Chamonix: La Vallée du Trail

Summary

Trail run amid the scenery of Europe’s highest peaks, participate in or enjoy watching a world-renowned series of trail races, and spend a day on the mountain paths of quiet, historic Courmayeur, Italy.

Date

June 20-26, 2017

Length

7 days, 6 nights

Tour Category

Village-based

Fees

$3295 per person
$300 single supplement

Whats included

6 nights in Chamonix hotels, all breakfasts, trail snacks, 5 dinners, guided runs daily, and roundtrip Geneva-Chamonix transfers.

Description
And.... they're off. Racers depart Chamonix for the mountains in the Marathon du Mont-Blanc

Racers depart Chamonix for the mountains in the Marathon du Mont-Blanc.

The Chamonix valley is arguably the world’s epicenter of trail running. No place has more trail running history, or is more alive with mountain runners taking in the dramatic views from the town that’s the home of modern alpinism. We’ll be in Chamonix for the excitement of the legendary Mont Blanc Marathon. Many of the world’s best trail runners will be on hand, racing one of the five classic trail races. A limited number of reserved spaces in the race series are available through Run the Alps.

Later, we’ll spend a day enjoying the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif, trail running from our base in quiet, historic Courmayeur, Italy.

A typical day will start with breakfast, followed by a trail run up high to take in the dramatic scenery of the region. Chamonix is known as, “La Vallée du Trail,” for its wide variety of trail running opportunities, and we’ll sample the best runs, through the Aiguille Rouge nature preserve, up between the Taconnaz and Bossons glaciers, onto high “balcony” on the side of Mont Blanc, and even the short-but-thrilling Chamonix “Kilomètre Vertical.”

Daily runs will be selected by the group, with a wide range of options in the Chamonix Valley. Typical distances are 6-12 miles, with about 3,000 feet of climbing, over the course of the day. Each day, options exist to extend or shorten the day, based on your personal interests.

We’ll also head to the sunny side of the range for a chance to visit and trail run around the peaceful village of Courmayeur, Italy. We’ll enjoy a trail run along the route of the Tour du Mont-Blanc and through the bucolic villages of Val Ferret, taking in one or two of the local mountain huts en route.  During the long weekend of races, we’ll have the option to run or watch these drama-filled events.

US runner Max King cruises along L'Aiguillette des Posettes at the Marathon du Mont-Blanc course. Photo courtesy of Infocimes, © Gaetan Haugeard.

US runner Max King cruises along L’Aiguillette des Posettes at the Marathon du Mont-Blanc course. Photo courtesy of Infocimes, © Gaetan Haugeard.

Day-by-day
Day 1

Arrive in Geneva, and transfer to Chamonix, the world-famous resort and mountaineering center in France. An airport pickup is included, making this an easy and relaxing hour and a half journey. Enjoy your first impressive views of Mont Blanc, with time to relax at the pool and outdoor patio of our charming Chamonix hotel before joining the group for our trip meeting, followed by dinner.

  • Hotel Aiglons
  • Dinner
Day 2

It’s time to run! We’ll enjoy a full day of trail running and exploring high above the Chamonix valley, running the famous “Balcon Sud” in the Aiguilles Rouges natural preserve. We’ll have dramatic views of the Mont Blanc range, run past wild chamois, and enjoy lunch at a classic alpine hut. As with the entire Chamonix valley, the option exists to use cable cars to reduce the climbing or descent, as you get your Alps trail running legs underneath you.

 

  • Hotel Aiglons
  • Breakfast, dinner and trail snacks
  • 6-12 miles (3,000 ft. up), shorter option available
Day 3

Now’s our chance to experience the sunny, bucolic side of Mont Blanc. We’ll travel across the border and into the Aosta Valley region of Italy. Our trail run today will start and finish in the historic village of Courmayeur. We’ll run some grassy, alpine single-track, stopping en route, at several Italian mountain huts for fresh tortes and lunch. Our run finished, we’ll return to Chamonix in time for a relaxing dinner.

  • Hotel Aiglons
  • Breakfast, dinner and trail snacks
  • 6-12 miles (3,000 ft. up), shorter option available
Day 4

Another great day of running in the famed “Valley of Trail Running.” Today, we’ll run to the Mer de Glace glacier at Montenvers, stopping along the way at little Refuge de Caillet for a café au lait. Then, we’ll run under Mont Blanc along the “Balcon Nord” to lunch at the Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille, returning via the famous Aiguille Midi cable car to Chamonix.

At the end of the day, we can wander into old Chamonix to watch some of the best runners in the world finish the tough 80-km ultra race, or tackle the steep Chamonix Vertical Kilometer.

  • Hotel Aiglons
  • Breakfast, dinner and trail snacks
  • 6-12 miles (3,000 ft. up), shorter option available
Day 5

Today is race day for one of Europe’s oldest trail races, the venerable Cross du Mont Blanc. For those of us watching, there are great locations to which we can run and cheer on the runners with an “Allez-Allez!” or “Bravo!” In town or high atop Planpraz a thousand meters above Chamonix, we’ll watch racers as they finish the course.

We’ll be on our own tonight for dinner, allowing a chance to wander the pedestrian walking routes of Chamonix and pick one of the many open-air restaurants that fill the village.

 

  • Hotel Aiglons
  • Breakfast and trail snacks
  • 6-12 miles (3,000 ft. up), shorter option available
Day 6

Today, we’ll tackle another of Chamonix’s great trail runs, perhaps taking a gondola to the Swiss border at Col Balme, and running high into the alpine zone to the French Alpine Club, Albert Premier, on the side of a glacier. An option exists to cheer on Chamonix Marathon runners as they run along the scenic Aiguillette des Possettes.

  • Hotel Aiglons
  • Breakfast, dinner and trail snacks
  • 6-12 miles (3,000 ft. up), shorter option available
Day 7

It’s time to take leave of the “Valley of Trail Running.” Your shuttle will take you directly to Geneva for the flight home. An option exists to stay additional nights in either Courmayeur or Chamonix, and make use of Run the Alps’ self-guided materials for additional trail running.

  • Breakfast
Arrival

Plan to arrive the day your tour starts, at the latest. Note that flights from the US usually arrive on the following day, so schedule accordingly. The closest airport is Geneva, about one and a half hours away. This tour includes individual airport pickup in Geneva.

For those wanting to spend a few extra days in Chamonix, the “Vallée du Trail” with over 500 kilometers of trail running, we can assist in extending your time and providing self-guided trail running materials, either before or after the tour.

Departure

Plan your departure for the day the tour ends at the earliest. The Geneva airport is one and a half hours from Chamonix by taxi, so it’s possible to leave the day the tour ends as long as your flight is not too early. This tour includes return transfer to the Geneva airport. Please ask if you’re unsure about your departure plans.

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