Zinal: A Swiss Off-Piste Gem
Nick Parks has long been singing (out of tune!) the virtues of skiing Val d'Anniviers in the Swiss canton of Valais. Now, if further proof were needed, he and his wife Niki have chosen this Swiss valley - specifically Zinal - as their base for the 2012/13 season. Nick has been visiting this off-piste gem of the Valais every season since starting Mountain Tracks in 2000. But with so many great places to live, why choose Zinal?
"Simple answer: huge variety of off-piste terrain without the crowds; no queuing at the lifts and no worrying that I won't be able to find fresh tracks for my guests! On top of all that it's where I want to ski for myself, with Niki and our family and friends."
If that's not an endorsement, we don't know what is! The Val d'Anniviers is quintessentially Swiss and boasts the following attractions:
- Charming chocolate box chalets share the valley sides with forests perfect for tree skiing.
- Lifts access the extensive terrain from five resorts covered by a single ski pass. On the west side there is Vercorin and Grimentz; on the east there’s Chandolin and St. Luc, with Zinal situated at 1600m at the head of the valley.
- Above and beyond Zinal lies the 'Imperial Crown': the majestic 4000m peaks that form the centerpiece of the Pennine Alps (not to be confused with Kinder Scout)!
Strangely, although the valley is sandwiched between the skiing meccas of Verbier, Zermatt and Crans Montana it seldom seems crowded and, as yet, has not suffered from the (over)development of its neighbours. Access is straightforward - Zinal is reached in less than 3 hours from Geneva by either rail or car. Furthermore, the vast skiable terrain isn’t just for experts: the resorts are indeed ideal for families and snow sliders of all abilities.
For the past 3 seasons Mountain Tracks have partnered with Eric and Penny Kendal; their lovely home, the Chalet Edelweiss in Mottec, makes the perfect base for our off-piste and ski touring programmes. This coming winter they will be hosting our regular pre-Christmas season opener as well as a range of off-piste performance, adventure and ski touring courses. For full details on all our Zinal-based courses click here
Whether you're a piste skier looking to move off-piste, a committed backcountry skier in search of untracked powder or a ski tourer looking for new adventures, the Val d'Anniviers should be firmly on your radar. Nick, Eric and Penny are passionate about Zinal: join them this winter for an amazing adventure and you'll quickly understand why they've made this fantastic area their home!