The first view of the ski vacation resort of Crans-Montana is likely to remain permanently etched in a visitor’s mind. The majestic peaks of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc create a stunning backdrop for the picturesque resort, located near Lake Geneva in the north of the Valais canton. This wonderful sun-soaked ski destination set on a high plateau was originally three separate towns of Crans, Montana and Aminona which were amalgamated in the 1960s to form one ski resort.
Crans was once a famous spa town and has been a resort since 1893. Today it is the sophisticated part of the ski resort with the finest shops in the Alps and an abundance of exclusive boutiques. In contrast to the chic Crans, Montana is more family-oriented with a laid-back atmosphere. The resort features traditional stone and slate architecture and the nearby Sion has two magnificent castles well worth a visit. Crans Montana also features the most modern cable railway.
Crans Montana as a resort is a favorite with families as it offers excellent runs for beginners and intermediates as well as very good child care facilities. Experts have only two black runs to explore but there plenty of exciting and varied off-piste skiing available. The focus is no doubt on intermediates, with challenging terrain over 160 km of slopes with the longest run of twelve kilometers. The lifts are efficient but you will have to pay more to access the Plaine Morte glacier.
The large area encourages snowboarders to make the most of the terrain. This picturesque resort village known for its stunning views and sunny weather also has some scenic tree skiing. There is adequate nightlife but it is of a rather sedate nature, while shopping and dining are befitting a resort of this caliber. Crans Montana has plenty to offer besides skiing. Hikers and walkers will be delighted with sixty km of winter walking trails. There is plenty of choice for natural and artificial ice-skating on an area of over thirty km. Curling, mountaineering, snowshoeing, heli-skiing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, horseback riding, and ballooning are other outdoor sports available here. Snowboarders have a fun park and half-pipe to enjoy.