Crans Montana Skiing at Glance:
Summit Elevation 3000 meters, 9,603’
140 kilometers of prepared slopes
24 on mountain chalets and restaurants
Crans Montana Web Site
Crans Montana ski resort in the beautiful Valais region of Switzerland offers skiing on a sunny high plateau, north of the Rhone Valley with amazing views of the surrounding Alps. Its one of the more popular, some may say bougie, ski resorts in the Swiss Alps, like St Moritz.
Vail Resorts acquired Crans Montana majority ownership December 2023, so look for Crans Montana to join Vail’s Epic Pass next season, 2024-25, along with Andermatt Sedrun.
Crans Montana has 34 ski lifts, but you really only ski 12 of those as there are many learn to ski and teaching surface lifts. Skiing starts at 1500-meters (5,000’) riding one of three gondolas from the villages of Crans, Montana and Barzettes. Crans and Montana are separate villages that have basically grown together over the years. From mid mountain, there’s a mix of gondolas, quads, six-packs, pomas and the summit funitel – a gondola tram hybrid that climbs to 3000-meters (9,603’) at Plaine Morte glacier summit.
With 140 km ski slopes and 27 named pistes (marked prepared trails), Crans Montana has a few days of terrain to explore. Many of Switzerland’s forty-eight 4000-meter peaks can be viewed including the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, Dent Blanche, Dom, Mont Blanc, and Pigne d’Arolla, along with seven lakes and of course the Rhone River valley – the spectacular scenery is Crans’ calling card.
Most of the skiing is mid-level, especially compared to steeper Verbier across the valley. However, Crans-Montana does have one of the steepest runs in Europe, FIS Downhill run #6 where the annual World Cup women’s downhill race is held. While not as long as Wengen’s Lauberhorn or as technical as Kitzbühel’s Hahnenkamm – its an exciting undulating run you can ski before and after race events.
Our favorite skiing was on Crans Montana’s summit glacier Plaine Morte at 2927-meters. The funicular ride alone is amazing, you can opt to just ride up and down. From this summit, there’s one long prepared piste black diamond trail – Kandahar – that’s well-pitched and pleasantly wide. For the more adventurous, there’s lots of extreme steeps, “scare yourself” off-piste, and wild chutes plus open bowls – consider hiring a guide.
Crans is home to Switzerland’s second biggest snow park at the main mountain hub of Cry d’Er , where you’ll also find a fun umbrella bar and big modern lodge.
For on mountain dining, Crans Montana has over a dozen unique Swiss huts – some more modern, some rustic, around the slopes. We discovered Columbire, far skiers’ left, descending from the TSA chair, or you can snowshoe or hike up. This serene setting offers phenomenal views, and fantastic cuisine in a very modern concrete lodge with outdoor seating, and a downstairs funky indoor space. Your ski back along a magnificent forest trail is special.
Chalet de Violette is a charming traditional cabin just below Violette gondola serving typical Swiss food at communal social wooden tables, also with a spacious scenic outdoor terrace – the Swiss love to dine outside in the sun – even if it’s cold.
Merbé is a chic chalet at mid-station of the Cry D’Er gondola with a gorgeous outdoor terrace, and a cozy mod interior, where they serve upscale cuisine especially local prime beef. Their fresh salads are amazing too.
For Crans Montana après ski, Cry D’Er mid-mountain has a panoramic outdoor setting with music and drinks, but you still have a long ski down – or download on the gondola! There’s chic shopping on a few blocks in downtown Montana, plus upscale après ski and dining.
Crans Montana has become a chic ski resort. Lift towers are wrapped in Prada banners, their official car is a Maserati, Swiss watches are displayed on mountain huts, and the gondolas are sponsored by Armani – seriously! It’s trying to be swanky like St Moritz.
For lodging, the 5-star Crans Ambassador is pure luxe, a beautifully renovated hotel with magnificent views, a spa, and superior service.
For families, Hotel Eldorado is a more classic Swiss chalet, kid-friendly, in nearby Montana.
Crans Montana is primarily French-speaking Swiss Alps, though most everyone also speaks English. Crans Montana is just two hours from Geneva, accessed via winding roads up the hillside or by train then a funicular from the village of Sierre. Crans Montana is a must-visit ski resort in the Valais region, you can enjoy a ski safari including neighboring Anzère, Grimentz Zinal, and other smaller ski areas in the valley, most of which are included on The Magic Pass. Crans Montana will be on Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass for ski season 2024-25, along with Andermatt-Sedrun acquired by Vail the previous season.