The BlackRock Blog

We thought you might like to find out a bit more about life at BlackRock Ski Lodge from the depths of winter to the height of summer, so here's our Blog. We hope you enjoy it. 

Lizzy and Paul Mercer

Tuesday 15 January, 2019
Who loves Spring snow?

We are always so excited to watch the thermometer drop and see the first snowfalls in the Chamonix valley that we forget that for lots of people, Spring skiing is what they are waiting for.

There’s lots to be said for Spring skiing in Chamonix – there’s a transformation as we head to the end of February and the days get noticeably longer. Once we’re into early March then the sun stays in the valley, making sitting outdoors for apres beers all the more appealing.

The lifts across the whole of the Chamonix Unlimited or Chamonix Le Pass lift areas also open earlier and keep running later. Which, if you think about it, makes it better value for money because you can more uplift and vertical per day for your hard-earned bucks!

There’s rarely a shortage of late season snow around the Chamonix valley, which means you increase your chances of powder filled winter ski mornings and for those who love the butter like texture of spring snow, that’s all yours later in the day.

Arriving in Chamonix for spring skiing also means that for guests who have skiing the Vallee Blanche on their bucket lists, then it can be the best time to ski this iconic itinerary route. It’s one to tackle with a guide and given its starting height, you set off at about 3,800 metres, you won’t lake for snow – quite possibly moving from powder to spring snow along the way.

There’s also a chance that the famous James Bond track, which brings you all the way back into the valley, will be in condition too. It’s an adventure all of its own and brings your total ski kilometres to about 16.

Some of our guests, we know, just adore spring snow. Once the sun hits the piste and starts to transform the crystals, it takes on a whole new texture and changes the ski experience completely.

If you are introducing small children to skiing, then there’s also lots to be said for a trip later in the season. As well as soft spring snow, it’s warmer and easier for them to manage adapting to ski or snowboard boots, lots of clothes and the prospect of sliding down the mountains then higher air temperatures and better visibility can make it all less daunting.

For fans of ski touring, then spring has been the classical time to head out in search of adventures outside the limits of the lifts. From Chamonix that can mean classic routes like the Haute Route to Zermatt, itineraries in the Aosta valley in Italy or shorter day tours into areas like the Berard Valley, the Aiguilles Rouge or this year, to access the Argentiere Glacier without the benefit of the Grands Montets top lift.

It’s also the point at which some people consider the biggest ski tour that Chamonix has to offer. Ascending Mont Blanc on skis is no mean feat and requires serious levels of fitness as well as the ability to ski everything that comes your way from powder to spring snow via sun crust, slush and ice.

We’ve got availability for Spring 2019, so it’s not too late to book and take advantage of a spring skiing break.

Thursday 20 December, 2018
BlackRock Ski Lodge @ Christmas

We’re complete Christmas fans and our goal for guests is to create the perfect location for their festive celebrations – whether that’s dressing the house for self-catered bookings or creating the perfect celebratory menu for our catered visitors.

When it comes to planning a family Christmas ski holiday, then the key is to have everything arranged ahead of time so that guests can just relax and soak up the wonderful mountain atmosphere. 

That’s where our concierge service comes into its own – from booking tables at the best mountain restaurants, including our personal favourite, La Vielle Luge, to having skis and boots delivered and fitted in the comfort of the lodge or arranging private guiding or ski lessons.

Naturally the ‘white’ snow element of creating the perfect Christmas backdrop for the chalet is somewhat out of our control! Although it always makes us happy when early snowfall turns the garden white, reflecting the night-time glow of the pea lights around the lodge. 

There’s something beautiful too about watching it snow whilst snuggled up with a glass of wine in front of a roaring log fire. It blanks out all the background noise and turns the valley into something not unlike a Disney movie set.

Winter 2018 has gotten off to a great start and Les Houches is already open as is much of the rest of the Chamonix valley. That’s our second snow-filled Christmas in succession and we celebrated with a family ski day in the sunshine on Saturday 15 December 2018.

The forecast is for more snow as we head into the festive holidays, which will only add to the transformation of the valley from autumnal market town into Winter holiday destination.

There are Christmas trees up and down the valley and the main streets are all garlanded with festive lights. Wandering through the high street in the dark and watching the lights whilst buying last minute gifts really is something special in Chamonix.

As ever, there’s no shortage of events designed to entertain the entire family: the Red Zebra event at the Espace Olca, the March of the Ski Instructors, a Nordic Happy Hour at the Ski du Fond and the chance to discover biathlon by moonlight, the Parade Lumineuse through Chamonix, torchlit ski descents, slalom ski racing, live ice hockey matches and much, much more. Find out what’s happening in Les Houches, Chamonix, Servoz, Argentiere and Le Tour for Christmas and New Year 2018/2019.

If you’d like to experience a luxury ski chalet at Christmas, why not join us for Christmas 2019?

Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Lizzy and Paul Mercer

Thursday 6 December, 2018
Dates for skiers diaries Chamonix winter 2018-2019

Wherever your favourite place to ski or snowboard in the Chamonix valley, it’s always useful to know when the lifts open and close for the season. 

Now, we know that the weather has a huge part to play in the timings, so here’s the latest intelligence we have for lift openings for Chamonix Winter 2018 – 2019. We’ve done the leg-work so you can make the most of your Chamonix Le Pass or Chamonix Unlimited Ski Pass.

