At Grimentz-Zinal Backcountry Adventures all we want to do is help you love your skiing. Whether you’re looking to take your first steps into the backcountry or are already an experienced ski mountaineer, we’re here to ensure your next ski holiday is the best you’ve EVER had. From intro level courses to elite adventure with our inspiring team of IFMGA Mountain Guides, you’ll be sure to have an exhilarating trip.
The GZBA team of Mountain Professionals is led by Nick Parks. Nick lived for many years on the outskirts of Chamonix, and although loving the valley he became increasingly frustrated by the crowds and being one of a 100-plus guides who every day search for untracked snow for their clients. He left for a bit to be Bear Grylls’s safety man before heeding the call of the mountains again. Today he is one of only a handful of guides living in the Val d’Anniviers. Nick is often asked where his favourite place to ski is. “I used to jokily answer ‘the next place’ but having spent a few seasons now in Grimentz-Zinal, I’ve firmly nailed my colours to the mast here”. Nick claims that almost a day didn’t go by in the last few winters when he didn’t ski a new run. "The scope of this valley is extraordinary, the skiing is out of this world – come and join me and I challenge you to be disappointed!"
Over the years, Nick has built up a network of some of the top guides in the ski business developing a team of local and highly experienced international mountain guides at your disposal. Their one common trait is their passion for off-piste skiing and consistently proving they have the ability to teach skiers how to improve their technique and confidence in off-piste terrain.
All instructors are fully qualified BASI 4, have the Swiss Patente or ISTD equivalent.
“Grimentz-Zinal…where’s that?” people often say to us. “You claim Grimentz-Zinal has fantastic backcountry skiing so why haven’t I heard about it?” Well the simple answer is we all hear about the big resorts like Zermatt and Verbier because millions of PISTE skiers flock to them for the vast acreages of groomed pistes. In contrast the resorts and villages of Grimentz and Zinal are small, just 220 kms of pistes, but the off-piste terrain is the big draw here and it really is as good – or better - as anywhere in the Alps.
Grimentz and Zinal are in Switzerland, they are 2 of the 5 ski resorts in the French speaking Val d’Anniviers. This stunningly beautiful valley penetrates deep into the heart of the Alps between the aforementioned mega resorts of Zermatt and Verbier and across the Rhone valley from Crans-Montana. The other 3 resorts in the Val d’Anniviers are Vercorin, St Luc and Chandolin all of which are on th lift pass and offer excellent off-piste skiing.
Access is easy; Geneva, the closest international airport, is just two hours away by train, with a regular service that really does run like clockwork. You alight at Sierre and complete your journey in 40-50 minutes by bus or taxi.
Access from Zurich takes 3-4 hours.
For details on public transport timetables in Switzerland visit www.sbb.ch/en
Once in the Val d’Anniviers access between Grimentz-Zinal and the other resorts in the valley is by road. A free bus service runs up and down the valley throughout the winter (and summer) although the service is not that frequent to the outerlying villages and we generally use taxis (or cars) for the days when we visit these ski areas. Having a car is not essential but can make logistics easier for exploring the whole valley.
Locals have skied here since the first lifts were installed in the 1950s but the valley has managed to remain unspoilt and retain its authenticity.
There is very little infrastructure, nightlife or other trappings of the bigger resorts. Grimentz is the largest village in the valley and has all the facilities you’d expect in an alpine village. Zinal is smaller with just 4-5 hotels, 2 ski shops and a couple of bars and restaurants.
All 5 resorts are on the same Val d’Anniviers lift pass.
For lift pass details click here
First and foremost, people come to the Val d’Anniviers to ski, and it doesn’t take long for newcomers to discover they’ve entered a world that is so very different from much of the Alps: no crowds, no queues, no bling…just fabulous off-piste opportunities and one of the most impressive backdrops of any ski resort in the world. Known as the Imperial Crown, it is utterly inspirational.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here are links to articles that have been written about GZBA and the area:
We want you to enjoy your ski holiday with us. We want you to return home and tell all your friends and family what a fantastic time you’ve had. To make this happen we need to know a little bit about you, your skiing experience and aspirations.
There’s no one identikit for the typical Grimentz-Zinal Backcountry Adventures client, but there are certainly some common traits:
First and foremost you love skiing and you’re often to be found waiting for the lift to open in the morning and ski until the pisteurs tell you to leave!
You’ve realised that piste skiing doesn’t give you the same buzz you used to feel and you seek out the quieter slopes away from the crowds
You ski off-piste regularly but don’t know much about avalanche safety or how to know if terrain is safe to ski
You’ve skied off-piste for a while but as soon as conditions change, your technique lets you down or you lose confidence when it gets steeper
You enjoy the sensation of skiing powder and really want to take the time to master the conditions
You know you’ll not get blue-sky powder days every day, and enjoy the challenge that comes with skiing different snow conditions
You come away for the skiing and a bit of convivial après-ski, but you’re not looking to join the clubbing crowd and party hard all night
You are happy to be skiing just outside your comfort zone, as long as you know you’re in safe hands at all times.
Strapping on skins to climb up to the access point for a great off-piste descent is all part of the fun!
If you recognise yourself here, then you’re in the right place and now you just need to decide which of the courses or trips you want to sign up for!
Ideally you can convince your partner, family and friends to join you and book yourselves in for your own tailor-made adventure, but don’t worry if not all your friends feel the same way about skiing as you! As a solo traveller you’re also very welcome to join us, and hopefully you’ll make plenty of new friends during your visit to Zinal.
Bespoke Adventure is the best way for families, groups of friends, school parties or corporate groups to get the most out of a holiday.
The programme is suitable for total beginners and is ideal for anyone wanting to learn the essential basic skills for climbing easy alpine peaks.