If sunshine, epic views and a lively village scene are all priorities for your ski vacation, then a trip to Crans Montana should be high on your list of options for your next trip to the Alps. Located on a plateau about 5,000 feet above sea level, this delightful resort looks out over the scenic Rhone Valley in southern Valais, the third largest canton (Swiss state) in southern Switzerland. With a reputation as the sunniest resort in Switzerland, boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, sun worshipers will enjoy basking in Crans Montana's enviable climate, where snow meets the sun. Crans Montana is comprised of two neighboring villages that sit next to five small lakes and are connected via a mile-long boulevard, the Rue du Prado, brimming with chic boutiques, restaurants, hotels and bars.
Skiing atop the resort offers skiers and boarders unbeatable views of Switzerland’s most iconic and tallest peaks, including Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Plus, just in case great skiing is not enough to keep you busy, Crans Montana has extensive cross-country trails, ice skating and tobogganing for more outdoor activities. Aside from winter sports, the resort also offers an equestrian school, tennis and squash centers and some terrific nightlife, including the Circus Casino of Crans Montana.
A perk of visiting this area in the summer or fall is the Explorer card and its benefits offered. With this card, all guests who are paying a visitor tax receive benefits they can use throughout their trip. These include things like free minigolf and indoor ice-skating access, as well as discounted fares on tickets for the cable car. The only thing necessary to qualify is to plan a visit from June 10 to October 29, 2023.
at the Crans Ambassador, Luxury Sport Resort for high-end accommodations with stunning views of the Swiss Alps, or the Ultima Crans Montana for the same luxury amenities in a chalet setting.
by flying into Geneva International Airport then embarking on the 2.5-hour drive.
the terrain park that’s over 24 acres with an Olympic-sized halfpipe to truly send it.
yourself to a hammam (Turkish steam bath) session and massage at one of the many spas near the resort to indulge during your ski vacation.
at a top elevation of 9,000+ feet on the famed Plaine Morte glacier.
the 300 days of sunshine a year at the sunniest ski resort in Switzerland.
traditional cuisine of Valais like apricot chutney or Brisolée, a dish like a charcuterie board featuring roasted chestnuts and Valais high pasture mountain cheeses.
the resort that was made famous in alpine ski racing by the 1987 World Championships.
As a large—and popular—resort, Crans Montana does see a lot of visitors, but their lift system does a great job of dispersing the crowds. Two six-person gondolas and the 30-passenger tram, the Plaine Morte funitel, carry everyone from beginners to experts to the wide-open areas of Cry d'Er, a high alpine zone, where you’ll find the Cry d’Er Club d’Altitude restaurant with traditional Valais and Italian food as well as a huge sun terrace where a DJ typically performs.
Cry d’Err is where the lifts from the Crans side and the Montana side intersect, making it an exceptional meeting spot for lunch or an afternoon drink. The vast majority of Crans Montana skiing qualifies as “red terrain,” which is intermediate to advanced, but there are some beginner runs situated at the bottom of the resort, and a handful of black, or expert, pistes located near the top of the resort. The breakdown of the pistes is 34 miles of blue, 43 miles of red and just over 9 miles of black and yellow routes. The resort also has a total of 24 lifts so even the highest point, Plaine Morte, is accessible to guests seeking the challenge of a run that’s almost 7.5 miles long.
Percentage Groom: 0
Base Depth: 39"
Season Total: 0"
27°F / 30°F
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25°F / 38°F
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17°F / 30°F
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24°F / 29°F
Wind Speed: 2mi
16°F / 30°F
Wind Speed: 0mi
Crans-Montana is best known in the alpine ski racing community for hosting the 1987 World Championships. It’s also still often a site for the World Cup, typically hosting women’s speed events.
The area is also extremely versatile and while skiing in the winter is popular there is also a variety of other activities in the warmer months. People will visit for everything from hiking and tennis to water skiing and paragliding, or canyoning and mountain climbing.
The easiest way to get to Crans-Montana, Switzerland is by flying into the Geneva International Airport. Once you deplane, you’re a 2.5-hour drive from the resort.
Amazing views, amazing resortExcellent
Located in one of the French-speaking cantons of Switzerland, Crans Montana is actually two towns that share the same ski area, and within these two towns, provide everything you could want for the perfect vacation: from a casino to a curling rink to golf to skiing, and everything in between. Most of the slopes are south-facing, so they get a lot of sun, which can be both good and bad. You might not get a lot of ice here, but the snow can turn slushy very quickly, especially in the spring, which is when I visited.
Crans Montana is a more upscale and urban resort than others, and you will certainly feel more in the middle of a bustling city than in a quiet, traditional alpine village. There are five-star hotels aplenty in Crans Montana, and some great high-end shopping as well. Since the towns are spread apart quite a bit, a car may be a benefit for families here, though there is a shuttle bus service that runs between the towns and the slopes. When I visited Crans Montana, I did so as a nonskier, so I enjoyed a great snowshoe on top of the glacier – just one of many different enticing nonskier activities.