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Ski area: Chamonix Valley, France
Resort height: 1260m
Resort top height: 3864m

Domaine de Balme
(Vallorcine, Le Poya and La Tour)
Km piste: 29
Lifts: 11

No. of slopes: 24

Green slopes 3 Blue slopes 11
Red slopes 9 Black slopes 1

Beginners starstar
Intermediates starstarstar
Experts starstarstarstar
Boarders starstarstarstar

Driving distance from Calais: 518 miles (8hrs)

resort info

The tiny, unspoilt village of Vallorcine is superbly located at the foot of Mont-Blanc, 20km from Chamonix and included in that famous resort's area lift ticket. Close to the Swiss border, the scenery is stunning and the snow record good.


Skiers have fast access to the friendly local Balme ski area, shared with neighbouring Le Tour, via an efficient gondola from the village.


Facilities in the Vallorcine village itself are blessedly limited. There are a handful of simple restaurants and available activities, besides skiing, are limited to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. However if you’re looking for a livelier night out or more extensive facilities, it’s easy to get Chamonix and the local guest card provides discounts on activities in the area, such as the Chamonix swimming pool complex.


Chamonix (10 miles away) is indeed a fascinating traditional resort with a bustling atmosphere thanks to the presence of over 100 shops, bars and restaurants. The picturesque town also has a casino, Olympic ice rink, sports complex, tennis courts, climbing wall, bowling, Alpine museum, seven night clubs and three cinemas. Also in the region you can try paragliding or take a helicopter sight-seeing flight.


Why Vallorcine?

·          Small, unspoilt resort that’s less crowded than Chamonix

·          High altitude skiing with very good snow records

·          Traditional village


  • Opening Dates
  • Child Care
  • Activities
  • Apres Ski/Eating
  • Access
Opening Dates


Chamonix Valley is open from early December 2014 to early May 2015


Domaine de Balme (Vallorcine) is open partial from 13th Dec - 19th Dec. Full opening from 20th December 2014 - 19th April 2015


Lift closures 14/15:


Aiguille du Midi (Chamonix) has its annual closure from 3 November to 19 December 2014.


Step into the Void® timetables (Pas dans le vide®) - from September 15th 2014 La Compagnie du Mont-Blanc continues its investment program at the Aiguille du Midi. From September 15th 2014, the access to the summit terrace and to the “Step into the Void” will be closed for further renovation & refurbishment work. During more than 6 months, the team and SCHINDLER (Elevators) are going to work on the change of summit elevator. Next spring, visitors will have the possibility of access to the summit terrace via a double, latest generation SCHINDLER, elevator. Reopens 31st March 2015.


Child Care


CHILDCARE WITHOUT SKIING (childcare with skiing, see below)

Panda Club: 10 months - 12 year olds, telephone 0033 450 558 612 Chamonix Centre, or 0033 450 540 476 Argentiere.


A list of approved baby-sitters is available from the Chamonix Tourist Office.


ESF Vallorcine


Children can learn to ski from 3 years old in Vallorcine with ESF Vallorcine.


ESF Vallorcine also arrange kids ski and garderie formulas which Peak Retreats can pre-book:

Ski lessons plus lunch plus garderie formula

6 mornings (09.30-14.15) or afternoons (12.00-16.45): £204

6 days (09.30-16.45) with lunch: £257

Peak Retreats can pre-book this. See here for details.




A large sports complex offers sports hall, indoor and outdoor ice rink, speed skating rink, 19 tennis courts including 4 indoor, squash courts, swimming pool complex with water-slide & fitness centre (saunas, Turkish baths, solarium).

