Every week in March, our team is out in Chamonix bringing you up-to-date reports on the snow conditions in Chamonix, as well as the weather forecast and a round-up of what’s on.
March Back Catalogue
Friday 2nd March
We may be getting closer to Spring but a HUGE dump of fresh snow has arrived as March begins in Chamonix Mont Blanc! We have a cold front that is making the sky fall all week as disturbances pass by. Over the next 8 days, skipass.com is forecasting 103cm of snow.
Chamonix weather experts say:
Several disturbances will follow each other during the weekend and next week : very changeable westerly weather pattern causing frequent but light precipitation (snow).
Pick of the pistes
Les Houches is not only the perfect ski area for building confidence across all levels; it’s also at a lower altitude, protected from the winds that come part and parcel with weather “disturbances” as snow arrives. When other ski areas have delayed opening times due to new snowfall, oftentimes related to high winds or avalanche control work, Les Houches is a reliable bet for opening on time with the most accessible terrain.
Green slopes dominate the top of the Bellevue and Prarion lifts allowing groups and families of mixed abilities to stay together at altitude. During the busy school holiday period, these pistes are also often quieter than beginners’ areas elsewhere in the Chamonix valley.
There is even snowshoeing and cross-country ski tracks to try in Les Houches, but most importantly try the food! The privately owned mountain restaurants and refuge huts of the area are some of the MOST charming in Chamonix. Check out our Mountain Restaurants guide for our top tips.
History in Chamonix: Museums & galleries
In our guide for “bad weather” days in Chamonix, we outline some of our top choices for local culture, with an indoor environment.
From the history of Alpinism to sparkling crystals, discover the unique culture and rare gems our beloved mountains have produced. There are more than half a dozen destinations to pick’n’mix from within the valley. We love Chamonix and we love our history too, so be sure to check out our favourites.
The Espace Tairraz
As seen in today’s snow report this one central location houses the ‘Espace Alpinisme’ as well as the ‘Crystal Museum’. Take your guest card to benefit from a small reduction at this interactive exhibition and display of amazing (locally sourced) gems.
Espace Tairraz, 615 allée du Recteur Payot, 74400 Chamonix | +33 (0) 4 50 55 53 93
Celebrate with the ESF: TONIGHT
Chamonix En Rouge will take place throughout the centre of Chamonix tonight. The focal point will be the square in front of the church/tourist office from 5.15pm.
Street parade, big tombola, face paint for children, snacks, tartiflette, sound & light show, music concert.
Monday 5th March
We have the Brits to thank for our snow this week! Apparently a “complex low system” is whirling this way from over the near Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscaye, British Isles) with a mixture of cold and humid weather; perfect for making snowflakes.
Do be wary of fœhn winds this week which have the power to raise temperatures and shut down some piste accesses. However look forward to fresh snow, over the next 8 days; skipass.com is still forecasting over 1m of snow.
Chamonix weather experts say:
Several disturbances will follow each other : very changeable westerly weather pattern causing frequent but light precipitation (snow).
Pick of the pistes: AGAIN
Les Houches is again my choice for the perfect ski area this week. Here you can build confidence across all levels; even downhill alpine (slalom) skiers have the world famous Kandahar Piste to take on (race your friends!).
In general, Les Houches is also at a lower altitude, as mentioned last week, this means it is protected from the winds that come part and parcel with weather disturbances as snow arrives.
When other ski areas have delayed opening times due to new snowfall, oftentimes related to high winds or avalanche control work, Les Houches is a reliable bet for opening on time with the most accessible terrain.
Other than the food we can also recommend this ski area for its variety of slopes for every level. It is the perfect spot in Chamonix for families of mixed abilities to ski together with something for everyone.
There’s also an amazing view of the valley from Les Houches as below:
Getting to Les Houches using public transport
You could also consider Line #15: not strictly an express line, this runs from Chamonix to Le Prarion bubble lift, via Bellevue cable car, in Les Houches. Once in Les Houches you can even use Line #16 to travel the length of Les Houches between the ski lifts at Le Prarion and Bellevue.
You can read more about public transport in Chamonix here. We do not recommend the train to Les Houches if travelling there to ski as the train station is not conveniently located for piste access.
Friday 16th March
After a fantastic week of all kinds of weather we are again looking forward to new snowfall! The snow measure at La Flégère (which had fallen below 2m in warmer weather of late), is now inching toward 3m once more and will likely get there by next week. See the build up on the roof of this mazot at La Trappe:
Chamonix weather experts say:
An altitude cold minimum drifting towards the western part of the Bay of Biscaye will probably pass over our Region eastward bound, causing gloomy and cold condition with light snowfall on Saturday and most likely on Sunday as well.
High winds yesterday of over 80km per hour, combined with the affects of the aforementioned warm temperatures (Wednesday), followed again by more snow will effect avalanche risk. Take the necessary precautions when heading off-piste such as hiring safety equipment (and undergoing training) or employing a local guide.
The “pack” of your bags!
From March 20th Spring will be here, so today it’s less about the “pick of the pistes” and more about what to pack in your bag.
