Top Lift: 2900m
Ski area: 220km of piste
Adult lift pass: CHF280 for six days
In a Nutshell
Grimentz is the skiing hub of the Val d’Anniviers, the hanging valley set high above the town of Sierre. It’s not as secret as people make out, but it still has lots of rustic charm – and some awesome off-piste skiing, too. It links with Zinal to provide even more skiing.
Essential Advice for the Perfect Trip
The drive up from Sierre to Grimentz and the Val d’Anniviers is quite a shock. One minute you’re in the pancake-flat valley of the Rhone: the next, you’re winding up one of the craziest switchback roads in the Alps. It zig-zags straight up the valley wall, and only after 20 minutes begins to straighten out. Even then, the drop-offs on the right-hand side of the road will make your eyes pop. If anyone in your party has vertigo, you need to slip them a valium before the journey starts.
Take it easy
In many ways, it’s the perfect introduction to the Val d’Anniviers: high, hanging and difficult to get to, it never hit the big time in the way that Zermatt or Verbier (its neighbours) did, and is brimming over with rough-hewn rustic charm. Lately it’s become the unofficial “Hidden Gem” of Switzerland, and the building of holiday homes has reached epidemic proportions. But still, the historic cores of Grimentz and St-Luc are amongst the prettiest in the Alps.
There’s plenty of skiing along the valley too – 220km of pistes, in fact, and oodles of off-piste besides. But it is split into four self-contained areas (Grimentz, St-Luc/Chandolin, Zinal and Vercorin), and if you’re in the market for a go-go-go skiing experience, chewing up the miles, on-piste, as you would in the likes of Les Menuires or Tignes, you’ll be disappointed by what’s on offer here. It’s much better suited to those looking to relax as much as ski, or to those who want to leave the lift-systems behind and embark on some big off-piste itineraries.
As befits such a small resort, there isn’t a lot of choice when it comes to ski schools, shops, restaurants, bars or hotels, but – provided you hire a car – you can easily ski or sleep in any of the other villages and commute between them. The lift pass covers them all, and two new gondolas now link Grimentz and Zinal.