Just back from an excellent trip to Zinal
and here are a few random thoughts on the ski area, village and travel. We invested in the Magic Pass and this was our second trip of the season and we were 'in profit' after one day's skiing this time around. We opted for Zinal around Christmas as snow conditions in our original destination, Leysin
, were awful with the linked areas of Les Mosses
and La Lecherette completely closed at that time. Zinal looked a better, higher altitude bet and so it proved. Conditions were sound although the freeride area was closed and the black run link to Grimentz
was also out of action. The runs to the valley were also closed for most of the week; little surprise when the black run down was finally opened that the nets at intervals across the piste were in action; steep, rock hard and like skiing on concrete. Elsewhere the snow was surprisingly good given there had been little since 17 January. We did have some light snow on the Saturday and again on Sunday night but this was little more than a freshener. Zinal is a beautiful ski area although some of the piste grading is a little erratic with reddish-blacks and black-ish reds. There's more 'true blue' skiing in lift-linked Grimentz which is an all-together bigger(and busier) area. Lots of long button lifts, not great if you don't like that sort of thing! Mountain dining was underwhelming but the hotel restaurants in Zinal itself were excellent (we particularly liked Le Trift and La Ferme). We stayed at the Pointe de Zinal hotel: good staff, comfortable and the most convenient for the main gondola. Travel was reasonably straightforward, train from the railway station at Geneva
Airport to Sierre, than a taxi for the last leg up the spectacular mountain road (not much fun for the faint-hearted!) You can do this bit by postbus but that entails a change of bus at Vissoie. All in all, we had a great time in a new area for us. I liked the small village atmosphere, everywhere was quiet and the skiing on semi-deserted runs and itineraries was pure pleasure!