Chamonix is one of the worlds’s most renowned ski resorts. It’s home to Mont Blanc and the infamous Aiguille du Midi, is hailed as the birthplace of alpinism and attracts skiers, climbers, wing-suiters and general thrill-seekers from all over the world. For the past two years, it’s also been home to our smallest ski school, ES Chamonix. But don’t let the term ‘small’ fool you. Resort manager and instructor, Jon Wilson, runs a tight ship with a hand-picked team of highly qualified, multi-lingual and passionate ski instructors. We caught up with Jon to find out why skiing with ES in Chamonix is the best.
Hi Jon! You’ve taught skiing all over the world. Why did you decide to settle in Chamonix?
Chamonix offers such a wide choice of terrain to ski. From a dedicated beginner’s area in the centre of town to scaling the heights of the Aiguille du Midi and the skiing Vallée Blanche. It’s a great place to teach all levels.
What can someone who’s never been to Chamonix expect from it in terms of the skiing, lifestyle and the town? Should you believe the hype?
The mountains do the talking in Chamonix. It’s the first and last impression people get when they visit the resort. Although the town is also unlike most ski resorts, it has so much going on. From live music to street shows, there is something different every night and some big-name shops if you’re wanting to splash the cash.
Tell us a bit about how you operate and about the team.
We focus on quality and this allows me to hand pick the team which is very important. We have a lot of languages between the instructors which is also key when you have a small team. The most important thing is that we all love skiing!
What’s a standard lesson with ES Chamonix like?
Our lessons change from client to client and we try our best to fit to the client’s needs and expectations. But if all else fails we have fun!
There are strict laws about instructor qualifications in France, does it change how the ski school works?
It does when it comes to who we choose to join the team. We only choose fully qualified instructors who also hold the Carte Professional. This is a tough qualification to hold so the team we have ranges from a ex-World Cup racer to an aspiring mountain guide. All very experienced and experts in all things Mountain…
What else is there to do in Chamonix besides skiing?
Chamonix offers some great experiences besides skiing. From a trip up to the Aiguille du Midi to climbing Mont Blanc; taking a run down the luge course in town to dog sledding with huskies; taking the Montenvers train to the ice caves on the Mer Des Glacé to ice skating. There is plenty to do!
We know Chamonix can get pretty packed! Does it have any well-kept secrets in terms of its ski area?
It does, but it’s best to take an instructor or a guide to show you. Chamonix is a place where it’s best to take someone that knows where they are going as there is lots of freeride terrain. Not only for safety, but to experience the best the resort has to offer.
And finally, we’ve heard you’re in a band! Where can your clients go to see you play?
We play in a few different venues mainly the Maison des Artistes which is a great Jazz club in the centre of town. Or you can try the Delice in Les Houches and the Office in Argentière. We also play every Thursday night in the T-bar in Verbier…
To book lessons with Jon and the team at ES Chamonix, get in touch! We’re available by phone or email to answer all your questions and pair you with your perfect instructor in Chamonix.
Chamonix Ski School Location :: European Snowsport