Nick Parks gives us a few good reasons...
Unquestionably Chamonix is the world capital of all-mountain skiing, and justifiably it’s on every aspiring extreme skiers bucket list. But despite its gnarly reputation Chamonix offers something for everyone from nursery slopes to cruisy pistes and lively bars to more gear shops than you can poke a ski stick at.
In most towns and cities mountain guides and ski instructors are a rarity but not in Chamonix where they easily outnumber all other professions and are in demand for good reason. Many of Chamonix’s famed runs like the Vallée Blanche, or as the locals call it the “white gold” are best tackled with a guide. Not just to point out the crevasses and pull you out if you fall in one they will find you slopes you never imagined existed.
Chamonix’s geographical position is the envy of many alpine resorts; one hour drive from the major airport of Geneva, nestled next to the Swiss and Italian borders, stepping off point for Mont Blanc the highest peak in the Alps, home to the highest cable car in Europe the list goes on.
Quite simply if it’s ropes, skis, crampons, paragliders and/or skins that you’re in to Chamonix is your kind of place. With all this going on surely it must get crowded? Answer: yes and no, yes if you follow the crowds and no if you share a guide with friends to take you off the beaten tracks.
In this age of the internet and digital enterprise Chamonix attracts many adventurers seeking the ultimate work - play balance in their lifestyles. Making a living whilst riding the lifts sounds idyllic but even living on the mountain it’s often too easy to find an excuse not to get out. Getting “roped-up” for adventures with guides or instructors is a fantastic way to ensure you fill your bucket list.
Nick Parks IFMGA Mountain Guide Founder of Mountain Tracks and the Chamonix ‘Tuesday Club’, lived in Chamonix through the “naughties” and now lives in a secret location in Switzerland...