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On top of the world!

“The next day I somehow find myself even higher still, simultaneously clutching my seat for dear life while whooping in excitement.”

The road to Nendaz twists and turns as it climbs higher and higher into the mountains, building our excitement as we near our much-anticipated destination. Just like Jack climbing his magical beanstalk to discover a fantasy kingdom, we jubilantly stumble upon Nendaz, our picture-perfect town perched in the mountains with delightful views out over the valleys below. Nendaz had a whole treasure box of discoveries just waiting to be explored, and we can’t wait to get started!

Nendaz_Mont-Fort_Copyright Nendaz Tourisme

Top of the adventure list is Mont Fort, a stunning summit 3300 metres up in the sky. Standing on the lookout point, surrounded in all directions by over 50 glistening mountain peaks stretching as far as the Matterhorn in the distance, this panoramic view is one you’ll always remember. And if the relaxing ride up by cable car was a testament efficient Swiss engineering, the trip down is evidence of determination, courage and fitness. The black-rated slope is too steep to be mechanically maintained, so expect plenty of mammoth moguls and precipitous descents on the way down. Daunting though it may be, it truly is an unforgettable run, and as it’s possible to ski all the way down to the Siviez base station (1730 metres altitude) without needing a ski lift, this is definitely one worth conquering.

Hiver_Copyright Alexander Vissing & Jens Peter Frederiksen Riders.dk._2017 (1)

The next day I somehow find myself even higher still, simultaneously clutching my seat for dear life while whooping in excitement. Pascal (paragliding pilot extraordinaire) and I are flying high above the snow, circling and turning and spinning and generally acting like excitable puppies let off the leash. With the breath-taking beauty of snowy peaks below us and the whole sky as our playground above us, it’s a sort of ‘top of the world’ feeling that’s impossible to forget. Going on a tandem flight means no experience is needed, so you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the ride in the hands of a trained paraglider. Finishing off with a few crazy spins and some serious G-force, we gently land in the park in the town centre.

paraglide 4 credit Pascal Theler

Nendaz has (deservedly) built up a reputation as an adventure paradise, and there are plenty of options for the adrenaline seekers. The 4 Vallées ski pass includes over 400 kilometres of ski runs (the largest ski area in Switzerland) as well a few scenic cross country and forest routes. Add in moonlight skiing, plenty of off-piste areas and a dedicated snowpark and any skier will be in their element.  There are also plenty of exciting annual events to watch, such as the Nendaz Freeride competition (showcasing the best freeride skiers in the world) and the snow soccer tournament (held on the frozen lake). In Summer the best alphorn players (traditional swiss wind instrument) head to Nendaz for the International Alphorn Festival.

Haute-Nendaz_Copyright Arnaud Delhez_2012

For those looking for a holiday that actually involves some relaxing, there is a whole different side to Nendaz also available. My wife and children enjoyed the holiday just as much as I did, although their focus was slightly different. They enjoyed their ski lessons on the friendly beginner slopes of Tracouet (and the well-earned après ski afterwards) as well as just relaxing on the slopes in the gorgeous winter sunshine. Nendaz has plenty to keep the youngsters entertained, from a free moving walkway (magic carpet) in the town centre for skiing and sledding, to a playground with swings, slides and even a zip line, ensuring our children were always happily entertained. Our family highlight was to finish off the trip with a visit to the Hotel Nendaz Spa, a luxurious collection of saunas, steam baths and pools. Reclining in the outside pool, chin deep in gloriously hot water while surrounded by snow and ice, was a great way to relax the muscles after a few days of hard skiing. And on that note, with the highs of the adventures from the last few days still leaving a permanent grin on my face, we reluctantly began our journey home.

Mini Kids_Copyright Florian Bouvet_2016

 

Know before you go:
Getting there: Geneva International Airport is 170 km from Nendaz (roughly a two-hour drive). Unfortunately this may involve an Easyjet flight, which is to be avoided if at all possible.
Accommodation: There are plenty of accommodation options in Nendaz, and as it’s a small town almost all of them are well located close to the ski gondola and the main shops and restaurants. We stayed in the cosy Hotel Mont Fort (www.hotelmontfort.ch) which has a wonderful restaurant serving traditional swiss fondues as well as international meals.
Further information: Nendaz Tourism (www.nendaz.ch) has plenty of useful information. Before heading out for the day, its also worth checking the online webcams of current conditions on the slopes and the top of Mont Fort.

 

Wood Park_Copyright Florian Bouvet_2016

Sam Bradley

Sam Bradley is a travel and adventure enthusiast with a passion for scuba diving, paragliding and skydiving. He has travelled to four continents, lived in the Peruvian jungle for six months and tour guided through most of Southern Africa. He is married to Cristie and is a committed Christian, and is currently living in London along with a whole bunch of South Africans.

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