Located on a south-facing plateau and blessed with 300 days of sunshine, Crans-Montana in the Swiss canton of Valais offers superb skiing amidst stunning alpine scenery. Unlike some ski resorts which are vacant during the warmer months, Crans-Montana is a true year-round town underpinned by a sense of community with a population of 10,191 residents and two of Europe’s finest educational institutions.
Since hosting the skiing World Championships in 1987, Crans-Montana has been making a name for itself as a ski destination and is often on the World Cup schedule. One of the largest ski areas in Switzerland, Crans-Montana boasts 120km of slopes which cater predominantly to intermediate skiers and offer stunning views of snow-capped Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps, on the way down.
For those who prefer something off the beaten piste, Crans-Montana opened Rando Park in 2017 which is the largest ski touring network in the world with 15 avalanche-protected trails. Routes range a newbie-friendly 1.3km trail to a colossal 34.7km route with an altitude gain over 3,000m, aptly named ‘La X’treme’.
A year-round sports paradise, as the snow melts away, four golf courses with overlooking the Rhône Valley are revealed. The host of the OMEGA European Masters, Crans-Montana is a major golfing destination with a heritage spanning more than a century. The town opened its first golf course in 1908 and at the time it was the highest golf course in the world.
However, it is not just about sports, there is plenty to see and do in the resort itself. Crans-Montana’s answer to London’s Bond Street, Rue du Prado is like an open-air shopping centre in the heart of the Alps with a plethora of boutiques and designer shops behind traditional alpine facades. There is also a thriving gastronomy scene with an exciting mix of local and international cuisine, including two Michelin-starred restaurants. Thanks to its sunny climate, Crans-Montana is one of Switzerland’s major wine-producing regions and enthusiasts will enjoy the Salon des Vins et Terroir event in March which showcases the finest wines from the Haut Plateau.
Well-deserving of its Family Destination Label (2019/20), Crans-Montana is a very family-friendly resort with plenty of activities for children to enjoy. In the winter, there is the child-friendly Snow Island with sledges and snow tubing whilst Summer Camp Montana takes centre stage in the summer months. Operating for 50 years, this renowned summer camp for 8 to 17 year-olds has international appeal. Plus, for those who chose to live here, there are plenty of amenities for families including one of the best schools in Europe, Le Régent Crans-Montana College, and the prestigious École des Roches international hotel management school.