Les Houches is due to open on December 15 2018, remaining open until April 14 2019. Worth remembering that BlackRock Ski Lodge is one of only a handful of chalets that boast ski-in during peak, winter season (with only a short walk out to the piste too).

Most of the main Chamonix valley ski areas including Brevent and Planpraz, Flegere, Domaine de Balme at Le Tour and Vallorcine follow the same dates, subject to snow of course. The exception is Grands Montets which will remain open until May 5 2019.

The beginner ski area at Les Planards is due to open on the 15 December too whilst the others at Le Savoy, La Vormaine, Les Chosalets, Le Tourchet and La Poya will be confirmed as soon as we have snow down to valley level – which from the looks of the forecast isn’t very far away!

Some of the valley’s big attractions including the Aiguille du Midi and Step into the Void won’t open until the end of December 2018 because of work on the infrastructure but we’ll update the website with the opening dates as soon as we have them.

The Montenvers Train and Mer de Glace are already open and the Telecabine and ice cave will open on the 15 December 2018 with the Tramway du Mont Blanc from St Gervais and travelling up to Les Houches and the Nid du Aiguille will open on December 22 2018, and remain open until March 31 2019.

For everyone who’s going to buy a Chamonix Unlimited Ski Pass, then you can take advantage of the ability to ski in Verbier in Switzerland and Courmayeur in Italy – both sites have already opened for winter 2018/2019 - whilst others including St Gervais, Les Contamines and Megeve are expected to open from 15 December 2018 for the start of the season.

Whatever your ski ability or the group you are travelling with, why not make the most of BlackRock Ski Lodge’s VIP Driver and Concierge services and let us help you create the perfect winter holiday.

Winter is here!

Lizzy & Paul

Monday 26 November, 2018
Loving life at BlackRock Ski Lodge

We believe that managing the chalet we own and love is what helps set BlackRock Ski Lodge apart from its competitors.

When we built it, we did so knowing that we wanted to create a space and holiday experience that we’d have chosen for ourselves. We were inspired by some skiing trips to the USA, destinations like Jackson Hole.

The site we found to build the lodge on was perfect for creating interesting spaces and views by using mezzanine returns and six intertwined levels. We wanted to create a holiday destination that was perfect for skiing in the winter – it’s one of our great passions in life – but also a fantastic base for summer adventures too. We are diehard triathletes and avid trail runners too, so we are all geared up for mountain biking, cycling, swimming, running, climbing and mountaineering too. 

One of the reasons we eventually chose the plot on which we built BlackRock Ski Lodge, is the fact that it has breathtaking views in every direction – Mont Blanc and its glaciers on the one side and the iconic Fiz on the other. We are undoubtedly biased, but we believe that our Jacuzzi has some of the best views anywhere in the Chamonix Valley, but you can gauge that for yourselves from the photographs. The mountains offer an ever-changing backdrop to any stay at the Lodge.

When we opened for visitors back in 2012 we reached out to the coaches and trainers that we’d worked with or whose reputation had reached, us to create a whole series of training focused weeks and long weekends. Today we work with triathlon groups to create bespoke packages – we call it our Team Take-Over option. It means that wherever they are coming from – our last group was from the USA – are able to take advantage to all our accumulated knowledge of the very best places to train. 

For us, that attention to detail and sharing our love of the valley, is part of what makes running a hospitality business exciting and rewarding. That applies whether we are creating a package for cyclists which takes in the Tour de France 2019 - both riding its famous local routes and, because the Alpine stages often include sections nearby, watching it live -  or helping couples plan their perfect Chamonix wedding.

Our concierge service is what helps set us apart. In the winter, we offer a range of options from fully-catered to self-catered ski weeks and now we’ve added something in between too. Our Self Catered PLUS option gives you all the freedom of a self-catered week but with the ability to add on just as many or as few extras as you’d like. We will create a bespoke package for you pulling in chefs, food delivery, VIP driver, equipment hire and lift pass purchase and access to our concierge services as required. That way you can mix and match and create the perfect ski holiday for you and your family.

As well as our extensive knowledge of the Chamonix valley, we’ve also explored far and wide putting the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass to its full use. That means that we can also act as your one stop shop for the latest updates on ski conditions across the region – the Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass gives you the chance to ski anywhere in the Chamonix Valley (including access to the iconic Aiguille du Midi lift and the Vallee Blanche) and also in St Gervais, Les Contamines, Megeve, Courmayeur in Italy or Verbier in Switzerland.

For guests who are joining us for a family ski holiday in the Chamonix Valley, then Les Houches is the family-focused ski area and, what’s more, in high season you will be able to ski directly into the garden from the home piste back to the Prarion lift and you can access the piste and the lift system with a short 200m walk along the road from the chalet.

Whatever your mountain pursuit, our passion is creating the perfect holiday for you and your friends or family. We’d love to hear from you and you’ll find all our latest winter 2019 and summer 2019 availability on the website too.

Monday 2 July, 2018
Summer adventures for everyone

The Alps in summer is a magical place and what's more, there's an adventure for everyone when you book a holiday at BlackRock Ski Lodge.

Whether you want to be pampered by our private chef or prefer self-catering, then we can create the perfect package for you – that’s what our concierge service is all about.

