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Nendaz Review

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Nendaz panorama

Nendaz Review

“Nendaz is part of the huge 4 Vallées (4 Valleys) ski domain, the largest in Switzerland. It is ideal for intermediate and expert skiers. The domain has breathtaking views everywhere you look. It could be a perfect setting for James Bond films thanks to high mountain peaks, huge gondolas, an artificial lake with a big dam and luxurious chalets scattered around. The domain is an obligatory destination for all off-piste skiing lovers. The resort area is enormously big, with diverse terrain and many freeride routes. 4 Valleys is certainly one of the best places for backcountry skiing in Europe. Nendaz shares slopes with the more famous Verbier yet prices are not as steep. This being said doesn’t mean that Nandez is cheap. The infrastructure could be better for the price of the ski pass. The lifts are not as fast as you would expect and queues are possible. The resort is close to big international airports in Geneva and Sion. Transfer won’t last for ages, making it ideal for people who don’t like to waste time travelling. Read the rest of this Nendaz Review in order to see why it is a mandatory place to visit for every skiing enthusiast”    

PROS: huge domain, diverse slopes, good snow reliability, epic scenery, freeriding mecca, the domain is the birthplace of Freeride World Tour…

CONS: pricey, it will take you a substantial amount of time to get from one side to another due to slow infrastructure and the sheer space it occupies.

4 valleys ski map
Click to enlarge

SLOPES

Easy 135 km (33 %)
Intermediate 217 km (53 %)
Difficult 58 km (14 %)
TOTAL 410 km

Nendaz, Verbier, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz, and Thyon form Les 4 Vallées (The 4 Valleys) ski domain. As I said at the beginning of this Nendaz Review it is the largest ski area in Switzerland with 410 km of runs (with Paradiski and 3 Valleys in France among biggest in Europe). Nendaz has a perfect position since it is located in the middle of the domain, making it an ideal base for exploration.

Pistes begin at 1,400 m and the highest peak called Mont-Fort lies at 3,300 m. Visit it during a bluebird day and get blown away by the stunning panorama. Long queues are possible on the gondola leading to the peak especially when the weather is nice. Descent from Mont-Fort is far from easy. It is a steep, icy, ungroomed slope, and not for the faint-hearted. The area is snow-sure due to high altitude and north facing slopes.

Overall, The 4 Valleys domain is not ideal for beginners since there are lots of important slopes linking different parts of it which are not groomed at all. For example, if you want to visit other valleys from Nendaz you will have to come back down the Plan du Fou ski route (steep, often icy with moguls). There is no other way down unless you take the lift. It can be a drag even for expert riders, especially at the end of a long skiing day. Veysonnaz and especially Thyon have more gentle runs for beginners.

Always be cautious about time, because if you wander far away from home you might run out of time for a return trip, and taxis are not cheap.

The ski pass price is among the highest in Europe. If you are a beginner or you are skiing with your family you can save some money by buying the Printze ski pass. It is a smaller area consisted of: Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Thyon/Les Collons and Siviez (Col des Gentianes and Mont-Fort glacier are not included). TIP: Buy your ski pass online, at least 10 days before you arrive and save 10% of the price.

FREERIDE AND TERRAIN PARKS IN NENDAZ

FREERIDE IN NENDAZ

4 Valleys are all about off-piste skiing. Verbier is the birthplace of the Freeride World Tour. The first competition was held in 1996. Management and employees of the domain are doing their best to promote backcountry skiing and to make it as safe as possible.

The possibilities are countless. On a snowy day you will probably be stuck in Nendaz due to closing of the Prarion – Plan du Fou gondola. Use the area around Prarion lift to the fullest. Start with skiing under the lift and then move to the left as slope gets criss-crossed. You will find entertaining lines there.

Don’t miss the skiroute starting at the bottom of Lac des Vaux 1 lift. It starts at 2,553 m above sea level. First you will pass through tunnels carved in snow, which is an amazing experience in itself, and after an interesting run you will end up above La Tzoumaz at 1,900 m above sea level.

You can also go all way up to Mont-Fort and then ski down along Col des Gentianes. You will enjoy 1,280 m of vertical descent. Here you can find an official list of ski routes.

Never ski alone and follow instructions. Big mountains like this don’t forgive mistakes.

TIP: when blizzard clears out and management decides to open all lifts be the first out there, because in 4 Valleys even grandmas have fat skis and go off-piste. No matter how large the skiing area is, powder gets chopped up in several hours.   

SNOW PARKS IN NENDAZ

The closest snow park to Nendaz is situated in Thyon alongside of the Theytaz 2 lift. It is called Centralpark. Riders of all levels will find interesting features for themselves there. Rails, fun boxes, and kickers – you name it. Another interesting area for freestylers is a park in Verbier, more precisely La Chaux. It is pretty big. The park has 4 different lines with kickers, jibs, volcanoes, table tops etc.

HOW TO GET TO NENDAZ

The closest airport to Nendaz is situated in Sion. It is only 18 km away. A car ride is going to take you around 25 minutes. Ideal for people who don’t like to waste time on travel and transfers or weekend escapes. Arrange a pickup at the airport with your accommodation, or catch a taxi. If you want to go by bus you will need to catch coach nr. 1 and get to Poste/Gare (train station). From there you can take a bus nr. 362 to Nendaz.

The Geneva airport is 164 km away. Car transfer is going to take you 1 hour and 45 minutes. It is farther from Sion, but you will have a wider choice of flights since Geneva has a better connection to other European cities. Catch a train to Sion and from there you can choose between a taxi and the direct bus nr. 362.  

Switzerland has a great railway network. Your last station will be Sion. It is well-connected to other European and Swiss cities. From there you can catch a direct bus nr. 362 to Nendaz. It usually departs every 40 minutes during days in season.

 WHERE TO STAY IN NENDAZ

There is only one gondola going out from the village, so the best option is to find accommodation near it. Usually this choice is going to cost you more. In order to save some money you can find a place to stay near a free shuttle bus station. Buses depart every 20 to 40 min, depending on the season. Keep in mind that Nendaz is not small, and streets are pretty steep. Walking around in boots and with your equipment on your back isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.

If you want to pamper yourself book a stay in the Nendaz 4 Vallées & SPA hotel. It has a great location, food, rooms and spa area with pools and sauna.

Nendaz has a wide choice of chalets and apartments. I was surprised to have found a splendid apartment for a reasonable amount of money. We used interhome.com. Although the offer was excellent it left me with bad taste in my mouth due to extra costs and fees we had to pay in the end. Additional charges cost us more than 1/3 of price shown at the beginning.  

WHAT TO DO AFTER A DAY ON SNOW (APRES-SKI) IN NENDAZ

Nendaz boasts with 50 restaurants so you will have plenty to choose from. Try the pizza at Bar Tchin-Tchin. For local food visit La Lanterne Pop up et l’atmosphere. Nendaz is not exactly the party capital of 4 Valles. If partying is an important segment of your holiday maybe you should opt for Verbier. The best atmosphere after day on snow was in the Edelweis restaurant just by the gondola station. Enjoy DJs or live music there. They also have tasty food (burgers, ribs etc.).

Don’t miss visiting pools & saunas in Nendaz 4 Vallées & SPA even if you are not staying in the hotel. Skating at the ice rink can also be an option if you have energy after an exhausting day on the slopes.

If you like going out to clubs visit NYX, Le Lapin Vert or Cactus Saloon.

If this Nendaz Review has persuaded you that the resort is your next winter holiday destination you can book your stay here and help work of SkiResortGuru.com.

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