Chamonix is a fantastic snowboarding adventure! Without doubt, I'd name it among the most memorable discoveries of my entire snowboarding experience. Chamonix-Mont-Blanc consists of several villages and hamlets scattered along the Alpine valley about 88 km from Geneva. Yet it takes some serious sweating before Chamonix reveals its genuine charm. It's old, weatherworn ski-lifts somewhat remind me of Uzbekistan and its mountain resorts. In comparison with Chamonix, Austrian Nord Park and Axamer Lizum is a very epicenter of modern technologies. Chamonix chair-lifts are smallish, suitable for one person, and go up real fast. You have to pay a very close attention to be able to hop on. If you lose a focus just for a moment, the heavy metal swing knocks you off your feet in no time. Even if you manage to get on, perhaps you'll get a slight thump on the back of your knees anyway, which may startle the heck out of a less seasoned snowboarder.
Whatever the downsides might be, they seem insignificant when vast Mt.Blanc slopes unfold before your eyes 4810m above the sea level. When you finally free yourself from a grip of the historic ski-lift, you can finally enjoy all the qualities for which Chamonix has earned those 10 points, given by the World Snowboard Guide. Its superb terrain amazes with an incredible diversity. There are always new routes to discover and it never gets boring. Even if you go up by one and the same ski-lift and descend the same slope again and again, you'll anyway find something new and previously unnoticed. There are numerous ways of enjoying the extensive network of pistes - one can go down a wide, powdery highway, then reach a narrower, snaky section, which leads to another broad slope, and finally flatten down some powder along the sides, where it is still untouched. What an awesome and joyful romp in the snow whole day long! Chamonix can charm to such an extent that at the end of a tiring day you still reckon would it be possible to catch the last lift and go down one more time. One always craves for more, even if it snows like hell. No wonder that it's crowded with snow enthusiasts, and gondolas get packed with up to 150 people.
It has to be noted, however, that the lack of cutting-edge service doesn't necessarily mean that prices are adequate there. For example, a 0.3l Coca-Cola at the local café costs 11 EUR and a little less amount of wine - 4 EUR. Your home-made sandwiches won't help much either, as probably you will be asked to eat them outside. Yet if you wish to escape a heavy snowfall, there's no choice but to look for a shelter in a café where you end up paying 160 Euro (shared among 8 people) for tiny cakes and something to drink. We were told that prices are so high due to transport expenses and high costs of restaurant licenses. Aside from that, Chamonix is absolutely a 10-point out of 10 worth experience!
Keywords: France, snowboard, Chamonix