In Leukerbad there are two popular skiing areas located above 2,000 meters: in one of them skiers and snowboarders master the slopes, and in the other – cross-country skiers reel around the lake. Yes, yes, it is surprising, but a fact: on the mountain, where Gemmi booth rises, there is not a single ski slope – only 15 km of a specially prepared ski track.
In general, as shown by the current revision of the Alpine resorts, even in the mountains, flat skis in honor. For example, our friend David from the tourism office of Leukerbad every working day instead of lunch goes on an hour and a half ski trip, and in the evenings he teaches this sport to schoolchildren. Since we ourselves didn’t have time to test the local ski runs, we asked David to tell us about his favorite routes around the resort, and at the same time we found out why he prefers cross-country skiing in the mountains.
– Where is the best place for cross-country skiing in Leukerbad?
– Sportplatz kilometer ski track, located on the football field, near Sportarena, is suitable for sports training. This is a perfectly flat track, without drops, on which you can work out the technique or just drive. On the blue Polles track, next to the Sportplatz ski run, I work with local schoolchildren. It’s still good to ride with the whole family – the relief in this area is simple, and it’s not far from the Erli’s children’s slide, which means you can combine mountain and cross-country skiing. There are also tracks at the entrance to Leukerbad: Brigmatten is small and fairly flat. Then she goes to Noyer – the track is more complicated, full of ups and downs. I have to work hard on this route, but personally I love him very much – this is where I ride at lunchtime.
– But what about the ski slopes at Gemmi?
– Oh, yes, these are very beautiful and popular tracks, but you need to climb a booth before them, which requires additional time and money. Undoubtedly, this is an ideal option for those who are accustomed to be on top and want to enjoy in the process of riding unearthly landscapes. There are several routes to Gemmi. The most popular – Daubensee – is laid along the lake and consists of two parallel tracks (7 km each – for the classic and ridge tracks). Another route – Lammernboden – is also designed for both riding styles, the length of the tracks is 8 km. True, the Lammern ski run is starting to cook no earlier than February, since in December and January it is very cold in this zone and there is no sun at all, therefore there are no people willing to ski either.
– Does the lake on Gemmi always freeze? Is it not thermal?
– The lake at Gemmi is generally amazing – there is almost no water in it: neither thermal, nor any other. In winter, for example, there is one snow. The thing is that at the bottom of this lake there is a natural hole through which all the water flows into Salgash – the village next to Varen, and only in summer the lake is filled with melt water. At the beginning of July, the highest water level in Daubensee, but by the end of summer the lake again becomes completely empty. Then it slowly begins to fill with snow.
– Yes, therefore skiing on Daubensee is absolutely safe. And snow there is guaranteed throughout the winter season – from mid-December to mid-April. By the way, on skis from Daubensee, you can still go down the walking route to Kanderstek (from 2200 m to 2080 m), where you have your own ski slopes and the pleasant Schwarenbach restaurant, which is deliciously prepared. – Why do you need cross-country skis in the mountains, if you have already invented mountain skis? – Well, these are completely different things. Cross-country skiing is a real fitness, so after 15 minutes of active skiing you start to sweat. When I go skiing, I almost do not strain. Yes, I feel some muscles that in everyday life do not tense strongly, but no more. In addition, cross-country skiing does not have such a strong load on the joints, so even older people can do it. In general, it is a very useful sport.
– Are there any ski instructors at the resort?
– Yes, there are four instructors in the Lukarbad representative office of Official Swiss Snowsports School, who give individual classes in cross-country skiing.
– Can I rent cross-country skis on Gemmi?
– No, you need to go up with the equipment, you can rent it downstairs in the sports stores Briand Sport and Intersport Possa. The average price is 30 francs per set for an adult and 9 francs per child set. By the way, in Leukerbad, with the exception of trails on Gemmi, where you need to get on the lift, cross-country skiing is free. In other Swiss resorts, skiers, as a rule, need to buy something like a ski pass.