Sunday, December 15, 2013

Skiing Switzerland's Goms Valley

Zermatt, St. Moritz, Gstaad and Davos stand at the apogee of name recognition among Switzerland's downhill ski resorts. But what's the Swiss equivalent for Nordic skiing? Why the Goms Valley, course, at least among the Swiss. Few in North America have ever heard of this sunny landscape that's sliced by the Rhone River and hemmed in by 10,000-foot-high peaks. What a shame, considering it's laced with 100 km of trails, and blessed with thick snow for four months a year, and excellent mass transit: a little red train lets skiers hop on and off in their village (and trail networks) of choice. (A trail pass even includes train access.) I skied the 22 km from Obergestein to Niederwald, passing dark larch structures fashioned sans nails and graceful steepled churches, crossing wooden bridges over the Rhone, and gliding through forests thick with spruce.