Unspoilt, great value ski village with access to some big mountain skiing
Zinal resort guide - a general overview
Zinal and neighbouring Grimentz are located in the Val d'Anniviers, a side valley near the Valais town of Sierre. This valley is about half between Verbier and Zermatt, as the crow flies and in fact from some of the skiing there are views of the Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt. Zinal is a cute and unspoiled mountainside village with high altitude (snow sure) varied runs, including genuine reds and blacks as well as some very good off-piste terrain. Experts will be kept surprisingly busy here and it is a bit of a mecca for free-ride experts. However, intermediates should not be put off at all as this (along with neighbouring Grimentz which is lift linked to Zinal) is a great family ski resort - we recommend staying in one of the chalets in Zinal as these offer great value for money for families.
The apres ski scene is fairly quiet but the resort is still charming and a great choice for families as well as the off-piste thrill seeker. The wonderful old Ferme building has recently been bought by a British company that have chalets in Zinal. New life will be breathed into this centrally located restaurant and bar giving Zinal a genuine option for apres ski activity. Although there are a few hotels with bars to visit in the evenings because there are mostly chalets in Zinal the nightlife is quite quiet.
The Valley ski pass includes skiing in neighbouring Grimentz and St Luc/Chandolin (giving 220km of piste in total) and there is a wonderful itinerary route leading from the top of Zinal down into Grimentz. However, a new cable car link between Grimentz and Zinal opened in November 2013 which makes for a much larger interlinked ski area. The new cable car consists of two cabins of 125 places each. Now that the two resorts are linked and the combined ski area bigger than many other better known resorts we recommend Zinal for great value for money chalet holidays.
1,600m - 2,900m
Level of skiing
- Snow sure
- Ski area
- Charm factor
- Resort layout
- Fine dining
- Short transfer
- Resort value
Pros and Cons
- Small, traditional mountain village with wonderful atmosphere. Lots of private chalets in Zinal
- Relaxed, charming and unhurried lifestyle
- High and snow sure terrain with excellent off-piste opportunities (local area: 70km of pistes)
- Links in one direction with Grimentz to make a large ski area of nearly 220km of pistes
- Very good local ski schools. Small and attentive - great for children
- Piste cruisers who are looking for a large super connected ski area
- Nightlife is a little limited although the Ferme now offers a fun bar and occasional live music
Zinal Resort Restaurants
There are several restaurants in Zinal to try on your chalet staff's night off. Try Le Besso - high quality and probably has the best food in Zinal. It has fantastic steak on offer and a selection of fondues. Hotel Europe has a wide ranging menu, excellent pizzas and is a good choice for vegetarians. La Versache has every kind of crepe you could ever want!
Zinal Mountain Restaurants
If you don't want to ski back to your chalet for lunch, Zinal has two mountain restaurants - the Sorebois self-service is good value but can get crowded. You can also head to Cabane Du Petit Mountet which is a beautiful chalet style mountain restaurant serving up traditional Swiss delights which would be a great place to re-fuel after a hard morning on the mountain.
Zinal Apres Ski
If you wanted to sample some apres-ski before heading back to your chalet, try heading to the the hotel bars in Zinal.The new La ferme bar and the traditional pub are the places to head to soak up the atmosphere!
Nightlife in Zinal is limited - there is one nightclub but nightlife tends to be focused around hotel bars. Many enjoy relaxing in their chalet to enjoy a great day's skiing the next day!