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: Val d'Anniviers
: T Bar
: end Feb 2005
: Skiing with Mrs T Bar both enthusiastic and reasonably experienced though definately non expert skiers
: The Val d'Anniviers is in the Valais area of Switzerland it is francophonic. The valley lies above the town of Sierre opposite to Crans Montana whose slopes are visible from some of the Val d'A.
The valley is steep sided running approximately North-South from Sierre. There are a number of villages in the valley several of which have lift served skiing. The lift pass covers all areas in the valley plus a day at either Crans Montana or Leukerbad (difficult to reach by public transport from Val d'A).
At the Northern end of the valley lies Vercorin whose pistes look to face North and East with a reasonable amount of tree lined skiing. However it was not eaily reached by public transport from where we were staying and we did not ski here.
Slightly further upon the other side of the valley facing West is the linked area shared by the villages of Chandolin and St Luc.
Further up the valley on the opposite side facing east are the areas of Grimentz and at the top Zinal. The lift systems are separate though it is possible to ski from the Zinal area to Grimentz down a black run followed by a gentle path. There is also a free but infrequent though well timetabled shuttle bus beween them. To get between Grimentz/ Zinal and St Luc/ Chandolin by public transport takes approx one hour by post bus
We stayed in Grimentz flying to Geneva and getting the train to Sierre and post bus onwards total land journey ~3hrs; the connections are obvious.
Lift system,The terrain,The snow,Off-piste
: A stand up gondola from one end of the village(1570m) accesses the midpoint at Bendolla 2130m, from here lifts fan out above the tree line with two high speed chairs and the rest mainly drags. The area faces mainly East and south East and goes up to a height of 2900m The skiing has a moderately steep overall gradient with most runs being accurately marked red or black. I am too much of a chicken to give a personal account of what looked a good snow park
There is an excellent sheltered black run from the top of the area back to the resort mostly straightforward though with a steeper section near the bottom.
There is a limited amount of snowmaking though the main runs to the resort are covered.
: Slightly further up the valley from Grimentz the area also looks East. A cable car (apparently occasionally queue prone) takes you from the valley 1670m to the midpoint at 2440m. The runs are mainly served by drags with a couple of chair lifts, as in Grimentz reds and blacks predominate. A freeride area at the south end of the skiing was closed during our visit I assume because of thin snow cover (The avalanche risk was low during our stay) Once again there is a fine sheltered lone black run taking you from the top either back to a bus in the valley floor or to Grimentz in its own bowl.
St Luc / Chandolin
: Facing west the areas connect well and are predominately easier than on the other side of the valley most of the runs being blue or red. Access is either by Funicular from St Luc or by two chairs from the road north of Chandolin all other lifts are drags. This combined area interlinks well and is larger than either of the others. The highlight for me was a very beautiful red from the top of the lift system 3000m going well away form any of the other runs; with beautiful views all the way to an isolated Gite a short free bus ride back to St Luc. There is some steeper north facing skiing from a ridge separating St Lucâ€™s area from Chandolin, including some serious looking couloirs (Not to be touched by me)
Whilst we were their all areas shared quiet slopes, little and usually no queuing and spectacular views of the high mountains
The snow surface was good with low temperatures during our stay. The depths were however thin and an instructor informed us that the offpiste base was to thin in most places to be enjoyed, we did not attempt any off piste. (Mrs T Bar is not a fan of anything other than good spring snow) I have however heard that there is excellent off piste to be had particularly between the resorts for which I would think a guide would be most useful for all except the experienced.
: We stayed in Grimentz whose narrow streets and old buildings held considerable charm, there is modern development taking place above the village however this is largely in character. There is a small swimming pool though little else for the non skier. The shopping is typical of a village rather than a resort. Night life is limited and the resort is for locals most skiers were Swiss or French with a few Dutch and Germans we heard one other English voice and saw one English registered car all week.
: Typical Swiss , we ate in the hotel being half board. The Etable du Marais above Grimentz served excellent Rosti,Kaseschnitte etc.
: I am not good on translations CHF Euros Â£ etc but it seemed reasonable.
: If you like an exciting nightlife , English speaking skiers and a large interlinked area stay well away. I loved it and intend to go back. If you want good views, traditional villages quiet slopes and can cope with the odd T Bar it may be for you. Early in the season or for lower intermediates I would stay in St Luc. Going later in the season Zinal Grimentz would be my choice. If you are intending doing all the areas your own transport would be beneficial but be aware that the roads are steep narrow and winding; snowchains a must. If going for the off piste I would be inclined to check snow depths before booking.
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