Skiing in Nendaz

Nendaz is well placed for exploring the extensive Four Valleys ski area which it shares with Verbier and half a dozen other villages. Nearby Siviez is the gateway to the wider area but Nendaz has good pistes too: wonderful swooping blue and red runs.

Nendaz Ski Area Overview

Nendaz is plugged into a large network of ski runs: 407km in the Four Valleys area, taking in everything from Verbier and Bruson in the southwest to the tiny hamlet of Les Masses in the east. The highest point in the area is the renowned Mont Fort Glacier, at 3,330m while Nendaz is situated at 1,350m. That’s a lot of vertical you can cover in one day.

The smaller Printse area covers Nendaz and the villages of Veysonnaz and Thyon. The cheaper lift pass represents good value, especially for intermediates who will enjoy the mainly red and blue runs on offer, and also allows access to a few tough itineraries. There are 220km of runs in Printse. One of the lovely things about the area is the dramatic views over the vineyards and the Rhône Valley (where excellent local wines are produced) to the peaks beyond.

From Nendaz, you can find some of the most world-renowned off-piste, or as the Swiss call it ‘freeride’, skiing; for example, the legendary route down the back of the Mont Fort glacier. This involves skinning as well as hiking and can be fatal. Definitely necessary to hire a guide for the day.

Above Nendaz is a sunny plateau at the top of the high-speed Tracout bubble, which is ideal for children and beginners alike.

Siviez is the hub of both the Four Valleys and the Printse areas and it takes about 45 mins to ski there including lift time. The main Tracouet bubble is the way to ski out of Nendaz taking you to 2,200m and allowing you to ski to lifts that link with Siviez – a drag and then a cable car.

Otherwise, to get to Siviez you can drive and park there as it is only 7km along winding roads – but this is not recommended in high season because of the difficulty in finding a parking space. There is also a free shuttle bus service to Siviez every half hour so it’s well worth checking out the timetable.

Beginner Skiing in Nendaz

Although the Four Valleys has a lot of challenging skiing, Nendaz is a beginner’s dream.

At the top of Tracouet, a quick bubble ride from Nendaz town, there are rope pull lifts, magic carpet lifts and a children’s snow play area with large inflatable toys. The flat kiddie area is actually situated on a frozen lake and it’s a suntrap. Novices will appreciate the gentle and extremely wide blue run slopes off the rope drag and a short button lift on Tracouet and, as confidence progresses, testing their turns on the longer blue and red runs down to resort at the bottom of the Prarion chairlift. You can take a blue run all the way in to Nendaz and the snow is normally good because of the north-facing aspect.

Ambitious beginners who are up to skiing red runs by the end of a week’s skiing and are willing to go further afield may find it a good plan to try the blue and red runs into Siviez. These can get crowded in peak season as Siviez is a hub in the Four Valleys system. If you are not up to a well-groomed but quite high gradient black run down to the Prarion lift up to Tracouet, you can take the bus back or drive back from Siviez. If you decide you want to try it, you can get the gondola down the itinerary section of this face.

The blue runs off the back of Ethérolla, such as the choice of easy runs from the top of the Trabanta chair, would be a great place to stretch your legs if you are a beginner. But you need to be skiing red runs to get over to the Thyon side and back.

Again, you would need to be skiing red runs confidently before heading over to the Verbier valley, and then Savolyeres will be best for its winding blue and fairly gentle red runs. You need to get a bus to the Savolyeres bubble from the bottom of the Medran lifts, which is a bit of a mission.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Nendaz

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Intermediate Skiing in Nendaz

There are plenty of opportunities for intermediates to find good pistes for carving and to push themselves to the next level.

The two main areas that intermediates will enjoy are the runs off the back of Ethérola, including a black run served by a new high-speed chair, and the many red and blue (and largely empty) motorway runs. Runs in Savolyeres, especially on the La Tzoumaz side, are also great fun for wide carving turns.

The main blue run into Nendaz, next to the Alpage chair, and the red run both give the skier lots of space for a proper blast. The snow on these runs is usually in excellent condition as they are on north-facing slopes.

Ceour, from the top of La Tzoumaz bubble, is a lengthy red run with plenty of fun rollers – perfect for playing around practising your carving, switch and ollies. Watch out for the kids tobogganing at the side of the run though!

The reds from the top of Cheminée and further down into Veyonnaz are fun and flighty. Check out the blue and red runs on the other side of the ridge towards the rustic villages of Les Masses and Les Collons as well.

The Long Attelas red run from the top of the Funispace becomes a crowded motorway for those getting back into Verbier in the evening; but first thing in the day it offers some perfectly groomed wide corduroy pistes.

Advanced & Expert Skiing in Nendaz

From tough, thigh-burning itineraries, to powder skiing and ski touring, Nendaz has it all for advanced skiers and free-riders.

