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Crans Montana versus Cervinia

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Can anyone offer a comparison of Crans Montana (which is mostly reds) with the reds in Cervinia?

I found the Cervinia slopes just about ok.

Also does anyone know what the worst school holiday dates are? I know Austria ends 22nd Feb, and Italy has the whole of the following week off.

Many thanks in advance.
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@Peter Stevens, for this year or next?
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Imminent Smile

They are getting some snow finally, looking at the webcams.
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Crans lower and also south facing to state the obvious, and could therefore be a little softer in the afternoon. I however am also interested in more knowledgeable Crans answers. I will say that Cervinia reds are on average a little easier than Zermatt reds, - does this play out in another swiss resort Puzzled
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I've been to both, although CM was a long time ago. I enjoyed them both but would probably say CM has better variety of runs.. unless you add the Zermatt link to Cervinia, in which case this wins hands down. I was only a very early intermediate when I went to CM and I found the reds absolutely fine.
Can't help re school holiday info though.
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Having discovered next to zero accommodation (under about 1k/night Smile ) and having heard reports of long lift queues, I am now looking a little further down the road at Bettmeralp / Riederalp /
Fiescheralp.

Unfortunately it may be a bad time to go now because it is so warm so even the current snowfall won't last. I see Bellwald (2,560m) is forecasting +3 (min) and +7 (max) which is incredible.

Zermatt reds were certainly steeper than the ones at Cervinia.
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What do you mean with ‘just about ok’?
Do you like it more easy, or more challenging?
Anyways, both Crans and Aletsch area are very southfacing, so both not the best in warm conditions
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Oh and Aletsch is not down, but up the road...(Rôhne valley that is) Smile
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I would prefer not harder than Cervinia.

Most people say Cervinia reds are quite easy. However I think they are just mostly wide and very evenly shaped.
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Can anyone offer any other views on this topic?

One obvious factor is that Italy has currently closed its ski lifts whereas Switzerland has not. I thus wonder what the queues are going to be like in Swiss resorts... it was social media pics of the queues in Cervinia on 24th/25th Oct, totally disregarding any spacing, which resulted in a shutdown the next day.
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There are no really difficult pistes in Crans Montana, by which I mean, narrow, steep and potentially moguled. At the end of the afternoon in spring you can get some tricky conditions as sugary snow builds up in heavily trafficked areas.

I think the biggest difference between CM and Cervinia is CHF vs €.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I dont know if you can predict what the queues will be like this year based on history. If Switzerland remains open whereas Italy and maybe France is closed then perhaps demand will shift to Switzerland if travel is allowed, but maybe the high relative cost of Switzerland will dampen it, who knows.

As to Crans in particular, we were there last New Year, there are definitely choke points in the lift system. The mornings can be busy at the uplift stations, especially at Montana as the ski schools start from the top of that one. During the day it can be busy on the gondola going to Plaine Morte, and on the National Express especially in the afternoon as its the only lift that gets you from the Barzette side back to Montana and Crans.

The pistes are not particularly difficult, even those rated black don't pose too many terrors. A good number of blues and quite few easy reds. I cant compare to Cervinia but on a par to those where we're skied in Italy. There are a couple of unprepared pistes that get bumpy but these can be easily avoided.


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Wed 11-11-20 21:26; edited 1 time in total
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@Peter Stevens, your deliberations are simply not very usefull at this stage. You will have to wait and see what happens in december, or even as late as Christmas, everywhere, so get an impression of what’s going on this season....
And yes, don’t underestimate the ‘Swiss-Franc-Problem’
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I think that the 'Swiss Franc Problem' is overstated, but if it keeps Brits from coming, I've no issue with the misconception, as it's all the more space for the rest of us. I'd say it depends on what your baseline is, if it's ski-in/ski-out, fully catered chalet or hotel, and hiring everything then yes, CH will be pricey. But then ski-in/out fully-catered chalet/hotel in Coucheval 1850 is going to cost an arm and a leg too. But if your baseline is self-catered, self-drive bringing the bulk of your own provisions and ski kit, then Switzerland is much more viable.

Personally, if you were going to go for Crans I'd ask why not Verbier/4 Vallées, or a Valais Skipass and try out a variety of resorts in the area? I don't see Verbier being any more expensive than Crans all other things being equal, but having access to 400kms of slopes (although I'd admit that really, only about 250kms are readily accessible without range anxiety) and outstanding off-piste.

