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With its snow-capped mountains and picturesque villages, Valais is a true winter wonderland. And what better way to experience it than by hitting the slopes or going for a leisurely sledge ride. Afterwards, you can relax in one of the many famous spas in the region.
A thrilling ski session when at 4 Vallées ski area
The 4 Vallées ski area in the Swiss Alps offers snow sports enthusiasts an unforgettable winter experience. As you ride up the lifts, you are met with stunning views of the immense Swiss Alps, stretching on and reaching for the skies. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and pristine powdery slopes, it’s easy to feel like you have been transported to a winter wonderland.
The interlinked 4 Vallées ski resort boasts over 412 kilometres of slopes, allowing for endless possibilities on the slopes. The awe-inspiring Mont-Fort serves as a connecting point between the four valleys: Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon. And with modern lifts and cable cars, reaching the top of these majestic mountains has never been easier.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice looking for an unforgettable adventure, the 4 Vallées ski area promises fun and excitement on the slopes right from November until April.
Test your skiing skills at ‘piste de l’Ours’ in Veysonnaz
The 4 Vallées ski area is at the top of every ski and snowboard enthusiast’s bucket list, offering a challenge for even the most skilled shredders while still providing enough variety to keep the whole family entertained.
The ‘piste de l’Ours’ in Veysonnaz, for instance, offers daring skiers the opportunity to test their skills on a legendary slope. As one of the designated red runs in the 4 Vallées ski area, the 2.3km piste boasts a 662m drop, with numerous twists and turns challenging even the most experienced skier. The slope has also been used for over 30 Downhill Ski World Cups, showcasing its demanding configuration.
Panoramic winter views from Nendaz-Veysonnaz
The stunning views of Nendaz-Veysonnaz are enough to take your breath away. The winter season brings a magical transformation to the landscape. Whether you are nestled in the valley or gazing down from the peak of a mountain, winter’s views are stunning. The untouched expanse of white snow glitters in the sunlight, and winter’s skies seem even brighter against that vast blanket of snow.
Standing at the summit of Mont Fort, the highest lift-accessed peak in the region at 3330 m, you can take in a 360-degree vista that includes some of Europe’s tallest and most iconic mountains, such as the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, Grand Combin and Mont Blanc.
Up at this altitude feels like being on top of the world – imagine having all these Alpine giants laid before you in a sea of snow. As you soak in the majestic beauty of the Swiss Alps, it’s impossible not to feel humbled by the power and grace of Mother Nature. It’s truly a sight that must be seen to be believed.
The thrill of a round trip to the summit of Mont Fort
At Mont Fort, the ascend to the top is just as exciting as the downhill runs. As the Mont Fort Cable Car climbs higher and higher towards the summit, the views of the ski slopes below become even more dramatic. With its easy access and round-trip capabilities, the Mont Fort cable car allows all visitors – from seasoned skiers to first-timers – to fully enjoy every aspect of their mountain experience.
The Mont Fort Zipline is worth considering if you’re looking for an alternative way to descend. This epic zipline offers an exhilarating adventure for adrenaline seekers. Starting at Mont-Fort, zip over 1.4 kilometres at speeds of over 100 km per hour towards the Col des Gentianes, soaring above the Tortin glacier. It is an electrifying ride, and the stunning bird’s eye views make it a visually impressive experience.
Skiing down the black run from the Mont Fort Cable Car point with the majestic mountain as a backdrop is an unforgettable experience for advanced skiers and snowboarders. The steep, mogulled piste offers an intense challenge, but with the help of a guide, you can make the most out of this unique terrain.
Skiing down this black run not only gives you bragging rights among your friends, it also allows you to see the mountain from a whole new viewpoint. So strap on your skis and prepare for the ride of your life; skiing has never been so exhilarating.
Refined dining, spa and contemporary Valaisian-style accommodations at Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées & SPA
Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées & SPA is the quintessential choice for an overnight mountain getaway. Situated at the heart of the Haute-Nendaz mountain station, it offers chic and contemporary Valaisian-style accommodations with 62 elegant rooms and suites, as well as high-standard apartments.
The Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées & SPA has two onsite restaurants, Restaurant L’Aigle Carnotzet, serving typical Swiss & gourmet specialities, and Restaurant Le Clos des Cimes, helmed by Chef Thierry Verdonck, which serves up refined cuisine.
In addition, the hotel has a spa with a pool, sauna, and caves, perfect for relaxing after a day on the slopes. With its central location and top-notch amenities, Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées & SPA serves as an excellent base for a luxurious mountain vacation to the 4 Vallées ski area.
Experience Gornergrat with an open-air cog train, a sledge and an observatory deck
On a clear winter’s day, it is hard to beat the view from Gornergrat. So take the eco-friendly Gornergrat Bahn, the world’s first fully electrified cog railway, to the summit of Gornergrat 365 days a year. Gornergrat Bahn takes you on a 9.4-kilometre journey over dramatic bridges, through forests and past rocky ravines, to the highest open-air cog railway in Europe.
The Gornergrat Bahn is more than just a train ride, however. It’s an experience that takes you on a journey through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. With its 33-minute journey time and 1,469 m vertical climb, the Gornergrat Bahn is an impressive feat of engineering.
