A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
In 1893, Hôtel du Parc, Montana’s first hotel, opened its doors. It was thought up by two friends who were also local hunters, Louis Antille and Michel Zufferey, and is perched on a majestic south-facing plateau looking towards the Alps.
The forward-thinking Dr Stephani, who was based in Geneva, brought his patients to Luis Antille in Crans-Montana for the air quality and the landscape, and also opened the first proper road in the resort in 1896. From little acorns, great oaks grow and in 1906 Englishman Sir Henry Lunn decided to bring golf to the resort for the first time. In 1908 Crans-Montana opened an 18-hole golf course,known then as “the highest in the world”.
In 1911, “the longest funicular in Switzerland” was opened: 4.2km long and linking Sierre to the resort in one hour, instead of the four hours that would be required on the back of a mule. In that same year, an esteemed descendant of the Lunn family, Arnold, Henry’s son, turned Crans-Montana into “the resort for pioneers of alpine skiing”, organising what the sports press called “the first major downhill challenge in the history of skiing”: The Lord Roberts of Kandahar Cup Challenge.
The Severiano Ballesteros golf course hosted in 1939 the Premier Open Suisse de Golf, which became the European Masters in 1983 where the world’s best golfers came to compete: Jack Nicklaus, Dallemagne, Angelini, Van Donck, Ballesteros, Player, Miller, Faldo, Ernie Els and so on... As the years went by, the resort rode a wave of success and in 1987 hosted the Alpine Skiing World Championships, which was immortalised by 1500 journalists,photographers and cameramen from 35 countries.