Skiing in Leukerbad

Leukerbad’s Torrent ski area fills a southeast-facing bowl with 50km of groomed piste skiing and snowboarding from 2,610m down to 1,411m and easily accessible off-piste skiing and riding between the pistes.

Leukerbad Ski Area Overview

Leukerbad’s ski area is mainly above the tree line with dramatic mountain views of the Dauberhorn and many 4,000m peaks of the Valais and the Rhône valley. There are 3km of blue, 20km of red and 27km of black runs including tree-lined red and black runs from Rinderhűtte (2,350m) down to the Leukerbad-Rinderhűtte cable car station (1,411m) and to the Flaschen-Torrentalp gondola base station (1,540m). The valley runs lead to four out of five of Leukerbad’s mountain restaurants and they’re fun to ski during the day as well as offering enjoyably long runs down at the end of the day.

The ski area is small but fun with seventeen groomed runs including 2 blues, 8 reds and 7 black runs, which are best suited for intermediate and advanced skiers and riders. First-time beginners can start on nursery slopes at Park Erli until ready to ski the blue runs above Rinderhűtte. Competent beginners will quickly progress from blue to red runs, but less confident beginners would be better learning to ski elsewhere. The longest descents are 10-14km long and start from the top of the Schwalbennest chairlift via a combination of routes to the bottom cable car or gondola stations.

One of the fun things about the Leukerbad ski area is the variable undulating terrain; so when you ski the same run more than once – and you’ll do so often in Leukerbad – by varying your line you can ski the same piste differently. The variable terrain is also more interesting for boarders and freestylers as some of the runs are good for riding up high on the sides of the piste. There’s a small Fun Park with tables, slides and a kicker which is reached by riding the Schwalbennest chairlift.

The Torrent ski lift system of six lifts includes a cable car, two gondolas, a high-speed 6-man chair lift and two T-bar drag lifts.  Expect to have to queue for the cable car and gondola at peak times in the morning, but nothing major.

There are five mountain restaurants the locations of which are clearly marked (but unfortunately not named) on the Leukerbad ski area map. All seventeen marked trails are clearly numbered on the ski area map but the actual piste markers at the side of the runs are not numbered and on-mountain signposting is not always as good as it could be for navigating in bad weather.

If you find yourself skiing with orange and blue poles both to your left and right, you’re on a blue run. That’s fine in good weather, but in bad visibility, you might easily find yourself with black (and orange) and blue (and orange) posts left and right, which means you’re off-piste between two runs, possibly without meaning to be.

Good skiers will easily ski the whole area in a couple of days, which makes Leukerbad a good destination for weekend skiing, but the ski area is not quite big enough to keep advanced skiers entertained for more than a few days unless snow conditions are suitable for skiing off-piste.

In addition to the main Torrent ski area, there’s a particularly good learning area next to the Sportarena on the edge of town with a T bar and a children’s lift for novices and children. There’s also a cable car leading to Gemmipass (2,350m) where you can enjoy cross-country skiing, winter hiking, sledging and snowshoeing around the frozen Lake Daubensee with splendid panoramic views and good ski touring routes higher up.

Beginner Skiing in Leukerbad

Leukerbad’s Park Erli is a splendid learning area for novices and young children. It’s conveniently situated about 400m from the centre of the town and next to the Sports arena with magnificent views of the Dauberhorn cliffs that tower 1,500m above the town.

Park Erli facilities include a wide open nursery slope, T-bar and children’s ski lift. The nursery slope is steep enough and long enough for novices to enjoy learning to ski without having to worry about more experienced skiers speeding past. The facilities include the Snowli Park which is a dedicated area for children between 2½ – 6 years of age.  Children’s skiing lessons and child care at Snowli Park can be booked through Leukerbad’s Official Swiss Snowsports School.

While Leukerbad has very good facilities for novices, the main ski area is not suitable for beginners. There’s a small beginner area close to the top cable car station on Torrent, but only two blue runs totalling just 3km in extent and hence beginners will find it very repetitive unless they can progress very quickly from blue to red runs.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Leukerbad 

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Intermediate Skiing in Leukerbad

Leukerbad’s 50km of groomed pistes are predominantly red and black and best for intermediate skiers and boarders. The black runs are not very steep so intermediates can enjoy the whole ski area and learn to ski off-piste on easy terrain between marked runs.

