This article first appeared in our sister title, Snow Magazine, 20 November 2023
You know the old travel cliché: if you want to know where to visit, buy a guidebook; if you want to know what’s worth visiting, ask a local. Well, we believe the same applies to skiing, only more so. Think about it: even the best-drawn piste maps struggle to show how mountains fit together, and they often miss out off-piste valleys, where the best powder is to be found, altogether.
TripAdvisor restaurant guides can’t really be trusted, and as useful as they are, Google Maps’ knife and fork symbols can’t ever capture a café’s vibe, or tell you if there’s a cool cover band playing in a particular bar, on a particular night. With that in mind, when we set about compiling a guide to the highlights of Switzerland’s Valais region, we thought we’d go straight to the source. We asked four locals, from a variety of different backgrounds, to tell us what they love most about four of the region’s most storied resorts. Here we focus on the Region Dents du Midi, and its six charming villages…
Skiing in the Region Dents du Midi
If you’ve been to the Portes du Soleil, you’ve very likely skied this region, maybe without appreciating its distinct character as the Swiss sector within the wider cross-border PdS ski domain with its 600km of pistes. The Region Dents du Midi encompasses 6 charming villages nestled in the spectacular Val d’Illiez, including the ski villages of Champéry, Morgins, Les Crosets and Champoussin. The Dents du Midi themselves are the seven peaks of the mountain range that forms the backdrop to a skiing holiday here.
At the area’s outside edge, Champéry is one of the oldest tourist places in Switzerland and combines charm and authenticity with its chalets lining a picturesque village street bustling with shops and places to eat. Les Crosets is very much the nerve centre of the Swiss side, with great connections; Champoussin is ideal for beginners, with gentle slopes, while Morgins marks the link between the Swiss and French terrain.
Whisper it… but the Swiss side is often quieter, more relaxed and more fun to ski!