Centre Sportif Richard Bozon

Tel: 00 33 450 532 370



View here for 13/14 Chamonix Valley lift openings

View here for 13/14 Chamonix Valley train times


New for 13/14! Chamonix Sky Walk

The latest addition to the ongoing improvements being made to the Aiguille du Midi, the Chamonix Skywalk is making steady progress and is due to open to the public in December. The new feature on the Aiguille du Midi, which already attracts millions of visits every year, is set to be a huge sensation at 3,842 metres. The Chamonix Skywalk is a glazed structure perched on the Aiguille du Midi, with a 1000 metre drop below, allowing visitors to truly step into the void. The structure is made entirely of glass to allow for maximum transparency, three glass plates of 12 mm each are binded with a transparent film of the five faces, all held together by mechanical fasteners. The unit is then fixed to a vertical support structure over the void. The bespoke design has taken years of planning, development and testing by French engineers and German laboratories. The Skywalk will be visible at the Aiguille du Midi this autumn as the installation progresses however will only be accessible to the public from the 21st of December, the opening date of the Aiguille du Midi after its annual closure on the 4th of November.


Activities in Vallorcine

Nocturnal sport in Vallorcine

In the hamlet of Le Buet in Vallorcine, the cross-country piste is flood-lit two evenings per week during the school holidays. Free entry


Ski joering in Vallorcine

Ski-joëring at the foot of Aiguilles Rouges!
New this winter!
With the Couteray team.
Try it yourself - Rides (individuals, groups, night-rides)
Sleigh rides.
Welcome point: Le Buet, 50 m from the railway station
Information: L'attelage de Couteray

Pascal Berguerand
+33 (0) 450 54 63 45
or +33 (0) 615 17 30 23


Dog-sledding (upon booking) in Vallorcine
Learn how to drive a sled and its dogs.
Contact Evasion Nordique:
Philippe Von Compernolle
+33 (0) 682 09 50 03


Outdoor ice rink in Vallorcine

Patinoire Résidence & Spa Vallorcine

74660 Vallorcine
Tel: +33 (0)4 50 54 75 20
Open afternoon and evening (flood lit).
Open to all daily (except Tuesday) from mid December till mid March.
Skate rentals - 5€
Night time entertainment.

Sledding in Vallorcine
Located in the village centre behind the Tourist Information office in Vallorcine is a groomed hill for sledding. Children are under their parents responsibility.

Do not forget gloves, sunglasses and hats for all.


La Ferme de Vallorcine

Farm shop selling cheeses Vallorcine +33(0)4 50 54 69 42


Markets nearby

Tuesday: Aoste

Wednesday: Courmayeur

Saturday: Chamonix, Sallanches


Numerous runways are available for hang and paragliders. The Alpine Mueseum and a range of exhibitions with vaied themes are offered throughout the season.


If you prefer walking or snowshoeing to skiing, Chamonix has just what you need to enjoy high mountain scenery: discover the Mer de Glace with the picturesque cog railway of Montenvers, take Europe’s highest cable car to the top of the Aigulle du Midi, ride on the tramway du Mont-Blanc, Frances highest cog railway, fly over the Mont-Blanc with Chamonix Mont-Blanc Helicopters – or simply enjoy the 17km of footpaths which take you deep into the winter landscape.                  


All the above information is for information only. For the most up-to-date information please visit the resort tourist office website


Vallorcine Tourist Office

Vallorcine tourist information
Le Betté Chef Lieu
Tél +33 450 54 60 71
Fax +33 450 54 61 73


School holidays - everyday from 9h-12h and 14h30-18h
Other periods - 9h-12h and 14h30-17h30

Closed Suns and bank holidays

Free Wifi Access limited to 1 hour.

Apres Ski/Eating

There are 5 restaurants (plus 2 refuges) in Vallorcine. Otherwise Chamonix hosts a wide selection of typical cafes and tempting pastry shops along with 14 bars, 80 restaurants, 100 shops and 7 discos. 


Restaurants in Vallorcine

Restaurant La Ferme des 3 Ours
Le Plan Droit -  04 50 54 63 06


Restaurant Le Buet
Le Buet - 04 50 54 60 05


L’Arrêt Bougnête
Place de la Gare -  04 50 54 63 04


Le Café Comptoir
Le Plan Envers – 04 50 18 72 43




By Road: Driving distance from Calais to Vallorcine 530miles (8hrs)

Direct access by the 'Autoroute Blanche' (Motorway), connected to the European motorway network, all the way to Chamonix. Then on the RN 506 to Vallorcine (17 km), heading towards Switzerland.


