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Crans Montana

With 140km of sunny slopes, heaps of history, posh shops and mouth-watering local cheese and wine, Crans Montana has a lot going for it... and if that wasn’t enough, it’s often said to have some of the best views in Europe.

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Snowboard

At a glance: • Sunny ski area • Quiet intermediate skiing

Great for: • Foodies • Families • Scenery

With 140km of sunny slopes, heaps of history, posh shops and mouth-watering local cheese and wine, Crans Montana has a lot going for it... and if that wasn’t enough, it’s often said to have some of the best views in Europe.

Crans Montana Resort

Crans Montana is formed of two towns - Crans-sur-Sierre and Montana - which were merged in the 60s to form the ski resort we know today. Crans is the more fashionable, with shops like Cartier and Gucci lining the streets while with a more down-to-earth vibe, Montana has livelier après ski and cheaper places to eat.

The resort itself is less Swiss chocolate box and more a mix of different architecture but once you’re out on the mountain you’ll enjoy some incredible scenery: high up on a sun-drenched plateau in the Valais region, you have a 200km vista stretching from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc and up the Rhône Valley.

Staying here means you get all the advantages of a small resort combined with the cultural activities, shopping, gastronomic variety and international events of a big ski town. Highlights on the calendar include the Caprices Festival (one of the largest music festivals in Switzerland), the Omega European Masters and World Cup events.

Yes, Bond-legend Roger Moore has a house here but there’s a lot more to this place than its famous frequenters, including some fascinating history.

Had you been a patient of Dr Theodore Stephani in the 1890s, your road to recovery would have started here for the healing powers of the fresh mountain air, which is how the area started attracting tourists. Golf also has an important role to play, with the first Swiss Open hosted here in 1939.

This is one of the oldest Alpine resorts and has a longstanding place in the history of skiing. The famous Lunn family (who founded the Kandahar Ski Club) organised races here as far back as 1911. Today the resort hosts a roster of World Cup and European Championship events, and has become a centre for important downhill events.

It’s also super sunny – the southern facing orientation means on average it sees more than 300 days of sunshine each year.

If you’re not tempted by the skiing, shopping or sunshine, visit for the food. Thanks to the warm climate and fertile earth, agriculture is a big thing here and everything starts with local produce. Traditional delicacies still account for much of the cuisine like Raclette, traditional fondues and Valais wine.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Switzerland, Valais

Established: 1911

Open: December to April

Downhill: 140km

View our detailed Crans Montana snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Crans Montana snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Geneva190km 2h10
Basel275km 2h47
Zurich305km 3h20
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 17km 41%

  • 20km 49%

  • 4km 10%

Top Altitude:3000m
Bottom Altitude:1500m
Resort Altitude:1500m
Longest run:Barzettes, 12km
Slope Orientation:S
Vertical Drop:1500m
Skiable Vertical:1500m
Night Skiing:Yes
Glacier:Yes - Plaine Morte, 3000m

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 3cm
  • Base
  • 30cm
  • Forecast
  • 80cm

Web Cam

Crans Montana web cams
Downhill Runs:140km
Beginner slopes:41%
Intermediate:49%
Advanced slopes:10%
Lift Pass Price: CHF 326 (Adult 6 days)
Nearby resorts: Anzere, Grimentz

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Crans Montana

The four main lifts that take you up to the different parts of the mountain are accessible via the local ski bus.

Children and complete novices will learn the basics in the ‘Snow Island’ area – which serves as the golf course in the summer months and has some lovely gentle nursery slopes. The magic carpet here is perfect for little children, and much easier to use than a drag lift if you are a total novice. The Discovery area has a beginners only ‘Secure’ run near the Verdets lift, and there’s also a fun area by the Merignou lift that has small jumps and an easy ski cross.

With 17 blues, there are some pleasant easy cruisers all over the area. From the Cry d’Er area above Crans, you’ll find 3 blues served by drag lifts, the two Mérignou runs and the longer Chetzeron, which has a lovely mountain restaurant at the bottom.

