There are currently a number of different ski pass options available to ski and enjoy the Chamonix valley. All ski passes (except cross country) require a hands free card to operate the turnstiles. You will be issued with this when you purchase your ski pass and will have to pay a deposit of €3 which is refundable, or you can keep it as a souvenir!
Ski passes are available from the base of each lift station, the Montenvers railway cash desk or in advance on-line purchases can be made via theCompagnie du Mont Blanc wesbite. Visa, Mastercard and Amex credit cards are accepted.
Mont Blanc Unlimited – is the “all singing, all dancing” ski pass that will give you unlimited access to all the areas the Chamonix Le Pass does PLUS, top station Grand Montets (normally €10), Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers train, Tramway du Mont Blanc and unlimited access to Courmayeur (Italy) and Verbier (Switzerland), both of which are well worth a visit. With this ski pass, you can also reserve your place on the Aiguille du Midi and the top Grand Montets cable car meaning more skiing and less waiting!
To ski in Courmayeur, you need to go to the cash desk on your first visit to activate your ski pass, after which you can simply go straight through the turnstiles. There are shuttle buses operating betweeen Chamonix and Courmayeur for holders of the MBU ski pass. Seats must be booked in advance by calling the following number: 0450 53 01 15 or online here. There are two buses per day that leave from the SNCF train station (opposite Chambre 9) and drop you off in the centre of Courmayeur by the Tourist Office. From there it is a 5 minute walk to the main Courmayeur cable car or there is a shuttle bus service every 5 minutes to the Dolonne gondola (in case you come down that lift by accident at the end of the day).
If you decide to drive to Courmayeur instead, the MBU ticket also entitles you to reduced rates on the cost of a Mont Blanc Tunnel ticket. To benefit from this offer you need to call by the cash desk at Montenvers before you set off to get a special voucher. The tunnel staff will not simply accept your MBU ticket at the toll booths at the tunnel entrance.
The Verbier coverage on the MBU ticket now includes the entire 4 Valleys area rather than just the Verbier valley. Available to anyone with an MBU ski pass of 6 day or longer and still within its original period of validity, you can now enjoy skiing in this fabulous resort which is only an hour by car from Cham (train & bus links also exist - approx 1.5 hrs each way). Unlike Courmayeur, where your Chamonix MBU ski pass works directly in the turnstiles, you need to pass by the cash desks in Verbier each time you ski there and be issued with a compatible day pass.
As a further bonus with an MBU season or annual ski pass, you will also receive tickets for 3 free day pass to use in any of the Haute Savoie resorts (eg. Portes du Soleil, Flaine, Megeve, Les Contamines etc).
If back country exploring is your thing and you want the maximum variety of terrain available, look no further!
Chamonix Le Pass- gives access to the three main valley ski areas; Brevent-Flegere, Le Tour and Grand Montets to 2765m (so not the top cable car) and also the valley floor beginner areas (La Vormaine, Les Planards, Le Savoy and Les Chosalets). This ski pass is an improvement on previous years as you are now able to ski more than one area in a day, without having to buy a second ticket.
This ski pass does not allow you to use the lifts in Les Houches or take the Aiguille du Midi cable car or the Montenvers train (therefore ruling out the Vallée Blanche). However, it can be upgraded at any point during your stay to the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass on payment of the appropriate supplement. With Le Pass you are entitled to a 50% reduction on the Montenvers train to the Mer de Glace, which is well worth doing to see the ice caves and to watch the skiers coming off the Vallée Blanche.
If you buy a season or annual Chamonix Le Pass ski pass, you will also receive vouchers for 3 free day ski pass to use in any of the Haute Savoie resorts (eg. Portes du Soleil, Flaine, Megeve, Les Contamines etc).
If you generally prefer to stay on the groomed runs or venture off-piste within a secured area, then this is the ski pass for you.
It is also possible to buy a ski pass just for the 19 ski lifts in Les Houches. Whilst only small (55km of piste), the Les Houches ski area has got some wonderful terrain for all abilities, ranging between 1900-950m in altitude. Depending on where you are staying, you can access the area via the Bellevue cable car, the Prarion gondola or hop on the Maison Neuve chairlift if you are staying up top.
For beginners, the gentle nursery slopes are at 1850m making them more snow sure than the other beginner areas on the valley floor. Intermediates will love the wide range of blues and reds, whilst thrill seekers can test their nerve on the legendary World Cup black run – La Verte des Houches – the setting for the Kandahar Downhill race each year. With it’s tree lined pistes, Les Houches is also the best place to head when the weather closes in and it boasts some excellent off piste skiing through the trees.
If you are staying in Les Houches and enjoy skiing at a leisurely pace and having charming mountain restaurants on your doorstep, then the Les Houches ski pass is worth considering. If you really want to clock up the kms during your stay, the MBU ski pass is probably a better option.
Les Houches ski passes are available for 1 – 21 day durations, as well as a 4h hour ticket valid for 4 consecutive hours of skiing, starting from the moment you take your first lift.