By Rail: TGV (fast train) to Saint-Gervais. Mont-Blanc express Saint-Gervais - Vallorcine.



Geneva Airport is 116km from Vallorcine (1 ½ hours)   

Chambery Airport is 149km from Vallorcine (1 ¾ hours) 

Lyon Saint-Exupery is 236km from Vallorcine (2 ½ hours)

Grenoble Airport is 243km from Vallorcine (2 ½ hours) 


Getting around the Chamonix Valley area

(Argentiere, Le Tour, Chamonix, Les Houches, Vallorcine etc)


Buses from Servoz to Vallorcine are free for holders of the guest card (Carte d’Hote) or a ski-pass. You can also travel by train (free of charge) between Servoz and Vallorcine with the Carte d’Hote.


The Chamonix Valley has very good shuttle bus links throughout all its resorts so it’s easy to hop on the resort shuttle to whatever ski area you desire. Link up to Chamonix town, Les Houches, Vallorcine; buses run from early in the morning to late afternoon and the night bus runs between 10pm-12pm, returning latest 12.30am.


The SNCF line serves all the villages from St Gervais/Le Fayet to Martigny (Switzerland), passing through Chamonix, Argentiere and Vallorcine. Roughly one train every hour (see

The Mont Blanc Express train also provides access between the Chamonix Valley resorts. 


Airport Transfer

Pre-book your taxi transfer with Peak Retreats

From Geneva Airport to Vallorcine – from £86 per person return based on 4 people sharing. 

For all other transfer prices please click here

ski info

The Chamonix Valley is generally known for its hardcore riding. However the local ski area of Domaine de Balme provides great family skiing (all but one of the runs is graded red or blue) served by 10 lifts providing a maximum skiable vertical of just over 1,000m.  There are wide sunny, north west facing slopes over gentle alpine pastures as well as more challenging off-piste in the trees for advanced skiers.


View here for more details on the different areas of the Chamonix Valley ski area



Domaine de Balme is formed of the village of Vallorcine and Le Tour next door. The area is lift linked (22 easy and intermediate runs), however the main beginner’s areas are both a train ride away at either Le Poya (separate ski area on other side of valley) or Le Tour. The train to Le Tour doesn’t go directly to Le Tour and instead has a stop at Montroc (about 1km from Le Tour itself). It does mean a bus ride to reach the main lift station area. Intermediate skiers can reach Le Tour on blues and reds instead of taking the train/bus.

From the top of the Domaine de Balme ski area there are some spectacular views down to Switzerland. There is some great off-piste skiing to be found as well. Le Tour offers mixed terrain where pistes tend to be wide cruisy blues or fairly easy intermediate reds.


Beginners skiers (whether adult or children) plus children up to Flocon and 1st Star and adults Level 1 will take their ski lessons at Le Poya (a train ride away and a separate ski area from the main Vallorcine/Domaine de Balme domain). All other levels will take their lessons in Vallorcine. Lift pass to buy locally.



For families and beginners arriving when there is snow at valley level there’s the additional option of the small, separate, la Poya ski area which operates three lifts and three runs – a green, blue and red as well as a snow garden for children. 


The other area is at Le Tour/La Vormaine. Probably the best beginners areas which has 3 draglifts for all levels of beginners. The ski area is wide and flat so plenty of space to practise. Very sunny, lots of snow (highest altitude of all the lower valley slopes), views of Le Tour glacier and great for beginners/intermediates. Ideal for children. Gentle blue runs can then be progressed on at top of Le Tour main lift served by the Autannes chairlift. Try runs Arve and Stade for improving beginners. Take the gondola Charamillion at end of the day as there is only a red run (Caisets) back to Le Tour.



Intermediate level skiers will be satisfied by the local ski area for several days, particularly the long blue run back to the resort. The Autannes Chair at the front gives access to some good intermediate runs on the front, Ecuries being the most obvious as it runs below the lift. The front of Le Tour is littered with gullies, which during the winter fill in with snow and form themselves into natural halfpipes.



