Choose your slopes
Crans-Montana is actually made up of two communities to the west and east of Lac Grenon, situated 1,500m (4,921ft) above the Rhone Valley. Crans is more upmarket compared to its neighbour Montana, and the slopes you pick will depend on where you plan to stay.
You’ll find the main skiing bases in Crans, Montana and Barzettes-Violettes, served by lift stations which open from 8.30am (Montana to Arnouva) to 4.45pm (Violettes Express and Crans to Cry d’Er).
For expert skiers keen to cruise down altitudes of up to 3,000m (9,842ft), take the the Funitel Violettes-Plaine Morte lift to the Plaine Morte glacier where you’ll come across the legendary black Kandahar black run (named after a British soldier who initiated the first Crans-Montana Alpine ski descent back in 1911).
Otherwise, confident gliders can enjoy a variety of blue and red pistes throughout Arnouva, Merbé, Marolires, Mont Lachaux, Petit Mont Bonvin and Bellalui. Just be aware that because most of the mountain faces south, pistes can get soft by the afternoon on warm days, which gives you until just after noon before it’s time to clock off for lunch.
Grab a fondue lunch (with a view) at Merbé
If you skied down Cry d’Er, swing by this popular lunch spot in the mountains which serves up a solid menu and great views of the alps.
A deluge of tasty carbs such as pasta specials, raclette and fondue will fuel your afternoon run on the ice – or for a quick pint, try the local Calanda Bräu, brewed 260 miles away in the small town of Chur.
Hit Crans-Montana’s après-ski scene
Once you’ve wrapped up an afternoon of skiing, go for a well-deserved aperitif at one of the prominent bars, clubs or lounges around Crans-Montana. From 3pm to 4.30pm, the Cry D’Er Club D’Altitude – which is a worthy pitstop for the views if nothing else – brings in a regular DJ to get the party started, but from 5pm, the Le 66 offers tunes, tapas and cocktails aplenty in a fun atmosphere. Elsewhere, the Bar 7 near the Violettes lift station is a party destination that’s popular with young locals.
Follow up a fun-filled evening with a swanky, Michelin-level dinner at Le Mont Blanc (based in the stunning five-star LeCrans Hotel & Spa) or exceptional burgers at the Burger Lounge, a restaurant in central Crans.
Party the night away at Le Pacha
If you’re in the party mood, the Le Pacha club on rue du Prado in Crans is one of four popular haunts for clubbers on the hunt for big tunes, sweaty dancefloors and a late curfew. The music policy covers house, EDM, hip-hop and dance, while weekends are devoted to special events.
Go on a hike
Skiing isn’t the only way to explore Crans-Montana, as the region offers a good deal of walking routes where you’ll discover why the area is known for its beauty as much as its sun-drenched snow.
A popular 10km (6.2mi) walk takes your around five eye-catching bodies of water including the Etang-Long, Grenon, and the Chermignon, Moubra and Icogne lakes. Or, you can hire a pair of raquettes à neige, and with the help of a tour guide, embark on a snowy, tranquil trek through Aminona to reconnect with nature and pass local landmarks like the Ecomuseum of Colombire.
Break for lunch (or shopping) in Crans
Crans is the area’s epicentre for shopping, dining and culture, boasting designer fashion outlets, sleek art galleries and boutique shops. Stroll around to pick up everything from vintage pieces and jewellery to Swiss-made chocolate, cheese or local souvenirs. For lunch, head to the Crans branch of Boulangerie Taillens, where you can tuck into first-class pastries, breads and cakes, as well as great coffee and hot chocolate.
For lunch, head to the Crans branch of Boulangerie Taillens, where you can tuck into first-class pastries, breads and cakes, as well as great coffee and hot chocolate.
Put your best skate forward at the Ycoor Centre
The Ycoor centre is a state-of-the-art hub for winter activities in Crans-Montana, as the space caters for ice skaters, curlers, and ice hockey players – or spectators who just want to catch all the action.
Open daily until 5pm, the open-air 2,640m² ice rink is a big hit with families and hosts entertaining events throughout the year.
Try your luck at the casino
Open daily until the early hours of the morning, the area’s casino provides a lounge bar, restaurant and games area for punters looking to splash their cash on slot machines – or watch others risk it all in a game of roulette, blackjack or joker. From 7pm to 11pm (or midnight), the restaurant serves a varied menu, making it an ideal spot to trade skiing stories over dinner, and bid farewell to a brilliant weekend in Switzerland.
SWISS offers direct flights from London to Geneva and Sion in Valais (seasonal only) and free carriage for your skiing or snowboarding equipment. Find out more.