Although the ski area is smaller in extent than better-known Swiss ski resorts elsewhere in Valais, the flip side of the coin is that there are fewer skiers on the mountain – partly also because many guests are coming for spa treatments rather than to ski – and the slopes are not crowded.

While a smaller ski area means you should expect to have to ski the same runs more than once, many of Leukerbad’s groomed runs rise and fall from left to right as well as from top to bottom which makes them more interesting and allows you to vary your line each time you ski them.

The area above the Bergrestaurant Rinderhűtte (2,350m) and the highest lift (2,610m) is an open bowl containing two blue runs, four red runs and a black run. There’s also plenty of easy off-piste in between the runs and it’s a fun place to ski on a blue sky day.

The red and black tree-lined runs from Rinderhűtte (2,350m) down to the bottom lift stations are great for intermediates. The red and black runs down to the middle and bottom gondola stations are reasonably wide and often quiet. They’re fun to ski fast and from the very top to the bottom gondola station will test your fitness.

The black and red routes from Rinderhűtte down to the bottom of the Torrentbahn cable car offer a long and enjoyable tree-lined descent that passes through a 50m long tunnel part way down. These trails are narrower but not difficult and include impressive views of Leukerbad and the Daubenhorn on the opposite side of the valley.

The Weidstubli half way down red 16 is a popular mountain restaurant. From Weidstubli you can either ski red 16 to Leukerbad (but there’s no lift back up) or ski red 17 to the bottom of the Torrentbahn cable car and ride back up for more.

Advanced Skiing in Leukerbad

Advanced and expert skiers will easily ski Leukerbad’s groomed runs (50km) in just one or two days, but there’s also easy off-piste skiing between the pistes and more challenging off-piste terrain higher up above the main ski area.

More than half of the marked runs are designated black (27km) with red runs making up most of the rest (20km). The best on-piste descents for good skiers are from the top of the Schwalbennest chairlift (2,610m) down to the bottom gondola station (1,540m) – firstly via red run 9, black run 10 and red run 12 and, secondly, following consecutive black runs 3, 4, 5 and 6. The last two of these are fast and enjoyable tree-lined runs on undulating terrain. The Alpengruss and Briand mountain restaurants close to the gondola mid-station (1,920m) both have sun terraces.

The route from the top of the Rinderhalde or Torrent T-bars (2,500m) to the bottom Torrentbahn cable car station (1,450m) is another long descent starting with either red run 1 or black run 4 then from the bottom of Rinderhalde T-bar via black run 15 and red runs 16 and 17 which will bring you back to the cable car. The Weidstubli half of the way down red run 16 is another of Leukerbad’s better mountain restaurants and worth visiting.

While Leukerbad’s ski area is relatively small in terms of the number and extent of groomed runs, when snow conditions are good there’s a reasonable amount of easy off-piste terrain between the pistes. The area above Rinderhűtte includes plenty of lift-served off-piste terrain including the slopes on either side of the Rinderhalde T-bar. But be careful not to stray too far away from the T-bar as there are cliffs out of sight on the left-hand side of the ski area.  Similarly, if skiing or riding the easy off-piste beneath the Schwalbennest chairlift, there are a few small cliffs lower down, but not marked on the map which you need to watch out for. You’ll easily see them in good visibility when riding the chair but if visibility is poor you need to be more careful. There’s yet more relatively easy off-piste terrain beneath the Torrentalp-Rinderhűtte gondola on either side of red run 11.

In addition to easy off-piste skiing and riding between the pistes, there are more challenging off-piste descents from the ridge that rises left to right towards Torrenthorn (2,997m). These steep descents can be reached by booting up from the top of the Rinderhalde T-bar or the top of the Schwalbennest chairlift (2,610m) and the higher up you go the steeper the pitch back down to the safety of the groomed runs. There’s yet more off-piste skiing on the slopes beneath Schaffberg (2,806m), which can be reached by traversing high and left from the start of the Lingelen red run (9).

When skiing or riding on more challenging off-piste terrain away from the main ski area, for safety reasons and to find the best snow, we recommend you hire a guide through Red Carpet Ski School.