If you are here longer term or planning multiple trips, then you can also buy a season or annual ski pass for Les Houches. Get in early and you can snap these tickets up for half price if you buy before the end of November.
Family Ski Areas and Lift Pass Options in Chamonix
If you are in town, the most easily accessible pistes for adult and child beginners alike are the Savoy and Les Planards, with the former being the sunnier of the two. For slightly older or more accomplished kids, the Brevent and Flegere ski area has several longer and more challenging green and blue runs. Another fantastic family friendly ski option, is the Domaine de Balme (Le Tour & Vallorcine) area which is perhaps the largest and best beginner’s ski area and has the added benefit of normally being warm and sunny which well worth bearing in mind when skiing with kids! Perhaps the best option is just down the valley in Les Houches where some of the only ski in ski out family accommodation in the valley is located.. With several nursery slopes, a snow garden, and plenty of great blue and red runs, Les Houches is an ideal ski area for families of differing ability levels who want to ski in the same place. More detail is available on our guide to the ski areas in the Chamonix valley.
A family ski pass called the Forfait Famille and is far cheaper than buying ski passes individually. For every two adults paying the public adult rate, the first child gets a 50% reduction and any subsequent children ski for free! As with the normal lift passes, you can choose a Forfait Famille for the Chamonix Le Pass, Mont Blanc Unlimited or Les Houches areas and they are available from 1 - 15 days. (For all children’s passes it is advisable to bring proof of date of birth to the pass office). Please see our page on Chamonix ski pass prices for all lift pass prices.
The lift pass company offers free passes for children under 4, and a reduction on the adult price for children between 12-15.
Non-Skiers - for those of you wishing to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding mountains without hurtling down them, it is possible to buy a pedestrian ticket at the base of any of the valley gondolas, cable cars and trains for one return trip.
If you plan to meet up for lunch with the skiing members of your party, then ask about Le Cham’Gourmand pass. This entitles you to spend €27 in either Restaurant Plan Joran (Grand Montets) or La Bergerie de Planpraz (Brevent) and the return trip on the lift is included in the price. We recommended that you book your table in advance as the restaurants can get very busy between 12-2pm, although it is not possible to reserve a table for more than 10 people. You can call La Bergerie on +33 (0) 450 53 05 42 and Plan Joran on +33 (0) 450 54 05 77.
Early Purchase Discount - The Compagnie du Mont Blanc offer discounts of up to 40% if you buy your season or annual Le Pass or MBU ski pass before the end of November each year. These pre-sale early bird discounts usually go on sale around mid-September and represent a considerable saving if you're organised and get in quick.
Start & End of Season Discount Prices - At the start of each season and at the end of season, you can enjoy discounted ski pass rates in Chamonix.
Family Pass - if you are here “en famille” then the Family Pass option offers some very attractive discounts for the younger members of your party. For every two adults (from the same family) paying the normal tariff, the first child (up to 15 years) gets a 50% reduction in price and any remaining children ski for free!!. Each member of the family will have their own hands free ski pass (€3 each) and it is possible to mix and match between the Le Pass and Unlimited options by paying a small supplement. The Family Pass is available from 1 day duration onwards and proof of age is required. Children 16 years and older are classified as adults.
For family season passes, the family rate applies to 2 adults and 1 child only (up to 15 yrs) and any additional children are charged the senior season ski pass rate.
4 Hour Ski Pass - if you are on a flying visit through Chamonix or if you have the chance for a few last turns before you head home, it is now possible to buy a pass for 4 consecutive hours skiing. The clock starts ticking when you take your first lift.
Seniors - reduced rates are available for adults between the ages of 65-74 years and a reduction of 50% is applied to the cost of a day's ski pass to anyone over the age of 75.
For the occasional Chamonix visitor
The Chamonix RapidCard is an annual loyalty card which gives you prefential day rates on all the Chamonix lifts (except for the Panoramic Mont Blanc) summer and winter, on as pay as you go system.
The card means you don't have to collect a new pass on each seperate visit to Chamonix and has a loyalty system in place so that every seventh day is free.
The card costs only €25 when purchased pre-season or €50 normally. Your card then gives you these preferential rates: winter day rate : €40 and summer day rate : 23€
After each use of your pass, the next morning you will receive an email with the details of your pass use.
Additional Ski Pass Information for Chamonix
Photos are only required for passes over 10 days in duration but all are now issued as a hands-free electronic smart pass that operates the lift turnstiles. You have to pay a €3 deposit for the card which is refundable, or you can keep it as a souvenir.
Lift passes are available from the base of each lift station, the Montenvers railway cash desk or in advance on-line purchases can be made via the Compagnie du Mont Blanc wesbite. Visa, Mastercard and Amex credit cards are accepted.
Insurance - when you purchase your lift pass you may be given the additional option to add insurance. Even if you have your own this is worth considering as it is a special ski insurance instantly recoginised in France. Ask for 'assurance Carré Neige' - it has to be put onto the pass at the time of purchase and only costs €2.70 per day (€2.30 for children).