The spectacle of showjumping does not get more picturesque than the stunning setting of Crans-Montana, perched 1,500m above sea level with a backdrop of towering mountains — the resort is a truly unique setting for the sport, located in the French-speaking Valais canton of Switzerland. The resort’s name is the result of two towns, Crans and Montana, merging together, and it sits on a high plateau above the Rhone Valley.
A warm-up arena with a stunning view
The main arena and warm-up area sit on one of the few flat areas in Crans-Montana — on the site of what is usually the car park for the adjacent cable car station. Nestled in the mountains and with far-reaching views, the landscape is spectacular, not only enjoyable for the visitors to the show but the riders also, plus there is the added bonus of the fresh mountain air, of course.
The mountain train
While the horses make their way up the mountain in horseboxes along the the winding roads, spectators can take the train to “Mountain Gare” — the station in Crans-Montana — which takes about 20 minutes up a steep incline from the town of Sierre at the bottom of the mountain. While offering wonderful views of the valley and mountains, it is not one for those with a fear of heights…
A four-star show with a difference
It is the fourth year the Longines-sponsored event — which was awarded four-star status last year — has been welcomed in the town, which transforms into a ski resort when the winter snow arrives, and it is now a popular summer spectacle for the area.
The cable car
Visitors to the showjumping venue should also make the most of the cable car, which is located right behind the main arena and goes to the very top of the mountains, offering even more outstanding views and a peaceful ambience. During the summer, the resort is popular with hikers and mountain bikers.
The CSI4* show, held over four days, includes amateur, young horse and international classes and attracts riders from across the globe. The finale is the 1.55m grand prix on the Sunday night and this year it was won by Piergiorgio Bucci and his grey 10-year-old gelding Cochello, who only two years ago was competing in 1.10m classes.
Food, glorious food
The town of Crans-Montana offers a variety of restaurants, so you can take your pick depending on what you feel like eating. However, if you want to sample something typical in Switzerland, a cheese fondue is a must — the Swiss love their cheese! It is rich but so good, and afterwards ask the waiter for some lemon sorbet with a shot of vodka — apparently it aids digestion…
Don’t miss our report from the showjumping action in Crans-Montana in the 18 July issue of Horse & Hound. For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.