|Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (45ÂÂ° 55? 8? N, 6ÂÂ° 51? 55? E; elevation 1040 m), or more commonly, Chamonix is a town and commune in eastern France, in the Haute-Savoie dÃ©partement, at the foot of Mont Blanc. Population 10,000.
Chamonix is a popular winter sports resort with one of the best skiing runs in the world. The 1924 Winter Olympics were held here. As the highest European mountain west of Russia, Mont Blanc holds a special allure for mountain climbers, and Jon Krakauer, in an essay in his collection Eiger Dreams, described the town as "the death-sport capital of the world." This refers to the fact, that Chamonix serves as an ideal playground for almost all types of outdoor activity, especially in their more extreme variants like ice climbing, rock climbing, extreme skiing, paragliding, rafting, canyoning.
Chamonix is famous for its spectacular Cable Car up to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m). Constructed in 1955 it was then the highest cable car in the world. Together with a cable car system going up to the Point Helbronner (3462m) from EntrÃ©ves in the Aosta Valley (Italy) it is possible to cross the entire Mont Blanc Massif by cable car.
Chamonix is also a mecca for advanced skiing and snowboarding. The VallÃ©e Blanche glacier runs down from the Aiguille du Midi mountain - attached to Mont Blanc - to the town. This spectacular route can be skied or snowboarded, although it would be insane to do it without a guide due to all the crevasses. Aside from that, the valley has about six separate ski areas including Le BrÃ©vent, La FlÃ©gÃ¨re, Les Planards (ski area for beginners and early intermediates), Les Grands Montets (at ArgentiÃ¨re) and Domaine de Balme (at Le Tour). Many of these provide wonderful terrain, especially off-piste, with runs down to Switzerland. However the disjointed nature of the resort makes it inconvenient for beginners, or groups of differing ability.