The Gornergrat is also accessible all year, making it the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of the Swiss Alps. The Gornergrat observation platform offers stunning views of the Monte Rosa massif, the Gorner Glacier, the Matterhorn and a total of 29 mountains above 4,000 m.
There are few things more exhilarating than sledging down a snowy white slope with your own two feet for breaks. A trip to the Gornergrat will give you some fun, fresh air and adventure at the highest sledging run in Europe!
The sledge run starts at Rotenboden station and goes down to Riffelberg. Hiring a sledge is easy, and sledging between twenty-nine 4’000-metre peaks is a high-speed thrill not to be missed. With its stunning views and unique sledging opportunity, Gornergrat is an experience not to be missed this winter.
An overnight stay at Gornergrat under a blanket of stars
With its astronomical observatory, the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, Europe’s highest-altitude hotel, is a memorable place to stay for a truly unique Swiss alpine experience. The hotel offers a variety of room configurations, as well as a restaurant and attractive shops. The hotel is also directly connected to the pistes and winter hiking paths, making it the ideal base for exploring the Gornergrat.
When exploring for a distinct way to experience the Gornergrat, why not try a moonlight visit or dine under the stars. With its clear skies and high altitude, Gornergrat is one of the best places in Europe to stargaze. In addition, the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat’s astronomical observatory is open to guests and offers stunning night sky views.
Winter wellness adventure in Leukerbad for the whole family
A sense of well-being fills Leukerbad as soon as one sets foot in this idyllic Alpine town. The air is crisp, and the scenery is breathtaking. There is a multitude of activities to enjoy, making it the perfect destination for all the family.
The ski slopes stretch for 55km, offering something for everyone, regardless of ability level. Winter hike trails cover 40km, providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains. There is also 4km of toboggan runs, perfect for an exhilarating day out. For those who prefer a more gentle pace, there is 18km of cross-country ski trails to explore.
There’s something distinctive about Swiss alpine villages. It could be how they seem untouched by time or how they’re nestled in snow-capped mountains. Whatever the reason, a visit to the alpine villages of Albinen, Inden or Varen is sure to charm. The sledge is a great family-friendly way to explore this alpine village. For instance, the 1.5km Buljes Run Albinen easy-to-moderate sledge run goes past the rustic village of Albinen and takes you through the stunning mountain landscape.
The winter hike between the mountain villages of Albinen and Guttet-Feschel is another noteworthy way to spend a sunny winter day in Leukerbad. The trail is mechanically prepared and wide, making it easy to enjoy the stunning views of the Rhone Valley, the Turtmann Valley, and the Valais Alps. As you walk past tanned barns and pretty alpine villages, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a winter abode.
Relax and rejuvenate in the famous thermal baths of Leukerbad
Nestled in the Swiss Alps, Leukerbad, the largest thermal SPA resort of the Alps, is renowned for its therapeutic thermal baths and is a great place to recharge after a day of skiing and sightseeing. The thermal springs have been used for centuries to ease various ailments, and the benefits of thermal baths are now widely recognized. A visit to the thermal baths at Leukerbad is a rejuvenating wellness experience that can help to ease muscle pain, relieve stress, and boost circulation. The thermal water is rich in minerals and nutrients, and the natural heat helps to relax muscles and promote healing.
With ten different relaxing baths, slides for families and a modern sauna area, Leukerbad Therme has something for everyone. As an added bonus, the sauna and steam baths have a view of the Daubenhorn massif. After you’ve had a chance to relax, you can whet your appetite at their onsite restaurants. Leukerbad Therme is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm, so it is easy to enjoy a carefree day of relaxation.
Walliser Alpentherme is another excellent example of a thermal spa in Leukerbad. This spa offers an alpine thermal and wellness oasis for those looking to be pampered. Walliser Alpentherme is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm and features thermal and Roman-Irish baths. The large outdoor thermal pool is heated to 36 ° Celsius and has a hot tub, while the indoor thermal pools are heated to 36 ° and 38 ° Celsius, making them the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.
Walliser Alpentherme’s Roman-Irish bath experience is sheer indulgence. Their traditional two-hour bathing ritual is based on the ancient belief that hot and cold water can profoundly affect the body, mind and soul. This unique bath experience is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. In eleven hot air, steam and thermal bath stations set at different temperatures, the body is gently warmed up, made to sweat healthily and gradually cooled down again. After cleaning, the grand finale comes with a soap brush massage. Afterwards, wrap up in comfy towels and recline in Walliser Alpentherme’s relaxation zone to complete the treatment.
Zipline adventure in Saas-Fee
Looking for an unforgettable way to complete your Swiss adventure? Saas-Fee is a beautiful high alpine holiday region that nature has designed specifically for all outdoor adventure enthusiasts. One of the most popular activities in Saas-Fee is the Alpine Canyon winter tour – a thrilling tour from the village of Saas-Fee to Saas Grund through the Saaser Vispa canyon.
This alpine landscape is a spectacular gorge that passes through natural canyons, caves, waterfalls, and alpine vegetation. You can also experience zip lines, suspension bridges, and pendulum swings over the natural terrain.
Another unique way to experience the Saas-Fee during the winter is to zip line through the snow-covered landscape. This activity is perfect for those who are looking for an adrenaline rush and those who are not too fit or skilled. It is easy and fun, and you will enjoy the stunning views of the alpine trees and gorges.
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© This article was first published online in Nov 2022 – World Travel Magazine.