Excellent for beginners, there’s a small separate area at La Poya which is open for much of the winter, served by three drag lifts with only easy to moderate runs and a 200m vertical, it’s a great place to learn away from faster, experienced skiers although it is a short bus/train ride from the village centre. The main Balme area is good too with the wonderful long Foret Verte easy run winding back down to the village through the forest from the top of the gondola; a great run to tackle after a few days learning the basic technique.
A good choice for intermediates just looking to have an enjoyable week on the snow, the Balme slopes are easy to access by gondola and the subsequent chairlift to the top opens up just over 1000m of vertical. At the top of the chair a five minute walk takes you to the Swiss border with glorious views all around. There are 20 runs to choose from – almost all easy to moderate standard, the higher trails on wide and sunny slopes above the treeline, the lower cutting down through the forest towards the valley floor. Of course with the regional pass you’re able to take the train or bus to other Chamonix Valley ski areas for further choice if you need it.
Although not marketed or recommended as a destination for advanced skiers with all the groomed terrain easy/moderate with just one red/black borderline piste, Vallorcine does hold a quiet reputation as an insiders' tip for off-piste powder with dozens of routes possible with a local guide, many starting from the powder fields beneath the Aiguilette des Possettes drag lift which is close to the top of the gondola up from the village. Of course the valley pass also provides direct access to some of the world’s great expert and even extreme mountain terrain, and the week long ticket even includes skiing over the Swiss border in Verbier or the Italian one in Courmayeur, so even for experts Vallorcine is quite a good base.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Suited more to off-piste powder freeriding with a guide or ski school rather than freestyle, Vallorcine does not have a terrain park so for manmade pipes, jumps, airbags and the rest you would need to travel to one of the other Chamonix Valley ski areas, particularly the Grands Montets snowpark. However most of the Balme’s slopes can be accessed by gondola and chairlift, but there are some flat sections to be wary of in the largely gentle terrain.
Vallorcine has about 10km of cross country trails in and around the village and there are challenging trails throughout the Chamonix Valley for those looking for more to explore. There are two easy novice green graded loops in the village centre and a 3km long blue trail circling the wider village. The longest track is a 6km intermediate red route which loops outside the edge of the village and in to the forest. The cross country ski season usually lasts to late March . Cross-country ski facilities are centred on a dedicated facility at Chef Lieu (+33 (0) 450 54 61 09) from which the routes begin. Lessons, children classes and other events such as evening skiing are organised through this facility.
Vallorcine Average Snow And Weather Conditions
At 1260m and close to the Swiss border Vallorcine is actually one of the highest and most snowsure villages in the Chamonix Valley. The local slopes are not terribly high but other areas on the Valley lift pass are and often have good snow cover from November to May, making the village a relatively safe bet at any time of the season, even if in the very worst case you may have to travel to one of the higher neighbouring areas.