Why choose Argentière ski resort?
Argentière is the village at the bottom of the biggest and most challenging ski area in the Chamonix valley. It is renowned for its advanced free-ride areas and off-piste expert skiing, is located at a decent height above sea level with a good snow record and yet is easily accessible from the rest of France (and Switzerland).
However, it is definitely not suitable for beginner skiers (better ski resorts for beginners are available nearby in the Chamonix valley) or anyone who is looking for a rocking nightlife. Argentière is for skiers who need to get up early for the first tracks on a powder day…
Where is Argentière?
Argentière ski resort is located a few kilometres up the valley from the historic mountain resort of Chamonix, which means that it shares its good road access from Geneva and connections to the French motorway system, as well as the access to Switzerland via a nearby mountain pass and to Italy through the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
Where is the closest airport to Argentiére?
Geneva is the closest international airport to Argentière with a distance of just over 100 kilometres. Chambéry Airport is the nearest alternative, although there is a much more restricted choice of destinations and flight times from the much smaller airport.
|Airport||Distance to Argentière|
|Geneva Airport||107 kilometres|
|Chambéry Airport||148 kilometres|
|Turin Airport||181 kilometres|
|Lyon Airport||228 kilometres|
Getting to Argentière by train
Argentière has its own railway station and is on the metre-gauge line which starts in St Gervais and continues up the valley to Chamonix, Argentière and the Swiss border (and over the border to the Swiss town of Martigny). The service connects to other mainline services in France through the station at St Gervais-Le Fayet further down the valley. This is part of the Geneva region suburban rail network and offers links to Annemasse and Annecy, as well as the route through to Geneva itself.
Driving to Argentière
The Autoroute Blanche (the name of the A40 motorway) offers good links to the rest of the French motorway network. The motorway itself finishes at Passy, about 28 kilometres to the west of Argentière, and turns into the RN205 for the rest of the journey through to the ski resort. Drivers arriving from the Turin region and the Aosta valley in Italy can access Argentière through the Mont Blanc Tunnel – the French side exits the tunnel close to Chamonix. The route up to the Col de la Forclaz from Martigny in Switzerland can also be driven in winter, but does require mountain driving experience and can be closed in bad conditions, leading to a long detour around Lac Leman.
Where to stay in Argentière?
Argentière accommodation tends to be either in self-catering apartments or in holiday rental chalets which can be used by groups of friends or by families. The village does have one four-star hotel however:
The Hôtel les Grands Montets is located at the base of the ski lifts in Argentière and only a ten-minute walk from the village centre. The hotel offers 40 rooms and suites as well as an indoor swimming pool and spa area.
Map of Argentière accommodation
Those who want to get an idea of general availability for their chosen stay can enter dates of arrival and departure to see which accommodation options may be suitable. Click the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ buttons to zoom in or out and click on the prices to see more information and/or book a particular establishment.
Argentière ski area
The ski area above Argentière is known as Les Grands Montets and, at least for those wishing to stay on the marked runs, is a relatively simple one to explore.
It is part of both the Chamonix Mont Blanc region ski passes: the cheaper Chamonix Le Pass, which covers the Brévent-Flégère areas in Chamonix, the Grands Montets area and the Balme-Vallorcine skiing, and the more extensive Mont Blanc Unlimited pass, which extends out to Megève, Courmayeur and Verbier.
However, a major fire a few years ago has meant that the former cable car that ran in two stages between Argentière and the top of the Grands Montets ski area is now being completely rebuilt and is not scheduled to be back in operation until 2024.
Most of the area is still accessible however because of the Plan Joran gondola, which was a second way from the base area onto the mountain. Now skiers and boarders can head across to the former mid-station of the cable car and take a second gondola above the Combe de la Pendant, which opens up one red and one black run, as well as some of the extensive free ride skiing and, for those experts with a guide, some of the extreme descents down steep gullies that Argentière skiing is renowned for.
Alternatively, the Herse chairlift also departs from the Lognan mid station and, although currently missing 600 metres of ski vertical from the missing second cable car under the Aiguille Verte, this allows access to some more advanced skiing as well as a long red run back down to the valley floor.
It should be noted that the red and black pistes quickly turn into bump runs as the upper slopes of the Grands Montets area are never groomed. While there are small areas suitable for beginners and nervous intermediate skiers at the Lognan and Plan Joran stations, there are far better ski areas for these levels up (Balme) and down (Les Houches) the valley of the Chamonix Mont Blanc region and skiing at Argentière is best left to the skiers and boarders who are skilled enough to be enchanted with its challenges.
Any skier who enjoys walking uphill as well as skiing downhill is currently in their element as those with touring ski equipment are the only ones who can head up the mountain to the former top station of the cable car and enjoy the relatively untouched powder after a snow fall!