Chamonix has almost 60km of pisted cross country ski trails that criss-cross the valley from Les Houches all the way to Vallorcine.
Tracks are maintained for both the classic and skating styles, usually side by side on specially prepared pistes. These trails all operate on a one-way system (for obvious reasons!) and you can buy a pass to access them before setting out, usually from the lodges at the beginning of the trails - the trails are patrolled and it is likely that your pass will be checked en route.
The pistes are generally open from 9am to 5pm each day (snow cover permitting) and are maintained each evening. Walkers (and dogs) are requested to keep to the marked pedestrian trails (which are free access) and not stray onto the marked ski trails.
There is a short (2.6km) trail by the lake at Les Chavants, which is free to use and marked as a green piste. For longer, harder trails you need to take the Prarion gondola up to the main ski area, where you will find blue pistes at 1000m starting from just after Le Prarion lift (6km), and others at 1800m (10km). Cross-country skiers only need purchase a pedestrian pass to access the lift.
Trails start from the Foyer du Fond, situated on the main road to Les Praz/Argentiere (opposite the MBC bar) from where piste passes may be purchased. There is a 3km circular green route through the woods of the Bois du Bouchet, which links on to a further 17kms of more demanding blue and red graded trails that lead to Les Bois and back. There are some beautiful trails through the trees and alongside the river.
Starting from near the Flegere lifts try the long green circuit (6km) around the golf-course. Free of charge and you can take the bus or train to get there, or drive and park at Flegere. The restaurant at the golf course, La Cabane, is a lovely place to stop for lunch.
The trails begin in Les Grassonets before you reach Argentiere itself (just after the long avalanche protection tunnel), near to the tennis/squash courts. The trails start out as fairly flat greens or blues (6km) although if you carry on through to Argentiere there are steeper sections, classified red (10km). Pop into La Cremerie du Glacier along the way and reward yourself with a cheese-laden lunch or hot drink!
The starting point is by the Tourist Office in the centre of the village or at Le Buet, the village before Vallorcine. There are around 10km of trails through picturesque woodland and along the banks of the river “Eau Noire”. They are mainly blue and red pistes, best suited beginner or intermediate skiers. If snow conditions permit, there is also a beautiful trail that will take you as far as the Col des Montets.
Just outside the valley you can also go to Les Contamines, Les Saisies and Val Ferret (in Italy, via the Mont Blanc Tunnel), or over to Saint Gervais and Megeve in the Evasion Ski area.
You will require a trail pass for most of the pistes - there are a few different options ranging from day passes for one area to annual passes that cover the whole of the Haute Savoie. You can find all information on our Ski Lift Passes Guide.