Battle of the ski resorts: Zinal

Zinal is a resort on the run, but is it good enough to win this year’s battle of the ski resorts?

Nominated by Martin

Ease of access from the UK 4/10

Fly to Geneva is probably easiest, followed by a train to Sierre and a Post Bus up the valley.

Sense of scale and epicness 7/10

The scale of the resort is totally manageable, but the epicness of the off-piste is huge. Vast fields of powder wait to be tracked.

Variety and quality of the pistes 5/10

This is not a massive resort by any means, but the pistes are adequate and beautifully groomed. Be aware that your lift pass will cover Vercorin, St Luc as well as Chandolin – making a much more exciting area for extensive and varied cruising. The real strength lies in going outside of the ropes.

Off-piste potential 9/10

Massive. A holiday here will see you sampling the classic off-piste runs of a handful of lift systems. There are open freeride zones, tight and compelling couloirs, big scenery and small chutes alike.

Lapability 8/10

Yes – well worth it, but if you explore all the resorts listed above you may not have to ski too many repeat runs.

On-hill grub 6/10

Until you have eaten a tartiflette in a bun on the slopes in Zinal, you have not ticked all of your skiing dreams. This is Switzerland though, so don’t expect much value for your money.

Après scene 4/10

Hmmm… the Florioz bar at the base of Grimentz piste is about it. But the best après scene can be found in front of the fire at Fall-Line’s Swiss headquarters, aka the Chalet Edelweiss run by Eric and Penny Kendall.

Base suitability 8/10

For backcountry exploration it is amazing – the Cabane de Becs de Bossons is a regular feature in these pages, and there is a ton of great day touring to be had, as well as the classic Imperial Haute Route.

Family friendly? 6/10

A great destination with plenty of easy access lift-served areas, and some good sunny aspects in-bounds for the wee ones. Grimentz is probably better as a base for nippers than Zinal as the Zinal home run can be a bit epic!

RANK: 24

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