In the Swiss region of Valais, majestic four-thousand metre peaks not only create impressive panorama, they also provide a unique setting in which to experience winter sports. Possibilities are endless and snow is guaranteed. We’ve summed up six of the most spectacular experiences you simply can’t miss in Valais.
1. Take on one of the Valais’ longest ski runs
In Valais, you can take on a number of highly enjoyable ski runs up to a staggering 25km in length. These runs are sure to provide an entertaining and challenging experience for skiers of varying abilities, whether you like to take it slow and steady or like to ski at speed!
Our personal favourite? The route from Ripaille down to Grand-Paradis. Covering a distance of 10km, this is an incredibly scenic red run that allows skiers to enjoy a variety of terrain and landscapes. Starting at 1,820m and descending to 1,055m, the twisting trails, enchanting pine forests and dramatic mountainscapes of the Dents du Midi and the Dents Blanches make this one of the most enjoyable runs in the area.
2. Experience Ultimate Relaxation
There’s nowhere you can find a more picturesque, relaxing spa experience than right here in the mountains of Valais. In five thermal destinations across the region, hot water bubbles up from the mountains themselves, allowing you to soak off a hard day’s skiing in thermal Alpine waters.
The thermal baths here are renowned for their rejuvenating and healing properties, stimulating circulation, relaxing aching muscles and, thanks to the water’s mineral content, alleviating chronic joint pain. Plus, with incredible mountain views from these gorgeous outdoor bathing facilities, you will be able to enjoy the unique beauty and calm of the mountains even after the sun has gone down.
3. Enjoy the Thrills of Tobogganing
Tobogganing is the ultimate winter activity for all mountain lovers and is a great way for families or larger groups to enjoy the beautiful mountain landscapes (and a little healthy competition!) all together.
Why not take on Western Switzerland’s longest toboggan run? This route, from Savoleyres to La Tzoumaz, is 10km long, with an altitude drop of 834m. Thrilling hairpin bends and spectacular views of the Rhône Valley mean the adults often enjoy this one more than the kids!
4. Soak up the Sunshine on a Scenic Terrace
Spend some time on one of the area’s many restaurant terraces, the best way to rest your legs, catch a few rays and sample the best of the local food and wine. Valais is the ideal destination for anyone who enjoys this element of a ski holiday.
Thanks to its fantastic weather record (300 sunny days per year), you won’t find anywhere better to relax and drink in the incredible mountain views.
5. Savour a Delicious Raclette
Indeed, this might be just the place to try one of Valais’ most delicious local delicacies, the Raclette du Valais AOP. This is the dish everyone looks forward to as soon as the temperatures begin to fall, whether you’re a local in the area or a visitor from abroad.
You may have tried Raclette before, but never like this. The original Raclette du Valais AOP is a Valais speciality, made from raw milk in a centuries-old tradition. In one of the many traditional restaurants of Valais, you can enjoy this exquisite delicacy with potatoes, pearl onions and pickles.
6. Try Something New
Want to give yourself a bit of a challenge this year? Whether it’s learning a new skill or getting yourself back on your skis after some time away from the slopes, Valais will deliver.
In Nendaz, the Dare to Ski initiative allows adult skiers and snowboarders a day’s all-inclusive package to encourage you back on your skis. Equipment rental, ski pass and a two-hour lesson are all included, as well as a discount on lunch and spa! Available in January and March, it’s a fantastic way for anyone who’s been away from their skis to get their mojo back!
The epic terrain of Valais is also the ideal playground for learning new skills, like ski touring! A number of rando-parcs throughout the region offer parks with a network of secured touring tracks. First-time ski tourers might like to try a touring initiation with a qualified guide while more experienced “randonneurs” can safely push their limits on a more challenging trail.
Featured Image © Valais Wallis Promotion – David Carlier