Run the Alps logo
Welcome to The Hub, Chamonix

Welcome to The Hub, Chamonix

Apr 15, 2024

By Kara Folkerts

Finding community when you live out of your backpack can be quite the challenge. My past seven years have been constant motion across the globe – an immense joy, but with the price of a lack of community. For a few weeks in the summer of 2023 I was headed to the French Alps to assist with Run the Alps tours, and during that time, I would be staying at The Hub in Chamonix. 

The concept of The Hub was pieced together, of course, while on a trail run. Founder of Run the Alps Doug Mayer and Ambassador Mike Ambrose discussed ways to build connection and community between trail runners. “Groups, friends, and brands could use The Hub. Solo trail runners passing through the valley could make new friends. Ideas, energy, and enthusiasm would be shared among all comers. That’s the driving spirit behind The Hub.”

As a gathering place for runners and knowing a few friends who had stayed there in the past, I was excited to find a sense of community with like-minded trail and mountain enthusiasts from across the globe. However, even with an idea of what I thought The Hub would be, after spending three weeks there, this experience provided so much more than I could have ever asked for.

From the moment I walked through the front door, I was welcomed by The Hub’s manager, Anna, with a massive smile, open arms, and genuine kindness. I felt a sense of relaxation come over me as I settled into the picturesque mountain chalet nestled in the Chamonix valley.

Social time at The Hub chamonix
Social time at The Hub. (Photo: Kara Folkerts)
working at the hub chamonix
Working and relaxing at the same time. (Photo: Kara Folkerts)
trail running in Chamonix
Endless trails out the door -Kara running from The Hub. (Photo: Sam Hill)

I quickly sensed the laid-back atmosphere that made the place feel more like a shared house with your favorite friends instead of a hostel full of strangers. Even as new travelers and runners came and went, the vibe fluxed to create a dynamic community and add to the eclectic atmosphere of the place. It shows the type of person The Hub attracts – one of openness and the willingness to explore, a desire to get out in the mountains, kindness and support. Often we shared time on the trails, shared meals, or shared nights with the local Big Mountain beer in hand while getting lost in conversation over maps, GPX files, and our trail intel. We passed around suggestions for the best routes, secret swimming holes, the best mid-run pastries, or where we picked the most berries on the trails. 

Leading up to UTMB Mont-Blanc® race week, several individuals staying there were preparing for various events. Throughout the week, everyone encouraged each other, was respectful of being quiet so others could rest, shared nutrition strategies – gave their favorite bars and drink mixes for others to try, and actively sought out ways to support the endeavor many people were about to take on. It even went as far as lending out gear when one man’s luggage, including all of his racing kit, was delayed. The rest of the house occupants searched through our own gear to offer items in support. Two travelers who met at The Hub midsummer connected strongly enough for an Australian runner to change his flight to stay longer and crew a Canadian lady to a remarkable 11th place finish at UTMB weeks later. The Hub magic in action!

During race week, I stepped in as the Community Manager while Anna prepared and raced UTMB herself. I became more mindful of the behind-the-scenes at The Hub and gained some feedback from travelers during that time. One lady told me, “I’m naturally a very high maintenance traveler and like my own space. I was nervous about coming into a shared house, but we had such an amazing time and I really don’t want to leave.” 

Another man, when walking through the door, let out a big sigh and proclaimed, “Ahh it feels so good to be home,” returning to The Hub again after a stay last year too. 

Patio vibes at The Hub in Chamonix Sud.
Patio vibes at The Hub in Chamonix Sud. This year, we’re moving the same great energy to Les Praz. (Photo: Kim Strom)

Another favorite insight came while sitting on the cozy couch late into the evening with another solo female traveler. She explained how wonderful it was to feel such an instant connection to the community. I felt that deeply, too.

That’s exactly it – The Hub is so much more than a hostel, guesthouse, or place to rest your head. It’s a place to connect and feel a true sense of belonging and home. From time to time, the constant travel in my own life can wear me thin, but in the short three weeks I spent there, I felt a greater sense of grounding, home, community and peace than I have in a very long time. And for that, I’m incredibly thankful. 

We're moving to a new chalet
We’re moving to a new chalet! (Photo: David Thexton)

New Hub Location- Same Hub Vibe

Starting in the summer of 2024, The Hub will have a new location. The spacious modern chalet is situated in the charming village of Les Praz, Chamonix. It’s just a two-minute walk to the nearest bus stop, a 25-minute walk to the town center, and bikes are available to make the trip in even speedier.

The Hub is open each summer trail running season from mid-June to mid-September. For exact booking dates, please see our online booking platform. We’re thrilled to team up with our friends over at On to bring you this year’s Hub. Guests will find On gear at the Hub to try out, including the latest vests and shoes.

For the latest Hub happenings, check out Run the Alps on Instagram or Facebook.

Want to learn more about The Hub’s origins? We went for a trail run… and came back with The Hub, Chamonix

Kara Folkerts selfie

Kara Folkerts is a trail running guide, world traveler, yoga teacher and has years of experience in the outdoor industry. Originally from Canada, she shares her love of the mountains, movement, holistic health, and travel with others while leading international running tours.