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The 4 Valleys
The 4 Valleys (Les 4 Vallées) in the Southern Swiss Alps is one of the largest and most popular 4 seasons destinations in Europe.
The best known resort in the 4 Valleys is Verbier, but it shares this snow-lover's paradise with the picturesque mountain villages of Haut Nendaz, La Tzoumaz, Veysonnaz, Thyon and Crans Montana.
In Winter, the ski domain is unique and varied, ranging in altitude from 1,359m to 3,300m and comprising 412km of pistes with 92 ski lifts with guaranteed snow from December to April.
World Cup races take place on the "Piste de l'Ours" above Veysonnaz and in April, the Glacier Patrol, a bi-annual high alpine world competition runs from Zermatt or Arolla to Verbier. In addition, Mont Fort hosts the 'XSpeedski' World Cup FIS final for the World's fastest skiers.
For freeriders, the O’Neill Xtreme by Swatch, when the world’s top freeriders demonstrate their skills at dizzy heights on slopes, rocky cliffs and in narrow gorges, is held in Verbier in March and the Nendaz Freeride, held shortly before the Xtreme is the Swiss round of the Freeride World Qualifier for entry into the Freeride World Tour.
In the Summer, the area is ideal for walking and mountain-biking. The Grand Raid Cristalp, the longest and hardest mountain bike race in the world, is held each August. 4000 competitors attempt a course 131 km long from Verbier via Nendaz to Grimentz with a 4600 m difference in altitude.
Golfers are also well catered for. There are 18-hole courses in Verbier (2) and Sion and Crans-Montana has a long golfing tradition - the 18-hole Severiano Ballesteros Golf Course with its breath-taking views is situated on the high plateau of Crans. The international elite meet here every year for golfing tournaments, including the European Open.
Grande Dixence dam in the Val d'Hérémence - at 285 metres high, the highest dam in the world. Daily guided tours inside the dam wall (June to September).
Sion: the medieval capital of the Canton of Valais and oldest city in Switzerland, with its historic townscape dominated by the imposing fortified hill castle of Valère which commands a stunning view. Sion is located in the middle of one of the most important wine-growing regions in Switzerland; Fendant, the region's white wine is particularly well known.
Cow processions and cow fights – the combative Eringer (Hérens) cows of the Valais fight for the title of "Queen" (end of June / beginning of July).
Saillon-les-Bains: a small town of Neolithic and Roman origins with a variety of attractions including thermal baths.
Underground lake near St-Léonard – from March to November, there are boat trips on Europe's largest underground lake, situated between Sion and Sierre.