You don’t ski? Don’t let that hinder you, as the chill sets in and the snow descends. There are so many other winter activities to enjoy in the region, even skiers might be tempted to swap their skis for something more……. ‘interesting’! Here are our suggestions.
No need for a ski-pass, or expensive kit, just don a pair of ‘raquettes’, grab some batons and off you go! Snowshoeing is a wonderful way of accessing the great outdoors in the depth of winter. As they say ‘if you can walk, you can snowshoe’, although a little practice does make perfect! Every ski resort that you visit will have designated, and usually well-marked snowshoe and winter hiking routes – check on-line, or ask at the resort tourist office.
Closer to ‘home’, there are lovely trails in the St Cergue area, which can be combined with a stop at one of the many local refuges for a vin chaud or fondue.
Sitting in warm, bubbly water, while gazing at snow-capped peaks – what a treat; and what a tonic for tired limbs which have been engaging in other winter activities. We are fortunate to have a number of thermal baths within a reasonable driving distance. Our favourites are:
Lavey-les-Bains– in Valais, about an hour’s drive away. We especially like escaping the children in the adult-only relaxation pavilions; listening to underwater music, while floating in the internal pool; and having a fondue afterwards at the on-site Swiss chalet restaurant. Other people like it too, so arrive early or late to avoid the crowds.
Bains d’Illiez – also in Valais, and about an hour away. These are small baths, in a very scenic setting; especially nice after dark.
Bains Bleu – at Genève Plage, Geneva. Not, technically speaking, a ‘thermal’ spa, but there’s lots of warm, bubbly water, nonetheless, and a gorgeous roof-top pool, with views of Lac Léman and the Jura.
End on a High!
Even if you’re not planning to ski, it can be fun to use the ski lift network to reach those highest peaks, with their formidable views, not to mention panoramic restaurants! If you have a head for heights, you might like to try:
Skyway, Courmayeur – A relatively new cable car, which rotates as it ascends to 3,500m. Amazing views, three stations with restaurants and viewing points, and a children’s adventure park, make this a real adventure.
Peak Walk, Diablerets – A suspension bridge at Glacier 3000, which joins two peaks and affords stunning views of the Alps. Just don’t look down!
Compiled by: Jen Sealy and Olive Fenton