With its majestic mountains, superb skiing, high altitude resorts, picturesque Alpine villages and plenty of great mountain restaurants, Switzerland is an ideal destination for skiers. Amongst the many regions, Valais in particular is a winter fairytale.
The natural playground of the Valais is dotted with 36 diverse ski resorts, which offer over 2000km of pistes, virtually all of which are over 1500m in altitude, with some exceeding 3000m, which means snow cover is guaranteed. Housing some of the world’s most legendary freeriding terrain; untold acres of ski touring terrain and prepared touring terrain; 1000km of cross-country ski tracks, 1000km of winter hiking trails, 50 sledging runs and countless snowshoeing trails.
With such diverse snowsports on offer, Valais has something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. The Valais also produces some regional specialities, including fabulous wines, meat and cheese specialities, and has some first-class restaurants on & off the slopes. Prepare to be enthralled by the unique Valais winter! visitvalais.ch
Bathed in sunshine 300 days of the year, the historical village of Veysonnaz affords breathtaking views across the Rhone Valley and Bernese Alps. Wide, sunny and gentle pistes and friendly locals make this sleepy corner of the 4 Vallées a paradise for families and skiers.
The ski resort is on the doorstep of the biggest ski domain in Switzerland: The 4 Vallées. This winter wonderland is spread over 400km of runs of all levels. Snow is guaranteed to the bottom of the runs, thanks to over 200 artificial snow machines.
Link Veysonnaz, Thyon, Nendaz and Verbier via the Mont-Fort on skis is no longer just a dream, but now a reality! Winter sports lovers experience moments of pure pleasure while skiing on the varied runs.
Come and experience a run down the legendary Piste de L’Ours, host to over 30 World Cup competitions and numerous European and Swiss Championships. This legendary run, classified red, is exclusive to good to advanced skiers promising them unbeatable sensations. Exposed to the north it benefits from exceptional snow conditions. If you would like to see what a 51% gradient slope looks like, pluck up some of that courage and set off on this unique adventure!
After your ski day, Veysonnaz give you the opportunity to have a last very special descent. Enjoy a nice cheese fondue at the restaurant from the top of the slopes. At sun-down, the Swiss Ski School instructors will distribute the torches and accompany you down the Mayens ski run. A unique opportunity to experiment the silent mountain by night.
From the moment the first frosting of snow dusts the peaks of the Dents du Midi, a thrill of excitement shivers through the valley. It’s not hard to understand our collective obsession with winter sports; with 600km of slopes, the Portes du Soleil is a very big deal around here.
The Région Dents du Midi encompasses 6 charming villages perched high in the Swiss Alps near the south eastern end of Lake Geneva. Nestled in the spectacular Val d’Illiez, these villages are part of Les Portes du Soleil, the world’s largest international ski area.
In winter, the snowy landscape is a study in stark contrasts, from the hushed mystery of the frozen back country to the invigorating hustle and bustle of 600 kilometers of state-of-the-art groomed ski slopes.
No matter the season, this is a place of exhilarating peaks and inspiring views, where the border between France and Switzerland has all but disappeared and your backyard stretches as far as the eye can see.
Skiers and snowboarders can choose from long, winding ski slopes, like the bucolic Ripaille – Grand Paradis run or the Didier Defago run, named for our local Olympic champion, or test their mettle on perilous black pistes like the infamous, vertiginous mogul field at the top of Chavanette, better known as the Swiss Wall. But in the Val d’Illiez, the joys of winter come in a multitude of experiences and the ski slopes are just the beginning. 150km of snowshoe trails explore silent winter landscapes far from the madding crowds, and then there’s cross-country skiing, ski touring, invigorating winter hikes, ice climbing, curling and more…
Winter holidays spent with family are magical: bundling up your little ones in their down ski suits, watching them master their first ski turns, laughing together over bread dropped in the fondue and evenings spent playing games by the fire.
Scooping first place in the “Peace and Relaxation” category of the Best Ski Resort Awards 2016 is just one reason to bring your family to Aletsch Arena. It’s also one of a select number of Swiss destinations recognised as a "Families Welcome" resort, having met exacting standards for family-friendly infrastructure, activities, services and hospitality.
