Crans-Montana (Switzerland) driven by its major international sporting events

2023-09-19 14:37:51

A four-season destination, Crans-Montana boosts its reputation by hosting major sporting events. This is the opportunity for visitors to optimize their stay in the mountains. Ski World Cup events, the renowned Omega European Masters of golf and the recent Wildstrubel by UTMB ultra trail are already on the destination’s calendar. But the resort in the canton of Valais will further increase its visibility by hosting the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2025, and the Alpine Ski World Championships in 2027.

Crans-Montana and its region has much to offer nature lovers. ©David Savary

“Sports events give us great impetus. They position us on the international scene”. The remarks are by Bruno Huggler, director of Crans-Montana Tourism & Conferences who also sees in the hosting of these major events “great visibility” which gives the station additional “credibility”.

Dream playground for the outdoors

With its pure air and almost permanent sunshine, Crans-Montana has it all. A magnificent natural setting which stretchese 500 meters to 3,000 meters with the Plaine Morte glacier. Lakes, forests, mountain pastures and vineyards which constitute a dream playground for lovers of outdoor activities. “A small town in the mountains of 15,000 inhabitants, without stress and with all the necessary equipment and infrastructure” summarizes Evan Pasquini, French market manager for the destination.

We understand better why Crans Montana and its region are attracting more and more sports event organizers. In summer as in winter. L’Omega European Masters de golf undoubtedly turns out to be its most beautiful showcase. Probably the oldest too. Taking place at the end of August, beginning of September at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club on the Severiano Ballesteros course (par 71 – 6,277 m), it is today one of the most contested trophies on the European circuit. At an altitude of 1,500 m, the setting is sumptuous, including panoramic views of the Rhône valley and the highest peaks of the Alps such as the Matterhorn and even Mont-Blanc on a clear day. A special mention for hole No. 13 which has a beautiful arena able to accommodate a large number of spectators and which blends perfectly into this postcard setting. The next edition takes place from September 5 to 8, 2024.

Hole No. 13 of the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, an open-air movie set. ©David Savary

The bike, “a strategic pillar”

Long associated with golf and skiing in winter, Crans-Montana, under the leadership of its Tourism & Congress director, has renew its offer and broaden its range of events with highlights spread throughout the year. Like the “bike, a strategic pillar of the development of the destination” as Bruno Huggler indicates. The wonderful playground offered by the Valais Alps (we will come back to this in a future article) coupled with strong market demand contributes to the dynamism of this activity. And setting up competitions. If Crans-Montana welcomed a stage of the Giro (Tour of Italy) last springthe destination looks forward to being the host of Mountain bike world championships from August 30 to September 14, 2025. A great satisfaction for the resort which has focused on mountain biking for around ten years.

Cycling and e-biking can be practiced almost all year round. ©David Savary

Concerned about perpetuating existing events and eager to organize new ones, Crans-Montana also offers its peaks and its enchanting setting to trail runners. Only a few days ago the second edition of the Wildstrubel by UTMB (see below). Once again a great success since the organizers recorded almost double the number of registrations compared to the first year. “Even if we have to grow step by step in order to guarantee the safety and comfort of participants, the attractiveness of the course is an undeniable plus » explains Bruno Huggler who is delighted that activities such as biking, e-bike or trail riding allow “extend the seasons”.

Buses in the colors of the Alpine World Ski Championships in 2027

Crans-Montana is already preparing for the Alpine Ski World Championships in 2027. ©David Savary

However, we do not forget that Crans-Montana is also, and many people know it, a privileged destination for winter sports. His 140 km of ski slopes bring joy to young and old alike. Locals from all over the region as well as visiting tourists. In particular, they can attend a competition each year. Women’s Downhill World Cup on a track with an impressive gradient. The icing on the cake is that Crans-Montana (after Courchevel – Méribel this year and Saalbach in Austria in 2025) will host winter 2027 Alpine World Ski Championships. Forty years after being the epicenter of the discipline in 1987. The public transport which circulates in the city is already in the colors of the event. Roundabouts too. Again a real reward.

Skiing in winter; golf, cycling, trail running or hiking the rest of the year, “the potential is enormous” underlines Bruno Huggler. More and more sporting events punctuate life in Crans-Montana, which thus multiplies initiatives. For the visitor, these are all reasons to travel. And the assurance of a rejuvenating stay facing an exceptional panorama.

Next spring, find our report on the tourist and sporting attractions of Crans-Montana.

For its second edition, the Wildstrubel by UTMB confirms

©wildstrubelbyutmb – Agence Zoom

The weekend of October 15, 3,400 people from 72 nationalities set off at the start of one of the four races offered in order to complete all or part of the tour of the Wildstrubel massif. More than 350 volunteers were mobilized along the trails with just one general word for everyone upon arrival: “an extraordinary experience in a breathtaking setting”. 88.7% of participants completed the test. Over the longest distance (113 km for 6,600 m of positive altitude difference), among the men, it was the Briton Andy Symonds who won in 12h51’27, while among the women it was the Swiss Sara Escobar Carron who triumphed in 15h33’08.

More than a race to qualify for the UTMB grand final, the Wildstrubel is above all considered a wild, authentic and natural epic, through five world-renowned destinations (Crans-Montana, Loèche-les-Bains, Adelboden, Kandersteg and Lenk) and their trails. A change of scenery through an exceptional setting, between green mountain pastures and mountain scree, glaciers and dizzying peaks or azure mountain lakes. It was not on the clock that the eyes of most of the runners were riveted but on the 360° panorama that was offered to them with each new stride. Meet for the third edition from September 13 to 15, 2024.

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