Riederalp at the Aletsch Glacier is located in the sun-blessed southern Swiss canton of Valais/Wallis about 8km east of Brig.The first time I was in the area was in 1997 when my uncle and aunt got married in Fiesch. That time we stayed down in the valley in Fiesch and to go skiing we went up to the Fiescheralp every day which actually was a bit of a hazzle. In 2000 and 2002 we went back to the area, this time staying on Bettmeralp. And in 2011 my parents invited my brother and me to join them for a skiing holiday again. This last time we stayed in a chalet on Riederalp just next to the pist. In the morning you could literally fall out of bed, onto your skis and onto the pist which gives you the longest skiing time possible.
The whole area, named Aletsch Arena as a skiing area, is quite big. Due to good connections you can hop from one village’s pists to another with crossing from Bettmeralp to Fiescheralp being a bit of a challege as you can see on the map. With one (not so cheap) ski pass you can use 35 different cable ways and other ski lifts, 104 km of pists, 75.5 km of winter hiking paths and much more plus all three villages are car-free, which, for me, makes them the perfect holiday destination.
Being car-free is a bit of a hazzle when you arrive, sure. Once you arrive in the valley towns of Mörel or Betten, you unload your car onto a a cart and leave the car in the parking. Then you make your way to the aerial cable cars that take you up to the plateau in approximately 10 minutes. The price for that ride is not so cheap, but you only have to do the trip twice: once you arrive and once you leave. Arriving at the plateau, you can get one of the snow taxis that are waiting at the station to take your baggage to your chalet or hotel. Or you can borrow an old fashion sledge to pull your baggage to the place your are staying yourself. Anyways you have to walk becaus even with a snow taxi only one person can accompany the baggage in the taxi.
Here going somewhere actually means walking through the snow so you always think twice, everything takes its time and you will e.g. never shop unnessecary things because you have to carry them home. Neither village on the plateau is a party destination. They are all relaxing, family friendly places where you can ski and have all other sort of fun in the snow like hiking with shoe shoes on the UNESCO protected Aletsch glacier or stopping by at villa Cassel high in the mountains above Riederalp and that in summer houses a the Pro Natura center . There are several supermarkets so depending in which area on e.g. Riederalp you live, you don’t have to walk for ages to get to one. But the best way of shopping for me is going by ski. You plan where you need to go and take a backpack. Than you stop there (that works best for the bakery at Bettmeralp), take of the ski, go shopping and carry you shopping back home in your backpack. How cool is that, honestly?
As you can see, I love that area. It is beautiful, relaxing and has good ski pists. It is just expensive and Michael is no big skier. So I hope my parents invite me there again soon…