Mont Blanc, located near renowned Chamonix in the French Graian Alps, is one of the world’s premier ski destinations. Many winter sports enthusiasts go directly to Chamonix, but others stay in nearby Courmayeur hotels to distance themselves from the crowds. That way they have the best of everything: skiing at the internationally acclaimed Mont Blanc ski resort, skiing, snowboarding or ice climbing at Courmayeur, one of the region’s liveliest après-ski scenes, and friendly Italian hospitality in the evening.
Chamonix and the area surrounding Mont Blanc offer 145 ski trails. Altogether, the region has nearly 90 miles of ski runs and 13 different ski areas.
At almost 16,000 feet, Mont Blanc is breathtakingly beautiful and the highest peak in all of Western Europe. From the mountain’s summit you can see dozens of stunning peaks in the French, Italian and Swiss Alps.
The serpentine runs at Mont Blanc are some of the world’s most challenging, but not all the slopes are difficult. The Vallée Blanche (the White Valley) is one of the longest trails in Europe and one of Mont Blanc’s most popular. Most people get there by taking the L’Aiguille du Midi cable car and then wind their way 12 miles down to the Mer de Glace (the Sea of Ice). It’s long but the skiing is suitable for any skill level because of its numerous flat stretches.
Chamonix has plenty of hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafés and shopping venues, but there are other places where Mont Blanc’s visitors can stay. Courmayeur Italy is one of the most popular options among savvy travelers, but only partially because it’s the Italian gateway to Mont Blanc and its stunning ski slopes. This northern Italian ski village has a lot going for it on its own, including its own skiing and snowboarding runs. Staying in Courmayeur is also a lot less hectic. Chamonix is typically much more crowded (it’s easier to find a hotel on the Italian side, too).
A charming place with less than 3,000 permanent residents, Courmayeur is one of the friendliest ski resorts in the Alps. Local families own and operate most village hotels, and they go the extra mile to be friendly and accommodating. Evenings are filled with one of the region’s liveliest après-ski scenes, especially on weekends when people from Geneva, Milan, Turin and other nearby cities pop in for a quick getaway.
It’s an ideal location for winter sports enthusiasts: the village is tucked in at the base of Mont Blanc, on the Italian side of the France-Italy border. It’s easy to get to because it’s only a little over 60 miles from Geneva, Switzerland. Ultra-chic Milan is less than 140 miles, and Lyon, France is only a bit farther. But best of all, the famous Mont Blanc Tunnel provides easy access to and from Chamonix and its fabulous ski runs.Google+