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Saturday January 14, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Long and varied pistes travelling round the mountain, high altitude skiing and a good resort atmosphere; I won't be overlooking Crans-Montana again.

Looking over the Rhône valley the ski area of Crans-Montana stretches from the Plaine Morte Glacier at 3,000m down to the town of Crans at 1,500m.

It is perhaps most well known for its panoramic views and good sunning opportunities, with most of the pistes south facing.

On a clear day you can see to the Matterhorn and to Mont Blanc.

There are actually 28 Swiss mountains with peaks over 4,000m that can be seen from the vantage point of the new-this-year restaurant and club, the Cry d'Er.

CransOver the park and out to the Matterhorn






The panoramic view:

Crans and Montana are separate towns: Crans sitting 1km up from Montana as the slightly more upmarket resort with its 5* hotels.

It is reached  by funicular from Sierre and beyond by a network of beautifully running trains that take you through Swiss cities and countryside, showing off the (now snow-covered) landscape on a three-hour journey from Zurich.

There were three changes, which ran to schedule, and included simply crossing the platform in the 5-minute window to another waiting train.

Swiss trains are as efficient as their reputation as the editor of PlanetSKI, James Cove, found out on a recent rail journey of eight resorts in eight days.

Best way to travel in SwitzerlandSwiss railways
















Double-decker trainsA double-decker
















After, there was a funicular and a local bus; all so simple and with the added bonus of seeing Switzerland's lakes, forests and many mountains, with the added satisfaction of travelling independently in a foreign country.

On the funicular:

SierreFunicular to Montana
















ValaisFrom Sierre
















I was very pleasantly surprised by the skiing.

With just two-thirds of the runs open at the time due to the newly arriving snow, the quality of the open pistes was remarkable.

Up to the glacier and down all the way to Barzettes, curving round the mountain and really getting to see the area - not the usual wide open up-and-down reds and blues many resorts boast about.

Each piste was varied, including tree runs with views out across the valley as well as steeps and corners that put your skiing to the test in the good kind of way.

On piste in Crans-MontanaOn piste in Crans-Montana

















The challenge of the slopes, changing always and mixing it up, really improved the quality of skiing.

The resort has two World Cup pistes, just one was open at the time and damn was it a good one.

Crans Montana is on the women's World Cup alpine ski tour with a GS event taking place on the last weekend of February.

The pistes are the Nationale and the Mont-Lachaux and CHF12m have been invested in these pistes in recent years.

Here's a look at pros on the Mont Lachaux:

Crans MontanaCrans Montana
















As well as skiing, golf and snow golf feature big in Crans Montana.

Unfortunately, UK tour operators don't currently work directly out of the area. Hotel rooms are on offer but the major companies are not here offering chalets and chalet hotels.

The transport factor might be the cause, though the journey here was one of its charms for me.

The resort is also trying to push its attraction for young people and families.

The bars and restaurants were lively, the slopes gave a good ski,  and the atmosphere was relaxed.

This year the resort is hosting more events for children, including the Children's Carnival on 9th February as well as Easter festivities.

Crans Montana has also just been accepted into the select 'Club 5 Ski Classics', which gathers 16 organisers of the world's most prestigious ski races.

Good skiers, millenials, those happy to make their own way should make the effort to get to Crans-Montana.

Sporting events this season include:

Winter Golf Cup 2-5 Feb

Europe Alpine Ski Women's Cup 19-20 Feb

Ladies WC 25-26 Feb, Mont Lachaux

Swiss Freeski Open tour on 25-26th March

Bruno Huggler, the director of Crans tourism, spoke to PlanetSKI about the current status of the resort:

"There are four main reasons that attract people to Crans: The nature, the panoramic views, the variety of what's here, from vineyards to lakes and mountains, to glaciers and to forests."

"Second is the variety of activities available, apart from skiing and golf; There is also the culture, our Swiss traditions and customs, the art galleries and the music. And last is our urban lifestyle. We are into gastro food, wellness and wellbeing."

Bruno Huggler talks to PlanetSKIBruno Huggler talks to PlanetSKI
















The average age of the Crans-Montana cable cars and lifts is 11 years, which is very modern.

A further CHF35 million has been invested in developments in the town this year.

There is more and more going on and plenty planned for the future, but well worth seeing now.

Crans MontanaRhone valley
















Crans-Montana's main draw: To be able to travel the mountain and see and ski the wide area.

What there is to do:


With two thirds of resort open there is more to see and I'll be coming back to ski it all soon.

Read more of PlanetSKI's reports on Crans-Montana here.


For more information on Switzerland visit

Call ther Switzerland Travel Centre on the International freephone 00800 100 200 30 or e-mail, for information

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All Swiss Travel System tickets and passes are available through the sales network in UK on

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