We are in Switzerland. Crans-Montana, to be exact. Famous for its mountains and its winter sports. Which, however, does not mean that summer activities should be disregarded or that you can’t find any activities to be enjoyed throughout the year. Here are 9 things to add to your list!
In love with winter!
As winter is my favourite season, here are my suggestions for those in love with the snowflakes as passionately as myself:
1. Snowboarding and skiing
All you snowboarders and skiers out there, the Cry d’Er sector will make you smile, think of fun, and actually have fun! Slopes Pas du Loup and La Nationale will be accessible via the Crans-Cry d’Er cable car. And that’s not all! The new hub of the resort, Cry d’Er Club d’Altitude, features the new Arnouva-Cry d’Er 6-seater chairlift, available for pedestrians only. So, if you’re in for a day of rest or are simply curious to try out something different, this equals good news to be delivered your way.
On a general note, Crans-Montana ski area is great for intermediate riders and provides plenty of off-piste opportunities (for which the hiring of local mountain guides is encouraged). There is also night-skiing every Friday evening, between 7pm and 10pm. So, prepare to enjoy both sparkling and dimly-lit white snow.
Are you dreaming of going down untouched slopes? Does that pure powdery snow make you happy? Errr, sometimes goofy happy? Does your behavior get childlike and uniquely anxious? Are you an experienced rider? If you’ve replied ‘yes’ to all of the above, then, although a bit more expensive than traditional winter sports, this type of adventure fits your style! At the end of a few minutes’ flight, wilderness is reached. While the summit of Wildhorn is a favorite of skiers, Pigne d’Arolla is an ideal descent for snowboarders.
3. Crans-Montana Snowpark
Addressing beginners to advanced, Crans-Montana Snowpark is one of the nicest surprises of the region. It stimulates your creativity, and encourages you to try various tricks, and feel free. Rails, jumps, boardercross, wallride, box, hip, C-rail, have your pick. The half-pipe, designed only for expert riders and suitable for world cup competitions, is 6.7 meters (22 feet) high and 150 meters (492 ft) long. It is the largest in the Valais Alps.
For times when higher temperatures start being the norm
When snow melts and the brighter and brighter sun marks the beginning of a new cycle, be ready for a whole different game:
4. Hiking Bisse du Ro
One of the hikers’ favorite routes and an impressive trail. In ancient times, the Bisses (water canals) supplied water necessary for crops, but they now only hold an aesthetic value. Local tips include leaving your car in Chermignon and enjoying a walk in the forest first, and then continuing onto the mountain flank.
5. Crans-Montana Bike Park and Wake Park
The summery version of the Snowpark, designed for two-wheel and water enthusiasts. The Bike Park has two downhill runs and a vertical drop of 765 m (2509 ft). Advanced bikers will find the 5.3 kilometer (3.2 mile) Black Chetseron Slope demanding, with roots and rock sections included. Completely redone in 2013, 6 km (3.7 mi) Red Mont-Lachaux Slope is excellent for all levels and quite spectacular, with jumps and curves. Of course, the scenery will be an added bonus to your day!
Do you miss water drops on your skin, rain aside? Wakeboard, wake skate, and waterskiing can all be experienced in the Wake Park, as long as you are at least seven years old, have a minimum height, hold health insurance, and are in a good state of health. Swimming skills are mandatory. Need I say that?
6. Jack Nicklaus Golf Course
Any golfing fans out there? This particular course was designated 4 times as the most beautiful 9-hole in the whole of Switzerland! And if that doesn’t convince you, its quality and the accuracy and strategy that its players need surely will!
What could you be tempted to do year-round? Read ahead!
7. David, L’instant Chocolat
I was once told, at the end of my first chocolate apprenticeship session, that chocolate is love. Plus, it is one of the iconic symbols of Switzerland and tasting it makes you feel great inside and out! How could you let a chocolatier flavored experience slip away from you? Described as a magician for his crazy-colored ganache-filled bonbons, David Pasquiet represented Switzerland at the World Chocolate Masters in October 2013, finishing the competition in 10th place. Your taste buds will thank you for your decision and will be thrilled with the unlimited inventiveness of your host.
8. Hot air ballooning
It can be an unforgettable adventure all over the world, but certain places are special. The Swiss Alps fall into this last category and Crans-Montana can provide you with an excellent opportunity to discover their valleys and peaks from above. Crans-Montana’s Haut-Plateau is said to act as a natural balcony overlooking the Rhone Valley. There will only be silence, glimpses of those traditional villages of the region, and the flow of the Rhone. What say you?
9. Fondation Suisse des Trains Miniatures
A nation that has such inaccessible and remote yet bewildering areas holds no choice but to make use of its trains. Getting across rugged landscapes and providing glorious rides, trains are both a pleasure and a necessity. A museum displaying the miniature versions of these wonders comes highly recommended. It is a collection taking the visitor through the 150 years of Swiss railroad history. There are more than 1,300 models exhibited and the history of toy trains is also covered. An extra reason to head there with your family!
Ski resort for all seasons
Summing up, Crans-Montana is advertised as a ski resort for all seasons. Will you feel the same once you get there and experience it on your own? I bet that these suggestions have started to make you wonder.