Growing up in Switzerland, and learning to ski at Crans Montana Ski Resort, I didn't understand what everyone's fascination with the Alps was. Being surrounded by mountains was normal. I wanted to experience the big city life instead! Things changed very quickly though, once I moved to Illinois - the flattest state in the U.S. I realized that once I was so far away from mountains, that I actually miss mountains a lot! Every time Kyle and I go back to Switzerland, we like to spend some time in the Alps and go skiing if there is snow and the weather conditions are reasonable.
Crans Montana Ski Resort
I have been to a few ski resorts in Switzerland, but grew up exploring the hills of Crans-Montana, a ski resort in the French part of Switzerland, in the canton Valais. It's a two hour drive to get there from Bern and you can either drive via Lake Geneva and stop in gorgeous Montreux and visit Chillon Castle on the way, or you can drive through the Bernese Alps and take the Lötschberg car train which is a fun experience by itself. If you have never heard of the car train before, check out this video.
The first time I took Kyle to the car train, he was stunned as he had never driven onto a train with his car before! If you are driving from Zurich, it is a bit further, but Zurich is also worth exploring, see our post on Zurich and exploring Oro De Cacao from the same trip!
Crans Montana Ski Resort is 1,500m or 4,920ft above sea level and from there you can access the glacier Plaine Morte which is even higher at 2,927m or 9,600ft above sea level. Because the Crans Montana Ski Resort faces south, you often get the sunniest skiing conditions and best views of the Swiss Alps and the beautiful valley below. In addition, you may have heard of Crans Montana Ski Resort as it is a famous location in alpine ski racing.
Hitting the Slopes
Once you take the gondola up to the top of Crans Montana Ski Resort, you can even see the famous Matterhorn. Although you'll only see the backside of it which makes it difficult to recognize its famous shaped peak. It doesn't matter which way you look, the views from the top of Crans Montana Ski Resort are incredible!
After a bumpy ride up in the cable car, Kyle and I couldn't wait to finally hit the slopes and go skiing in Switzerland at Crans Montana Ski Resort for the first time in 4(!) years.
Shop My Skiing Outfit
Many of the items I'm wearing, I've had for years. My jacket is from H&M and I linked similar ones below. My goggles are by Arnette and you can get them on Amazon still.
The morning was a bit foggy but it cleared up soon. The afternoon sun brought the most beautiful views and blue skies!
Luckily, skiing is just like riding a bike if you haven't done it in awhile; although our legs were starting to get sore rather quickly. After a few runs, we had enough confidence to go down a double black diamond run, but regretted our choice as soon as we looked down the hill. Check out my Instagram stories if you're curious to see the run! We certainly weren't graceful, but we made it down without any issues.
Arguably, the best part about skiing is getting away from the busy city life to enjoy a day in the snow and sun. The fact that you get a little bit of exercise along the way is even better.
Après Ski - Essential When Skiing in Switzerland
While you're out there enjoying your day at Crans Montana Ski Resort, make sure you stop by one of the many slope bars and restaurants and enjoy a drink and snack. Some people would even argue that the après ski is just as important, if not more important, than the actual skiing! There are eleven restaurants and bars scattered all across the Crans Montana Ski Resort. Every single one has a fantastic view.
We enjoyed glasses of hot glühwein and a charcuterie board with local Swiss cheese and meats. It was just what we needed to continue skiing well into the afternoon!
Crans Montana Ski Resort Village
For all the non-skiers among us, I can still highly recommend a visit to the village of Crans Montana, just down the hill from the Crans Montana Ski Resort. You can take the cable car to the slopes to enjoy the views or stay in the resort town. There are options to go ice skating ...
... go on a walk around the frozen lakes ...
... and enjoy the holiday decorations. The village of Crans Montana is pretty typical for a Swiss resort town. It has a number of high-end restaurants and hotels, plus a few grocery stores and shops down every lane. Crans Montana is one of my favorite Swiss ski resort towns.
Have you ever been to Crans Montana Ski Resort or skiing in Switzerland? Where is your favourite place to go? Let us know in the comments below!
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What about these ones?