Whether you are out enjoying the pistes, powder, touring or are a beginner in Chamonix we’ve got some money saving advice for you (please note, prices valid from October 2013).
Talk to your accommodation provider about lift pass deals, most of which will be able to provide you with a cheaper ski pass or at least a cheaper "all-inclusive package" for your holiday. Your operator will naturally propose the best suited ski pass for where you are staying and your holiday duration. Many Tour Operators will also be able to deliver your pass to you in resort - so you can avoid a trip to the lift pass office.
Check out our lift pass offers & deals page for all the latest ski pass offers available in Chamonix. Not all accommodation providers offer an inclusive ski pass deal, so you may well find a handy addition to your holiday package here.
There is no need to buy your lift pass in advance, the lift company won’t run out of tickets and queuing for lift passes is somewhat of an urban myth - especially with online top-ups! The main advantage of not buying in advance is that you can decide on your arrival where and for how long you want to ski for. Many skiers end up having at least one day off at week and if the weather turns bad during your stay you may prefer a spa session than a white out. Of course, if you’re super keen and the weather is set to be perfect, then pick up your full week pass from a ticket office in town - Montenvers is just behind the train station and you hardly ever have to queue, but until then your money has been in your own bank account gaining interest and a few extra pennies!
You don't need to pay for a whole week's pass in one go or of the same type. In terms of savings...
6 day Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass (whole area) comes in at €282
You may make the most of your week with a 4-day Chamonix Le Pass, a 1 day Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass (for a visit to the top area) and one 4-hour pass which comes in at €264.50
Ski early or late in the season, or for a short-break. If you avoid the high and main season or wait until you see what the weather is doing, you can get much reduced rates on less popular or snow-sure times of the year and still have a great time anyway. Although it won't save you pro-rata, only skiing a weekend or mid-week is also an option in Chamonix
Check which pass you actually need. The "Chamonix Le Pass" covers all of the main ski areas: all of the beginner sections at the bottom of the valley, as well as Brevent/Flegere, Le Tour and Les Grands Montets (apart from the very top lift - which offers spectacular views but can be a seriously tough ski down for even fairly competent and experienced skiers and can be extremely cold in the early part of the season). The "Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass" gives you access to the top lift at Grands Montets, as well as the fabled Aiguille du Midi (which leads to an unpatrolled and glacial area - which should only be considered with a guide). In most cases the "Le Pass" will be more than enough - go for the "Unlimited" if you are planning a gnarly, glacier-filled week.
Be sure to indicate your age and whether you are skiing with family, as discounts are availble for children under 18 and seniors, as well as family ski pass deals.
Top-up your pass instead. If you do fancy a trip to the top of Grands Montets, you can top up your "Chamonix Le Pass" with a 10€ one-way ticket. The perfect solution if you just want to tick it off your to-do list and save money!
Skiing in Les Houches is best for bad weather days and it saves you money, the smaller and lower ski area of Les Houches is home to some of the best bad weather tree line skiing in the Valley. Furthermore the Les Houches pass is cheaper, however it is worth nothing that this spot is no longer a well kept secret so on a bad weather day - crowds flock in and you should avoid buying a pass on the day.
1 day Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass (which includes Les Houches) = €56.50
For regular Chamonix skiers you can buy a Rapid Card which is essentially a pay-as-you-ski pass. This costs 50€ (or 25€ if purchased between 1st and 21st December), and then charges you 40€ per day in winter (regardless of where you ski, but does include top of Grands Montets and Aiguille du Midi) and 23€ per day in summer each time you use your pass. Although there is an up-front fee, you could be saving money on your 5th day skiing!
Skiing in La Vormaine area of Le Tour is perfect for beginners with its flattish wide open pistes. The ‘espace ludique’ is free to use and if you’re only skiing for 1 day it’s only 14.80€ for an adult. You have access to 4 button lifts which lead to 2 green pistes, a blue and a freestyle area, so perfect if you’re skiing for the first time or with young children.
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 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.
Chamonix Mont Blanc Unlimited Ski Pass
Chamonix, Les Houches, Courmayeur & Verbier
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 a 3 day or more Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass, you can now get 1 day of skiing in Megeve, part of the Evasion Mont Blanc ski area.
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 backcountry exploring is your thing and you want the maximum variety of terrain available, look no further!
Loyalty card 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.
Discounted Ski Passes in Chamonix
Cheap Chamonix ski passes for families, kids and seniors
Early Purchase Discount - The Compagnie du Mont Blanc offer discounts 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 and one child (from the same family) paying the normal rate, the 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.
Reduced Rates - are available for adults between the ages of 65-74 years and children aged 4-15 years with further discounts for anyone over the age of 75.
Family Ski Areas and Lift Pass Options in Chamonix
Ski en famille in Chamonix, with reduced ski pass rates
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.
Les Houches Ski Pass
Family friendly & tree-line skiing
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.
Pedestrian & cross country winter lift pass options
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.
Nordic skiers can purchase day, week or season passes for all the cross country tracks in the valley.
Ski tourers can purchase a Randonee ski pass for Brevent, Flegere & Le Tour which allows 1 return trip + 1 one way.