If you are attracted to the skiing in the four valleys circuit, but would rather base yourself in a small, traditional village then Nendaz is the resort for you.
Nendaz, together with Verbier, Thyon and La Tzoumaz make up the four valleys circuit. With a total of 412km of piste and particularly well suited for experts and intermediates, this area has a justified reputation in being one of the foremost ski areas of Europe. Located centrally within the four valleys area, Nendaz offers an easy gateway to explore the region.
Lift passes are available for the entire area, however, if you would prefer to limit yourself to the local area, which offers a wide variety of terrain, then a local pass is available. Nendaz itself has 70km of piste, but is also part of the Printze area with 220km of piste and enough challenges to suit all but the most expert of skiers.
With wonderful views out over the Rhone Valley, Nendaz is set at 1,365m. The old village has been retained (with guided tours available) but most of the resort now consists of modern buildings although these have been tastefully developed in the traditional Swiss chalet style, giving the resort a traditional, alpine feel.
Although it can’t compete with the internationally renowned nightlife of Verbier, Nendaz does, nevertheless, have a lively and varied aprï¿½s ski scene. There are plenty of cafes in which to relax with a drink, or bars to party in after a hard day on the slopes. Some of them offer live music including piano music. Why not try Bal, Malabar, Cactus Saloon, Mazot or the Tchin Tchin Piano Bar?
There are also a wide range of restaurants to choose form including Italian, French, Mexican and local cuisine. Local specialities include cheese fondue (although be warned if you drop the bread from your fork into the hot molten cheese, then you are liable for a forfeit), raclette and rosti. If you are really looking to splash out or celebrate something special then Le Mont-Rouge is a Michelin starred restaurant.
The resort is particularly renowned for being family friendly, indeed it has won a special accreditation by the Swiss Tourist Board for its family friendly credentials. Some of the family facilities include ski lessons from 3+ in the snow garden at Siviez and the “Garderie P’tit Bec”, a nursery which takes children from 18 months ï¿½ 6 offering a range of indoor and outdoor play and arts and crafts.
The nursery is located near the sports centre in the village, is open from 7am to 7pm, Monday ï¿½ Friday and costs approximately ï¿½7 per hour and ï¿½3.50 for lunch. There is also a games and toy library.
The local tourist office organises weekly family activities which include activities such as tobogganing and ice discos.
For non-skiers or those looking for a break from the slopes, then there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied. Why not explore the winter wonderland on foot using one of the 100km of winter walks.
For an alternative to walking why not try snow shoeing? There are six snow shoe routes covering a total of 40km. Snow shoes are footwear for walking over snow. They work by distributing the person’s weight over a larger area, so that the person does not sink into the snow. It is a fun recreational activity particularly on cleared routes.
For an alternative way to view the surrounding countryside why not try paragliding? It offers a bird’s eye view of the slopes and a peaceful and exhilarating way to enjoy the spectacular views out over the Rhone Valley. If you are feeling in an adventurous mood you could always try ice climbing.
Other amenities include an outdoor ice rink where you can also try your hand at the fast paced ice hockey or tobogganing. If you would rather stay indoors after a day on the slopes then there are squash courts available.
Nendaz offers a good range of accommodation from hotels to small pensions and self-catering apartments. There are plenty of shops to meet all your needs during your ski break from local supermarkets to souvenir shops and ski hire and equipment shops.
Whilst the traditional transfer airport for Nendaz is Geneva, at 2hrs 30 mins by coach, Zurich and Basel are also located within a few hours drive. This makes Nendaz ideally suited for either a week’s holiday or a short break.
Its family friendly activities and friendly atmosphere make it a good value alternative to Verbier, whilst still offering you easy access to this exciting ski region.
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