Val d'Anniviers is an up and coming ski area in Switzerland that is actually rather old fashioned, and all the better for it. Grimentz, Zinal, St Luc, Chandolin and Vercorin are five traditional cosy ski villages that are partially connected by some high lifts, uncrowded slopes and long off-piste itineraries.
Val d’Anniviers lies in between Verbier and Zermatt on the map, but not when it comes to glamour or opulence. Instead its five villages (Grimentz, Zinal, St Luc, Chandolin and Vercorin) are still relatively small and each has an authentic rustic core where you’re more likely to stumble across an old cowshed than a nightclub. Val d’Anniviers is also more affordable than its more famous neighbours. We are not talking bargain-basement prices (this is Switzerland after all, and there is discreet luxury available if you want it) but your accommodation, lift pass, meals and drinks should all be cheaper. And that’s not the only advantage of skiing in something of a rural backwater: lift queues are rare, the pistes are uncrowded and at lunchtime you can usually get a table at a mountain restaurant without having to make a reservation in advance.
Val d’Anniviers Ski Area
In total, Val d’Anniviers has about 220km of piste, which is enough for a week if you are here primarily for a holiday although a keen piste-basher who is used to a giant ski area like the 3 Vallees might want a little more. Confident skiers can also hugely expand the amount of skiing available by exploring some of the area’s extensive and highly-rated off-piste with a guide. There are a few ultra-modern lifts, but also plenty of slow chairs and old T-bars. The skiing is divided into three separate areas.
St Luc-Chandolin is the most cohesive area with lifts and pistes linking the two villages in both directions. Together they offer about 75 km of gentle piste skiing, most of it above the treeline, plus four marked itineraries, which are much steeper. The slopes mostly face south-west so can suffer from too much sun later on in the season although the highest ones (the top lift rises to a very impressive 2980m) are generally okay.
Grimentz and Zinal have mostly east-facing runs which are linked together by a cable car ascending from Grimentz to the mountainside above Zinal with a black and blue piste for the return journey (plus some off-piste alternatives). There are four mountain peaks each with lifts reaching over 2800m: Combe Durand, Corne de Sorebois, Becs de Bosson and Roc d’Orzivals. Coming down from these are about 115km of pistes with a good variety of blues, reds, blacks and ungroomed but marked itineraries, plus a designated freeride zone. Grimentz is also earning a reputation as a centre for off-piste skiing: there may be fewer ferociously steep slopes than there are in Verbier or Zermatt, but the powder stays untracked for longer.
Vercorin has the smallest area. Keen skiers will ski its 35 km of piste within two hours, although that is partly because they are unlikely to encounter any lift queues. The skiing here is lower than it is elsewhere in the Val d’Anniviers (the top lift only reaches 2374m) but the runs mostly face north so hold their snow well. Apart from a couple of short black runs, the pistes are all red and blue. The other ski areas are reached by bus. Strong skiers can return to Vercorin off-piste from Grimentz (hiring a guide is recommended).
You can follow the sun by skiing Grimentz and Zinal’s mostly east-facing pistes in the morning, then St Luc’s and Chandolin’s west-facing ones in the afternoon, but the bus ride between the two areas takes about an hour, so it’s not something you will want to do everyday.
Where to stay: Accommodation in Val d’Anniviers
St Luc and Chandolin
St Luc and Chandolin have plenty of well-linked blue and red runs immediately above them, lots of sunshine and lovely views, so suit family skiers, novices and relaxed intermediates. Neither village is very large but they are a little stretched-out and very quiet at night.
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For Hotels, apartments and self-catered chalets in St Luc-Chandolin search here>
Zinal and Grimentz
Zinal and Grimentz have the quickest access to the toughest slopes and the best off-piste skiing, so particularly appeal to strong skiers, freeriders and ski tourers. Zinal is the more compact village to stay in; Grimentz is slightly spread out, with a traditional rustic centre and more modern buildings closer to the lifts
UK Travel Agent Alpine Answers offers catered chalet holidays in Zinal and Grimentz
For hotels, apartments and self-catered chalets in Grimentz and Zinal search here>
Vercorin is the smallest and prettiest village. The ski area immediately above it however is limited, so keen skiers who are staying here for more than a long weekend (Vercorin makes a great short-break destination) will have to get used to taking buses to the other parts of Val d’Anniviers. Search accommodation in Vercorin and book online>
Getting to Val D’Anniviers
Nearest airports: Sion Airport is just 29km (30 mins) drive away from Vercorin and Chandolin, via the A9, and Geneva Airport 182km (2 hours) via A1 and A9. Allow another 15 minutes for St Luc, 30 minutes for Grimentz and nearly an hour for Zinal which is at the head of the valley.
Airport transfers to the Val d’Anniviers ski resorts
Ski-Lifts Transfers to Val d’Anniviers
Each year Ski-Lifts helps more than 100,000 skiers and boarders get to their accommodation in ski resorts including all the Val d’Anniviers villages. Ski-Lifts arranges hassle-free, door-to-door transfers to the door of your accommodation from Geneva, Sion Airport and other airports, train stations and city centres, with 24/7 assistance. Get an immediate quote and book online>
Alps2Alps Airport Transfers to Grimentz, Zinal, St Luc, Chandolin and Vercorin
Alps2Alps cover all major ski destinations in the Alps including all the Val d’Anniviers villages and provide reliable transfers from Geneva, Sion and other airports at seriously competitive prices. Professional English speaking drivers meet and greet you on arrival and transport you safely and swiftly to your accommodation. Private transfers or group transfers for up to 52 people with secure online booking, 24/7 telephone support and generous discounts for mid-week transfers. Get a transfer quotation and book online >
Airport Car Hire / Car Rental for Val d’Anniviers
Having a car can be useful if you’re staying a long way from the lift (unlikely) or want to travel between the sectors on a regular basis. And if you are staying in Val d’Anniviers for a long time, it also facilitates visits to other nearby resorts that are in day-trip range like Crans Montana, Nendaz, Saas Fee, Verbier and Zermatt.
Ski Equipment Rental in Val d’Anniviers
There are outlets in all the villages but not a lot of choice.
The Skiset shop in Grimentz offers discounts if equipment is booked online.
ALPINRESORTS.com work with other shops in and around Val D’Anniviers and also gives discounts if you book online in advance – click here to see shop locations and special offers.
Val d’Anniviers Pros & Cons
+ Uncrowded slopes
+ Quiet cosy villages
+ Good value, unpretentious hotels
+ Plenty of off-piste
– Lack of nightlife
– Three separate ski areas.