Southeast of Geneva and north of Chamonix, Le Domaine de Balme has 11 lifts serving 19 pistes with a maximum vertical drop of 1,000m. The ski area is accessed from the villages of Le Tour and Vallorcine, and is spread across two distinct mountains. Le Domaine de Balme is known for its wide gentle slopes and treelined pistes rolling over pastoral lands. With 11 of 19 pistes for begineers, most people consider this an area for beginners. While the area is alittle further from town, it is the least crowded and is fabulous on powder days.
One of the better routes is an 8km route that starts with the moderate Liaison Balme (T13) and leads into T17/T19 to Vallorcine.
If you are into snowboarding glades, checkout the north and northeast facing trees on the way down towards Vallorcine, but keep in mind that this is avalanche terrain, too.
If you are seeking some big challenge, there is a popular out-of-bounds route from the top of the teleski des Posettes lift that drops down the Posettes Couloir. From the top of the lift, head to the south side of the Aiguillette des Posettes summit and enter the 800m vertical descent of the Posettes Couloir with 40 degree pitches. This is definitely avalanche terrain. At the bottom, head to the lift in Vallorcine.
If you are looking for a good on slope place for lunch, try searching out the Col De Balme Refuge.
The Domaine De Balme is part of the Mont Blanc lift pass system. The 15km Chamonix valley has seven separate ski areas with 47 lifts serving 145 runs totaling 182km of pistes. These separate ski areas are interconnected by bus service, which can be unreliable and very crowded at times, and by the regional Mont Blanc valley train service (hotels provide a Guest Card for free bus and train service).
If you are looking for a good lift pass deal, consider the Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass for six days or more that provides access to all the Chamonix valley ski area lifts including Aiguille du Midi, all the Courmayeur lifts with a free shuttle bus from Chamonix, and Les 4 Vallees around Verbier, Switzerland.
To reach the Chamonix valley from Geneva by car, head southeast on Route A40, and then southeast on Route N205 into Chamonix.
If you are looking for some apres ski action in Chamonix, try Chamouny, Brasserie de Rond Point, Irish Coffee, Chambre Neuf, Micro Brasserie Du Chamoni , No Escape, L Adventure or La Terrase. For some nightlife in Chamonix, definitely check out Bar de Moulins, Arbat, The Blue, Choucas Video Bar, Le Pete disco, Le Cantina Club, BPM Night Club, Bushwacker or Wild Wallabies Bar.
By the way, when you check in to your hotel in Chamonix, make sure to ask for the free guest card called Carte D Hote that provides free access to the ski buses and train in the valley. During hours of lift operation, there are regular buses between the ski areas at least every half hour, while the train tends to run once an hour.
Overall, Domaine De Balme is the 14th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 42 snowboarding resorts in France.