Chamonix & lifestyle
In the heart of the Alps, at the foot of Western Europe’s highest, mightiest mountain Mont Blanc (4810 masl), lies Chamonix, the capital of extreme sports. In 1786 alpinists Michel Paccard and Jaques Balmat were the first to climb Mont Blanc and since then Chamonix has grown to become the mecca of adventurous mountain sports.
Today, Chamonix has around 10'000 permanent inhabitants. During Summer and Winter seasons this number swells dramatically to about 100'000 inhabitants and visitors. Chamonix is a nice mix of tourists, seasonaires and extreme sports enthusiasts, all with a mutual interest in the mountains. You can meet the world’s best climber in the supermarket and watch your favourite skier riding nice lines right from the ski lift. Chamonix is the place to be!
Sports and events you mustn't miss in Chamonix
There are so many sports and events going on in Chamonix, if we listed them all we would need to build another website! This is why we decided to list some of our favourites in the text below. You can also read our blog or visit our Facebook-page to find out more about what's going on.
There are 6 ski areas in Chamonix, all connected by the free bus and train service. Skiing and snowboarding are the most popular winter activities but ice climbing, ski du fond and paragliding are also popular sports. The Aiguille du Midi is one of the world’s highest ski lifts and can be accessed just 350 meters from our language school. Here you step into a pure alpine wilderness, very popular for off-piste skiers. This is also where the Vallée Blanche starts, with over 20 km of skiing and 2700 meters of vertical drop it is a "must do" for confident off-piste skiers visiting the valley. We recommend that you hire a guide so you make it down safely as it is entirely unpatrolled.
Freeride world tour
Freeride world tour is an event you don’t want to miss. The world’s best off-piste skiers and snowboarders battle in a unique challenge that consists of five categories: line, tricks & style, flow, control and technique.
The Black weekend
The Black weekend is a yearly event that is organised by ski brand Black Crows. They invite DJs and artists from different parts of the world and have, among other things, a nightclub at the top of the Aiguille du Midi, 3842 meter above sea level. Extreme skiing and extreme partying!
Chamonix attracts more visitors in Summer than in Winter. It is mainly climbing, trail running and hiking that are popular activities in Summer and you can also see many paragliders. The ski areas transform into fantastic hiking trails in Summer and if you're lucky, you will see an ibex or two climbing the steep slopes.
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc takes place in the end of August and it’s one of the world’s toughest trail running contests. The event runs for several days and the longest run is 168 km with a vertical ascent of 9600m.
The Cosmo Jazz festival
Cosmo Jazz festival will be on for 9 days this Summer. The festival celebrates the whole Mont Blanc mountain range in all its greatness. Musicians from all over the world bring their instruments out in nature and you can experience unique concerts combined with amazing views. The festival begins 23rd July 2016.
Chamonix's everyday life
As a student in Chamonix you don’t need to worry about finding likeminded people. There are all kinds of people sharing one thing in common; their love for the mountains.
We work together with the ChamShake association who organise (amongst other things) film nights, pop up markets, parties and ski days. The association is run by a mixture of French, English and Swedish friends who aim to bring together all the different nationalities of Chamonix. If you take part in any of these events, it will provide you with excellent opportunities to practise your French.
In Chamonix you’ll find bars from different parts of the world: English, Irish, French, Australian and Swedish just to name a few. Bars are open until 2am and for the real party animals the night continues in one of the four nightclubs.
More information about the different bars and nightclubs can be found on the Alpshare Blog.
Après ski (After ski)
At 4pm it’s time for après ski. There are several bars to choose from but we think these are best:
- Chambre Neuf - The sweat will drip from your face and the beats can be heard out on the street. Not for those who are looking for a quiet beer. The house band has a day off on Saturdays, but otherwise they play every night in high season.
- MOÖ bar - Live music, good food and fantastic service. MOÖ bar is a bit quieter than Chambre Neuf and popular for the local skiers and climbers to finish off their day on the mountain.