So here’s a little more information about what’s on offer in Chamonix in the summer…

Well, of course, there are mountains! If you love climbing or just want to try it for the first time, the Chamonix valley has wonderful sunny rock faces to explore. What's more, we can make all the arrangements for you. Or, if you fancy a bucket list item, then why not climb Mont-Blanc.

There are also lakes - our gorgeous mountains also come complete with amazing mountain lakes so you can swim under beautiful blue skies. 

Chamonix has an A-Z of family-friendly alpine adventures from canyoning to parapenting and much, much more. 

This is a holiday after all and it wouldn’t be complete without rest and relaxation. So, when you've had enough of fun and frolics, then BlackRock Lodge is the perfect place to enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation. Enjoy dinner on the deck, time in the Jacuzzi, hanging out by the Intex swimming pool, soaking up some sauna time, lazing in the hammock or just relax in the bar!

Naturally, no holiday is complete without fantastic food. We offer self-catering, B&B and half board options in the summer. There are also a fantastic array of restaurants on offer in the valley.

We also like to think that we are dab hands at creating special events too. If you are looking for a wonderful wedding venue, a stylish party destination or somewhere to entertain corporate guests, get in touch and let us help!

Lizzy and Paul Mercer
Friday 29 June, 2018
Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc - a classic mountain hike

Walking around Mont Blanc might sound like a daunting challenge, but the Tour du Mont Blanc, known by keen walkers as the TMB, remains one of Europe’s most popular multi-day hiking routes.

Walking in the high mountains is a magical experience – and circling Mont Blanc is an adventure which takes you through three countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. It’s the chance to explore the different terrain, culture, food and flora that distinguishes each section of the hike.

Normally starting in the Chamonix valley, the Tour du Mont Blanc covers 110 miles of trails with 6.2 miles of ascent/descent – that’s 170 kilometres and 10 kilometres of climb. If you are an experienced hiker, then there is nothing to stop you heading out on the TMB on a self-guided basis. For those with little or no experience, then there are a host of companies offering trips guided by an International Mountain Leader.

The route, when walked anti-clockwise moves through the Arve valley (Chamonix) then Montjoie, Vallee des Glaciers then into Italy and through Val Veny and Val Ferret before entering the Swiss Val Ferret and finally into Switzerland and the Arpette or Trient valley.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is normally a 7-10 walk depending on the route taken, but at the end of August every year, there’s a now icon trail race, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, which sees competitors run around this mythical mountain – with the winner generally crossing the finish line in less than 24 hours.

BlackRock Ski Lodge is perfectly positioned in the les Houches village of the Chamonix valley to act as a start or finish point – or as somewhere to rest your head enroute – and offers both bed and breakfast and half board options during the summer hiking season.

Set close to the TMB path, the chalet offers the perfect combination of majestic views of Mont Blanc and its glaciers combined with everything you need after a long day’s hiking including: swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna.

The beds are large and comfortable, and you can continue your Tour du Mont Blanc well rested after a great night’s sleep and a hearty, sustaining breakfast.

Other stops along the way include Les Contamines, Col de la Croix du Bonhomme refuge or Les Chapieux (depending on variant route taken), Elisabetta Soldini refuge, Courmayeur, Bonatti refuge or Elena refuge, Champex, Trient village, Argentiere, La Flegere refuge and finally back to Les Houches.

Whether you are walking with a guide or are planning a self-guided trip it’s always best to scope your itinerary and book your accommodation in plenty of time as during peak walking season, hotels and refuges tend to book up very quickly.

We know from personal experience that the mountains in the Mont Blanc Massif can be deceptive and the weather incredibly changeable. The route passes through high exposed mountain trails and the highest point in France and Switzerland – the Col des Fours and the Fenêtre d'Arpette – are both at an altitude of 2,665 m above sea level or 8,743 ft.

If you’d like to spend a night or two at BlackRock Ski Lodge as part of your Tour du Mont Blanc, then we’d be delighted to welcome you. You can contact us at

Tuesday 1 May, 2018
Discover the magic of the Mont Blanc Massif this Summer!

Luxury Lodge Self-Catered Holidays

Make BlackRock Ski Lodge your home-from-home and enjoy breathtaking views of Mont Blanc, great spaces to relax indoors and out and, NEW for Summer 2018 an Intex Swimming Pool!

Our concierge service is included FREE of charge with every exclusive booking, so let us help you create the perfect summer holiday. Whether you want to discover the best ways to relax and unwind or prefer to discover all the fantastic mountain sports on offer, just tell us what floats your boat and we'll help make it happen.

Self-catered prices start for Summer 2018 start from just 2,499€ per week or if you'd prefer to be fully-catered, we can make that happen too.

Discover all that's on offer in summer around the Chamonix valley with fun activities for all ages.

If you are planning further ahead, then why not join us for summer 2019 and explore the Mont Blanc Massif - one of France's icon destinations!

Monday 2 April, 2018
All about Tour de France Week 2018

Time to see the Tour de France up close!

The route has been unveiled and were delighted that it's on our doorstep again. To celebrate we've created the ultimate holiday for cycling lovers from 14-21 July 2018 is Tour de France Week 2018

It's your chance to cycle like a pro with technical bike and road support.

Based at BlackRock, this is a fully-catered week complete with private chef, concierge support, a professional cycling leader and full bike support from Kev Worster at Vaudagne Velo all included in the price of 1,750€ per person.