More confident skiers/boarders have a network of 20 reds, including a fabulous long one from the Plaine Morte glacier (at 3000m the views are incredible).

There are 4 blacks, including Col du pochet from Bellalul (2543m). The red Nationale which goes down from the Cry d’Er area is a must ski as it has hosted the World Cup men’s downhill. There’s also quite a lot of off-piste, including itinerary routes - a guide will be able to take you down some awesome routes on the glacier and around Chetzeron.

Freestylers can while away the week in the ‘Adrenaline’ area (access via the Crans gondola) which has a halfpipe, ski/boarder cross and not one but two snowparks – one for beginners and the other one of the biggest in Switzerland, covering 100,000 square metres.

Torch lit descents and night skiing often take place throughout the season if you want to have some slope time after hours – check with the tourist office or ski schools for specific days and times.

This is probably one of the best places in Switzerland for cross country (or Nordic) skiing. As it is based on a plateau there are plenty of flat sections, and there are several lakes surrounding the resort to circumnavigate such as Lac Moubra. The scenery from the track on the Piste Briesses is stunning, and this circuit links up with the one on the golf course.

Crans Montana Apres Ski

The après is laid back and quiet but with over 130 restaurants and bars and 3 nightclubs, there’s still lots to do.

Zerodix (at the end of the blue Crans piste by the Cry D’Er lift station) is a hotspot for lively après ski drinks and snacks. New additions include 180 degrees at the Crans Ambassador Hotel (you can ski to it) and the Memphis Bar and Lounge in Crans.

For a bit of insider knowledge about the local tipples, visit Ratatouille for wine tastings and Brasserie La Marmotte to sample the local beer.

The resort has no shortage of restaurants with over 90 offering varied cuisines including Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian, Argentinian and Lebanese.

Chef Pierre Crepaud serves some cracking food at Le Mont Blanc Restaurant and if (like us) you can’t resist the idea of Raclette melted over a wood fire, book a table at La Dent Blanche.

Located at a heady height of 2112 metres, Chetzeron has a menu of Valaisan food and wine that you can enjoy in the restaurant or out on the 3 level terrace which has some awesome mountain views.

Higher up at Cabane des Violettes (2208 meters), Michelin star chef Franck Reynaud has a gourmet menu highlighting regional treasures – try Franck’s famous Rosti de Cabane des Violettes. You can ski to the hut or it’s a 2 minute walk from the top of the Violettes gondola.

For a good old plate of pizza, Le Michelangelo has a well-priced menu. Anyone with a sweet tooth should definitely drop in to L'Instant Chocolat in Montana to see Swiss chocolate master David Pasquiet at work.

If you are self-catering or fancy grabbing a cheaper bite for lunch there are several supermarkets: a Migros, 2 Co-ops and a PAM.

Non skiers and anyone looking for something to do once the lifts close have over 180 shops to peruse as well as spas, cafes, a cinema, ice rink, bowling alley and a casino to fill the time.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Crans Montana

When is the best time to ski Crans Montana?

Crans Montana is known for its sunshine, and with most of the slopes being south facing, the best time to ski is earlier in the season throughout January and the first half of February. One third of the slopes have artificial snowmaking, which makes sure there’s good coverage at the beginning of the season if there hasn’t been enough natural snowfall.

Peak Dates

Spend a week of good skiing, good food and good festivities during Christmas in Crans Montana. Browse Crans Montana Christmas ski holidays ‣

With the traditional firework display at the ice rink and fun for the family on Rue Louis Antille, spending New Year in Crans Montana can make your week of skiing extra exciting. Browse Crans Montana New Year ski holidays ‣

Known as one of the quieter resorts but also known for being really family friendly, Half term in Crans Montana is a place where you can enjoy an action packed week on the mountains. Browse Crans Montana Half Term ski holidays ‣

Whether or not there’s good enough snow to ski all day, the spring sunshine makes Easter in Crans Montana spectacular. Browse Crans Montana Easter ski holidays ‣

