Massif du Mont-Blanc, Savoie, French Alps
The village sits between the Chamonix Valley and the Val d’Arly, but unlike nearby Saint Gervais and Megève, Les Contamines is spared through-traffic, since the road stops at the far end of the valley.
Road access from Saint Gervais is simple enough, however, with no arduous mountain climbs.
The location is impressive, nearby Mont-Blanc providing visual drama along with healthy snowfalls, while over in the next valley lie Hauteluce and the Beaufortain.
The Ski Area
Two gondola lifts converge on Etape 1470, from which you either take an onward chairlift to ski a selection of tree-lined terrain (for competent skiers this means all the way down to the valley floor) or a gondola up to Signal 1900. Here you’ll find terrain for all abilities, novices included. Lovers of Blue-graded cruising have a good selection of quite long runs, including a couple of scenic swoops over into the Hauteluce sector.
It’s more competent skiers, though, who get to appreciate the full extent of just what Les Contamines offers. Red-grading tends to be more a reflection of gradient steepness than anything too daunting - and often you can change your mind along the way and switch to a Blue. For something altogether more testing, take the draglift up to Veleray 2450 for bracing drop down to 1577m on the Black-graded Rebans.
Pistes Total: 120 km
Pistes Total: 445 km
3 Cable Cars
The Ski Village
The old village has an appealingly authentic feel, and still has a reassuringly down-to-earth skyline. Les Contamines-Montjoie has been welcoming visitors since the first hotel opened in 1900, and founded its Ski Club just eleven years later. Chalet style still rules, with larger apartment developments only really in evidence (conveniently) closer to the Montjoie gondola. There’s also limited on-mountain hotel accommodation at Etape 1470. Shuttle-buses around the valley are free.
Why go skiing in Les Contamines ?
Confident skiers who value the purity of a back-to-nature mountain environment and a dramatic setting for their skiing experience. It’s friendly and although in the heart of Massif du Mont-Blanc, has a refreshingly tucked-away feel. Which is why if you want to explore the full extent of the Evasion Mont-Blanc lift pass you'll have to factor in transfers by road at the start and end of each day. But if you’re happy to stay put and explore the local terrain in depth then chances are you won’t be disappointed. Despite the image, the gentle beginner areas and choice of ski-schools (which offer English-speaking instructors) make learning here perfectly possible, and there’s lots of scope for improving intermediates...
Cross-Country SkiingGroomed cross-country trails for classic and skating style in the spectacular and wild Notre Dame de la Gorge area.
25km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails
- ESF Les Contamines have one dualski and a trained monitor. They remain flexible and can work with neighbouring ski areas to accommodate requests. Contact ESF via their website.
- Dramatic, away-from-it-all setting.
- The highest nature reserve in France and the only protected area in the Mont Blanc range.
- Some challenging but safe steeps for confidence-building.
- Hauteluce sector adds variety and worthwhile extra mileage.
- Capable lift system.
- Convenient free car parking.
- Cosy, welcoming village feel.
- Reassuring debutante areas, but relatively limited terrain for early intermediate skiers.
- It can get windy here, and the Hautluce link is quite exposed...
- No lift link to St Gervais/Megève - you'll need to take the bus or drive.
- La Gorge gondola offers ample parking plus a quicker ascent than Montjoie.
Situated in the hamlet of Lay, approx 150m from the cable car and a short driving distance from the village centre (1km, 10 minute walk), these self-catering apartments are part of Peak Retreats' Essentials range. Fitted and furnished to a good standard of comfort and convenience, there are apartments ranging from 1 to 4 bedrooms sleeping up to 10 people. All have a balcony, living area with double sofa bed, bathroom or shower room, wc, and fully equipped kitchen area. Guests also have free access to sauna, hot tub and small fitness area.
For more information and bookings see Peak Retreats or contact them on +44 (0)23 9283 9310 (UK)
Located in the centre of the village of Les Contamines, The charming Hameau du P’Tou boasts exceptional views of the Mont Joly and the Mont-Blanc range. Families of up to five people can stay in a small, traditional independent chalet equipped with an open kitchen, a master suite and a children’s bedroom. After a day in the outdoors, enjoy cozy evenings in front of the wood burning stove.
There are also three guest rooms within the hamlet – a double room with a private terrace and two spacious and cozy family suites.