Summer in Zinal
Zinal is a charming mountain village in a breathtakingly beautiful spot and unlike many other ski areas is just as, if not more, attractive in summer. The village is almost as busy in the summer, still has a buzz to it and offers a wide range of activities, some of which are listed below
The 'La Lée' copper mine in Zinal
In summer there are accompanied tours inside the only copper mine in Switzerland open to the public, along tunnels which extend 500 metres into the mountain; giving a glimpse into the industrial past when metal was mined in the Val d'Anniviers. There are displays that explain the geology of the mine and its technical history, as well as the social life of the miners.
Mountain Biking or VTT (Vélo Tout Terrain)
The Val d'Anniviers offers 120km of marked mountain bike (VTT) trails. Zinal sits at the end of the valley and so makes a perfect base for an alpine mountain biking holiday. There are five cable cars in the valley operating throughout the summer, which allow you to do rather more downhill than uphill, if that's what you prefer. The valley is surrounded by four 4000m peaks, always covered in snow and the Matterhorn sits just behind them so incredible views are guaranteed.
As well as offering some pretty demanding mountain biking terrain the Val d'Anniviers is a picturesque valley with some charming villages and many places of interest to visit. It is a particularly sunny valley in the summer although the temperatures are moderated by the altitude and by pleasant mountain breezes. Temperatures average 16°C in June, 19°C in July and August and 16°C in September, perfect for walking. From Zinal there is a wide range of mountain bike tours to choose from, taking in mountain paths, forest trails, glacial lakes and alpine meadows.
Bike Hire - Mountain bikes can be hired in Zinal or Grimentz or you can bring your own bikes, some example routes in the valley include the following:
Cabane du Petit-Mountet (14km) - A 14km out and return, climbing 500m to a mountain cabin at 2142m with spectacular views of the Zinal glacier and the surrounding peaks of the Imperial Crown
Descent from Sorebois (3km) - Take the cable car in Zinal up 800m and enjoy a steep descent back into the village.
Bella Tolla via St Luc (35km) - Cycle 10k down the east side of the valley to St Luc. Take the funicular up 500m to Tignoussa at 2180m and then climb to 2580m enjoying spectacular views. Enjoy lunch at one of the mountain restaurants and then return to Ayer and Zinal through the forests.
Sex de Miranda and Lac de Lona (35km) - Cycle through the forest from Mottec round to Grimentz and then up to the very impressive Moiry Dam and the blue glacial water of the Lac de Moiry at 2255m. Then climb 500m to the Sex de Miranda at 2792 following the trail of the Grand Raid Cristalp race and then on to the Lac de Lona. Spectacular views. Return by the same route, just a lot faster!
Vercorin et Cret du Midi (40km) - Through the forests to Grimentz and then on to Vercorin all 'more or less' following the contours, except for the drop into Vercorin. Take the cable car from Vercorin to the Cret du Midi at 2330m for lunch and amazing views. Then descend rapidly to 1700m and follow the same trail back through the trees to Grimentz and then Zinal. An 800m forest descent from Vercorin to Chalais with a lift back up, provides a interesting detour!
Lac Noir via Chandolin (40km) - Follow one of three routes from Zinal to Chandolin, the highest permanently inhabited village in Switzerland at 1960m. From there take the cable car up to 2470m for lunch at Grande Remointze and spectacular views and then a short ride on to Lac Noir. Enjoy the descent back down to St Luc through the trees and then back along the valley side to Ayer and Zinal.
Downhill at Grimentz (16km) - Cycle 6km through the trees to Grimentz, take the cable car up to Bendolla at 2130m and enjoy the 500m downhill run back into Grimentz.
Grimentz is the finish of a serious mountain bike race held in August each year called the Grand Raid Cristalp. There are three courses starting in Evolène 41km, Hérémence 68k and Verbier 121k, all involving some serious climbs. There is also a good bus service within the valley allowing you to cycle non circular routes and take the bus home.
Sierre - Zinal : The Five 4000 Alpine Run
Each second Sunday of August, you could participate actively as a runner or passively as a supporter to the popular long distance mountain running Sierre - Zinal.
This run is also named the Five 4000 run due to the fact that you could admire 5 mounts above 4000 m above sea level along the track: Weisshorn (4506 m), Zinalrothorn (4221 m), Obergabelhorn (4073 m), Cervin/Matterhorn (4478 m) et Dent-Blanche (4357 m).
Choose between professionnal or amateur and begin your run from Sierre (500m) and run/walk up to Zinal at 1680m. After a run of 31km across forest, on narrow and stony tracks you will reach this alpine resort with 3000 other competitors.