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Family weekend in Crans-Montana (VS)

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

We fell in love with Crans-Montana on our first visit last weekend. A certified "Family Destination", Crans-Montana is an ideal place to spend a great holiday, where young and old will find what they are looking for amongst the many activities on offer.

We had a cold and snowy, action-packed weekend planned so we decided to leave Elio overnight at an association set up to help parents with disabled children, which meant that he would be safe and warm and the rest of us could get stuck into the great outdoors.

We left on Saturday morning and arrived at about 11am. We were staying at the Hotel de l’Etrier where we parked the car. We were too early to check-in so we decided to walk to the restaurant where we were having lunch. The hotel is well situated a short walk from the shops, bars and restaurants of the town and it was a good way for us to get our bearings. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather which offered blue skies and sunshine despite being very cold (-10 degrees). We really enjoyed our walk which took us past the frozen lake and little paths off the main road.

Our lunch destination was the restaurant Le Casy and we were happy to arrive to the smell of delicious food and a cosy atmosphere. We dug ourselves out of our ski gear and settled in. This Italian restaurant offers a large choice of food but we saw the wood fire oven when we walked in and unanimously decided we would have to try the pizzas. The food didn’t disappoint and the pizzas were as delicious as we had hoped. Jude gobbled his adult size pizza back in no time and Alba did a sterling job of demolishing her calzone. I tried the carbonara pizza which was really good. We decided that dessert was probably necessary to fully fortify ourselves for the afternoon ahead so we ordered some ice creams for the children and I tried their After Eight dessert (I love anything minty). The service was very friendly and the children were made to feel really welcome. It’s a great spot for families in the buzzing environment.

Back out into the cold we went for our ice skating activity which was just a couple of minutes walk from the restaurant. We were heading to the Patinoire d’Ycoor which is the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Switzerland. It is well organised with the office just next door where you can pay for entry and pick up your skates. Jean took a sort of chair support to help the children which made life easier. Jean is really good at skating so he was soon swishing round the ice while Jude and Alba took a bit of time to get comfortable on their feet but they were both soon shuffling around on their own and loving every minute. We were lucky that it wasn’t super crowded so the children had enough space to go at their own pace.

Everyone was pink cheeked and windswept at the end of our skating session so we began the stroll back to the hotel to check-in. The hotel is cosy and they had given us two connecting rooms with plenty of space for us all and a balcony with an incredible view! The children were excited to find some sweets and fruit waiting for us. We decided to unpack and head down to the spa to recharge our batteries. The spa has an indoor/outdoor pool, sauna and hammam. They also have an extensive selection of massages and beauty treatments and I saw they even have a children's spa menu for children between 3 and 9 and another for those aged 10 to 16 offering massages and treatments. Jude and Alba would have LOVED this but we didn’t have much time so we settled for a dip in the water and a bit of a rest on the loungers.

We were all very excited about the next item on our agenda which was an evening walk along the Chemin des Lanternes. It was about -12 at this point so we layered up and put our ski gear on with double gloves, scarves and hats before setting off to the start of the path which is about a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel. The children were really excited to be outside in the dark and even more so when we arrived and saw the path full of glittering lanterns ahead of us. It’s an easy walk and although I saw some people with pushchairs, I was glad that we hadn’t taken Elio since there were some uphill parts which would have been a bit of a challenge. The walk was absolutely beautiful, dotted with light displays and light sculptures which made the experience feel really magical. There is a restaurant along the route where you can stop to eat and we saw a little kiosk selling drinks next to the path too. We thoroughly recommend this beautiful experience which is a delight for the whole family.

We had set out quite early for our walk (we waited until it was just starting to get dark) so we were back at the hotel in plenty of time to get showered and changed before dinner. We had a quick cocktail in the bar before settling down for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Jean and I chose the tomato fondue with a plate of local meat and Jude and Alba picked the chicken nuggets. The food was good and the atmosphere was cosy but the children were pretty much falling asleep at the table at this point so we didn’t linger too long and headed upstairs to settle everyone into bed.

We slept well and were up early full of excitement for the morning ahead. We started with breakfast in the hotel which offers a good selection of hot and cold dishes so we ate well before getting ourselves bundled up in our snow gear again. We were driving home straight after lunch so we packed up our cases and checked out of the hotel before heading towards the snow.

We parked the car at a small car pack just opposite Alex Sports where we were collecting our sledges (the panel says it's full but there are free places if you arrive before 10 generally). We were heading to Snow Island which we reached by crossing the golf course. It was another beautiful bright day and the walk was a really lovely way to start the morning.

Snow Island is paradise for families and we kicked off with a sledge ride downhill to get to the activities below which include a show mobile track for children between the ages of 5 and 12 years. Alba was so delighted that she was old enough to try and was soon zipping around the track. When we asked them later, they both told us this was their favourite part of the weekend and they could have spent all day there :-). Jean had seen the giant airbag next door and decided he had to try that and fearless Jude and Alba joined him. Time was flying by and we had just enough time for a few more downhill sledge rides before lunch. Snow Island is a brilliant place for visitors of all ages, there are also beginners ski slopes and the maison de Bibi where there are lots of child friendly activities including bricolage, games and a little reading corner.

We were having lunch at the restaurant Sporting Club which was right next to the car park where we left the car so we dropped off our sledges and got ourselves installed. The restaurant is nice with plenty to choose from and friendly service. Jean had the burger which he said was one of the best he had ever eaten, Jude and Alba went for nuggets again and I had an nice omelette.

All too soon it was time to head home. We really loved Crans-Montana which is a really family friendly destination and its was easy to access all of the non skiing activities on foot which we really appreciated. There is plenty to do to keep busy and lots of great places to eat and shop. I would even go as far as to say that it is one of our favourite ski resorts we have visited since we began the blog and we would be really happy to go back.

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Crans-Montana Tourisme & Congrès

Route des Arolles 4

3963 Crans-Montana

+41 27 485 04 04


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