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Leysin is a traditional Swiss resort that started a little lower down the mountain than the ski resort has reached now. You can get to the old village from a stop on the funicular railway that runs up to the resort from Aigle in the valley. The modern resort does not have a huge amount of architectural charm to shout about, but its location on a sunny 'balcony' with superb views of the Alpes Vaudoises is a great natural asset. Leysin traditionally took a large chunk of the schools and students market, with educational establishments of its own on its lower slopes and school parties arriving on holidays from across Europe. This youthful attitude was no doubt a major factor in the early growth of snowboarding in the area. During the '90s however, Leysin built another reputation as a conference venue, with excellent facilities for this type of event. Besides, the resort participates in the Alpes Vaudoises Pass which includes the neighbouring resort of Les Diablerets with its 3000m high year round glacier ski area serviced by a newly refurbished lifts. The link lift area of Gryon, Les Diablerets resort and Villars is also included as well as Les Mosses.

Situated on a plateau above the Rhone Valley with magnificent views of Mont Blanc and the Eiger. Renowned for its sunshine (1900 hours annually which equals over five hours every day, average) ... and skiing.

Mountain

Leysin's 60km (37 miles) of runs is actually quite an impressive 'single area' figure and the amount of skiing available in a week long Alpes Vaudoises Pass is as much as the biggest in the world. The local vertical of 1000 metres is good too and those nervous at the relatively low top lift height and south facing slopes can be reassured by the proximity of one of Europe's top year round ski centres, the glacier at Les Diablerets only half an hour away and included on the pass. The lift-linked area between Diablerets village (separate to the glacier area), Villars and Gryon is closer still, and offers a further 100km (63 miles) of runs. A free ski bus service can take you there. Leysin has a great selection of 20 varied runs including a separate nursery area at village level and more at the top of the gondola. The lower slopes are wooded but the upper two thirds of the mountain is made up of wide fast cruise runs - mostly blues and reds. For experts, there are two blacks runs, the best running for the first two-thirds of a top to bottom descent over the full 1000m vertical beneath the Berneuse Express gondola. The high black served by the Chaux de Mont chair around the snowpark is also fun. Mountain restaurants include the Kuklos 250 seat revolving restaurant at 2048 metres. As it turns 360 degrees in a 90 minute rotation it takes in panoramas of Lake Geneva, the Rhone Valley and famous mountains including Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and the Eiger. The ski school offers ski touring and heli-skiing with its mountain guides for one or more days duration according to demand. There are 39km (24 miles) of cross-country trails in the area.

Families

Leysin has been recognized officially as a resort where « Families are welcome » since 2001. This title is accorded by the Swiss Tourism Federation to resorts fulfilling specific criteria concerning their « family friendliness ». In Switzerland only 26 destinations are actually recognized as fulfilling these requirements. More than just a simple marketing strategy, this actually corresponds to a philosophy concerning family vacations. Leysin does its best to make guests, but in particular families (for whom special offers are available) feel at home. In summer, the weekly programs offered for children and their families are run by a dedicated professional: the art of cheese making, the quiz trail of the little trapper, discover life on a swiss farm, educational hike on renewable energy. The main goal of these excursions is to give children and adults alike a taste of wonder and the chance to enjoy themselves while staying pleasantly busy. In winter, families benefit from very advantageous prices in Leysin: Skiing and accommodation, free for kids up to 9! The weekly program of activities plus the local Snow Sports School permits each family member to participate in and enjoy the snow related activities. Whether you need child-minding facilities, picnic and games areas, a range of trips and walks suitable for parents with pushchairs, You‘ll find that every care has been taken to ensure that children enjoy a dream holiday here. The resort has one non-skiing daycare centre which accept children from as young as six months at the Arc-en-ciel centre. Children aged three and older may joining the fun at the Swiss Ski School's Snow Garden where they can play in the snow. Ski kindergarten starts at age 3 with children's ski classes running up to age 15, all day cover with lunchtime supervision is the norm. Opening hours vary from and 8.15 to 8.30am start with 5 hours of teaching time between 9am and 4pm, Mondays to Saturdays and a 5 or 6.30pm finish depending on the season. A day nursery is also available.

Eating Out

Leysin has about 20 restaurants, most of them serving traditional Swiss and alpine cuisine also from hotel dining rooms. For a little ambiance the Fromagerie has lots of character with a natural stone and wood interior and log fires. Le Chasseur and Le Leysin are also recommended. Some gourmet food is available in the evenings at the revolving Kuklos restaurant on the mountain.

Apres

There are about 8 bars, also in hotels or connected to restaurants in Leysin. The Cable bar is one of the livelier choices. The atmosphere is generally young and international. Snacks, barbecue and paella (on request) and concerts make it very popular! It is situated at the end of the slopes, down the gondola. There are two night spots - "The Lynx" and "Le Seven" playing the current European chart hits.

Boarding

Leysin has been a major 'boarders destination since the early years of the sport so its credentials and credibility are not to be questioned! The resort staged its first World Pro tour event as early as '92 when 'boarding was still banned by many resorts and the Nescafé Masters World Cup and separate European Championships through the mid '90s. The Giant X Tour is a major event for snowboarding and skiing in whole Switzerland. The final generally takes place in Leysin. Fixed assets include a snowboard park with half pipe that is kept in shape when conditions are good. You can access most of the terrain from the gondolas and chairlifts which make up the vast majority of the lifts, a definite plus for 'boarders who have only a handful of T Bars to bother about and few of them of key access importance. The terrain doesn't have much steep and scary stuff but it does have plenty of interesting nooks and crannies, especially in the trees at the edge of the lower runs, so freeriders can find a lot to enjoy if they look about or tag along with someone with local knowledge. An avalanche training center offers the opportunity to train on the avalanche risk. More information is available at the guides office: +41 24 4941846

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Vertical drop
1000m
Ski area
60
Resort height
1263m
Airport
Geneva / Geneve
Train station
Leysin
beginner
60%
intermediate
30%
expert
10%