SKIING & SNOWBOARDING
Zinal is a fantastic place for a skiing or snowboarding holiday. The pistes are quiet, there are no lift queues and the snow is excellent. This is how skiing was meant to be.
While world-renowned Verbier and Zermatt in the adjacent valleys are expensive and increasingly crowded, in spite of their size, the hidden gems of Zinal and nearby Grimentz remain largely unknown outside of Switzerland.
The scenery here is spectacular. Zinal is surrounded by four 4000m peaks and behind them lies the Matterhorn. Ninety percent of the piste skiing lies between 2000m and 3000m and is mostly north-east facing, so good snow is guaranteed. There are 120 kms of pistes including those at nearby Grimentz, which is connected by a black run or by a 10 minute free bus ride. There are excellent beginner slopes, an extensive free ride area and huge amounts of off-piste for the experts. Have a look at the piste map.
The cable car takes you up 800 metres to 2440 metres in under 10 minutes, so you can be skiing 20 minutes after leaving the apartment.
There are three other resorts in the valley covered by the same lift pass and accessible by bus from Zinal - St Luc, Chandolin and Vercorin - offering a variety of skiing and snowboarding conditions and doubling the pisted runs to 225 kms. St Luc and Chandolin are more south-west facing so are a sunnier alternative in December and January.
You can ski to within 100m of the apartment. The photo bottom right shows a view from the balcony of the end of the ski run through the trees.
This is an excellent place to learn to ski or snowboard, with gentle, quiet slopes adjacent to the top of the cable car and the restaurant. There are easy drag lifts, a ski school (Ecole Suisse de Ski) and being at 2400m, the snow is always good. There is a ski school and kindergarten for young children too.
There are plenty of pistes for a wide range of intermediate skiers and boarders. Swoopy, quiet blues and reds and some not too challenging blacks. The quiet pistes and reliable snow make this the perfect place to refine that technique and it's a good place to start exploring off piste skiing.
Zinal and Grimentz have large amounts of off-piste skiing adjacent to the pistes, including a designated free ride area. Because the place is so quiet, it doesn't get tracked out within a couple of hours as it does in other resorts. Further from the pistes there is limitless off-piste and ski touring potential, for those prepared to venture there. For example you can ski from Zinal to Vercorin and back in an all day guided 30k off-piste adventure. There is also an avalanche training centre for those wanting to increase their knowledge.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
There are 19 km of tracks in Zinal, including 1.5km illuminated until 21.00. And there are another 29 km of tracks at Grimentz.
The lift pass costs £140 for 6 days, which covers all 5 resorts and the bus between them. For children the cost is £90 for 6 days. Children under 6 do not need a lift pass when accompanied by an adult. No need to bring a passport photo as they will take a digital photo when you purchase your lift pass. Bring your Swatch snowpass watch, if you have one.
Both Crans Montana and Verbier are less than an hour away by car should you want to explore further afield.
The Ecole Suisse de Ski offers all kinds of lessons.
Group lessons for 5 days from 10.30 to 13.00 costs £120 per person.
There are two shops offering hire of skis and boards .
For kids from 4 years old, it is run by the Swiss Ski School, and opens from 10.30 to 13.30 Monday to Friday. Tel. +41 (0) 27 475 1373
There is a creche in the village called 'Les Pitchouns' open during the ski season for children from 18 months. 9.00 til 15.00. Telephone +41 (0)79 738 3658
Skiing / snow boarding
For reservations text Jule on 00447515898232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Aiglon Alpine: High Mountain Adventure,
Zinal Switzerland: Skiing