The 14th most popular snowboarding destination in Switzerland.
Tuesday 5 December 2017 06:13 GMT
Southeast of Geneva and east of Martigny, the Nendaz Ski Area has 48 lifts serving 45 pistes totaling 175km with a maximum vertical drop of 1,535m. While 92% of the pistes are beginner and intermediate, keep in mind that 26 of the 48 lifts are drag lifts.
Nendaz is known for its extreme off-piste freeriding, not its terrain parks. There are only two minor terrain parks in Nendaz. The access to freeriding is king here. A great place to start is at the top of Mont Fort then drop east for a ride down to Siviex (but be ready to walk around Lac de Cleuson). When you are prepared to go really big, especially if you have a guide, head up Col De Chassoure then ride northward past the east side of Lac Des Vaux. Next you will climb Arete De Chassoure (2,750m) to then freeride steeps down into Tortin.
If you happen to score a powder day, try heading up Vallon D Arbe which has numerous off-piste routes heading down the valley (guides recommended). These lines are sometimes signed up top to indicate hazard level. Another good place to check out on a powder day is the Etageon line off the back of Greppon Blanc. If you have a guide, you can traverse away from the markers to explore untracked lines.
After a hard morning of riding, there are several good options on the mountain for lunch. Check out rustic Les Chottes Restaurant near the Les Chottes t-bar lift.
And, at the end of the day for apres ski, check out Les Etagnes or Lime. There is also Cactus Saloon and Le Malabar.
Nendaz Ski Area is part of Les 4 Vallees ski domain. Located southeast of Martigny, Les 4 Vallees ski domain is one of the largest in Switzerland. Les 4 Valles encompasses 89 lifts serving 91 groomed pistes totalling 410km spread across four massive glaciated valleys. The lifts interconnect Le Chable, Verbier, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Siviez, Veysonnaz, Thyon and soon Bruson The pistes are 39% beginner, 44% intermediate and 17% black. In addition to the groomed pistes, there is plenty of ungroomed, marked ski-tour routes and unmarked off-piste terrain to explore under craggy peaks down steep couloirs. Keep in mind that there are plenty of t-bars and Poma platter lifts spread throughout the region, along with flat or rolling traverses between ski areas. Overall, you are not going to find many snowboarders here, maybe 5-10%, unless it is a powder day. Speaking of powder, if you plan to explore the amazing wealth of rocky off-piste terrain, snow depth can be a problem throughout. If the quoted minimum depth is less than 90cm (36 inches), the off-piste routes are pretty sketchy to explore and you will be stuck on the icy groomed pistes. There can be some inconsistencies in published snow reports, such as centimeters reported as inches, so make sure to check several snow report sources before coming. Freeriders will want to stay in Verbier if you can afford it, otherwise consider Le Chable or Siviez. If you are on a budget, make sure to ask the tourism office about the many bunkhouse options - some are on the mountain and offer first tracks options.
Nendaz is a sprawling mountainside resort town that has a difficult connection with the rest of Les 4 Vallees ski areas.
To reach Nendaz by car, follow the A9 motorway to the Sion-Ouest exit. Follow the signs to Nendaz (about 15 minutes up a winding road). There are also regular buses from the Sion train station to Nendaz.
Note: If you plan to head to Nendaz for snowboarding by train, here are two great options offered by the Swiss train system SBB. First, there is the discounted Swiss Transfer Ticket which provides a round-trip train ticket from an airport directly to the town near the ski area, plus 50% off any additional train or bus tickets. Second, there is the Snow-N-Rail ticket which provides a round-trip ticket from anywhere in Switzerland combines with a ski lift pass for as long as you need at a total 20% discount (see: http://www.sbb.ch/snownrail ).
Overall, Nendaz is the 14th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 80 snowboarding resorts in Switzerland. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Nendaz including Verbier, Veysonnaz, Thyon and La Tzoumaz.