Chamonix springs are energetic and exuberant, full of flowers. The timing can vary dramatically year to year but in general spring at valley level begins around mid-March to the beginning of April, and by mid-June, summer is generally well established everywhere.
There have been exceptions to this…occasionally they need to clear snow off the high parts of the route for the Mont Blanc Marathon at the end of June, and conversely there have been years where we’ve been mountain biking in the valley in March. It can vary a lot. However, due to the steep valley sides, you can always follow spring up or down as it progresses.
April is usually still winter at 1500m, with spring in full swing at valley level.
At the chalet, delicate green leaves on the silver birches and blossom on the apple trees are the signs that spring is truly underway. It’s usually warm enough for lunchtime barbecues in the garden and even a little sunbathing!
Most lifts remain open for skiing until mid-April. Up in the mountains, spring skiing and Easter holidays bring everyone out to enjoy the sun and snow. Usually still great conditions on the slopes, since most are above 2000m. Don’t forget the sunblock! Also an excellent time for ski touring.
It’s also lovely to dip out of the mountains and explore spring at places like Lac Passy or Annecy.
Chamonix town begins to take on a more summery feel as the trees blossom and everyone comes out to enjoy the sunshine
May can be one of the prettiest times in the valley. Flowers bloom all over our garden – blossom, daisies, orchids, wisteria and many more.
In early May the Grands Montets finally closes – look out for the Freeride Days closing party, usually early in the month. Ski or board in the morning, then hike, climb, golf or mountain bike in the afternoons! It can still be a good time to do high altitude off piste like the Vallee Blanche and some ski touring. The Aiguille du Midi remains open, and sometimes Montenvers.
The lower hikes start to be more accessible, and sometimes higher south-facing ones later in the month.
Bridge over the Poubelle couloir at the Midi
In May, Chamonix’s streets and squares begins to fill with flowers and the outdoor cafes. It’s quite a busy time the town as there are a lot of public holidays in May.
June is sunny and fresh, with flowers everywhere and lush greenery all over the valley floor. We leave patches of natural meadow in the garden and mow paths through them, as you can see in this drone photo from June.
The first weeks of June can feel very much like late spring, especially at mid-mountain level. The mountains are quiet and it’s a lovely time for tranquil walking. Although many high walks will still be inaccessible due to snow, the south facing ones like the Grand Balcon Sud are generally accessible from mid-June, though patches of névé (hard snow) mean that care can be needed. The Aigulle du Midi and Montenvers are open, and around the middle of June, most of the summer lifts restart.
With the snowmelt, you can enjoy watersports like rafting, hydrospeeding and canyoning…or just walking to see the waterfalls in full flow. A great month for mountain biking as it’s not too hot and all the trails are open (In July and August, some of them become pedestrian only)