PlanetSKI Goes Ikon


This season we are planning a big road trip in the USA with a cheeky visit to Canada.  We are also visiting many of the main resorts in Europe, some of which are on the multi-resort Ikon Pass. It seemed a no-brainer to pick one up. First stop Chamonix.NEW

The Ikon Pass is becoming more and more popular with Europeans. 

Chamonix is one of the latest additions and it joins some other big names: Zermatt, Kitzbuhel and the huge Dolomiti Super Ski region in Italy.

The Grandvalira resorts in Andorra have also just come on board.

There are dozens of resorts on the USA and Canada + ones in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

We list them in detail at the end of this article.

PlanetSKI has signed up.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

I was told it is as simple as 1, 2, 3.

1. – Order your Ikon Pass on line, the earlier you buy it the better the price.

2. –  Receive the necessary e-mail confirmation and your unique voucher code.

3. – Turn up at an Ikon Pass resort and collect pass at the lift ticket office.

I walked up to the lift ticket station in Argentiere.

I was worrying the system might not work but I remembered the instructions I received after I double-checked the collection process before leaving the UK:

You’ll first use Ikon Pass at Chamonix, so present your Ikon Pass confirmation and ID at ticket office to receive day tickets corresponding to your Ikon Pass.

“Ah, another person for an Ikon Pass,” said the  friendly man behind the glass said to me as I gave him a printed copy of my voucher code.

He clicked a few buttons on his computer and there I was.

Grinning away.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Within 2-minutes I had my Chamonix Ikon Pass in my hand.

A passport to pleasure.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

The Pass gives me 7 non-consecutive days, which is good as I’m here for a couple of days then returning next week to watch World Cup slalom racing in Les Houches then I’m off with a mountain guide.

Destination unknown.

I am staying, once again in Vallorcine that is a favourite of mine.


It has a great ski area at the top of the gondola that was installed about a decade ago.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

It gives direct access to La Tour at the far end of the Chamonix Valley.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Unlike most people in Chamonix I decided to give a pair of my pistes skis a run out as my first experience skiing in Chamonix on the Ikon Pass.

Chamonix is world-famous for its off piste, not its marked runs.

Most people have wide skis, buy I opted for my skinny ones.

The powder was gone a while ago, so time for some piste action.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

This was the first time I had my piste skis on over the last three weeks as the snow has been so good out in this  part of the Alps.

If you are reading this from North America don’t believe all you may have been reading in some sections of US media including the Washington Post, the New York Times and Bloomberg.

They seem to think there is a snow drought in Europe.

Not so.

The area above Vallorcine has something that Chamonix is perhaps not quite so well-known for: really great carving slopes.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Time for a quick video snow report and I reckon I may have my powder skis back on soon.

Or not.

I’m staying slightly up  the hill from Vallorcine in hamlet of Le Buet.

The Hotel du Buet is one of my favourite hotels in the Alps – proper old-school and a celebration of alpine days gone by.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

It has been in the same family since it was built by Maurice Chamel in 1888.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © Chamel Family

The fourth generation sisters, Marie-Anne and Veronique, are in charge on my visit.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSK

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSK

The next generations are coming through.

It is one of only eight hotels in the Chamonix Valley still run by the founding family.

See here for a two-part video tour:

And upstairs?

Vallorcine has changed much since I first skied here many years ago.

For a start there was no gondola so one skied it from La Tour and the way back was by train at the end of day.

Anyone who has a long memory will recall the crepes served at the station.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

It made the day an adventure and kept the hordes away so the powder here remained long after much else in the valley was tracked out.

It really was a secret spot, though the end was often a bit sketchy.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

No powder for me today though as stiff and heavy GS race skis are not ideal for light powder turns.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

I just cruised around remembering past days here in Vallorcine.

It is a special place.

And in case you are wondering Marie-Anne’s son, Manoel, is 5th generation Chamel and is involved in the Hotel de Buet

A cousin, 16-year old Guillaume, is currently at hotel management school and starts  an apprencticeship at the hotel next month.

Guillaume is 6th generation

The future of the Hotel du Buet is secure.

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Chamonix, France. Image © PlanetSKI

With an Ikon Pass for Chamonix in my ski jacket sleeve pocket I’m looking forward to returning to Chamonix later this week.

My 7-days on the Ikon Pass are non-consecutive so I can dip in and out as I please.

It seems that NEW (Ikon Pass), meets OLD (Hotel du Buet) in this corner of the French Alps.

Full details and FAQs about the Ikon Pass can be found on the Ikon Pass website.

And those Ikon Pass ski resorts by numbers?

Destinations: 54

Continents: 5

Countries: 11

States: 15

Canadian Provinces: 4

Total Acres: 177,010*

Trails: 7,078

Lifts: 1,519


Image c/o Ikon Pass

Image c/o Ikon Pass

Related Articles

Image c/o Ikon Pass

Image c/o Ikon Pass

About Ikon Pass Destinations

The Ikon Pass welcomes skiers and riders to a community of inspiring mountain destinations and the people who live and play among them across the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

Brought to you by Alterra Mountain Company, the Ikon Pass unlocks adventure at iconic and unique destinations including Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain Resort, Arapahoe Basin, and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado.

Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming.

Big Sky Resort in Montana.

Stratton, Sugarbush Resort, and Killington in Vermont.

Windham Mountain in New York.

Snowshoe in West Virginia.

Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan.

Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington.

Mt. Bachelor in Oregon.

Schweitzer in Idaho.

Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada.

SkiBig3 in Alberta, Canada.

Revelstoke Mountain Resort, RED Mountain, and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Canada.

Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine.

Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico.

Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Brighton Resort, Alta Ski Area, and Snowbird in Utah.

Dolomiti Superski in Italy, Kitzbühel in Austria, Zermatt in Switzerland, Chamonix in France + the resorts in Andorra.

Thredbo and Mt Buller in Australia.

Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mt Hutt in New Zealand.

Niseko United in Japan.

Valle Nevado in Chile.

Special offers are available at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, the world’s largest heli-skiing and heli-accessed hiking operation.

For more information, please visit

About Alterra Mountain Company

Alterra Mountain Company is a family of 15 iconic year-round destinations, including the world’s largest heli-ski operation, offering the Ikon Pass, the premier season pass across the globe.

The company owns and operates a range of recreation, hospitality, real estate development, food and beverage, retail and service businesses.

Located in Denver, Colorado, with destinations located throughout North America, Alterra Mountain Company is rooted in the spirit of the mountains and united by a passion for outdoor adventure.

Alterra Mountain Company’s family of diverse playgrounds spans six U.S. states and three Canadian provinces: Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado; Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Stratton and Sugarbush Resort in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain in Ontario; Crystal Mountain in Washington; Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah; and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia.

Also included in the portfolio is Alpine Aerotech, a worldwide helicopter support and maintenance service center in British Columbia, Canada.

Alterra Mountain Company honors each destination’s unique character and authenticity and celebrates the legendary adventures and enduring memories they bring to everyone.

For more information, please visit

PlanetSKI logo

This article was originally published by Read the original article here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here