Crans Montana Ratings & Customer Feedback
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Average Rating 3.8 out of 5
We had a lovely week overall. We’re all good skiers who like to ski all day every day and did find the ski area a wee bit limiting. The teenagers in particular (who are used to skiing in places like Courchevel) thought that the ski area was very small. They did advanced classes and got to see parts of the moun... + more
Anon,
4 out of 5
The variety of possibility for all levels was good and we’d definitely visit again. I was juggling a 2 year old and two other sons, and it all worked with ease, even getting the buggy up the mountain. I would definitely recommend this resort as it’s very good for families. If you’ve got very young skiers I w... + more
Family party, Gloucestershire
4 out of 5
Beginners can be comfortably introduced to the slopes on three nursery runs. 200 instructors are spread across 5 ski schools from both the Crans and Montana side that welcome both first time snowboarders and skiers. Grand Signal is a suitable area for beginners with easy access from the Gondola. The wide expans... + more
Charlotte, London
4 out of 5
On the mountain you have 18 choices of where to enjoy lunch, a hot chocolate or a much-craved mulled wine. Lunch and a sun lounge at Chetzeron will cover the basics with a relaxed atmosphere. For a more Michelan starred approach, Les Violettes mountain restaurant will certainly provide you with a memorable meal... + more
Charlotte, London
4 out of 5
Christmas Period: If you are in Crans Montana for Christmas then I recommend the Winter Festival - when I was last there it opened on 21st with the lighting of an extremely sizeable Christmas tree. It is an excessively child-friendly atmosphere with the opportunity to meet both Santa Clause as well as Bibi La M... + more
Anon, Surrey
4 out of 5
The 1960’s became a literal landmark for two mountain villages. Charismatically perched amongst the sunniest peaks in Switzerland, fondue and family met with upmarket chic as Crans and Montana unified into what has now become a vivacious wintry retreat. Stretching above the Rhone Valley, the views verge on pan... + more
Intern, Sno Intern
3 out of 5
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Families in Crans Montana

Crans Montana's sunny climate, family orientated resort and extensive non-ski offerings make it an excellent place for families.

In winter the infamous golf course transforms into the Snow Island children's area, with snowtubing, sledding, gentle pistes and indoor shelter. The ‘Discovery Space' (accessed by the Grand-Signal gondola from Montana) is tailor made for families - beginners will want to hop off at the area by the Verdets lift, which is split into the snow garden and a secure run while more confident skiers can stay on the lift to reach the top, where you'll find some gentle jumps and a skicross. Teens will love the Adrenaline space which consists of a ski / boardercross, airbag and 2 snowparks, while the wider area is a network of fabulous blues, reds and a few blacks stretching from Crans over to Aminona.

Skiing aside, a fantastic 6km sled run (one of the longest and most scenic in the country) takes you all the way down to Aminona - there's a nice picnic spot at the top for a quick snack before you slide down. The tourist office usually arrange activities like treasure hunts around the resort and for bad weather days, indoor activities for families include bowling on Route du Rawyl and a 3D cinema.

GroupsGroup Holidays Crans Montana

Crans Montana can be a fabulous ski resort for groups, especially if you're a mix of skiers and non-skiers. While the après doesn't yet rival the legendary scene in Verbier, there's plenty for groups after dark. As the lifts start to close, most ski down to the Cry d'Er base station for a drinks and snacks at Zerodix (their nacho, burger and chicken platter is always a group favourite). Later on, Amadeus below the Hotel Olympic have been hosting themed nights and dolling out buckets of Jäger bombs for the past twenty years and Monk'Is is always known to throw a good party.

The ski area is nice and varied for different abilities, from the beginner-only ‘Secure' run to off-piste itinerary routes beneath the Plaine Morte glacier and the World Cup men's downhill from Cry d'Er. Book a private group lesson if you're all learning together, or go all-out with a heliski trip - this area of the world has some astounding terrain to explore.

Activities aren't hard to come by - try snowscooting for something different, experience one of the best sled runs in the Alps above Aminona or head to the bowling alley and engage in a little healthy competition.

