As snowfall continues to dust the alpine peaks and thoughts turn to the 2012/2013 winter season, Leukerbad is gearing up for an eventful few months ahead.
The epitome of an undiscovered gem, the quaint town is enveloped on all sides by imposing mountain ranges, offering a wealth of quintessential pastimes for winter sports enthusiasts. The 17 groomed runs
of the easily accessible Torrent Alp cater for skiers or snowboarders of all abilities, whilst plentiful cross-country trails promise a challenge.
The ambitious sport of snow-kiting, in which participants use kite power to slide across snow or ice, is the latest addition to Leukerbads array of outdoor pursuits, as the Daubensee Lake and Gemmi Pass provide the perfect terrain on which amateurs can train and pros can perfect their glide.Snow-kiters
can also now be watched drifting across the expanse from an unsurpassable vantage point; the towns spectacular Gemmi Observation Deck which opens on 22nd December until 14th April (and again from 19th May until 10th November) and offers stunning vistas of the entire valley. The recently implemented and state-of-the-art gondola meanwhile, facilitates even easier access to the pistes, which within the next five years will be augmented by an additional 250km, firmly placing Leukerbad on the map as a great skiing destination.
However, donning snow boots is not a requirement to enjoy the winter lifestyle in Leukerbad. Long since a renowned wellness destination, at the epicentre of the town lie thermal springs
from which flow nourishing water at a constant temperature of 51˚. Famed for its healing and restorative properties, the water is used within the thermal baths and spa, open year-round and is the perfect way to unwind after an active day on the slopes.
To discover the town at its best and most vibrant, there is no better time than during the annual Leukerbad Carnival
, taking place from 2nd February 2013. The elaborate celebration is a mixture of religious and pagan festivities, as children and adults alike dress in mythical costumes and enliven the valley with parades and processions, whilst the sound of traditional Guggenmusik fills the streets. Handmade figurines of devils, witches and evil spirits thought to inhabit the mountainside are burnt as a symbol of rebirth.
As construction progresses on the 51˚ Spa Residences
project and new life is breathed into the town, future winter seasons in Leukerbad are only set to become bigger and better.