Arrival at the Lodge and bike set up on Saturday 14 July and departing on Sunday 21 July 2018:

  • Sunday 15th a relaxed first day's cycling with a climb to the Col de Plane Joux, the Col de Domancy and then on up to the Bettex finish line
  • Monday 16th ride part of the Etape stage from Annecy to le Grand Bornand as preparation to seeing the stage on Tuesday!
  • Tuesday 17th see the Tour de France live after cycling to the Col de Romme  and the Col de la Colombiere
  • Wednesday 18th an Italian day with a ride to the Colle San Carlos and Petit St Bernard with an option (depending on timings and road closures) to see the end of that days stage in La Rosiere
  • Thursday 19th a day closer to home discovering some of the Tour and Criterium's classic climbs including the Col de la Forclaz and the famous climb to Emosson Dam before heading back to the Lodge to watch the culmination of the day's race in Alpe d'Huez on the big screen from the comfort of the bar!
  • Friday 20th last and longest day in the saddle taking in the Col de la Ramaz and the Col de Joux Plane 

Find out about our cycling team take-over options and availability for cycling holidays in summer 2019.

Monday 26 February, 2018
Chamonix Winter Exploring

Don’t ski, don’t ever want to ski?

Don’t let that stop you enjoying a Chamonix winter holiday.

It’s the perennial dilemma for families split by a love it or loath divide when it comes skiing or snowboarding. Fret not however, we’ve created a list of some of the amazing ways you can create a Chamonix winter experience for everyone.

Here are our top tips of amazing activities non-skiers should put on their holiday hit list to keep them entertained whilst the ski-lovers hit the slopes doing their own Chamonix winter exploring.

Ticket to ride to the top of Europe

Take a trip up the Téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi to see Mont Blanc up close and personal and view the entire of the snow-covered massif from atop the needle at 3,842 metres.

The worlds high vertical ascent cable car, it whisks visitors in two stages from the valley floor at 1,035m to the l’Aiguille du Midi at 3,842m. The second stage, which covers 2.5 kilometres of height gain is in a single span, so potentially not for the feint-hearted.

For those less happy with heights, then the Plan de l’Aiguille at 2,317m still gives an amazing close up of the glacier, views down into the valley and the chance to look up in wonder at this man-made access to the top of Europe.

At the summit you’ll find all the things you might expect from a destination such as this – and a few that you might not.

There are panoramic viewing platforms with breath-taking views, a café, a restaurant and informative installations showing how the lift station was built and showcasing all the high adrenelin mountain sports the valley has to offer.

You can also 'Step into the Void' whilst you are there. Take the elevator to cover the final 100m of ascent and you can walk into a glass box with a view 1035 metres directly beneath your feet!

You can also walk to the end of the ice cave to take a look at the l’Aiguille’s famous arete – a knife edge descent taken by skiers, snowboarders and climbers who are accessing the iconic Vallee Blanche or making their way to access classic climbing routes such as Mont Blanc itself.

Let the train take the strain and head for Montenvers

This is never going to be the fastest train trip you have ever experienced, but the fact that this rack and adhesion rail line transports you from the valley floor to the bottom of the Mer du Glace, the sea of ice, climbing nearly 900m in the process, more than makes up for it!

Originally drawn by steam engines, today the line is operated by a mix of electric railcars and diesel locomotives. All the more impressive, is the fact that this line has been in operation for 110 years. 

At the end of your 20-minute journey you’ll find a hotel, viewing platforms, café and gift shop overlooking the confluence of the glaciers that flow down the Vallee Blanche from Mont Blanc. It quite simply transports you high into the mountains and is the kind of journey you should add to your bucket-list.

Scarily you’ll also be able to see the extent to which the glacier has receded. For those who don’t mind a walk, then you can take the bubble lift and more than 400 steps below that to reach the glacier (but don’t be tempted to go for a walk!)

Spa Day in Italy

Given Chamonix’s proximity to Italy, via the engineering wonder of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, it is always worth spending at least a day discovering Courmayeur – the sunny side as the Italians would say.

Just a short drive from the town, you’ll find the village of Pre Saint Didier and it’s ancient and acclaimed natural thermal baths.

A unique experience, the original thermal baths remain and have been extended with a host of ways to warm and relax your body in the restorative waters. What’s more, its external hot pools, which are surrounded by snow in the winter, give beautiful views of a very contrasting Mont Blanc. Whilst snow covered and benign looking from the Chamonix valley, Monte Bianco is an imposing mountain mixed with glaciers and granite spurs and outcrops from the Italian side.

Whether you want to be super healthy or indulge in a visit to the Spa’s hotel for a glass of champagne to finish your days – this is a treat not to be missed.

Hitch yourself behind some Huskies

There is an enduring appeal about being at one with nature whilst being pulled in a sled by some exuberant Huskies. Imagine, being nestled into a fur covered seat and travelling across the snow.

The raison d’etre for these dogs is to pick up the traces and pull a sledge. For anyone who loves animals, then this is an adventure not to be missed. There is huge pleasure simply from being out with the dogs. 

For the more adventurous then there’s the chance not only to travel under Huskie power, but also to learn to mush a team of dogs for yourself. 

Try Snow Shoeing or Cross-Country Skiing

Not all chamonix snow sports demand that you race down hill on one or more wooden planks! There are other ways to travel in the snow and the further you are able to distance yourself from the hustle and bustle of resort, the more magical the experience becomes.

