Crans-Montana is a chic and stylish all-year-round mountain resort located in the Valais canton of Switzerland (French speaking), around two hours by train from Geneva Airport. For the 2019 season, Crans-Montana winter activities provide visitors with a huge range of ways to enjoy spending time together both indoors and outdoors. Whether you want to experience more than just snowsports or want ideas on how to make the most of your holiday with your family, here are the highlights for this winter.
Stretching from the Rhone valley to the Plaine Morte Glacier at 3000m, Crans-Montana is one of Switzerland’s foremost skiing regions. Visitors and residents love it for its many hours of sunshine and great slopes, with breathtaking views over a string of mountain peaks that unfold from Bietschhorn to Mont Blanc via the Matterhorn. But there’s also so much more to Crans-Montana than just winter snowsports activities, both for skiiers and those just wanting a fantastic winter break.
Two towns, Crans and Montana, merge together to form the resort and both have their own identities. Sitting on a high plateau above the Rhone Valley and facing south, the views are spectacular, especially from higher altitudes where it’s possible to see Mont Blanc in the west, through to the Matterhorn and way beyond to the east. During the winter, the skiing is well suited for intermediates, with a wide range of blue and red runs, but there are also excellent beginners areas as well as some more challenging slopes for experts, including some interesting off-piste and ski touring terrain.
During summer, the resort is a haven for both road cyclists and mountain bikers as well as hikers and adventure seekers. Accommodation is varied, with a strong luxury element including several 5* hotels and a spread of 3* and 4* options as well as self-catering apartments and Bed and Breakfasts.
Crans-Montana has a host of hotels that contain spas, enabling their elite, older patrons to enjoy a combination of skiing, health treatments and shopping at the resort’s chic boutiques. This well-heeled, health-seeking clientele mixes with bankers from Geneva and – rather incongruously – a huge snowboarding crowd and freestyle skiers, who visit Crans-Montana in winter for one of the best snowparks in the Alps.
Ski and Snowboard in Crans-Montana
Crans-Montana is a good intermediate’s resort with good slopes for beginners. A good beginners area is Arnouva, accessed by the short gondola from Montana. The nursery slopes down by the golf course in Crans are even easier.
Long Open Runs Fit for Carving
The largest group of intermediate pistes at Crans-Montana is in the Violettes sector, with trails winding their way through the woods. The Toula chair leads to steeper reds. From Bella-Lui you can head down the Nationale ski slope or Chetseron, both World Cup runs. The only official black run in the resort is a bumpy fall-line pitch on the ridge under the Toula chair, although by the standards of many resorts it’s no more than a red. On the whole, this is a resort of long, open runs fit for cruising and carving.
Snowboarding, Skicross and Snowparks
Crans-Montana is an active snowboarding centre and the Adrenaline snowpark, at top of the Crans gondola, is one of the biggest in the country. It has a half-pipe, several rails, an area for beginner freestylers, a skicross/boardercross course and a brand new snowpark for teenagers.
Some 50km of Langlauf tracks in Crans-Montana include a 10km loipe, set unusually at an altitude of 3000m on the Plaine-Morte Glacier. A host of other winter sports take place on the mountain and in the town, including snowshoeing, ice-skating and curling. Only about half of all visitors to Crans-Montana come here to ski or snowboard.
Crans-Montana Winter Activities
Crans-Montana combines all the benefits of the urban lifestyle within a mountain setting, with a wide selection of restaurants ranging from mountain huts to award-winning restaurants, numerous boutiques and shops, a wellness centre, a variety of entertainment and a vibrant nightlife.
For a unique experience that doesn’t involve trying to stay upright on two planks of wood, try a dog sled ride at Crans-Montana on the stunning Plaine Moret Glacier. You’ll get to take the reins and steer your own husky team, guided by a professional musher. Afterwards you can even play with the dogs.
You and the kids can go snowtubing on Snow Island. Spin your way downhill in a big inflatable ring, knowing that you can use the magic carpet conveyor to get back up to the top again. Perfect for tired children (and parents).
Channel your inner Torvil and Dean on the ice rink at one of the ice skating sessions. Or watch the kids going round while you nurse a hot drink.
Paintball and Laser Tag
If you have enough energy left after being on the slopes, you can get rid of your angst with a spot of winter paintball. For those who aren’t keen on being hit by paint pellets, you can opt for the more gentile laser IR tag.
Learn how to handle a 357 Magnum, 7mm Remington or 9mm Parabellum on a shooting course with a professional coach.
Panwall Stables in Crans-Montana offer group riding lessons, private lessons on dressage and jumping, forest walks and Shetland tours.
Snow Island transforms the competition standard golf course into a family-focused island of fun. On Snow Island you’ll find plenty of different winter activities including snow-tubing, a sledge run, snowman-building competitions, a ‘magic carpet’ ski lift to make getting back to the start of the run way more fun, huge inflatable towers on the snow and La Maison de Bibi, the house where Crans-Montana’s famous marmot mascot, Bibi, lives. Parents and children alike love the place.
Crans-Montana hosts a variety of routes for trail runners. There is a fitness trail that starts at Moubra Lake which has exercise along the way to test your endurance, mobility and strength.
The indoor climbing centre at Crans-Montana has a range of routes that lead up to a height of 13.5 metres, from 4C to 8A.
This beautiful indoor curling hall is right next to the Ycoor Café, right in the center of Montana. The 3 tracks enjoy an extraordinary ice cream which, according to specialists, curle perfectly. For insiders, it’s a pleasure.
For those who want to discover this sport, you can take an introductory course.
Crans-Montana Winter Activities Indoors
When the winter chill is seeping into your bones, you can spend some toasty times indoor. Bowling is a popular family favourite.
there are a selection of films to see at the cinema.
The indoor golf academy is composed of 5 experienced teachers as well as an assistant in 3rd year of apprenticeship. The academy is located in the golf area between holes 8 and 12 of the Ballesteros course.
The whole area is fully equipped for players of all levels. Whether you are a beginner, advanced of expert, the outdoor and indoor facilities are specially designed to help you progress.
The performance center is equipped with trackmans, a gym specially dedicated to Golf-Fitness and an indoor putting green.
More Indoor Sports and Games
There are more indoor activities to keep everyone amused including:
- Swimming Pools
- Gym sessions
- Table Football
- Table Tennis
Hiking and Exploring on Foot in Crans-Montana
With its lakes, forests, glacier and vineyards, the region has something to offer every nature lover. Ski touring is available, as are snowshoeing trips exploring the area.
Sports fans will be delighted to discover a large array of amenities dedicated to sporting activities, whilst cultural devotees will enjoy the wide range of museums, events and festivals.
Luxury and Outstanding Service
LeCrans is generally considered to be one of the top in terms of hotels in Crans-Montana and it also has a one star Michelin restaurant that is exceptional.
The Crans Ambassador is also really nice and it has great views as it’s elevated above the town. It’s pretty much ski-in-ski-out too which is the only large hotel to offer that (until the new Sixth Senses opens up but that’s in 2021). The Ambassador is amazing to be honest.
Another amazing place to stay is Pasdelours , again with a one star Michelin restaurant. It’s very high end and a little more cosy feel too. The food is amazing.
Then there’s the Chetzeron – it’s a hotel on the mountain. You can only get there by snow cat or skis during the winter, which makes it a bit like a James Bond lair. It has really nice super friendly staff including the owner who is a really nice guy. The restaurant is listed in the Michelin Guide. It doesn’t have a star but just great food done well, from traditional stuff like fondue to more varied international dishes.