One of Crans Montana's best concessions to groups -- it's terrific for non-skiers: from shops (this is the Alps' biggest luxury shopping area) art galleries, museums and a cinema to fabulous spas and swimming pools, winter walks galore and access to the railways at Sion and Sierre.


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"Lovely place, limited skiing"

Anon
4/ out of 5
We had a lovely week overall. We’re all good skiers who like to ski all day every day and did find the ski area a wee bit limiting. The teenagers in particular (who are used to skiing in places like Courchevel) thought that the ski area was very small. They did advanced classes and got to see parts of the mountain they wouldn’t otherwise ski which was good. There’s lots on in the villages but we were kept occupied our hotel spa facilities every evening!

"Excellent for families, we will return"

Family party, Gloucestershire
4/ out of 5
The variety of possibility for all levels was good and we’d definitely visit again. I was juggling a 2 year old and two other sons, and it all worked with ease, even getting the buggy up the mountain. I would definitely recommend this resort as it’s very good for families. If you’ve got very young skiers I would stay in Crans rather than Montana, as in Montana you have to go up in the cable car to reach the ski school whereas Crans has a meeting point at the bottom. They also have a fantastic snow playground for very young children at the golf course, though it was 20 minutes on the bus from where we were based and with a buggy and other children in classes it was difficult to reach which was a shame. Montana’s great if you’re happy to go up the lift and just ski.

"Whats the skiing like?"

Charlotte, London
4/ out of 5
Beginners can be comfortably introduced to the slopes on three nursery runs. 200 instructors are spread across 5 ski schools from both the Crans and Montana side that welcome both first time snowboarders and skiers. Grand Signal is a suitable area for beginners with easy access from the Gondola. The wide expansive slopes allow for an uninterrupted snowplough and as this improves, the blue runs leading from La Toula and Les Violettes offer a beneficial stepping stone in the learning curve. For a skiing newbie, it is a ski area that has a strong focus on building confidence. Intermediates will take instantly to the broadly sweeping array of red runs available. From 8:45 a well-oiled and modern lift system provides access to scenic tree-lined routes to the Piste Nationale’s 12 km of uninterrupted snow. Once, you might have been lucky enough to bump into Roger Moore as he emerges from his Chalet. Although the black runs are not excessively over-challenging, the off-piste skiing is more so and the short mogul fields surrounding La Toula are best enjoyed with some level of skill. Most importantly, the pistes are well maintained with 200 snow canons to keep up a consistent level of snow. Snow boarders are adequately represented both on the piste and at the Adrenaline Snow Park. A cable car to Crans will take you to an area of bordercrosses, quarterpipes and rails, the making of which can largely be attributed to the first ever snowboarder to nail the Switch Backside Triple Cork, Pat Burgener. In addition, three runs supply both the more and less experienced skiers with jumps and structures for a more challenging descent. When legs are suitably fatigued from a day skiing on the Plaine-Morte Glacier, a guarantee of decent snow, 6km tobogganing is available that the traditionally inclined will most certainly follow up with a fondue. For the more adventurous, feet are strapped to snowshoes and exhausted on the expanse of 15km routes that surround the mountain pistes. The free slalom course at Pas du Loup and speed skiing at Cry d’Er provide two reasons why the slopes are rarely overly-crowded and queuing at lifts is the same that any resort can expect.

"Nice places to eat and socialise, even gamble!"

