Chamonix
The charm of Chamonix is in its picture-perfect Alpine cabins, the European après-ski culture, and the area's elegant cuisine. But this relaxing image of the good life is coupled with the equally strong extreme sports culture. In winter, the hunt is on for the highest drops, most daring powder lines, and longest routes possible. Friends spend the evenings licking their wounds and discussing the following day's forecast over a beer. In summer, the atmosphere is less frantic, and long, traditional French lunches are taken with glass after glass of wine. Every day, though, groups of lean, Lycra-clad climbers arrive with only one thing in mind—tackling the extreme mountain challenges.