Snow Shoes were designed hundreds of years ago to help people move through snow effectively. Suitable for adults and children alike, no previous experience is necessary, and you can head out to explore gentle slopes, alpine meadows and snow-covered cols with an International Mountain Leader as your guide. Walking between snow covered trees catching glimpses of the mountain range as you go, is an experience everyone should try at least once.

What’s more, on a pristine powder field there’s nothing more fun than unleashing your inner child and running down the hill at full tilt with the snow crunching beneath your shoes!

For those who’ve always liked the idea of putting on skis, but not heading down big mountains at the same time, then cross-country skiing – either classic or skate – is an amazing way to take to the snow. All the kit is easily hired and there are dedicated tracks in Les Houches, Chamonix and Argentiere. Combine a half day kit hire with a lesson, and you’ll be up and away in no time at all.

Spend the day adventuring on the Mont Blanc Tramway

The highest tramway in France, it offers a wonderfully relaxed way to take in the breath-taking views of Mon Blanc massif. Accessed via the Bellevue lift in Les Houches, you can put yourself in the footsteps of generations of mountaineers who’ve ridden the tram to its highest stop – the Nid d’Aigile whilst on their way to climb Mont Blanc via an overnight stop at either the Tête Rousse Hut or the Goûter Hut.

Stay on the tram for its return journey and you’ll travel down the mountain from Les Houches to St Gervais where you can hop off to explore this pretty, architecturally rich French town. Why not take your pick from among its lovely brasseries and restaurants and treat yourself ot a leisurely lunch too.

We’re always delighted to help our guests make the most of their stay and as part of our inclusive concierge service we’ll create the perfect itinerary for everyone – skiers and non-skiers alike!

Monday 29 January, 2018
Magical White Chamonix Christmas

Whether you are a huge snow sports fan, or just love the idea of hiding away in the hills for the festive season, there is something truly magical about a Christmas skiing or snowboarding holiday in Chamonix.

This year our guests were treated to the most incredible white Christmas which meant that they could ski to the door – something that normally doesn’t become possible until later in the season.

It also meant that they got to enjoy BlackRock Ski Lodge at it’s snowed-in best, offering a wonderful peaceful haven from the bustle of the rest of the valley, nestled on the mountain surrounded by snow with sunshine glistening off it during the day and pea lights illuminating it by night.

We are huge fans of Christmas and we believe it shows in the attention to detail we give to making sure that the chalet is stylishly dressed for the festivities. That includes an over-sized Christmas tree in the dining room around which there’s no shortage of space to arrange the parcels that Santa delivers on Xmas Eve!

Our guests tell us that the fact that they can tap into our complementary concierge service to help them make all the arrangements they need to create the perfect Chamonix Christmas holiday for their friends and family, is just one of the reasons they chose to book BlackRock.

The fact that you can seat 14 with comfort around the dining table – even 18 at a squeeze – also contributes to creating time in which to just relax and enjoy the company of those you love.

For skiing and snowboarding fans then the fact that we are ski-in, walk out (we’re only 100m from the pistes of Les Houches) definitely also adds to the chalet’s appeal! So too does our VIP driver service which is included with every exclusive fully-catered winter booking – our driver will take you to whichever Chamonix valley ski area you’d like and pick you up again as and when you like.

Whilst, for many, the focus of their Christmas holiday may well be skiing or snowboarding everyday, the Chamonix valley is also a winter wonderland for those who don’t want to wiz down the mountains on planks of wood.

We can create a complete itinerary of activities for adults and children of every age and size. Choose from winter-focused fun like sledging with a team of huskies, exploring mountain paths and peaks on snow shoes, taking a lift to 3,810 metres to take a close-up look at Mont Blanc and the iconic Vallee Blanche, hiking to an igloo for a star gazing evening or heading for an ice driving circuit to test out your skills.

There are no shortage of more gentile pursuits as well, from the vibrant Christmas market in the centre of Chamonix, to the chance to enjoy mountain views from the warmth of a natural thermal spa and from lazy lunches at Michelin starred restaurants to exploring the rich and varied history of the valley with visits to its many and varied museums and exhibitions.

Naturally, food is a vital part of the Christmas holiday experience and our professional chefs take huge delight in delivering a festive feast for everyone to enjoy – whether you want a traditional turkey roast complete with all the trimmings or prefer to adopt the more local custom of a seafood focused dinner on Xmas eve.

Whatever you choose, it will always be our pleasure to help create the kind of memories that last a lifetime, and which make Christmas truly magical.

Lizzy and Paul

Tuesday 31 October, 2017
Reasons to love a Chamonix Unlimited Ski Pass

Make the most of your Chamonix Unlimited Ski Pass 

There are a number of Chamonix ski pass options for visitors to the valley. Much depends on whether you want to buy by the day or pick up a Chamonix lift pass that covers the whole of your stay.

For those who want to spend all their time close to the Lodge, then the Les Houches Pass might be the best choice and the Chamonix Le Pass gives access to much of the valley too. For those who really want to max out their ski exploration though, then the Chamonix Unlimited Pass is the way to go.

Here are just a few reasons why we love it!

Not only does it gives you access to hundreds of kilometres of pistes in three different countries it covers all of the lifts in the Chamonix valley. That means the top bin at Grands Montets is included which will give you access to some of the valley’s most legendary off-piste terrain. If you are old enough to remember Blizzard of AHHS, then this is where Chamonix’s reputation for extreme was born.

