Summer Sports in the Chamonix Valley

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Can you imagine yourself in the Chamonix valley during the glorious months of summer when the sun shines brightly and warms you as you hike, bike, golf, paraglide, climb mountains, go canyoning or play tennis?

And in those summer months, the mountains stand majestically and tower over all who walk or ride beneath their brownish-black mass. Seemingly forever covered in a serene layer of pure white snow, they never cease to amaze even the most experienced and well traveled visitors to the Chamonix valley because they are just that beautiful and awe inspiring.

Coupled with the lush summer vegetation, flowers of all colors and sizes and the forests full of tall, green trees, summer sports in Chamonix are the finest in the world.

Hiking, trekking or walking in the summer months is a real treat when doing so in the Chamonix valley. This is because the valley boasts beautiful walking/hiking weather with clear, crisp, clean air, the soaring rocky peaks of the Alps, dark green pine trees all around you as well as the fascinating sight of glaciers gleaming in the summer sun.

Rock climbing is spectacular in the Chamonix valley thanks to the craggy, rocky makeup of the Alps, and Gaillands is Chamonix’s favorite town crag. This is a must for all visiting climbers as it features easy grades as well as grades up to 7b. It is also well-protected, south facing gneiss rock. This location features a coffee bar and parking area.

Paragliding in the Chamonix valley is a truly unforgettable experience. This is because, when paragliding from atop the Grands Montets, you realize that this is one the worlds finest paragliding locations. For more experienced pilots, the Grand Montets are heaven when at their peak flying conditions. For example, cloud bases of 4000 metres send pilots thermaling over such picturesque scenery as the mountains of L’Aiguille Verte, Le Chardonnet and Les Drus. Restitution paragliding following Les Bec Rouges and the Pas de Chevre is also attained by an evening flight from Les Grands Montets.

If mountain biking is your cup of tea, then Vallorcine will provide you with wonderful trails to ride on. The Buet-Loriaz trail is steep, 4×4 trail which zig-zags its way up 800 metres on the valleys south side. Although ending at a somewhat un-rideable area, you can walk your bike for another 200 metres or so up to the Chalet de Loriaz and take a picnic/rest stop. The trip takes around 1 hour from Buet to the Chalet. It is advanced riding, but you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the valley and the mountains in all of their glory. There is a 4×4 trail heading up the mountainside located behind the Valloricne train station. As you ascend up the trail, you will come upon the halfway point-the chairlift station. Turn left on the trail to proceed over to La Jeux Switzerland, or turn right on the trail to head towards the Col des Posettes. Absolutely breathtaking views of the Chamonix valley are had from this locale.

There are also some great trails above Les Houches, and you can take your bike up into the mountains on the Belle Vue cable car.

For those interested in water sports, the Chamonix valley provides them with rafting, canyoning, hydrospeed and kayaking. Rafting is a great white-knuckle ride, and the Giffre and Arve rivers are two popular rivers that provide great rides. As long as you can swim, it is worth trying. Trips include short 3-hour excursions to full day runs, complete with a picnic. Canyoning at Barberine is a great experience. Located past Vallorcine and close the Swiss border are the canyons of Giettroz and Barberine. Excellent for groups and families, these canyons are only a 20-minute walk away. A local guide even provides midnight descents using head torches to light the way. Hydrospeeding, also known as riverboarding to North Americans or white water sledging to people in the southern hemisphere, is white water swimming. Many rafting companies in the valley offer this sport. They provide you with crash hats, wetsuits, flippers and a plastic block you can hold on to for protection and buoyancy. Kayaking in the valley is very good, indeed. Locations to kayak in are the Giffre (a medium grade 3 locale), the Dora Baltea (ranging in difficulty but topping out at a grade of 6), and the Dranse which also provides a range of kayaking levels to choose from.

Golf fanatics will love the local course in the Chamonix valley because it boasts excellent facilities and high standards. Situated next to Les Praz village, it was constructed in 1934. Consisting originally of 4 holes, it was reopened on July 20th 1935 with a total of 9 holes completed. And again, on September 26th 1982, the course was reopened with a new total of 18 holes. This golf course was designed by Trent Jones, Sr.

Tennis enthusiasts will be happy to know that there are two locations within the Chamonix valley area that feature both tennis and squash facilities-Argentiere and Chamonix.

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