Val D’Anniviers – Switzerland’s hidden jewel resorts
The charming Swiss village of Vercorin in Val D’Anniviers is one of five ski resorts – St Luc, Chandolin, Vercorin, Zinal and Grimentz – with a total of 220km of marked pistes covered by a single lift pass and surrounded by imposing peaks over 4,000m high.
Everyone knows about the 4 Valleys in Switzerland, Verbier is on everyone’s lips, but just a few miles further up the Autoroute du Rhone (E62) is the Val d’Anniviers, often overlooked as people speed on towards Zermatt and Saas Fee further up the Rhone Valley, or take a quick left at Sierre to head up to Crans- Montana. Due to its unique position nestling between some of Ski’s most illustrious resort names, Val d’Anniviers has managed to stay under the radar, but there is a growing group of aficionados that have already placed Grimentz firmly on the map as a hidden jewel. The Val d’Anniviers actually counts five resorts, and a single lift pass, which allows you to ski in St Luc, Chandolin, Vercorin, Zinal and Grimentz offering a total of 220km of marked pistes.
Vercorin seems steeped in mountain folklore with its age-old granaries and barns so untypical of ski resorts that give it a warm and cosy feeling and a sense of authenticity. You do feel as though you are at the gateway of a huge nature reserve, surrounded by imposing peaks over 4000m high, and looking across the Vallon de Réchy, “the natural jewel of the region”.
Stylish and Comfortable Apartments
Vercorin has a new residence opening in December 2017, called the Swisspeak Resort, with over 100 stylish and comfortable apartments from 2 person studios to 8 person 3-bedroom duplex apartments. The residence has spa facilities, a wine bar, playroom for the kids and a gamer’s room for teens with super-fast internet connection, there is an underground carpark and it is just 50 metres from the ski lift and ski school meeting point.
A Fabulous Family Ski School
Whether you are a beginner or experienced skier, the Swiss Ski School at Vercorin run by Jean-Francois, Corinne and Baptiste Neurohr will cater to your needs, offering group and private lessons, there is also a Freestyle Camp run at Easter by Andre Piguet. Jean-Francois has been running the ski school since 1980, and they are constantly evolving and updating their teaching methods to provide the best possible service.
Delicious Food with Amazing Views
Vercorin is a small village, and you will soon feel right at home – there not be the same massive choice that you might get in the larger resorts, but everything that you eat in Vercorin is authentic and crafted with love. At the Brentaz, in a pleasant setting in the centre of the old part of the village, Barbara and David provide a warm welcome and quality local cuisine. Try their delicious house specialty, hand-cut steak tartare. For younger diners, they have devised a children’s menu with some mouthwatering dishes. The Hostellerie Orzival is famous for its wonderful linguine al pesto and my favourite the Fondue Valaisanne (made with cheese and tomatoes) with plenty of local wine to accompany. Surprisingly the Restaurant at the Hotel des Mayens has delicious food, but from Alsace, Sandra Borer is the chef there, and produces great home-style cooking, including pizzas and Alsace specialties, and daily specials.
Art & Culture
There are vestiges of civilization going back to 1600B.C in the Anniviers valley, and the first settlement in Vercorin dates back to 1508. Vercorin has no less than 6 museums and art galleries, which for a village with a permanent population of under 600 is quite something! There are permanent displays for example of Claude Vallet’s work, but equally seasonal exhibitions covering all styles and forms from post-modern to poetry to architecture. Within the Anniviers valley and the Valais generally there is a huge artistic tradition that is cherished dearly, visit the Wine Museum or the Museum dedicated to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, both at Sierre – The poet lived in the Chateau de Muzot for 1921 to 1926.
Skiing Without The Stress
Skiing in some of the bigger resorts in the Alps can be a stressful experience with lots of people in lift queues and on the ski runs. The beauty of a resort like Vercorin, is that because it is a small part of a larger ski area, the skiing is more relaxed, ideal for taking your time, enjoying the scenery while putting in some turns on its 35kms of marked pistes, extending to over 220kms with the other Val d’Anniviers resorts. In Vercorin you can also do night time touring up on the Cret du Midi, there’s a natural ice-rink for your triple-saltos, and snow-parks to perfect your gnarly jumps. Vercorin is an ideal family resort especially in school holiday periods, as it is super-friendly, with a great family atmosphere.
Getting to Vercorin
Nearest airports: Sion Airport 29km (30 mins) via A9 and Geneva Airport 182km (2 hours) via A1 and A9.