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      11-05-2019, 09:15 AM   #1
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Anyone been to Chamonix France to ski/snowboard?

I've had some good tips from members on here on ski locations. Looking for suggestions on getting there.

I have the choice of flying into paris(much cheaper flights) than flying into Geneva.

For those who have rented a car, how difficult is it to navigate the roads. Is it worth the hassle or taking a train a better route.

Lastly, if anyone's also been to Val thorns or courchevel, give me your opinion on both locations. Thanks for reading.
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      11-05-2019, 09:27 AM   #2
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I've been there, I don't ski though. It's fucking gorgeous if hideously expensive.

Roads in big cities in europe are a nightmare because scooters and brain dead pedestrians but once on the freeways and countryside, it's a joy.
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      11-05-2019, 11:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Alfisti View Post
I've been there, I don't ski though. It's fucking gorgeous if hideously expensive.

Roads in big cities in europe are a nightmare because scooters and brain dead pedestrians but once on the freeways and countryside, it's a joy.
thank you
Did you need a international license?
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      11-05-2019, 11:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R3dliner View Post
I've had some good tips from members on here on ski locations. Looking for suggestions on getting there.

I have the choice of flying into paris(much cheaper flights) than flying into Geneva.

For those who have rented a car, how difficult is it to navigate the roads. Is it worth the hassle or taking a train a better route.

Lastly, if anyone's also been to Val thorns or courchevel, give me your opinion on both locations. Thanks for reading.
No comments on the skiing Chamonix. While I have not driven in France, I have driven extensively throughout Italy. Here are my tips:

Waze works as well in Italy as it does in the US. So, don't forget to get your phone configured to work there. Verizon has a plan that cost me $10 per day this past April. Super convenient and I only paid on days that I used it. That add-on is completely automated after getting it turned on through customer service prior to leaving the states. Much more convenient than buying an EU SIM once you get there, which is another option.

I rented solely through Hertz on all my trips. They have plenty of wagons and SUVs, nearly all of which can be equipped with snow tires and ski racks. I strongly recommend the full-boat insurance because most of us in the US do not have auto insurance that works in the EU. I have also noticed my rentals getting a very detailed inspection upon return, even ensuring I didn't get curb rash on the wheels. With full-boat insurance there is no deductible, but it effectively doubles the cost of your rental.

Could not use Hertz points over there for my rental, but I did earn them.

Last thing - they are much more skilled as drivers over there on average than we are here. You won't see anyone squatting in the left lane like we suffer over here. It is illegal to pass on the right in Italy (I was told), so I pay extra attention when I'm in the left lane.
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      11-05-2019, 11:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R3dliner View Post
thank you
Did you need a international license?
You do not need an international license. Just bring your US license (for up to 3 months stay).
I go to France 2 or three times a year and use my US license for rental cars.
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      11-05-2019, 11:24 AM   #6
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I’ve been. Take the train into Chamonix. Much much easier.
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      11-05-2019, 12:31 PM   #7
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      11-05-2019, 12:35 PM   #8
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Road navigation is a breeze.
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      11-05-2019, 12:57 PM   #9
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I've made the drive from Frankfurt a few times. Rental cars will be on snow tires and the roads are maintained well, the drive will be easy. Hotels are silly expensive though, book in advance and if you're going for a few days do an Airbnb or VRBO, nice to have a kitchen and such.

Be aware that Chamonix is absolutely huge and you can ski between hills quite easily and need to get a ride back to the main area. Probably easier with smart phones and GPS, but when I went it was easy to end up miles away from lift access and not have a good way back.
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      11-05-2019, 01:57 PM   #10
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Went during the summer so I can't speak to the skiing experience.

But I came away feeling that Whistler, BC is a much nicer place! Those of us in the NW have a real gem up here.
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      11-05-2019, 02:02 PM   #11
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Went during the summer so I can't speak to the skiing experience.

But I came away feeling that Whistler, BC is a much nicer place! Those of us in the NW have a real gem up here.
I concur. Driving on the sea to sky hwy is amazing.
The only other place comparable on the west to whistler is lake tahoe.
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      11-05-2019, 02:06 PM   #12
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Thanks all for your responses. Much appreciated
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      11-05-2019, 02:54 PM   #13
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I've been to all those French resorts. The ski range in Chamonix is actually made up of a series of towns connected by free (with ski pass) buses. The buses can get quite busy. Chamonix itself is quite likely and there are some proper difficult runs at Argentiere.
Val Thoren is very high so snow sure but also means big hotels. Courchevel is much prettier and has some really nice quite runs on the far left. I often stay in Meribel as its in the centre of the 3 Valleys even if skiing is better in Courchevel and Val Thorens. Meribel apres ski is good fun at Rond Point
Either way, you can't really go wrong with any of those resorts but each has its own pros and cons.
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      11-05-2019, 03:04 PM   #14
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I've driven from Zürich to Chamonix, it was in the fall though. When crossing boarders they usually just wave you through if there are guards there. The city is pretty busy, but once up in the mountains there wasn't many people up there.
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      11-05-2019, 03:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shazz View Post
I've been to all those French resorts. The ski range in Chamonix is actually made up of a series of towns connected by free (with ski pass) buses. The buses can get quite busy. Chamonix itself is quite likely and there are some proper difficult runs at Argentiere.
Val Thoren is very high so snow sure but also means big hotels. Courchevel is much prettier and has some really nice quite runs on the far left. I often stay in Meribel as its in the centre of the 3 Valleys even if skiing is better in Courchevel and Val Thorens. Meribel apres ski is good fun at Rond Point
Either way, you can't really go wrong with any of those resorts but each has its own pros and cons.
Thanks for the detailed description. Do you think 2 day at chamonix and 2 days at courchevel is enough to do all the runs?
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      11-05-2019, 03:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TURBO8 View Post
I've driven from Zürich to Chamonix, it was in the fall though. When crossing boarders they usually just wave you through if there are guards there. The city is pretty busy, but once up in the mountains there wasn't many people up there.
Gorgeous. Scenery reminds me of my trip to interlaken
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      02-11-2020, 11:17 AM   #17
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UPDATE: Thought I'd update my amazing experience.
Thanks everyone for the suggestion. We did a little bit of a adventure but it was well worth it
Flew into paris. Took the lyria train to geneva and rented a car there. 1.5 hours to chamonix the drive was not bad.

Overall I snowboarded in 3 different countries in 5 days. 2 day in chamonix (Flegere-Brevent, and grand montets), 1 day in courmayeur Italy, and 2 days in Verbier 4 vallees Switzerland.

The 1.2 hour drive from chamonix to verbier was the most amazing drives. 30 min to italy on the longest tunnel I've ever been in. With that being said Verbier was hands down the best mountain for both off and on piste skiing.

Picture was from summit mont fort verbier.
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      02-11-2020, 11:19 AM   #18
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      02-11-2020, 11:23 AM   #19
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I have lots of videos but not many pictures hah.
What's the best way to link a vid?
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      02-11-2020, 11:27 AM   #20
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some pics
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Last edited by R3dliner; 02-11-2020 at 02:18 PM..
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      02-11-2020, 12:48 PM   #21
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nice!
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      02-11-2020, 01:59 PM   #22
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Now THAT is skiing/snowboarding!!!
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