Perched on a plateau, with spectacular views over the Rhône Valley, the ski resort of Nendaz is at the heart of one of the biggest ski areas in Europe, making it a dream destination for snow sports enthusiasts.
While lift-linked to its more famous neighbour Verbier, Nendaz is altogether more 'grounded' than its more illustrious neighbour, with everything from accommodation to restaurants being far more reasonably priced.
This makes it a good choice for families, being one of the resorts in Switzerland to have been accorded 'Families Welcome' status by the Swiss Tourist Board. Everything is planned to meet the needs of parents and children, from snow-kindergartens to a day nursery, through to varied entertainments.
A resort on a human scale, it has a rich local life, conserved authenticity plus quality infrastructure with shops, chemists and medical centre. And you get to ski the same slopes. So here are five reasons why you should be skiing in Nendaz this winter:
Biggest ski area of Switzerland
Nendaz has access to 410 km of slopes located between 1,300m and 3,330m. From the beginner to the most experienced skier, everyone can find a slope to suit their needs and level. Good snow conditions are guaranteed from December to April, and the resort boasts a sunshine record of 300 days of fine weather a year.
Families and beginners will especially appreciate the distinct ski pass offers of the Printse Sector, which covers the local slopes of Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Thyon/Les Collons and Siviez (minus the Mont-Fort glacier). At 220km it's big enough to keep most skiers occupied, and this sector is invariably quieter than the Verbier side.
More advanced skiers will inevitably want the full 4 Vallées experience, that includes the Mont-Fort glacier (the 3,330m high point of the 4 Vallées), as well as Verbier, La Tzoumaz and Bruson.
Fantastic off-piste activities
The 4 Vallées has some of the best off-piste in the world. For experts, the big attraction of this area is the seven marked freeride areas, including Eteygeon, Plan-du-Fou, Mont-Fort, Chassoure and Mont-Gele. The Nendaz Freeride is one of the five biggest freeride events in the world and, without a doubt, the most renowned in the Freeride World Qualifier!
If you want to try ski touring, Nendaz has five 'movement tracks' – marked itineraries, surrounded by nature with plenty of powder, arriving close to a mountain restaurant and with descents on the downhill slopes.
Winter hikers have 130 km of marked paths to explore in the mountains or through the villages, across the pastures or though the forests, all in a winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes, while snowshoe devotees can follow seven marked snowshoeing trails.
The Mont-Fort Experience
The highest viewpoint of the 4 Vallées domain offers not only some of the most astounding vistas of the Alps, but three wonderful ways to enjoy them.
First, there's the Bar Igloo where you can gaze upon the 360 degrees panoramic view towards several dozen summits including the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Grand Combin and the Dent d’Hérens. Here you can enjoy the highest fondue in Europe washed down with the house speciality, the ‘Swiss Rock Café’, made with an espresso coffee, apricot schnapps, cane sugar and whipped cream!
Plus, a new panoramic platform perched at 3,330m will also be opening here this winter and will offer the best views over the surrounding summits. A must-visit to appreciate the spectacular surrounding peaks.
Then there's the Mont-Fort black run – one of the steepest in the Alps, so steep, in fact, that it is impossible to groom. It is, however, marked and secure. Finally, Mont-Fort is the literal jumping-off point for the highest zip line of the world - 1.4km long, with a drop of 383m and a top speed of over 100km/h,
Best place to eat Swiss food
From raclette to fondue, Nendaz is reassuringly inspiring for epicureans, with more than 40 restaurants and bars to enchant their taste buds and quench their thirst. These include 11 mountain restaurants - complete with sun terraces - and one Gault & Millau gourmet restaurant. You can enjoy everything from delicious local and regional specialities to international and world cuisine.
Try a Rando'Miam - a walk through snowy landscapes between Siviez and Tortin followed by three gourmet courses (starter/appetiser, main and dessert),
Fun Après-skis & exciting events
However you like to spend your après-ski time, Nendaz will help you make the most of it. The Spa des Bisses offers relaxing wellness and the chance to recharge and refresh in a contemporary alpine setting. It hosts an outdoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam bath, salt grotto, ice grotto, Kneipp course, children’s area, floating pool, against the current swimming pool, fitness centre, treatment rooms and two private spas with sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and private winter garden.
The more energetic will love the ice rink, and the weekly activity programme as well as the sledge run in Siviez, and, of course, there is ample scope to enjoy the other traditional après ski pursuits of chilling in a bar!
Among the unmissable winter events this season are:
17-18 December: Big winter opening
A start-of-season celebration with entertainment, live music, games and the chance to win a helicopter flight.
25 December: Children's Christmas
The arrival of Santa in Nendaz.
31 December: New Year in Nendaz
A children's ice disco, followed by New Year fireworks display.
28 January 2023: Mud Day Winter Edition
A five-kilometre obstacle course that takes place in the snow in Nendaz!
8 April 2023: Nendaz Snow Vibes Festival
Waterslide contest and free concerts on the slopes await visitors to Nendaz at the end-of-season party.
By plane: Land in Geneva, Zurich, Milan, Basel, Bern or Sion. Sion is just 15 km away, but most UK visitors will get here via Geneva airport or Zurich, and then travel on by road transfer or train. There are around 15 buses every day between Sion and Haute-Nendaz.
For more information about the Nendaz region, go to nendaz.ch/en.
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