Advanced skiers will probably want to take advantage of the Mont Blanc regional pass which encompasses the ski areas of a dozen resorts around Western Europe’s highest mountain, including Courmayeur across the border in Italy. This provides access to all the treasures of Argentiere, Chamonix and many more. Chamonix is about a 20mins drive or shuttle bus ride away from Vallorcine.


However there are snowy delights to be had closer to home. In addition to the one technical black run on Balme, Emosson, which includes a steep mogul section, Les Jeurs, on the northern part of La Tete de Balme is one of the favourite off-piste routes which goes down through the forest. There are many other options which the local mountain guides, who are based in Vallorcine, can take you to, with option of skiing further along the valley and returning to the villager by train. Of course, for the hardcore skiers amongst you there is the famous Vallee Blanche in Chamonix.


  • Ski Hire
  • Ski Passes
  • Ski School
  • Activities
  • Historical Snow
Ski Hire


Ski hire in Vallorcine prices start from £35 for children (skis and boots) & £48 for adults (skis and boots) for 7 days. View here for Vallorcine ski hire prices

Ski hire is to be picked up in nearby Argentiere.


Ski Passes



Adult (16-64)

Child (4-15) / Senior (65-74)*

Senior (75+)*


7 days Cham le Pass (1)





7 days MBU (2)





6 days Cham le Pass (1)





6 days MBU (2)





5 days Cham le Pass (1)





5 days MBU (2)





*CHILD/SENIOR: Proof of age is compulsory; please bring ID ** FAMILY PASS: 2 adults + 1 child (4-15yrs); extra children (4-15yrs) free (people with same name, living at same address) / Photos are only necessary for passes +10 days)

MBU FIRST SNOW (29/11 to 19/12) & Spring (11/4-3/5) OFFER:

6 days lift pass MBU (2) - OFFER





MBU Early booking OFFER (from Sat 10/1 to Fri 6/2 + from Sat 7/3 to Fri 10/4)**: on 6 days lift passes

***Bookings have to be done before 20/11/14

6 days lift pass MBU (2) - OFFER





NEW: Your hands-free lift pass cards will be sent to you in your voucher pack, so you won’t have to queue at the lift pass office with a voucher on arrival.

NOTE: €3/pass for hands-free pass is included in the price (reuseable annually)


(1) Chamonix Le Pass: Brevent/Flegère (Chamonix), Lognan (Argentière, except Lognan - Grands Montets cable car), Balme (Tour/Vallorcine) + Les Planards, Le Savoy, Les Chosalets, La Vormaine (family area, bottom of the valley) + resort shuttle bus      


(2) Mont-Blanc Unlimited (MBU): Chamonix Le Pass + Les Houches + Verbier/4 Vallées - Suisse (valid for lift passes 6 days+) + Les Grands Montets (Argentière) & Courmayeur (Italy) + unlimited access to lifts, mountain trains & excursion sites of Aiguille du Midi & Panoramic Mt-Blanc, Montenvers gondola, train & ice grotto visit, Tramway du Mt Blanc & Funivie Monte-Bianco (Italy) + incl resort & Chamonix - Les Houches shuttle bus. 


Other lift pass on offer (to buy locally in resort in Euros):


Vallorcine-Le Poya ski pass - ½ day and daily rates 2012/2013:






14 €

11 €

12 €

Half Day

10,50 €

8 €

8,50 €

6 Days

70 €

55 €

60 €

6 Half Days

52,50 €

40 €

42,50 €










Half Day Morning: 9h to 13h
Half Day afternoon: 12h30 to 16h30
Child: 4 - 16 yrs, Adult: 16 - 65 yrs, senior: +65 yrs and less than 4 yrs: FREE


Cham Le Pass ski pass – ½ day and daily rates:

½ day - €32 children, €37 adults

Day - €36 children, €42 adults


Mont Blanc Unlimited - ½ day and daily rates:

Day - €44 children, €52 adults

Ski School


Ski School ESF Vallorcine 13/14



Group lessons only (lift pass not included)




5 or 6 half-days 

(13 yrs+)