But who knows what the resort situation and economics will be like come next season? I've just read that the Valais authorities are extending their 'CHF 100 voucher for visitors' scheme to give owners 3x CHF 30 vouchers to be spent on any local goods/services. If this or similar initiatives appear it could tip the cost/benefit analysis. But some of the French resorts may do this too, so who knows? For example, if, like now, CH didn't require visitors to quarantine when France did, that might completely change the equation.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Sat 14-11-20 17:19; edited 1 time in total
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Switzerland remains my ski destination of choice and, by careful planning, it can work out not to be the ultra-expensive experience that many fear. And the best thing, of course, is it's not France! Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Peter Stevens, You've asked for more views so here is mine, I really don't get the appeal of Crans Montana, the snow is markedly worse than in the resorts on the opposite side of the valley due to its Southern aspect and the pistes are fairly busy. The run from the top of the resort is good but not exceptional and if you're after easy reds it might be slightly out of your comfort zone. Some piste maps show it as red, some as black, imo red is more accurate but its probably at the upper end of the red scale. Slightly convoluted lift system as well although if they have actually built the below lift this should improve that a bit

https://www.skiresort.info/ski-resort/crans-montana/ski-lifts/l103575/
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rambotion wrote:
Slightly convoluted lift system as well although if they have actually built the below lift this should improve that a bit

https://www.skiresort.info/ski-resort/crans-montana/ski-lifts/l103575/


Its not appearing on their website piste map so maybe not?
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Thanks for all your input.

Call me fussy if you like Smile but the great things about Cervinia were

- beautifully groomed slopes
- no crowds for first few hours each day (mid Jan 2020)
- availability of accommodation within "sliding range" of the lift, so no need for buses, and it was easy to be the first one up on the mountain and get a few hours' great skiing before the place gets "wrecked"

The altitude and the north facing aspect obviously helps, for what is probably an early intermediate skier.

But... Italy is pretty firmly shut and the virus is rapidly getting out of control there. So I am looking at Switzerland. I've done France and the places I've been to I didn't like. Yes; poor (downright rude) customer service is one of them, except Courchevel but there you pay €50 for a salad Smile Skiing is not a cheap hobby but that was an "experience".

Is anyone really going to be doing chalet holidays this winter? It is a really close-packed setup and if one person has got anything, the rest are likely to catch it.
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@Peter Stevens, Cervinia is South facing, the altitude makes it susceptible to high winds, nowhere is busy mid Jan and the French are not all rude.
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@Peter Stevens, You're really limiting your option no including France
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The French are great. Everyone should go there!
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Veysonaz and Nendaz areas of 4V ski domain are both in a similar category regarding long rolling and wide red runs.

Obviously part of Verbier ski area but ordinarily better accommodation cost in thos areas. Also right on the slopes in the right location so walk out and ski opportunities.

For a less well publicised area, Grimentz has some beautiful wide rolling, and very low skier density slopes. After school holiday period you could be skiing there way into the afternoon on piste that are hardly used.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Grimentz does look rather nice. Many thanks for the tip.

However, do the ratings here many any sense? https://www.skiclub.co.uk/switzerland/resorts/grimentz
They seem to rate it for advanced skiers mainly, and mostly good for off-piste.
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@Peter Stevens If you're into the wellness thing, then an alternative is to stay in a Swiss spa like the Bains de Saillon in the same valley as Crans. Then drive out to some of the resorts in the area, like Crans-Montana, Verbier-Bruson, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz-Veysonnaz-Les Collons, Ovronnaz, Grimentz, Zinal etc.

It'd be a sort of Ski-exploration-with-Wellness and then next year, you could revisit any of the ski resorts that took your fancy, after having given them a try-out. Ovronnaz is actually a combined spa-with-skiing but the ski area isn't that big, mind you, it's not on the same price scale as better-known ski/spas like Leukerbad

And no, I don't think that the SCGB description of Grimentz is very helpful for someone unfamiliar with the region. You might do better looking at sites like the official Swiss Tourist Office's MySwitzerland.com one for winter holiday destinations and types. This also has special offers, holiday packages, accomodation etc.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Sun 15-11-20 14:24; edited 4 times in total
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@Peter Stevens, Grimentz is a great little resort, but I wouldn't recommend it for an early intermediate skier. The two main issues are -
1. There are two options for the home run to the village - black or red - but they're both steep and often icy. You can download in the gondola so this isn't too much of an issue.
2. The new 6-pack chair right next to the gondola top station is the main access to the left hand side of the piste map. Despite being brand new last season it's got the worst access track I've ever seen for a chair - a short, narrow, steep track from the gondola that gets seriously chewed up. Most skiers there are Swiss locals who've skied since they were toddlers and ever some of them were falling over in the track. There are a couple of other chairlifts which are fine, the rest of the uplift is by very long T-bars.
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@Peter Stevens, if you want well-groomed runs and easy access from your accommodation then I'd suggest Obergurgl. Austria is a lot cheaper than Switzerland for food/drink on the mountain everything is good quality.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
OK; many thanks.

