"Last September I was looking for a trail running holiday and came across Tracks & Trails’ week-long Alpine Trail Running Camp. I booked and headed to Chamonix - little did I realise what it would lead to...! The Camp, for all levels of runner wanting an introduction to mountain trail running, covered a lot - from orienteering, speed hiking a climb on the world famous Mont Blanc Marathon route and other mountain runs practising technical trail technique, to running form instruction and heart-rate monitoring.
Wow, what a start to the summer season: 450km's / 14,250m of Ascent and Descent That's my training log and 'office diary' for the past five weeks! Some people's idea of hell maybe, but for a keen trail runner and mountain leader I guess you could say it's 'living the dream'. I'm lucky to be able to say that everyday the view from my office changes.
Chamonix is quickly becoming the trail running Mecca of Europe. Known for decades as the climbing and extreme skiing capital of the world, Chamonix's vast network of trails suitable for running remained relatively undiscovered. Recently, though, widespread media coverage of events such as the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and the CCC (Courmayeur - Champex - Chamonix) have brought trail running into the limelight and exposed Chamonix to a new legion of outdoor athletes keen to explore the natural wonders of the Mont Blanc massif.
What a fantastic start to the season in the Alps - waist deep powder in the mountains and searing blue skies to dazzle even the most jaded eyes! It must be the best early season snow in ChamonixFrance for at least ten years, or certainly that seems to be what my memory is saying.
Alpine towns don’t come any more iconic than Chamonix, nestled in the heart of the French Alps. Renowned for its proximity to Western Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, Chamonix has long been considered the centre of Alpine mountaineering.
With easy access to Geneva and bordering both Switzerland and Italy, Chamonix, offers visitors the possibility of a '3 country experience'. The options for exploration and adventure are endless and are open to all fitness levels and experience.
The Chamonix valley offers something for every visitor in summer or winter, what ever the weather. Be it those wishing to relax and simply soak up the mountain environment to those wanting the extremes of outdoor adventure.
Chamonix is a mecca for walkers and trail runners thanks to the outstanding range of trails in the area. Numerous itineraries are available for day trips or multi-day adventures with the luxury of mountain refuges located in stunning locations. Chamonix also hosts the mythical Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc trail race around the peak, placing it at the heart of the international trail running scene.
For those looking for a somewhat less demanding experience but with the same jaw-dropping vistas, you can also use the many mountain railways and cable cars that take the sting out of the ups and down. Such as the world famous 'Aiguilles du Midi' - Europe's highest cable car or visit the 'sea of ice' - Mer de Glace on the Montenvers Railway.
Making Chamonix a great way of introducing children to the mountains, their history, geology, flora & fauna - enjoying a family adventure together.
The Tracks and Trails Way
We offer a wide range of trips designed to make the most of your time in the area through our expert knowledge after over a decade of living and working in and around the Chamonix Valley.
If you’re a walker looking for a challenging and world famous trek, the Classic Tour du Mont Blanc or Highlights Tour should be top of your list. For something even more demanding and just as revered, the Classic Haute Route or Highlights Tour from Chamonix to Zermatt in Switzerland is not to be missed. If you are short on time then choose from a day or half day walk. Lac Blanc, a glacier-formed lake high above the valley, is one of the classics of the area. It has been described by some as one of the 'best day walks' in the world!
In more recent years Chamonix has also become THE trail running destination of the world and there's no wonder why. The Mont Blanc Ultra Trail and Mont Blanc Marathon have become some of the 'must do' race routes for any seasoned trail runners calendar.
For those wishing to reach these dizzy heights (and distances!) we offer three different Chamonix based running holidays. All of which are designed to help prepare runners for their own trail running ambitions or to simply just enjoy running in nature.
Families also have several options to choose from, including our family friendly Mont Blanc Tour, an action-packed week of fun and adventure on our Family Adventure Trip or something more bespoke.
After a day out playing in the mountains there is also plenty to profit from at a slower pace too. The town centre offers excellent shopping and wonderful cafe culture all under the back drop of Mont Blanc, it's glaciers and surrounding peaks.
Lindsay and I have enjoyed a great winter here in the Alps, meeting new faces and catching up with the regular ones too. We've visited some of favorite locations and have been exploring new areas too. And next season will have a few more regions to visit either on snowshoes or skis. The Alps are blossoming as we speak, there's still snow high on the mountains, but the valleys & middle mountains are enjoying the sun and warm temperatures taking shape ready for summer. Everything looks lush & green ready for walking, biking, hiking and relaxing!
Today started off as a normal day in Chamonix - blue skies, sunshine and an hour or so out skating on the cross country ski tracks. (What a wonderful place to live!) But the afternoon was not quite so 'normal' - well not for me anyway. My husband had arranged an early birthday present for me - a tandem paraglide flight.
Two families joined us last week - one from the US and the other the UK to enjoy some of the best of what Chamonix has to offer. In a week we managed to squeeze in rafting or hydrospeed (crazy swimming in glacial water!), canyoning, rock climbing, mountain biking, rope courses, a visit up the Aiguille to Midi cable car and Mer de Glace glacier and....if that wasn't enought to tire folk out we trekked on 4 of days with a night in a mountain hut!
Well, it's been an interesting few weeks tackling Mont Blanc from all sides! First, there was my epic (well, epic for me) road bike ride around Mont Blanc taking in many of the Cols made famous by the Tour de France. Three and a half days solo with over ten hours in the saddle each day due to my lack of preparation - most fit folk seem to do around a maximum of 7 hrs on the stages! But it was certainly an experience and apart from a very sore rear I finished in good form. In fact it really got me into road biking and I am now planning my next epic.