Despite its fame, Chamonix is not the most user-friendly of ski resorts and access to the slopes relies on shuttle buses, trains or a car. For advanced skiers, however, it’s probably one of the best places in the Alps since it offers an impressive range of challenging runs and off-piste itineraries. It’s not so much a single resort as a chain of unconnected ski areas set along both sides of the Chamonix valley and dominated by Mont Blanc. The Brévent and Flégère areas on the southern slopes both have a good variety of pistes and provide some fine views of the Mont Blanc massif across the valley, while Argentière–Les Grands Montets is a colder, north-facing area that is well-suited to advanced skiers. The famous Vallée Blanche can be accessed by cable car from the Aiguille du Midi; skiing here involves a 20km descent which passes many crevasses and is not patrolled, so a guide is strongly recommended. Closer to Chamonix itself, the Les Planards and Le Savoy areas require artificial snow and snow cannons to stay open, but they are good spots for beginners to hone their technique. There are plenty of ski schools in Chamoix, which provide lessons for skiers and snowboarders, as well as guides. The ESF office (wesfchamonix.com) is situated in the Maison de la Montagne; the guides here hold special lessons on the famous runs of the Vallée Blanche.