Ski Touring in Leukerbad

There’s ski touring on the Gemmipass including the route via Gemmi Pass to Wildstrubel (3,243m) which takes about 3 hours to skin up to the top. The views from the summit are breathtaking with as many as forty-two 4,000-metre peaks visible in perfect weather conditions. Daubenhorn (2,941m) is another popular ski touring route. It takes about 2 hours to reach the top and offers similarly spectacular views of the Valais.

Other ski touring routes in Gemmi Pass include Steghorn (3,148m) and Roter Totz (2,848m), which take between 2 – 2½ hours to ski up. There are also more challenging high-altitude ski touring routes to the Rinderhorn (3,448m) and Balmhorn (3,698m) which take around 4½ -5 hours to ascend and sometimes require the use of crampons.

Boarding & Freestyle in Leukerbad

Although small in extent, the Leukerbad ski area is fun for boarders. Groomed pistes are mostly red and black and on undulating terrain which are fun to ride. The shape of the slopes makes it easy to ride high up the sides of the pistes and to find jumps.

There’s a small snowboard fun park on the Torrent with rails and boxes and a tiny mountain hut. Relative to the size of the ski area, there’s a reasonable amount of lift accessible off-piste between the groomed runs above the Rinderhűtte, including easy off-piste terrain between red runs 7 and 8 beneath the Schwalbennest chairlift.

There’s good carving for boarders and freestylers on red run 9 starting from the top of the chairlift (2610m) then continuing on black 10 to the gondola middle station (1920m). When the powder is good and when safe to venture off-piste, there’s some good off-piste terrain for advanced riders on the slopes beneath Schafberg which is easy to access by traversing high along the left-hand side of red run 9.

Leukerbad Mountain Restaurants

Leukerbad has five mountain restaurants in the main ski area on Torrent, most of them next to the main ski lift stations. There are two more restaurants in the cross-country skiing and winter walking area at Gemmi and the remote Swiss Alpine Club Lämmerenhűtte mountain refuge which is a 1½ hour hike from Gemmi.

Mountain Restaurants on Torrent

Leukerbad’s choice of mountain restaurants is limited. There’s a large self-service Bergrestaurant Rinderhűtte, which is quite ordinary, with a panorama sun terrace and an umbrella bar outside; the restaurant is at the top of the Torrentbahn cable car (2,350m).

There’s nothing else higher up in the ski area apart from the incongruous Torrenthorn building which is an eyesore at 2,497m. It resembles a run-down office building and is in fact a large ski-in, ski-out hotel for school groups, but the ski area would look a lot better off without it.

Fortunately, there are better mountain restaurants on the tree-lined runs below Rinderhűtte. The Briand and more attractive Alpengruss mountain restaurants are situated at gondola middle station at 1,920m. There also Flaschen next to the bottom gondola station at 1,540m.

The Weidstubli mountain restaurant is a popular place for lunch and can be reached either by skiing red 16 below Reuillerette or on foot via winter walking paths from Leukerbad, which is a 45-minute walk, then ride the toboggan run back to Leukerbad.

Mountain restaurants on Gemmi

The Gemmi Pass is an ancient trading route that dates back to Roman times. In the winter season, the Gemmi area features cross-country skiing, ski touring, winter walking, snowshoeing, tobogganing and even snow kiting on the frozen Lake Daubersee.

The Berghotel Wildstrubel is situated at the top of the Gemmi cable car, overlooking Lake Daubersee with stunning views of Leukerbad and the Valais and Bernese Alps. The historic Berghotel Schwarenbach is situated on the Gemmipass beyond Daubersee and dates back to 1742. It’s well visited by ski tourers, mountaineers and walkers and has provided hospitality to several famous guests including Picasso, Edward Whymper and Mark Twain. The Lämmerenhűtte is a Swiss Alpine Club mountain refuge about a 1½ hour hike from Gemmipass.

Restaurant Alpengruss
Tel: +41 (0) 27 470 93

Restaurant Briand
Tel: +41 (0) 27 470 19 08

Restaurant Flaschen
Tel: +41 (0) 27 17 55

Restaurant Rinderhűtte
Tel: +41 (0) 27 472 81 30

Tel: +41 (0) 27 470 11 17

Tel:  +41 (0) 27 470 35 58   

Berghotel Wildstrubel
Tel: +41 (0) 27 470 27 97

Tel: +41 (0) 33 675 22 87

Tel: +41 (0) 33 673 30 10


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