Crans-Montana: Over a Century of Alpine Skiing

Crans-Montana: Over a Century of Alpine Skiing

Skiers and sports enthusiasts have been drawn to the Swiss municipality of Crans-Montana since the turn of the 20th century. Since then it has become an alluring ski resort, attracting professional athletes, top celebrities and countless tourists.

In this post, we’re going to explore the rich sporting history of Crans-Montana, look at why it’s such a popular ski resort, and talk about some of its exciting upcoming events.


Crans-Montana’s sporting history

Crans-Montana is actually the fusion of the two villages, Crans and Montana, both of which sit high above the Rhone Valley. As mentioned, it first became a resort that people sought out at the turn of the 20th century.

The first step in becoming a destination was when Louis Antille opened the first hotel here, the Hôtel du Parc, in 1893. After this, a Geneva-based Medic, Dr Stefani, began bringing his patients to Crans-Montana for the clean air and stunning views. The doctor saw so much potential here that he built the first proper road in 1896, which of course allowed more people to discover this hidden alpine gem.

The first golf & skiing

One notable person who discovered Crans-Montana was Henry Lunn, a British traveller who started bringing visitors to play golf here in 1906. By 1908 an 18-hole course had opened, known as the highest in the world at the time.

In 1911 a funicular railway was built, cutting travel time significantly, and the same year, no doubt thanks in part to this improved access, the first skiers arrived in Crans-Montana. It was then that the resort held its first race, dubbed at the time ‘the first major downhill challenge in the history of skiing’.

Over 100 years of skiing

Countless winter sports competitions have been held here in the 100 years plus since that first race, which ran from the Plaine Morte glacier to the valley below Montana. These include the Trophée du Mont Lachaux, World Cup, World Series, European Cup, Swiss Championships, and Tournoi des 7 Nations.

The resort played host to the FIS World Championships for the first time in 1987, and Crans-Montana has once more won hosting rights for this prestigious competition for 2027 (more on this shortly).


What makes Crans-Montana so good for skiing?

Located 1500m above the Rhone Valley, Crans-Montana allows unrestricted access to a chain of glittering mountains that are just asking to be skied. In fact, the Crans-Montana ski area consists of 140 km of pistes, with a wide range of ideal skiing terrain above and below the treeline. Skiers of all abilities can find suitable slopes, with plenty of challenges available for beginners, intermediate and advanced winter sportspeople.

As well as skiing, Crans-Montana is renowned for its fantastic shopping, as well as its nightlife, which can keep the excitement going long after the sun has sunk behind the picturesque mountains.


Skiing celebrities

Crans-Montana is such an attractive ski resort that over the years it’s attracted a wealth of talented residents.

One notable person who called this place home was Sir Roger Moore - and what better place for a James Bond to spend his time! Other inhabitants have included golfers Adam Scott & Sergio Garcia, and chef Michel Roux.

Upcoming events in Crans-Montana

The biggest news in the resort lately is the aforementioned 2027 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Competing for the rights against Narvik in Norway, Soldeu in Andorra and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Crans-Montana claimed victory, meaning it will host the event 40 years after it first took place here.

The most imminent ski event here is the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women (16-18.02.24), and there are numerous other local events and attractions being held throughout the spring and summer too. For more inspiration on ways to enjoy this destination, read our post on the best things to do in Crans-Montana.


Is Crans-Montana calling you?

If the idea of a luxury alpine lifestyle sets your heart racing and makes you crave pristine slopes amid panoramic mountain views, you’re not alone. Property in this stunning ski resort is highly sought-after, but if you’re considering buying a property in Crans-Montana, we at Steiger & Cie have a selection of ski chalets and apartments available. Contact our team today to find the perfect place for you.