You can also use it on the Aiguille du Midi lift and take a ride all the way to 3,810 metres. Whether you plan to ski the Vallee Blanche or not, this is no ordinary lift and counts as an experience in and of itself. And, whilst you are on top of Europe looking at the might Mont Blanc, you can also enjoy stepping into The Void and experience having only a glass floor between you and a 1000 metre drop to the glacier below.

You can ski 10 different ski areas on one lift pass because it covers Les Houches, Brevent/Flegere, Grands Montets and Le Tour in the Chamonix valley. It also means you can ski in St Gervais, Les Contamines and Megeve as well as Verbier in Switzerland and Courmayeur in Italy. No two areas are the same and here’s what we like about each of them:

Les Houches – often seen as the less demanding option in Chamonix, is in fact an awesome place to ski. It definitely qualifies as the most family friendly of the ski areas but what many people don’t know is that on powder days it’s a hidden gem and we’re always happy to show our guests the secret stashes!

Brevent/Flegere – from the ‘top top’ Brevent delivers the Charles Bozon black piste which is one of our favourites because of the sublime views of Mont Blanc as you ski back to the mid-station at Plan Praz. And if you want some down time, then there’s a great vibe at mid-station with great music and deck chairs for catching the sun or just taking in the views.

From Plan Praz then there are lots of red and blue runs to explore and a delight ski across to the Flegere liason. Then, the world is your oyster. On powder morning’s you can do worse than get out early to get to the front face of Flegere for pillows of snow.

Grands Montets – a legendary ski area which is more about the off-piste than the piste. It’s lifts give access to this ski and snowboard paradise and to get the most from it we’d recommend you take a guide – not least because for the uninitiated there is glacial terrain on which it’s all too easy to wander.

La Balme - Le Tour/Vallorcine – offers a glorious mixture of blue, red and black runs as well as off-piste itineraries which are the haunt of expert skiers. With views of Mont Blanc in one direction and the imposing Emosson Dam in the other, there’s lots to love about this end of the valley.

If you decide to head further afield, then St Gervais, which links into the Megeve ski area, is vast. You’ll be hard pressed to ski it all and depending on the weather, might want to give it a couple of days to fully explore all that’s on offer. Now home to its very own Folie Douce, where you can eat lunch and then dance in your ski boots all afternoon, it’s become a popular spot with Après lovers of all ages.

Whenever we think of Les Contamines, we think of wide well-grouped slopes and sunshine. If that’s not tempting enough, heading off with a guide is a must for anyone who loves skiing off piste. It’s one of the region’s hidden gems – so please keep that to yourself!

One of the amazing things about Chamonix’s location is the weather patterns. The chances are, that if the weather’s not good here, then it will be the opposite in Verbier or Courmayeur which is where three countries covered by a single pass really comes into its own.

Verbier is a swish Swiss ski resort and often plays host to the rich and famous. Its ski terrain is huge – some 410 km – and there’s something for everyone from challenging black itinerary routes to long sweeping blue runs back to town and Après spots like the such Le Rouge and Pup Montfort.

Alternatively, a trip through the Mont Blanc tunnel – just flash your Chamonix Unlimited Lift Pass for a discounted return ticket – brings you to the beautiful Italian town of Courmayer. The ski area comes complete with some of the best mountain restaurants you’ll find anywhere. What’s not to love about earning your lunch when that comes in the form of fantastic pizza, pasta and delights like Tiramisu!

Whatever your wish list for your luxury ski chalet holiday in Les Houches, then we think you’ll find it with a Chamonix Unlimited Ski Pass.

Thursday 28 September, 2017
Holidays with a VIP Driver

If you’ve ever wondered why you should consider booking a luxury ski chalet for your next skiing trip to the Chamonix valley, here are the top reasons that spring to mind:

  • When you book an exclusive week’s winter holiday at BlackRock Ski Lodge – either self-catered or fully-catered - our concierge service is included in the price. That means we’ll work with you every step of the way from the moment you make your booking until you arrive to create the perfect holiday for you and your guests. 
  • There’ll be no need to spend hours queueing at the hire shop to get your boots and kit fitted either. We’ll provide our ski rental specialists with everyone’s details so that they can bring everything you need to the chalet and you can enjoy a glass of fizz whilst having your boots and skis fitted.
  • Our concierge service means that every member of your party is taken care of. We’ll organise it all - from the best mountain guides to take the adventurous amongst you into the back country terrain that makes Chamonix world-famous to organising spa trips for the non-skiers, and from making reservations at the perfect lunch stop to booking your baby-sitter so you can head to the best aprés parties in town.
  • If you book a fully-catered break at our luxury chalet les Houches, then you’ll have a VIP Driver at your disposal between 8am and 6pm every day and never more than an hour’s notice away. That way you can explore all that the Chamonix Unlimited ski pass has to offer from the family-friendly slopes of Les Houches to the off piste wonderland of Grands Montets or, if you want to venture further afield, then we’ll whisk you to the high spots of Verbier in Switzerland, the ‘sunny side’ of Mont Blanc in the gorgeous Italian resort of Courmayeur or the millionaire playground of Megeve. So, whether you want to ski, relax, shop or just go exploring, the world’s your oyster.
  • Another key ingredient of any great ski holiday is without doubt the food. Our experience professional chefs will make sure that everyone is catered for, from the fussiest of children to those with food allergies and intollerances, the menu will be tailored to meet your tastes! For those of you with children in the group, then high tea is always on offer if you’d rather make dinner a grown-up only affair.