Piou-Piou (3-5yrs)









*SKI Adults (5 sessions) Monday-Friday 09.15-11.45 or 14.15-16.45 ; Children (5 or 6 sessions): Sunday/Monday to Friday 09.15-11.45 or 14.15-16.45 ; Kindergarten (5 or 6 sessions) Sunday/Monday to Friday 9.30-11.30 or 14.30-16.30; **SNOWBOARD (+9yrs): Sunday-Friday, Beginners 09.15-11.45, other levels 14.15-16.45

BEGINNERS: La Poya ski area (lift pass to buy locally)

KIDS CLUB: Ski lessons + lunch + garderie

6 mornings (9.30-14.15) or afternoons (12.00-16.45) :


6 days (9.30-16.45) with lunch:


ALL TIMES TO BE CONFIRMED. Please note that a Booking fee of £9 per party will apply.

Please note that: lesson times are subject to change right until the last minute. Outside French school holidays the ski school reserves the right to cancel group lessons should numbers be insufficient. For peak periods (21/12-4/1, 15/2-15/3 & 12/4-26/4) we strongly recommend that you book as early as possible and in any case at least 6 weeks prior to the required dates. Morning lessons tend to get booked up first and therefore we may only be able to offer afternoon classes within 6 weeks of departure. In some resorts English speaking instructors may not always be available, particularly at peak times.


Ski School: Lesson times are subject to change right until the last minute. Outside French school holidays the ski school reserves the right to cancel group lessons should numbers be insufficient. For peak periods (21/12-04/01, 15/02-15/03 & 12/04-19/04) we strongly recommend that you book as early as possible and in any case at least 6 weeks prior to the required dates. Morning lessons tend to get booked up first and therefore we may only be able to offer afternoon classes within 6 weeks of departure. In some resorts English speaking instructors may not always be available, particularly at peak times.


Vallorcine Individual Tuitions

(13/14 prices, NOT pre-bookable)





1-2 pers*



1-2 pers**



* + €5 per person suppl.

** + €8 per person suppl.


Individual tuitions can only be purchased directly from the ski school. Peak Retreats cannot pre-book these.


Gare de la Télécabine
74660 Vallorcine
Ski school contact number:
Tél: +33 (0)4 50 54 61 67



Mountain restaurants

Various in Chamonix Valley


Ski in Vallorcine Off-Piste

Le Tour in the Domaine de Balme has some of the best off piste in the valley. Do take a guide with you though; as comes with the territory of off-piste skiing the conditions can be dangerous and avalanches are frequent in this area.


Ski in Vallorcine Cross country

In the centre of the village.
Tel: (+33) 4 50 54 61 09
Open every day from 9 am - 12 noon & 1.30 pm - 5.30 pm.

10 km of cross country pistes starting from the foyer or Le Buet. For beginner & intermediate skiers.


View here for Chamonix Valley cross country map 13-14


Snowshoeing in Vallorcine

At Balme there is now a snowshoeing trail which departs from the top of the Vallorcine gondola, direction Les Posettes.

Historical Snow


Chamonix Snow Report – 2004-2014 (10 season average)


This data is for the Chamonix Valley, not Vallorcine alone.


Chamonix and more generally the Chamonix Valley has always benefited from a superb snow record thanks to the microclimate resulting from the very close proximity of Mont Blanc. Snow cover on at least parts of the ski area is pretty much guaranteed from early-December until late April. Here is the snow record data for Chamonix. The first row shows the week for which the measurement applies eg. February 3 is the 3rd week in February. Top slopes shows the average snow cover in cm at the top of the ski area. Bottom Slopes shows the average snow cover in cm at the bottom of the ski area (this is generally where the nursery pistes are located). About 10 cm is generally enough to ski but it very much depends on what’s below ie. grass or more rocky surface.












































Upper Slopes (cm)





















Lower Slopes (cm)






















Other Accommodation In: Vallorcine

More details
Ours Bleu
4* Apartments. Sleeps 2-10
Indoor Pool
Residence L Ours Bleu is located in the centre of the village, right next to the cable car.
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