Set within the first UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in the Alps, the three mountain villages are car free and accessed by ski lift, guaranteeing peace and quiet as well as a safe environment for little ones. Ski-in, ski-out are magic words to a skier – and magic that is possible almost everywhere in the Aletsch Arena. Most holiday accommodation on this sunny car-free plateau is right at the pistes. Therefore you can easily buy your breakfast, enjoy a fantastic home-made dish in one of the traditional restaurants and go to a concert by ski. Short distances and a big variety of pistes, perfect for families. There’s 104km of pistes, over a third of which are beginner friendly and nearly half suitable for intermediates, making Aletsch great for children and adults alike. And that's not all: there are four dedicated kid's areas, four fun parks, a snowpark and a half pipe. There's even a competitive high-speed course on Fiescheralp and a timed giant slalom course on Bettmeralp .
Aletsch Arena is also home to kilometres of scenic cross-country ski, snowshoeing and winter walking trails, which provide mesmerising views of the Aletsch Glacier and some of Switzerland's most iconic peaks, including the Matterhorn and Jungfraujoch.
Lying at the very heart of the extensive 4 Vallées ski area, Nendaz combines direct access to Switzerland’s largest ski area with a tranquil, authentic mountain experience.
Located at the centre of the 4 Vallées, between Verbier and Thyon, Nendaz is arguably the best place from which to explore its sprawling slopes and off-piste terrain. You can lap up the virtually untouched local slopes through the morning, drop in on a neighbouring resort for lunch, catch a few chairlifts to explore the other valleys in the afternoon, and be back in Nendaz for après-ski.
Nendaz also offers seven “Freetracks” for advanced skiers and riders to enjoy – secured, yet ungroomed freeride routes. It’s small wonder that the world’s best freeriders gather here each year for the Nendaz Freeride Competition.
Life beyond skiing
After a long day’s skiing, it’s hard to beat soaking sore legs in a hot tub and easing aches in the sauna. Nendaz offers a unique Ski & Spa Pass, combining a one-day adult lift pass with access to the Spa des Bisses in the luxurious Nendaz 4 Vallées & Spa resort for just CHF79 (saving nearly a third on the full price).
Indeed, Nendaz offers a wealth of activities off-slopes; including 40km of snowshoe trails, best explored with a guide to point out local wildlife and history; 100km of winter hiking trails; cross-country ski trails; and a sledging run on Tortin. But perhaps the most memorable adventure is a Full Moon Mountain Party, available from January to March.
Skiing, perhaps more than any other sport, gets under your skin. From those first tentative moments on the nursery slope to that exhilarating rush as you conquer your first blue or red slope, you're hooked. Chose the Valaisan resort of Thyon for your first turns, or for your children's early ski moments, and you'll be starting the habit of a lifetime.
Thyon is great if you’re eager to learn or improve your skiing, have a young family or simply crave intermediate slopes all to yourself. The eastern gateway to one of the largest ski areas in the Alps, Verbier's 4 Vallées, and located just thirty minutes' drive from Sion airport, Thyon is the little-known solution to all your ski dreams.
Three Times As Much Choice
The resort comprises three villages – Les Masses at 1600m, Les Collons at 1800m, where properties are rarely more than three minute’ stroll from the pistes, and perched at 2000m is Thyon. It’s car-free and all apartment blocks offer ski-in/ski-out convenience, with shops and restaurants at ground level.
Thyon's slopes, which include a dedicated Slow Zone and network of gentle blue and red pistes, are easily accessed from each of the three villages. Children can learn the basics of skiing and snowboarding in the sunny Snow Village. Confident intermediates can master their carving skills on the invariably quiet pistes, building up to the black runs off Etherolla, while advanced skiers will find untracked powder on the freeriding itinerary off l’Eteygeon.
Furthermore, Thyon’s slopes are part of the sprawling 412km of pistes in the 4 Vallées ski area, opening up jaw-dropping amounts of terrain for intermediate and advanced skiers.
Swiss International Air Lines offers more than 180 weekly flights from the UK and Ireland to Switzerland, plus they transport your set of ski or snowboard equipment for free in addition to the standard baggage allowance. SWISS.COMSwiss ski resorts are easily reached thanks to the excellent transport network, making it the ultimate destination for flexible ski travel. The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers travel from any Swiss airport to the chosen holiday destination – and back again at the end of the stay. And even better, children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult holding a Swiss Transfer Ticket. MySwitzerland.com/rail
Find out more in our 2018/2019 Valais Brochure
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