The reputation of Chamonix for world class skiing is surpassed only by its place at the forefront of modern Alpinism. Above a valley littered with charming chalets, luxury retreats, buzzing restaurants and lively bars rises the behemoth of Mont Blanc, looming over a network of ski pistes, backcountry terrain, climbing routes and hiking trails which have raised this small town in France to the status of legend.

If you have come to ski in Chamonix prepare to be exhilarated. The town played host to the first winter Olympics in 1924 and these days is an epic stop on the Freeride World Tour, with its steep terrain and deep snow making it a perfect off-piste playground. Fancy trying the Haute Route or some day ski tours? Hire a Chamonix guide and really explore the terrain. Still a beginner? There are plenty of pistes to help you take your skiing to the next level.

In the summer mountain biking, climbing and mountaineering take over and the Chamonix hotels fill with people attempting the 4,810 metre summit of Mont Blanc itself. Less a resort than a working mountain town, Chamonix is open all year round, has it's own fantastic local market, cinema, sports centre, indoor climbing wall and boasts a lively après scene. It has budget pizza places and Michelin starred restaurants, packed pubs and chic cocktail bars, people dancing in ski boots at midnight and weathered Chamoniards drinking pastis while telling their mountain tales while the snow falls.

Once you've been to ski Chamonix you'll have plenty of your own.