The Four Valleys has some of the gnarliest terrain anywhere. The infamous Bec des Rosses, which you can see from Mont Fort, is where the World Freeride Tour culminates. Skiers and snowboarders make their way down a near vertical, 800m-long run riddled with cliff drops. For those that aren’t pro skiers, there are plenty of options, from black runs to ungroomed itineraries and a multitude of off-piste possibilities. But do go with a qualified mountain guide and the proper avalanche safety equipment on powder days.

Two itinerary runs down to Siviez are Chassoure and Tortin. They are both very long, with large, compact bumps if it hasn’t snowed for a while – watch out for uneven snow coverage or rocks. On a powder day, these itineraries come into their own, but if they are tracked out it is worth getting a guide to take you on other routes. If you want to ski from Verbier in the direction of Nendaz, you have to ski Chassoure or you can take the gondola down.

The Mont Fort glacier has some excellent snow and one of the few genuine black runs on the Four Valleys – a steep bump run that mellows out into a wide piste for large carving turns. The views from the top are astounding. Spot the Matterhorn, the Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc.

A favourite run includes the Vallon D’Arby itinerary from Lac des Vaux towards La Tzoumaz in the valley between Verbier and Nedaz. The run is marked by poles with a yellow strip at the top and it’s a good place to ski when there’s poor visibility. When there’s powder snow, there are many variations on the itinerary route that take you into gullies and glades, and spit you out on a cat-track at the bottom.

There is a very long east-facing itinerary called L’Étegeon down from the top of the twin Greppon Blanc Lifts at 2,700m taking in over 1km of vertical. As with all itineraries, expect either bumps or powder stashes if it has recently snowed. Free buses ferry you to the village of Les Masses and run from 11.30 am to 4.30 pm every hour taking half an hour. Allow 20-30 minutes for the run or take a taxi if you can’t squeeze on the bus.

There are some decent groomed black runs on the Verbier side including the FIS from the top of the Les Attelas high-speed six-person chair called ‘James Blunt’ after he inaugurated it. You can also have a blast down the short, steep, rollered Lac des Vaux run.

Boarding & Freestyle in Nendaz

Bountiful backcountry options make Nendaz ideal for advanced snowboarders.

The Four Valleys are home to some world-class snowboarders such as local heroes Alex Courdray and Geraldine Fasnacht for one simple reason: the backcountry riding options are almost limitless. If you have a love for powder riding, Nendaz is a good place to base yourself. Don’t just follow tracks as you never know who made them – book a guide.

There are also many perfectly corrugated pistes to swoop down, although beginners and intermediates may wish to avoid the itineraries when they are full of sizeable bumps. 

Beginner or early intermediate snowboarders might be a little frustrated by the amount of cat tracks running out of the bottom of pistes such as the links going between the Thyon sector towards Siviez and at the bottom of Mont Fort past the Cabane Mont Fort. A head’s up for advanced boarders: there is a really long cat-track is at the bottom of the Vallon D’Arbe.

For the freestylers, there are two parks in Nendaz at the top of Tracouet including the Burton Progression Park. As implied in the name, this is for those wanting to improve their freestyle moves with instructors on hand for advice on Mondays between 1.45 and 4 pm. See or call +41 (0)27 288 3131. The Nendaz Snowpark for beginners’ is off the Jean-Pierre lift on the other side of Tracouet which hosts a couple of jam-format competitions. There are kickers, rails and boxes to play on.

There is also a large snowpark in Verbier.

Nendaz Mountain Restaurants

Nendaz has a lot of self-service options but it is worth booking ahead in the best mountain restaurants. The difference in price of basic dishes does not vary much.

There is a Tardis-like restaurant at the top of Tracouet seating over 300 in the self-service part and around 80 in the staffed part on the first floor. There are also sun terraces. Four more self-service restaurants in the vicinity are Combatzeline, Plan du Fou, Col De Gentianes, and Chotte de Tortin. See the Télenendaz site for more info on these.

For table service and probably better value for money food, book into Les Chottes (Phone: +41 79 652 45 42), a rustic barn-style restaurant next to the T-bar of the same name in the slopes above Veyonnaz. The portions of Swiss cuisine are enormous and there’s seating under the eaves on a tiny mezzanine.

Cabane Mont Fort (Phone: +41 27 778 13 84), on the way down from Col des Gentianes, is a slice of old-fashioned alpine charm with a gorgeous panoramic terrace and the most reasonably priced lunch options to be found. Everything from soups and paninis to burgers. And they do a delicious apple tart.

If you are staying locally, Les Etagnes (Phone: +41 (0) 27 5659000), conveniently just above the entrance to the Tracouet bubble in Nendaz, is a restaurant with tempting two-course lunchtime offers and high-quality food.

Further afield, there’s a good pizzeria with a wood-burning oven at the bottom of the slopes in Veyonnaz and Les Marmottes (Phone: +41 27 771 6834) and Namasté (Phone: +41 27 771 57 73) are both good options on Savolyeres on the slope facing Verbier.


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