We have been blessed the last couple of week in Chamonix with brilliant sun, clear blue skies and days growing longer. Our local mountains have a reputation for offering some of the best skiing and mountaineering routes in Europe; Chamonix is also a fantastic destination with plenty of other amazing winter activities to enjoy. For example: paragliding, snow shoeing and ice skating to name just a few.
When heading into the mountains, there are degrees of risk and it is advisable to take necessary precautions. You never know what mother nature will throw at you!
When embarking on any activity in the mountains, Chamonix is at a considerably higher altitude with rugged terrain which could impact you. Depending on the particular sport, you should take preventative measures to reduce the chances of an accident and ensure your safety. For that reason we recommended that you:
- Are as physically fit as possible – be mindful of your limitations and of those accompanying you (children and elderly people).
- Are appropriately equipped – Choose warm, water repellent clothing (even if the sun’s been beating down for days), sturdy footwear, sun cream, sunglasses, map, plenty of water, food and snacks and a first aid kit etc.
- Check your itinerary with the Office de la Montagne or Tourist Office – Even the easiest and best marked trails can present unexpected hazards such as rockslides or snowfall.
- Allow plenty of time for your chosen route – Additionally, leave an extra margin in case of incident. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Nightfall may take you by surprise so it is wise to carry a flashlight, head torch and charged mobile phone.
- Stay on the marked trails – This is especially important on steep slopes or precipices. Never take short cuts.
- Are you fully insured – in case of an accident it is important to choose insurance which includes search, rescue and repatriation. Without insurance a helicopter rescue is estimated to cost 2,000€; transportation from the bottom of a lift station to surgery/casualty roughly 200€; and of course there are the medical and pharmaceutical bills after. You can check out our post Ski Insurance in Chamonix for more information about coverage options.
Useful links and contacts
The Office de la Moyenne et Haute Montagne, near the tourist office (Place de l’Eglise) – There are experts available all year round to offer advice and information (in French and English). They can also provide information on weather forecasts, state of the trails (snow coverage etc), refuge opening and closure dates and general advice on your choice of route to help you plan your adventures.
Check out the daily snow report on the CMB (Compagnie du Mont Blanc) website for the latest resort news and snow conditions.
We also recommend the Meteofrance website which supplies detailed information on avalanche risk and weather forecasts for France.
Make sure that you have these essential contact numbers on you:
- France’s emergency number – 112
- PGHM (Mountain Rescue) – +33 (0)4 50 53 16 89
- Sur Pistes (Ski Patrol) – +33 (0)4 50 54 04 73
Avalanche Rescue Workshop
Maison de la Montagne will be providing free workshops led by a guide to teach and improve your knowledge in avalanche rescue techniques. Here is the future scheduled dates and make sure to enrol before by calling 04 50 53 22 08 or dropping by the Office Haute de la Montagne (Place de l’Eglise, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc):
- 9 February 2020 between 9:30am and 4:30pm.
- 23 February 2020 between 9:30am and 4:30pm.
- 8 March 2020 between 9:30am and 4:30pm.