THE EPIC Vallee Blanche from the shoulder of Mont Blanc is a well-known run within the capabilities of most intermediates. But what really distinguishes the Chamonix valley is the more demanding off-piste skiing from the lifts of Chamonix and Argentiere; and the enormous potential for ski tours both short and long (including the famous Haute Route to Saas Fee).

PLUS POINTS: Spectacular scenery; plenty of tough skiing; lively, characterful town; high, north-facing slopes at Argentiere; wide-ranging lift pass.

MINUS POINTS: Disconnected ski areas; little easy piste skiing; lots of traffic in town and valley; gloomy in mid-winter; poor mountain restaurants.

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