Crans Montana, Switzerland
Crans and Montana were originally two villages, sitting high above the Rhone valley. The resort is more than 100 years old, and offers exceptional panoramic views of the mountains, stretching from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc.
There are 140km of pistes at Crans-Montana, spread over four areas. The ski lift system is modern and well designed with virtually no queues. For advanced skiers, the World Cup pistes are challenging and the off-piste skiing extensive. This is an ideal resort for intermediates, with plenty of wide and long, red and blue runs. There are three nursery areas for beginners.
Crans Montana boasts the largest alpine shopping facilities in the world with many top brands opening shops here. Over the last hundred years the resort has prided itself in offering a healthy lifestyle with a plethora of top hotels, health clubs, cosmopolitan boutiques and gastronomic restaurants. Fashion, style and class are high on the agenda. Why else would Caviar House, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Hermes have added Crans-Montana to their list of London, Paris and New York?
In the resort centre there are 9 swimming pools, 4 health centres, 2 ice rinks, indoor squash and tennis courts, 4 bowling alleys and cinemas.
It is important to note that nightlife is very active in Crans-Montana. The bars, pubs and nightclubs are all very much alive. Crans-Montana also hosts international events so you are sure to find one or two events to get involved with. Why not rub shoulders with renowned athletes or artists? Experience the largest winter mountain music festival, The Caprice Festival. Also there are international ski competitions such as the World Cup mens' race; the International hot air balloon meet and many others. Crans-Montana is a resort that is on the move.
Pros & Cons
- Large, varied piste area with woodland and open slopes. Fantastic cross-country trails
- Modern, well-designed lift system
- Excellent shopping with many of the world's top brands present in the high street
- Beautiful settings and views
- Gentle nusery slopes
- Large town lacks the typical Swiss chocolate box charm
- Getting to the lifts involves cars or buses from most accommodation
- Not much for the expert skiers except off-piste
- Good snow cover on the lower South facing slopes can be a problem in April
Crans Montana has a good variety of restaurants to choose from, among the best is the Bistro in the Pas de l'Ours hotel. Other recommended restaurants are the Plaza, Padrino and the Chalet. In fact there are something like 90 restaurants in total which serve numerous cuisine styles from around the world
Above Crans you can find gorgeous homemade cake at the Chez Erwin restaurant. Merbe is an expensive choice but its very attractive and popular. Head to Chetseron for a bite to eat with good views. Over at Bella-Lui, there are two good restaurants, the Cabane and Petit Mont-Bonvin. Cabane Corbyre at Signal. Recently the hut Les Violettes, managed by Chef Frank Reynaud, and Chezteron Restaurant have opened.
There are numerous tents up on the hill housing bars for a late afternoon drink on the hill. Zerodix is very stylish and well worth visiting.
The liveliest bar is probably The George and Dragon, other good bars are the Bar 1900, The Grange, the Baiser de la Rose and Harry's Club.
- Cable Car
- Chair lift
- Drag lift