Leukerbad – The Perfect Swiss Skiing Destination
Awe inspiring peaks, bone-chilling cold, serene snow – that’s the apt way of describing the region. The whole of Alps is indeed awe inspiring. But all the beauty and the might of the mountains that the range is known for, culminates at Leukerbad, Switzerland.
This resort is unique in the sense that it has contrasting natural wonders, all in one place. It’s famous for its all-encompassing hospitality, the fabled Gemmi pass, and the Hot water baths, yes, right in the middle of freezing Alpine cold, making it the perfect retreat destination.
The Gemmi Pass
If not anything else, the Gemmi Pass should be on the top of your list. It takes you through the glacial colossus that forms the western flank of the Alps. The region has always been sort of a muse for the creatives, referenced by Guy de Maupassant and even traversed by the likes of Sherlock Holmes in ‘The final problem’.
Gemmi pass is an experience that sums up the whole of Alps. It serves as a portal to many peaks, including the Daubenhorn (2941 m/9648 ft) The Wildstrubel (3243 m/10639 ft), the Staghorn (3,148m/ 10329 ft), the Rinderhorn and the apex of the Gemmi pass, the Balmhorntrek. A trek up this peak takes the longest (5 hours).
If you’re not a fan of exhausting treks and extreme heights, Alte Gemmi is the peak for you. This summit takes just about an hour and still manages to take your breath away (with the view of course, not the hike itself)
Perhaps the best part of the Gemmi is the vantage point it offers. From here, over 40 peaks can be admired, including the mightiest summits of the Alps- The Dom, Weisshorn and Dent Blanche, and the dread and awe-inspiring Matterhorn. Called the mountain of mountains, Matterhorn held out against Man’s attempts to scale the Alps and was one of the last alpine peaks to be conquered. It remains one of the deadliest peaks in the world, and perhaps best admired from a distance.
Ski Tours and Sledge Runs
The Gemmi pass hosts one of the larger areas for ski touring in Europe. The slopes are of moderate difficulty.
The pass is also the perfect place for sled runs, with their own dedicated slope (Yes, the Gemmi is Huge!). It offers never ending sledge runs, starting at 2350 m (7710 ft), and as you slide whole of Valais Alps pans before your eyes. Sledges can be rented at the upper terminal, for around 5 CHF per person per run.
A Special sledge run will take you to down Daubensee, and there’s no chance you wouldn’t want to do it all over again. So a cable way is always ready to haul you uphill once more. Those who’re always on the lookout for a challenge can choose to walk up. If you think you have it in you, the steep will make you think again. There’s nothing like the exhaustion that’ll follow your victory, you’ll like it.
Winter Hiking and Snow Shoeing
But what if you like to take it slow? If you feel skiing leaves no chance to appreciate the magnificence you find yourself in, and If you like to take things at your own space.
The all-encompassing Gemmi offers hikers a cumulative 40 km (25 mi) of challenge and adventure. The winter trails will take you to breathtaking views of Walliser Alps to the south, and finally to the Gemmi vantage point where you can appreciate the mighty peaks. It takes 3 to 4 hours.
The pass also offers snowshoe treks up the slope and around the typical alpine village of Albinen. Other options include the Jagerboren (5km/ 3.1 mi) and Panoramic trail (8.5 km/ 5.3 mi).
Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is yet another reason to come here, especially if you like an open competition. There is a total of 12 trails dedicated to this, the longest of which is 7 km (4.3 mi) and takes you down to lake Duaben. Trail maps are offered by Leukerbad Tourisus, so don’t fear being lost (The map could make getting lost a rather fun experience)
Torrent Winter Sports Area
Torrent winter sports area is the second highlight of the area and overlooks the tall Valais Alps and Rhone valley. It has a total 53 km (33 mi) of slopes, from 2610 m to 1411 m (8563 to 4629 ft). 3.5 km (2.2 mi) of these are blue /easy, 27 km (16.8 mi) red /moderate and 17 km (10.5 mi) black/expert. Black slopes feel like a snow rollercoaster.
The Dream Slope (altitude diff. of 1070 meters/ 3510.4 ft) takes you to a spectacular 360 panorama of Valais, many 4000ft+ club peaks, and even the Rhone valley. A Cable car can take you there in a few minutes. All these amazing features make Leukerbad one of the best ski resorts in the region, attracting thousands of visitors each week.
The Swiss Snowsports School lets both beginners and advanced skiers a chance to grow their snow traversing skills further. The Ice Rink there can accommodate more than 400 viewers. The field is about 60 m long and 30 m wide (196.8 to 98.4 ft). And there’s more- figure ice skating, curling, and a wide assortment of gear for sports teams. So if you haven’t tried these amazing winter sports before, the best time to do it is NOW!
The famous thermal baths of Leukerbad, over 30 of them, are the warmer counterpart to the Gemmi pass, and not to be missed. Immerse yourself in the mineral rich, pristine Alpine snowmelt, warmed by nature. Temperatures up to 51 C (128 F) are available. A thermal bath in Leukerbad is a very therapeutic experience.
The nearby wine village of Varen is also a must see for wine enthusiasts.
Base Elevation: 1411 m
Summit Elevation: 2610 m
Vertical Drop: 1199 m
Accommodation at Leukerbad is indeed very accommodating! Options include Apartments, chalets, spa hotels, Hotels with their own hot Water baths and places for families. Rest assured, you wouldn’t have to spend the night out in the cold. It’s easy to find your way around and get to learn the place quickly.
The snowpark sportena on torrent is the perfect place for you to get initiated into the world of hiking, with experts around to help you hone your sliding prowess. Advanced students can also master their moves on torrent. The sporting arena also has offers that include wall climbing, skating, squash and bike rentals. The place has something for everyone.
Leukerbad is in the canton of Valais in Switzerland.
Getting here by car or public transport is easy as it’s connected by good roads.
Geneva (196 km)
Zurich. (311 km)
So what’re you waiting for? Leukerbad is the ideal destination whether you want to have some adventure or even if you seek solitude. You can visit the resort with family, friends, or as a couple. It has something on offer for people from all age groups, making it a family-friendly place. From adventure sports like skiing to leisure activities, this resort offers many amenities.
So, Plan your trip, book your tickets, and visit this place to live some of the unforgettable days of your life. Have fun!