Not being able to ski back home is not an issue. What I really do want is to get to the base of the lift right when it opens. Neither "wellness" and boozing are of any relevance to me.

I did Obergurgl a couple of years ago. Didn't rate it for skiing really. Might have been partly the time; it was full of kids and the runs were not nice.

I know this sounds daft but I am not worried about the cost. Skiing is a damn expensive hobby and this season - IF we manage to go at all - there are extra dimensions, so beggars can't be choosers. A friend of mine flies in the bizjet sphere and I can hitch a lift on positioning flights; can get to Sion, Aosta or Bolzano which are good for (for examples of the regions) the huge range near Sion, the Cervinia region (€100 taxi) or Madonna region (€200 taxi). AFAIK no airlines go to any of these but anyway I don't think I will be doing any airline flights this winter; way too dangerous. The long shuttle bus journeys are at least as dodgy. Someone I know had almost asymptomatic CV19 but his heart and lungs are buggered.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Peter Stevens, you are wrong to think that Covid numbers in Switzerland are fairly good. They are quite bad actually. Worse than Netherlands and Belgium for example...which are/were among the highest in Europe up till recently...
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You know it makes sense.
That was written a while ago Smile I am following the numbers. It's bad everywhere.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Then stay in Verbier, somewhere near the Mayentzet lift, rather than Médran, so you get up ASAP. And perhaps give staying in the Cabane du Mt.Fort a go, so you're actually out before the lifts even start running. All the better if you can fly into Sion. Just need a taxi transfer up to Verbier. You've then got about 250kms or so of predominantly intermediate skiing to hand. If you want to stay on piste and avoid blacks, then perhaps don't try the Chassoures mogul field without taking the gondola down to Tortin first to judge the terrain. The rest of Verbier, Bruson, Savoleyres and up to Combatseline is a comfortable excursion from Verbier without getting range anxiety. And to my recollection, apart from Chassoure and the Mt.Fort glacier, there is always a read/blue 'spur' around any black/steep red sections on an otherwise red route down i.e. you can't take a wrong turning and find there's no alternative but to do a black further down. My only disclaimer is that it's always difficult to get a true measure of someone else's statement of being an intermediate or comfortable on reds, because of the variation in individuals and how resorts grade their runs.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Sun 15-11-20 22:56; edited 3 times in total
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@LaForet, Or stay in an apartment in Haute Nendaz or Veysonnaz, even shorter taxi transfer from Sion.
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@Peter says money is no object, so even as an owner in La Toumaz, I'd say he might as well pay the extra and be based in Verbier.

And a direct comment for @Peter On reflection, I am finding it a bit difficult to exactly place your target comfort zone from the responses, so here's a thing: this is a small part of one of the main runs in Verbier which is classed as red, so if it looks OK then the area is probably suited, if not, then, well, it probably isn't -

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Thanks for that great photo, LaForet. That is very steep... The first portion of that would be a black in most places I've been to, I reckon. OTOH very possibly #47 at Cervinia is probably similar and I had no problem there. Don't have a photo sadly. I think they can grade a very steep bit as red if it flattens out after not too long a distance.

I will investigate, and look for some videos.
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Widely known that photo’s are poor in showing actual steepness/flatness...
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Sure; I can see that photo is rotated to the right ~10 degrees.
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I'd put Saas-Fee into the mix, as that should be a good match for your skiing requirements. It's a bit further from Sion, but probably still in range. It's a car-free village, not huge, but for first lifts you'd want to either stay near the main lifts, or stay in a hotel that offers electro (milk float equivalents) drop-offs by the lifts
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Actually, the photo' is taken on a level, but there's a perspective distortion. If you 'level' the building on the right, the trees in the foreground will go out of vertical. I considered doing some grid perspective skew adjustment in Photoshop, but in the end I opted to leave the shot as it was originally, as there's no guarantee the edits I made would be any more true. It's taken with a 400mm telephoto lens from about 3 linear kms away so there's also a significant foreshortening thing going on too: if you look at the bottom part of the piste where there are two wide runs, the left one is a relatively steep(ish) black whereas the right one is a much more gentle red - they both look similar but you can see that the right one starts a fair way below the left one and is much more of an 'intermediate' run.

To true-up the shot, you sort of need to angle the screen back 45°, then holding the screen at arm's length, rotate it about 45° clockwise around a vertical axis. Perhaps a photo wasn't such a good idea, after all!


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sun 15-11-20 22:33; edited 1 time in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Super - many thanks. I will look at this.

As others have said, it is too early to know what will be even possible this season. Currently all relevant countries are going the wrong way. The UK will probably be ok... so maybe Scotland? Skullie I know a few Scots who ski and their description is "rough and ready" Smile Also it's a fair drive from the south coast where I live; about as far as the Alps.
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