What do you look for in a ski resort?
A big ski area with high snow-sure slopes and a long season perhaps? Or maybe fast, easy access from your home is key? Maybe it’s important that the resort is a decent size so you’ve lots of après-ski, dining and shopping opportunities, along with plenty to do off the slopes?
Not many ski areas tick all three boxes, but Crans-Montana, a beloved destination for British skiers for more than a century, certainly does and offers a lot more besides.
Indeed, what many regular visitors remark on is not so much the fast, easy access from Geneva, the fantastic long descents from the glacier-clad 3,000m-high peak of the slopes or that great range of shops, bars, restaurants and the rest – it’s the view when you’re there!
And wow! What a view! Crans-Montana sits on a sunny ‘balcony’ in the mountains above the Rhône River valley, looking out across a vast swathe of the Alps, a breathtaking vista you can take in from almost any point in the resort or from the slopes above. You can see 18 peaks above 4,000m including big names like Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, while you bathe in sunshine all day long.
Along with its big ski area containing 140km of slopes served by 25 ski lifts and cable cars, Crans-Montana is a large and cosmopolitan destination. “This is a much larger resort than I expected, there is so much to do,” is a common refrain from first-time visitors.
Crans-Montana’s size means there’s a great range of indoor and outdoor sports and activities available beyond skiing and boarding. The many options include winter trail running, ice skating and curling, and there’s a big indoor climbing wall.
Other snow and ice activities include 25km of prepared cross-country trails and a further 22km of snowshoe trails. There are also winter hiking trails, a huge outdoor ice-skating rink and three indoor curling lanes, and you can go snowtubing or for a longer descent on a toboggan run.
Crans-Montana’s easy access from Geneva by road or rail, its wide pavements and a great free public-bus network, as well as those 300 days of sunshine and the great choice of accommodation and eateries all help make the resort a top choice for families too.
Young kids can learn to ski on the snow-covered golf course in the heart of the resort and separated from the main ski slopes and play at the Snow Island. There’s also a brand-new nursery for babies (from 8 months) only for our visitors.
Etoile Bella Lui is the magical festival for families during December and Christmas with the wonderful lantern path around the frozen lake a special attraction for all ages. The Etoile Bella Lui festival is based on the story of “The Shepherd and the Bella Lui Star” and honours the magic of winter lights in the mountains.
It’s a wonderful time to visit, between 2 December and 8 January 2023, with storytelling, a chef’s market, a special festival village and many magical surprises.
Older teens might prefer to head to the Alaïa indoor action sports centre with its trampolines, gym equipment, airbags and skatepark, or the Moubra indoor sports centre with its climbing wall, bouldering area, three indoor tennis courts, two badminton courts and two table-tennis tables. There’s even a year-round equestrian centre for horse and pony lovers.
So, whatever you want for your ski holiday resort, whether your group consists of skiers, boarders, non-skiing mountain lovers or a mixture of all three, Crans-Montana will meet your needs while bathing you in sunshine and wowing you with its incredible views. Hardcore skier or complete beginner, adult, senior, child or family – it’s a winning combination.
We have a regular Podcast called The White Out where we review the latest gear, talk about the latest snow forecast and updates on where is best to ski now, as well interviews with absolute ski legends AND we spotlight a resort every week and so much more. You can check out our regular podcast here Apple | Spotify | Podcasts or search The White Out on your chosen podcast directory.