Crans Montana ski resort guide & reviews Ski area, apres-ski, things to see & do in Crans Montana
The international ski resort of Crans Montana is a fusion of the towns of Crans and Montana which sit at 1500m on a sunny plateau over looking the Rhone valley with spectacular views of Mont Blanc.
Crans is the more upmarket centre and is full of designer boutiques whilst Montana is quieter and more geared towards families.
Over half the visitors to Crans Montana are Swiss with around 10% being Italian and a further 10% from Germany. Most of the other tourists to Crans Montana are from America, Asia and Middle East which shows just how cosmopolitan it is.
Crans Montana is not just a ski resort for the winter - far from it. It is an all-year round sophisticated town with approximately only a third of visitors coming for ski holidays. The remainder come for the walks, spas, shopping and simply to relax and take in the views.
Wellness & SPA
Crans Montana has a good selection of wellness centres and spas, many housed in the top hotels that are open to the public that offer a full range of beauty treatments, swimming pools, jacuzzis in the snow, solariums, natural medicine centres and gyms.
There is a creche and ski kindergarten in Crans and Montana that will look after the kids for a day. They are very popular and need to be booked in advance.
|Key information (whole area)|
|Longest run||12 km|
|Cross country||20 km|
|Season||Dec - April|
|Apres ski||Lively & Fun|
Crans Montana ski area guide
Crans Montana has 140km of mostly south facing pistes and is one of the sunniest ski resorts in the Alps. However, as much as people love the sun, it can prove to be a headache as the snow melts quickly meaning you can have a frustrating time if it does not snow regularly.
Thankfully, there are 251 snow cannons that cover around 30km of the lower slopes that does the trick. There are 4 main ski areas that are all linked - Crans, Montana, Bazzettes and Aminona. However, unlike other resorts such as Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil and Flaine in the Grand Massif, you will be catching a bus or driving to get to the slopes so when you have kids in tow this can be a frustrating start and end to your day.
For beginners there are some fantastic easy nursery slopes at the resort level that are actually on the golf course.
Further up the mountain, near the mid-station of the Montana gondola, there are more gentle slopes to try out and up there, you get a better feeling of what skiing is all about.
The wide open slopes of Crans Montana are mostly a mix of easier and more challenging reds, plus a handful of blues and therefore an intermediates playground.
The 12km run from Plaine Morte to Les Barzettes starts with stunning views of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn and ends up in the forest.
With only 12% of the pistes being black, the advanced skiers will run out of new terrain quickly but thankfully, there are some and also back-country routes but these need to be with a guide.
There are 19km of trails including one over the glacier for cross-country skiing.
Despite the resort’s chic image, snow boarding is very popular with the Cry d’Er board park being the place to hang out. With mostly wide and uncrowded reds, the pistes are perfect for carving and the off-piste is good for jumps higher up the mountain.
Things to see & do
- Snow tubing
- Toboganning on a 6km track on traditional sledges or on the super fast airboards
- Sleigh rides
- Ice skating
- Winter hiking on 65km of prepared trails
- Amusement park for the children
Crans-Montana après ski is laid back and quiet in comparison to some resorts but with 150 shops, over 70 restaurants, 22 bars, casino and4 nightclubs, you won't have any problem finding something to do in the evenings. The restaurant scene is diverse and you will be spoilt for choice from local cuisine to international favourites.
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Our view on Crans Montana
Crans Montana is a chic and sophisticated ski resort but there is much more on offer locally and nearby than just skiing...
- Less than 10km from Sierre in the Rhone Valley, is the village of St-Léonard which has the largest underground lake in the whole of Europe! A great day out for the whole family
- Take a day trip to the stunning old town of Grimentz. This is one of the most picturesque ski resorts in the Alps and some excellent off-piste skiing
If you like Crans Montana.....you may also be interested in St Moritz, Davos-Klosters and Cortina in the Italian Dolomites. These resorts are similar to Crans Montana being chic, sophisticated and offer plenty of entertainment for the non-skiers with excellent shopping and spas.