Our latest blog outlines everything you need for Chamonix Spring Skiing:
We’ve already explored the reasons why spring skiing is so popular in Chamonix – from cheaper lift passes to longer days. Next up is what you’ll need to bring with you to make the most of it. Read on for some top tips on adjusting your kit for the change of seasons and as well as some other insider knowledge to help you enjoy the Chamonix spring skiing.
Spring savings with Chamonix All Year
This spring could go down as the snowiest in recent history, or at least the one with the best snow base compared to years gone by. Our advice is not to get “FOMO”… and book here!
You can also get a discount on the usual ski pass prices for the last 3 weeks in April. During this time the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass is reduced in price by 20%, but with the same ability to benefit from skiing in 3 countries – France, Italy and Switzerland. Book here
Lastly, in our recent mailer we have a special offer for you: Flowers or a goat – at 30% off
Happy skiing & all the best.
Thursday 22nd March
The high pressure area which is still sheltering the Western Alps this morning is on the way out, that means clouds are on the way in from this afternoon. Patchy periods of sunshine remain in the forecast until Sunday when Spring weather returns to Winter trends. A large low area is taking shape near the British Isles that will build snow clouds, bringing 114cm of snow our way in the next 8 days.
Chamonix weather experts say:
Very uncertain as of Sunday, in a global low pressure context over Europe
Check the snow and avalanche conditions here instead of looking out of the window in wonder…
Making the most of the Domaine de Balme
When Le Tour and Vallorcine become one, we call it the Domaine de Balme and it’s just the spot for quiet (yet action-packed) pistes and amazing views.
Le Tour is home to a BMW timed slalom challenge, a vast groomed snow park, a number of recommended restaurants and our Evolution 2 ski lessons (Beginner Magic, Intermediate / Advanced).
To maximise your time on the pistes organise your ski pass with us ahead of your arrival. You might also consider in-resort transfers to shuttle you to and from this ski area (the furthest from central Chamonix).
Pick of the pistes
Monday and Tuesday there is the chance for a higher altitude rain/snow limit. We therefore recommend skiing this week at our highest altitude ski area Les Grands Montets (3300m).
With 6 blacks, 4 reds, 5 blues and 1 green run, you could consider this terrain the most challenging of Chamonix’s ski areas. However, much like with the Vormaine ski area at Le Tour, the ski schools have a number of programmes specific to beginners at this resort. Les Grands Montets is even home to the Panda Club, for children as young as 3 years.
While your little ones (or big beginners!) are getting confident on the snow why not discover the amazing off-piste Grands Montets offers, both on and off the glacier, with a guide or off-piste instructor.
LOCAL TIP: Book your “top bin” lift in advance here to save time waiting to get to the deepest and steepest Grands Montets has to offer.
This winter “show us your Chamonix and we’ll show you ours”
This month Helly Hansen have offered us a 30L back-pack and complimentary washbag for your toiletries as below.
Here’s how to get in the draw:
Take a picture of your favourite Chamonix places, activities or people this winter
Share your picture on social media using the hashtag #ChamWithMe and tagging us: @chamonixallyear
Follow us and wait for the monthly prize draw announcement!
Thursday 29th March
Welcome to the Chamonix All Year Snow Report for Thursday March 29th
A new cold front is on the way across Easter weekend, a good recipe for snow heading our way in the next 8 days, but likely not the spring sunshine we were hoping for. Friday morning make the most of Fœhn generated sunny spells, but be sure to check the snow safety conditions as rising winds do affect the snowpack.
The weather will be very “changeable”; Chamonix weather experts say the forecast is uncertain:
Relative and short lasting improvement on Thursday afternoon and during the night to Friday, then short fœhn spell likely on Friday morning, ahead of a new cold front whose activity is still uncertain.
Pick of the… Pastries!
Easter is here this weekend and with uncertain weather take comfort in gourmandises from the best bakeries in Chamonix!
Some of the best pastries, cakes, and breads in the world are French, and you can try and test them all in the Chamonix Valley. Whether it’s your morning baguette and croissant, or afternoon tea with a side of macarons and chocolate eclairs, be sure to consider our top picks for Chamonix bakeries and patisseries.
Chamonix Unlimited Festival
This coming week from 4th – 8th April, Chamonix and some of its most famous locations transform into “party central”!
The Chamonix Unlimited Festival is back for the fourth time, with five days of electronic music and dance celebrations. Expect thousands of fans to flock to the nine spectacular venues across the valley, flooding the town with an ambience of excitement and inclusion.
You can read more about the event as well as the upcoming Musilac Mont Blanc in our Lowdown on April Music Festivals in Chamonix.
It all starts at Planpraz on Wednesday 4th April with the legendary open-air party at 2000m altitude. Then artists such as Paul Kalbrenner, Laurent Garnier and Amelie Lens have license to take over the Plan Joran gondola station at Les Grands Montets and turn it into a 2,500-person concert venue on Thursday, Friday and Saturday respectively…
Happy skiing (partying and eating!) & all the best!