Whatever your idea is of the perfect skiing holiday, then it will be our pleasure to create it for you. It’s all part of our five star service.

#luxury #chalet #leshouches #skiing #snowboarding #catered #concierge #VIP #driver

Wednesday 9 August, 2017
Summer family fun

Everyone thinks of Chamonix as a destination for winter ski holidays, but what lots of people don't realise is how fantastic it is in the summer too!

If you are looking for an adventure playground for an family activity holiday, then a luxury chalet in Chamonix should be at the top of your wish list. Whether you opt for self catered or fully catered (or somewhere in between) no two days will be the same.

You'll discover there's no shortage of things to do to keep children of all ages entertained and as part of our concierge service, we can help you create the perfect package of activities for all the family.

Chamonix is famous for rock climbing and mountaineering and children as young as five can embark on classes at Les Gaillands and learn how to climb. There are tree top adventures and zip wires to whiz down too at the Acro Park next to the climbing crag. 

White water rafting and hydro speeding are big favourites in the summer and when it's 30 degrees and you want to cool down, this is a brilliant option for all the family - grown-ups included!

No trip to Chamonix is complete without heading high into the mountains and with the Aiguille du Midi lift available to whisk you to 3,800 metres, there's no excuse not to go and take a close up look at Europe's mythical mountain, Mont Blanc.

With stunning views across France, Italy and Switzerland, this is an adventure which should be on everyone's bucket list. And if you aren't too phased by heights stepping into the void - a glass box at the summit of the Aiguille du Midi to gaze and the glacier 1000 metres below your feet shouldn't be missed either.

Chamonix isn't all about mountain sports either. For golf lovers then there's a beautiful course in Les Praz. There's also the Paradis de Praz, which is perfect for smaller children, with the river to splash in and pony rides and a play ground to be enjoyed. A great picnic spot nestled in the trees, its a great place to while away the time.

Mountain bikes also play a part in any Chamonix summer holiday. You don't need to bring them with you, there are hire options and no shortage of trails to explore once you are kitted out.

Road bikes also feature and with some of the best cols of Le Tour on our doorstep, you can always pit yourself against some local classics such as the col de Montets, the col de Forclaz and Emmoson Dam.

If you are a water baby, then why not swap the seaside for a mount lake with magnificent views. Passy, Annecy and Montruond are an adventure in themselves.

No summer trip to Chamonix would be complete without checking out the breathtaking views from on high whilst floating beneath a paraglider - the closest experience you'll ever have to flying like a bird.

Why not give us a call and let us help you plan your next summer holiday? 

Tuesday 27 June, 2017
Climb Mont Blanc

We’re excited to be hosting 360 Expeditions Climb Mont Blanc weeks again this summer. Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc has been the source of both awe and inspiration for generations of climbers since the 1800s.

Local IFMG Mountain Guide Stuart MacDonald will be guiding these weeks. We caught up with him to ask about what it takes to make the climb and the kind of preparation which will help you make it to the summit. 

“The key to a successful summit is your fitness level,” comments Stuart. “Guests for these trips don’t need to have any previous climbing or mountaineering skills, however they do need to be fit.

“We have a number of days to acclimatise and teach the technical skills demanded for the climb – use of crampons and ice axe, glacier travel and rope work. A week however isn’t long enough to make guests fit enough to complete the climb.

“I’m often asked the question, ‘how fit do I need to be?’. The answer can be quantified as, fit enough to jog a half marathon. If you’ve previously walked up Kilimanjaro or walked to Everest base camp, for example, then Mont Blanc would be within your capability.

“We tell anyone wanting to join these climbing weeks that it’s not about speed – you don’t need to able to sprint – you need stamina. It’s a long day so you need to have the stamina to walk the ascent and make the descent, which can take up to nine hours.

“It’s not too late to get fit for a summit attempt this summer. My advise is go to your local gym and ask for a fitness assessment. Also think about your overall health. If you’ve been carrying a few extra pounds, they could make the difference between success and failure on this adventure.

“Then, if you possibly can, head for the hills and start walking. Your goal is lots of low intensity/long duration hiking with as much up and down hill as possible. It’s all about training your body to deal with being on the move.

“One of the great things about the 360 Expeditions trips is that they are based at BlackRock Ski Lodge, which means that whilst you’ll be working hard in the mountains, you’ll be pampered when you get back to base. This luxury chalet has everything you might want at the end of a long day, from a Jacuzzi with glorious views to an honesty bar from which to grab a well deserved beer!”

Find out more about our Climb Mont Blanc weeks.

Sunday 18 June, 2017
Summer at BlackRock Ski Lodge

The sky is blue and the lifts have now all opened for the summer season and we can't wait. There's so much to do in the Chamonix valley both for adults and for children.

Use our luxury chalet in Les Houches as your base to discover all that's on offer in Chamonix. There are classic bucket list adventures like a trip to the top of the Aguille du Midi lift and the Montenvers Railway to the Mer du Glace and it's famous ice caves - they cut them new every year so that visitors can walk inside the glacier!

