishment with a bottle of champagne at the end!
2. Ride the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car
France’s highest cable car is the starting point to ski the Vallée Blanche but non-skiers can buy a ticket to travel 20-minutes up to the mountain station and ogle the snow-capped peaks and alpine vistas. It’s the ultimate photo opp.
3. Savor a Michelin-Star Meal
The tasting menus at Restaurant Albert 1er showcase the finest high mountain haute cuisine (think Bresse pigeon smoked with vine shoots and pike quenelle with Savoy mushrooms). Ask the sommelier to select a wine from the 19,000-bottle cellar.
4. Taste Traditional Fondue
Located in the heart of town, La Calèche offers a traditional Savoyard dining experience, complete with a cozy chalet-style room decorated with vintage skis and cowbells, and a menu of fondue and raclette.
5. Experience the Thrill of Paragliding
The Chamonix region lays claim the birth of paragliding and remains a year-round mecca for flying. Soar above the mountaintops and glaciers on a tandem flight with Fly Chamonix.
6. Lunch with a View
Named for its high-altitude location atop the Aiguille du Midi, Restaurant Le 3842 dishes up Savoyard fare, like cassolette and Savoie rump steak, against one of the region’s prettiest views.
7. Grab a Sled or Snooc
Sledding is a favorite winter pastime, with dedicated sled runs found throughout the resort area. Or try the unique sport of Snoocing. A single ski with a seat attached 20 centimeters off the ground acts as a hybrid sled you can carve downhill using your shoulders to steer and feet as brakes.
8. Ski a World Cup Slope
Channel your inner athlete and schuss down legendary World Cup piste La Verte des Houches. This spectacular downhill run features spans nearly two miles and boasts an adrenaline-pumping 2,854-feet of vertical drop.
9. Hit the Spa
After a day on the pistes, treat sore muscles with a soak at QC Terme Wellness Spa. Rooted in Roman bathing culture, this 13,000-square-foot oasis features heated outdoor pools with views of Mont Blanc, plus a menu of massage therapies.
10. Essential Après Celebration
Skiers head straight from the slopes to dance to live DJs at the massive outdoor bar of La Folie Douce. This lively après hot spot is also known for its cabaret-style dinner shows.