Charlotte, London
4/ out of 5
On the mountain you have 18 choices of where to enjoy lunch, a hot chocolate or a much-craved mulled wine. Lunch and a sun lounge at Chetzeron will cover the basics with a relaxed atmosphere. For a more Michelan starred approach, Les Violettes mountain restaurant will certainly provide you with a memorable meal and if only for the view go to Bellalui. If you end your morning on the La Toula lift, The Cabanes Taules is often recommended and if you manage to actually spot its signpost then Buvette Pepinet is also worth a visit. The 80 restaurants within the town offer a cultural variance of culinary dishes. For those on a more lenient budget restaurants at Le Crans Hotel and the Hotel Guarda golf will prove pleasingly appetising. Pizza, pasta and more modestly priced food can easily be found by having a wander through the topsy turvy city-like streets. A visit to the Bistrot at Pas de L’Ours Hotel is also a popular choice. Fancy yourself as a bit of a wine coinesseur? Then exploring the wine list will prove of interest as a variety of local wines can be found on the menu from Petite Arvin to Johannisberg. Popping over to for a meal Sierre is made easy by the funicular railway. Before mooching between the modest but well-attended bars and clubs that dot sporadically around the town of Crans-Montana, there are guided night-time descents that operate on Friday night between 19:00 – 22:00 down 6km of floodlit pistes. The wintery atmosphere is further encouraged by the two ice rinks, dog sledging and tubing available as well as the Crans Montana ice disco. You could choose to begin your après-ski at Bar 7, accessible for both beer and coffee lovers. There is no shortage of after skiing activities and the party-hearted will not have left Crans Montana without having had at least one dance at the Pacha nightclub or a drink or four at Zerodix. Themed evenings are a frequent attraction and The Cabaret nightclub might interest your Wednesday after Monki’s helped you see Tuesday off. Tempting your luck can be easily achieved at the established casino that beckons across Montana for a spot of roulette, blackjack or poker.

"Christmas and New Year are fun"

Anon, Surrey
4/ out of 5
Christmas Period: If you are in Crans Montana for Christmas then I recommend the Winter Festival - when I was last there it opened on 21st with the lighting of an extremely sizeable Christmas tree. It is an excessively child-friendly atmosphere with the opportunity to meet both Santa Clause as well as Bibi La Marmotte who is the mascot for Crans Montana. One of the hotels (not sure if its Guarda Golf) also offers a leisure centre for children aged 2 – 16 with slides and inflatables to keep them entertained. The nativity play on Boxing Day will also provide some entertainment if its an annual event. The Ycoor Ice Disco opened on the 28.12.13 and fancy dress was welcomed to the point where admission becomes free for those who took part. 31.12.13 New Year quite literally brings the traffic to a halt as it bans cars for the evening. A fireworks show and a more than adequate nightlife kicks off the New Year with food stands and a live band situated in the Rue Louis Antville. A gala concert takes place on the 01/01/14 at the Regents Hall sees a Mexican conductor, Alondra de la Parra, who conducts a 65 musician band through romantic classics meant to reflect the holiday season.

"What the Intern said..."

Intern, Sno Intern
3/ out of 5
The 1960’s became a literal landmark for two mountain villages. Charismatically perched amongst the sunniest peaks in Switzerland, fondue and family met with upmarket chic as Crans and Montana unified into what has now become a vivacious wintry retreat. Stretching above the Rhone Valley, the views verge on panoramic perfection as both the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc can be appreciated by the mountain devotee. Had you been a patient of the Geneva doctor Theodore Stephani in the 1890s then he would have begun your road to recovery by sending you to the fresh mountain air. 1911 brought the first Alpine Ski Competition thanks to Arnold Lunn and the 1987 Alpine Skiing World Championships brought even more publicity. In a modern twist, you may have heard of Caprices. It is the second largest winter pop festival and is held towards the end of the ski season for week of electro, pop and rock music. As a modern resort with a cosmopolitan feel, Crans- Montana caters well in diversity. As women clad in furs wait for the latest BMW to pass, mothers nod approvingly at the 30mph sign whilst their husbands stare into the window displaying the latest GoPro edition. It is common fact that wired into the female mind is an inability to visit any idyllic holiday town without having a nosy browse or purchase in the local shops. Essentially, Crans Montana is a shopper’s haven with over 150 boutiques and shops satisfying the fashion conscious with popular labels from Cartier to Prada. Grumbling partners can also be distracted by sport shops where sales assistants are happy to offer news and advice on the latest technology trends. For those interested more in the local scene, there are galleries and art shops to be perused whilst the model train museum and 3D cinema provide a family friendly atmosphere.
1/6: Show Review list
Anon
Family party
Charlotte
Charlotte
Anon
Intern