Despite the fire in early Autumn 2018, Les Grands Montets will still be open and it can be accessed via Plan Joran gondola, then from Le Bochard and La Herse lifts. Read here about 2018-2019 - Hardcore Heaven.
Les Grands Montets is the largest and most popular ski resort in the Chamonix Valley (over 1 800 ha). It expands above the village of Argentière, which is situated 8 km up Chamonix Mont-Blanc. The Grands Montets summit reaches 3295m.
Les Grands Montets’s 2000m of skiable terrain puts it into an exclusive group of worldwide ski resorts. It includes three major zones:
- the lower mountain area, between Argentière Village (1325 m) and the main station of Lognan (1972m)
- mixed alpine terrain, from Lognan to Bochard (2765m)
- steeper alpine terrain (which includes Argentière glacier), up to 3275m
Skiing areas are both on and off the glacier. Long and high alpine descents culminate in opportunities for tree skiing in the bottom third of the resort. It certainly challenges even experimented skiers, taking into consideration the steep terrain. However, there are numerous beginner trails that are served by 3 chairlifts.
Grands Montets Ski Lifts
Grands Montets is serviced by 8 main lifts (2 gondolas, 2 cable cars*, 4 chairs).
- There are two lifts from Argentière village: a gondola to the easy piste trails from Plan Joran and a cable car to Lognan.
- From Lognan there is quick access to the Bochard gondola (to 2767m), Herse chairlift (to 2593m) and the Grands Montets cable car (to 3275m); all of which get skiers straight to the steeps.
- The Tabé chairlift provides the access to the beginner trails below Plan Joran.
* A fire in early Autumn 2018 has impacted the two cable cars, Argentiere-Lognan and Lognan-Top of the Grands Montets. The resort will still be fully functional using ski lifts via Plan Joran gondola.
For using all these lifts, you should get a Chamonix Le Pass. Yet, there is an exception. Chamonix Le Pass does not provide access to the cable car from Lognan to the top of Grands Montets**. For including this, Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass is needed.
**Because of the fire in early Autumn 2018, you can't get to the top of Les Grands Montets anyway, so it's fine to buy just Chamonix Le Pass, unless you want to visit the Aiguille du Midi and the Montenvers Mer de Glace train, where Mont Blanc Unlimited Pass is needed.
Upon arrival at the ski area base, you have the choice of the main cable car or the new gondola. During busy times it is often faster to take the gondola lift to get to the mid-station as lines for the cable car can get really long!
The mid-station on Les Grands Montets has seen some huge improvements in the past few years. The Bochard lift system was replaced and a new Herse high-speed 6 pax chairlift replaced the old two pax chairlift.
Bochard and Herse Lifts
At the top of the Bochard and Herse lifts the ski terrain is steep and glaciated. It is advisable to stay on the marked and controlled pistes.
The vast area served by these two lifts offers some fantastic skiing although the top sectors are just on the glacier. Avalanche risk will be a moderate to high after a fresh snow. The whole area is "skied out" quickly after a snowfall but, due to its size, there is plenty of exhilarating and challenging skiing.
The Bochard lift gives access to the Lavancher Bowl on the left side of the ski area (an extensive bowl to escape the crowd and ski down 1000 m). Use the Pendant lift at the bottom to return to Lognan, or continue descending through the forest to Lavancher village (1600m of descent).
Due to its north-facing aspect and to its high altitude, Les Grands Montets is also famous for its exceptional snow quality. Most of the ski area is above the treeline, over 1 900 m. Moreover, remarkable snow conditions continue until early May, making it a paradise for skiers and board riders.
Les Grands Montets can be chilly in the mornings (because of the north-facing), and earlier in the season the pistes will barely see the sun before lunchtime, so make sure you wrap up warm.
Considering the weather all-year round, this is the best ski area to head to, as its shaded slopes will be the best preserved, comparing to the other ones in the valley.
Lognan snow park
It is located at Lognan station and it offers several obstacles for freestylers and boardercross is available. If you want to learn, there are courses organised, too.
The boardercross is situated at the top of the Marmottons and Tabé chairlifts. There are two different routes – one with a stopwatch and video system (for competing with your friends), and the second, which meets international standards for higher levels, enthusiasts and ski/snowboard clubs.
