The Best Skiing (and Spas) in Valais, Switzerland
Contrary to popular belief, the Matterhorn isn’t Switzerland’s only mountainous child. It’s one of a string of 47 sky-scraping mountain peaks in the Swiss canton of Valais. The skiing, of course, is epic in this sunny, bilingual region on the border between Switzerland and Italy, especially on the Längfluh Glacier at Saas-Fee. As well as skiing, Valais is known for scenic spas and ancient Roman baths, such as the outdoor bubbles at Ovronnaz.
Ovronnaz, 1911 Leytron, Switzerland
When the Romans arrived here in 15 b.c.e., they brought their thermal bath culture, and you can still see the ruins. But newer bains thermaux also abound. The village of Saillon has a Rivière Thermale, like a water park’s lazy river, lined with grottoes, steam rooms, and saunas. In Ovronnaz, end the day in bubbling thermal pools while watching the alpenglow recede across the mountain range. ovronnaz.ch. This appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.
3906 Saas Fee, Switzerland
From Saas-Fee’s Spielboden ski area, the world’s highest underground metro train barrels up to the Längfluh Glacier, where snowboarders and skiers carve with abandon. The less brave (or less crazy) come to the 11,482-foot-high station for the kitschy-cool revolving restaurant, the ice tunnels, and the exhibits about the glacier. This appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.