There's also a host of sporting and cultural events on the calendar including:

  • Marathon du Mont Blanc - a weekend of trail running at the end of June with places still available for the 10km race and the children's events.
  • Chamonix Yoga Festival - a gathering of yoga's best teachers and the opportunity to discover or expand your own practice in an international atmosphere.
  • World Cup Climbing - watch the world's best as they compete on the climbing wall in the centre of Chamonix.
  • Cosmo Jazz Festival - artists from around the globe will be playing open air concerts in breathtaking locations.
  • Fete des Guides - culminating in an amazing sound and light show on the climbing wall at Les Gaillands, this annual celebration of Chamonix's guiding community shouldn't be missed.
  • Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc - a gather of amazing athletes from around the world who will pit themselves against the challenge of running around the mountain through France, Italy and Switzerland.

Whatever your goals for your holiday, from simply relaxing and enjoying the views to creating your own action-packed adventures, we're always on hand to help you make the most of your stay in the Chamonix valley.

There's biking, hiking, climbing, running, swimming and more. Here's Chloe, the youngest member of the BlackRock team, discovering the high wire tree adventure for the first time!

Monday 29 May, 2017
Counting down to summer

Inter-season in the Chamonix valley always brings extra-ordinary weather as this fantastic picture shows - winter to summer in a single day. It's also been a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends and family here at the Lodge - which is open all-year round.
We had a wonderful time putting our triathlon knowledge to good use working as support crew for friends competing in the Rumilly triathlon, as well as heading to Italy for some wake boarding fun.

It's also been the perfect opportunity to focus on our training programme for this summer's Marathon du Mont Blanc at the end of June. A first for both me and Paul, the course profile is 42km (so a standard marathon distance), but run on high mountain trails and including 2,730 metres of climb and 2,043 metres of descent.

We're hoping the weather will be on our side, but valley weather patterns can be unpredictable, as friends found when they were running through torrential rain and freezing hail storms a few years ago.

Training is on track though and we have some big training sessions coming up over the next few weeks when we'll be able to see for ourselves whether the course is now snow free (another key consideration for a high route this early in the trail running season).

In the meantime, summer bookings are coming in and we're getting the chalet ready to welcome visitors from all over the world.

Lizzy and Paul

Wednesday 5 April, 2017
Marathon training gets underway

We've loved being able to ski tour out of the back garden all winter, but Spring's here and it's time to think about the Marathon du Mont Blanc. Although marathon distances aren't something new for us - they've generally been mostly flat at the end of a triathlon.

This one is a mountain trail marathon which includes some 2,700m of ascent and 1,700m descent alongside the 42km route. Having tackled the half marathon in 2014, I know it's no mean feat and demands to be taken seriously.

For me and Paul that means it's time to get the trail shoes out and get our running mojo back. It's been helped by the fact that snow has disappeared from the lower trails now, revealing some of our favourite rolling trail routes, and making some of the longer climbs easier.

It also has the added benefit of being another way to 'walk the dog'. I think Koda might love running as much as he does skiing - and here's a picture to prove it - although it's always best done in the cool of the morning or evening rather than in midday sun, even this early in the year.

For those of you unfamiliar with this particular marathon, here's a link to the race profile - it's making me nervous just looking at it. It's a beautiful course though which takes in most of the Chamonix valley. A rolling 17km route takes you out to Vallorcine via the petite balcon Nord, Argentiere and the Col du Mont. What follows is the climb to the Aiguilettes des Posettes at 2,201 metres before dropping back down to le Tour and then la Flegere and Plan Praz at le Brevent for the finish.

One of the biggest unknowns for this race will be the weather on the day. It takes place at the end of June but we know from supporting friends who've raced the course, that's no guarantee of good weather.

Whilst in 2014 I did the half marathon on a warm, dry sunny day, the marathon the following day started in frigid temperatures with wind, rain and storms on high - Paul delivering a flask of coffee and a dry T-shirt to our friend at the col du Possettes then waived her off into a hail storm!

What we do both know though, is that the key will be consistent training, so we'll be keeping you posted on how we get on over the next few weeks.

Right, where are my running shoes!


Friday 27 January, 2017
It's never too soon to learn to ski

One of the reasons we built BlackRock Ski Lodge was to fulfill a long held ambition to create for other people the kind of skiing holidays that we love - it was also so that we could indulge our love of the sport and be able to live in the beautiful Chamonix valley.

The fact that we've now been able to introduce Chloe our daughter to our love of snow sports has been one of the highlights of this winter. It's not been without its anxieties however - I'm sure we aren't the first and nor will be the last  parents to be crossing our fingers that she'd love it rather than hate it.

Luckily we have friends with children of a similar age so we were able to arrange a small group private lesson for them last weekend and we all did our best to keep our nerves from running away from us.

As you'll see from the pictures though, she loved it and we can now start to look forward to skiing en familie even if that's only on the nursery slopes. Definitely qualifies as happy days thoughs.


Thursday 26 January, 2017
Triathlon training starts here
Lots of you who are following BlackRock Ski Lodge on Facebook will have seen our lovely pictures of skiing with Koda our very own #PowderHound.

What many of you won't know is that our early morning and late afternoons 'walking' the dog up the hill on touring skis is actually the first phase of our training for a triathlon this summer.

One of our friends who's having a significant birthday in June decided that what she'd most love to do to celebrate was enter the Rumilly Triathlon near Annecy.

So effectively, she's kicking-off our sporting Team Take-over option having booked out the Lodge for a week and roping us all in to compete with her in a half Ironman.