Best things to do in Canton du Valais while Alaïa Bay is closed
6 of the Best Experiences in the Valley
While the winter months mean the waves must stop in the Bay, it doesn’t mean the adventures need to stop. Wintertime in Canton du Valais is magical, with everything from world-class ski resorts in the shadow of the Matterhorn to relaxing spas, there is something for everyone to do in the valley while Alaïa is closed. Let us take you through some of the best experiences the valley has to offer, from glacier exploration to luxurious relaxation in ancient spas.
THE ZINAL GLACIER
Trek to another dimension by visiting the Zinal Glacier. Sitting at the meeting place of three other glaciers at around 3000km, this 7km long glacier is constantly shifting and evolving through every spring ice melt and subsequent winter freeze. A trek to the glacier is not for the faint hearted, but a wintertime visit offers so much more than an easier summertime mission. After 2.5 hours following a guide through a snowshoe trek, the wintertime offers a truly magical opportunity to witness the Zinal ice caves. These caves can reach length up to 200 metres, where you can watch as small streams ripple through these ice tunnels, making it one of the best things to do in the Canton du Valais while Alaïa Bay is closed.
If you fancy an other-wordly adventure to the Zinal ice caves, you can book guided treks here. Please remember, you have to be at least 10 years of age to be able to trek to the ice caves.
CRANS MONTANA SKI RESORT
Crans Montana is over 100 years old, and boasts immersive iconic scenery including of both the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, with extensive pistes of over 140km and lively apres. This high-altitude (at 1500 metres) playground has rediscovered its place in the European ski scene, with sweeping, curving pistes that weave through the tree line, excellent freestyle facilities and accessible off-piste areas. There’s even the opportunity to take park in torchlit descents at nighttime.
There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re looking to improve your skills on black slopes or a total novice.
SOAK UP THE SERENITY IN THE THERMAL BATHS
Experience the enriching natural spas of the Canton du Valais at Leukerbad, less than one hour from Alaïa Bay. Everyday nearly 4 million litres of water is heated by subterranian thermal springs bubble up to the Earth’s surface in the form of 65 different thermal pools. It is the largest thermal deposit in Europe. This ancient relaxation technique is refreshing for your body and mind, with the water from these thermal pools containing minerals from the layers of earth that the water asses through to reach the surface. As a result, this water which sits at 44 degree Celcius, can help to strengthen your muscles and provide relief for stiff or painful joints. On top of the health benefits, the stunning views these pools sit among allow you to unwind in the heart of the Alps, surrounded by majestic mountains and forest.
GET IN THE FESTIVE SPIRIT AT THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS
In need of some gifting inspiration, or maybe you just want to soak up the festive feeling at the traditional Christmas markets at Montreux, Lausanne and Sion? Take in the magical ambience of these fairy-tale markets, adorned with bright lights and dozens of culinary delights. These markets boast rustic, homely and historical alpine charm, making them some of the best things to do in the valley while Alaïa is closed. Craftsmen and creators from the region have their goods on display for you to browse under the twinkling lights. See these picturesque towns looking straight off a Christmas card, and pick up some last minute special gifts while sipping on mulled wine. What could be better in December.
WORK ON YOUR SKILLS AT THE ALAÏA CHALET
Paradise for action sports, the Alaïa Chalet is home to top-class infrastructure to help you maintain, improve, and push the limits of you ability. Wetherr you’re a pro looking to finely tune your skills, or a total beginner looking to learn in safe and guided conditions, Alaïa Chalet has what you need to progress.
Alaïa Chalet is home to an extensive gym and specialist coaches, with more than 5000m2 of indoor and outdoor infrastructure, including a trampoline park and indoor and outdoor skateparks. These facilities can help to help you hone your skills in:
The Aletsch glacier is the largesty glacier in the Alps, and a defining element of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stretching to around 23km long, a hike to this glacier is a perfect winter mission to fulfill your thrill seeking needs in Canton du Valais. You can choose your level of explorative adventure for your trek to the Aletsch glacier, with anything from a 2 hour trip to a 3 day immersive trek and camp. If you choose a guided tour, you can walk atop the glacier. The guides that take you across the glacier are mountain pros, who will keep you engaged with stories and mind blowing facts about this mammoth glacier. If the conditions are right, you may be able to hear the white noise of the subglacial river that flaws beneath the Aletsch glacier.