Information for Snowboarders:
- Kicker (Jump/Ramp)
- Wave rides
- Chill area
- No halfpipe
- few cat tracks
- no runs with an ascent
- very many freeride/deep snow areas
There are several places to eat, drink, snack on Grands Montets. Details about all
The Summit of the Grands Montets
Skiing from the top of the Grands Montets (3300m) is a skiers dream. With a 2000m vertical drop to Argentière, on a good powder day, who needs heli-skiing?!
Two black pistes, Les Pylônes and Point de Vue, run out of the 3300m top station. The off-piste possibilities are huge. There are a small snack bar and terrace. Take a short climb up metal steps to the observation platform.
The sheer size of the mountains can be deceptive. Over to the south-west is the Aiguille du Midi which is in fact over half a kilometre higher! Beyond that is Mont Blanc, another kilometre higher than the Midi.
Les Grands Montets téléphérique (3300m) is run by a separate company. Tickets can be purchased at Lognan or a ticket which includes the top station can be bought at the base station in Argentière.
Les Grands Montets in summer
Les Grands Montets can be a great place to spend time even in summer. Stunning landscapes, ice-falls, many paths to explore (on foot or mountain biking), a snow garden.
Firstly, a beautiful experience that Les Grands Montets can offer in the summer is the ice-realm of Glacier d’Argentière and the pastures of Lognan, at 1970 m. From the top of the first cable car (from Lognan), you can see the most spectacular ice-falls in the Chamonix Valley.
Once arrived at Lognan, follow the signs to get to Point du Vue, a closer point on Glacier d’Argentière, from where the seracs can be clearly seen. In order to reach it, you can either continue along the ski slope or take the path along the top of the moraine, which is more difficult, but has better views.
The Glacier d’Argentière is dominated by three peaks over 4000m high: Les Droites, La Grand Rocheuse and L’Aiguille Verte. It is around 9 km long. However, in recent years is rapidly receding.
More information at High Mountain Office or at Chamonix Tourist Office.
Beside the glacier, there is a vertical long wall with a few waterfalls in summer, but in winter this wall becomes completely covered in ice and is popular with brave ice climbers. The view is magnificent, a “stormy sea frozen in time”.
Secondly, you may take the second cable car, to the summit (3275m). There, admire the most notorious peaks of Chamonix: L’Aiguille Verte, Les Droites and Les Drus. You can go on downward tracks, back to Chamonix, walking or mountain biking on some peaceful, lofty paths.
A tandem paragliding flight is available from 3220m altitude.
The snow garden offers a refreshing scenery in the summer. You can walk in this 2 500 square meters of snowland, even in the middle of August, and think that you have just started a new season!
As it is situated at the top of Grands Montets, the best would be to visit the snow garden in a hot day, say some tourists, when there are not many clouds, to have a better view of the irregular and beautiful landscapes.
The snow garden is constructed and maintained by the piste team.
The below information on Chamonix weather is intended as a guide only, to give you an idea of what to expect. It is based on previous weather conditions.
June – is getting warmer, snow melts on the higher walking trails, but it can stick around well into July so it’s always best to check the latest conditions with the High Mountain Office before heading out. From June, you can start enjoying the summer activities on offer – from climbing to water rafting – as the conditions improve.
July – the Chamonix weather will be warm or hot in July, often resulting in sultry afternoons and evening thunderstorms. All of the summer activities are possible at this time of year!
August – August is similar to July, perhaps even a little hotter in the middle of the day. The town is also busy, so getting some altitude for fresher air and escaping the clouds is recommended.
It is very important not to forget (in winter and summer) that the sun’s strength can be misleading at high altitudes. Although it may not feel hot, the UV radiation is much increased (UV radiation increases 4-5% with every 300m above sea level).
Therefore, you must wear sun cream and good sunglasses to protect from snow blindness. The sun can be dangerous even on a cloudy day. The exposure is higher, as the rays are reflected back off the snow, so sun protection is essential. More information here
Grands Montets Live Ski Lift Status Phone: +33 4 50 54 00 71