Chamonix is kicking off 2009 with a wealth of events and activities. The town is beginning the year with the Night Time FIS Race Jan. 2, 2009. Spectators can watch the race on the giant screen in the arrival area as some of the world's best international slalom competitors take to the slopes.

The Alpe d'Huez Tourist Office says: "Unlike previous years, this FIS race will take place at the very beginning of 2009 as it is a great way to keep celebrating Christmas and the New Year." After the race there will be a torchlight parade by the Chamonix ESF ski instructors, a fireworks display, live music, food and beverages.

Other events in Chamonix throughout January include: the Moscou Mont Blanc Festival - a week-long event dedicated to Russia at the foot of Mont Blanc on January 5; the Talents Aiguilles - a chance for female visitors to enjoy mountain events and entertainment on January 10 and 11; Burn's Night - a traditional Scottish evening on January 23, the Cross Country Ski Grand Prize Race on January 25; the Womens' FIS Ski Race on January 26 and 27; and a ski jumping competition on January 31.

Chamonix opened for the winter season on December 20 and has been enjoying excellent snow conditions with between 185cm to 2800cm on the pistes.