Hotel Du Pigne in Arolla, the beautiful Evolène Valley of Switzerland, is a very special place to visit for a ski trip, on Swiss Ski safari through these magnificent Alps.
Up a winding scenic road from the wine-rich Rhone River valley is this special small ski village, and Arolla ski station – which is just 4 rustic poma lifts, with views of 5 glaciers, and some fantastic and uncrowded skiing up to 3000-meters, with amazing off-piste terrain as well.
Our arrival at Hotel Du Pigne, we found the sunny hotel Terrace full of happy skiers enjoying après ski drinks and snacks from Du Pigne’s restaurant. We were greeted warmly and escorted to our 2nd floor room, which had a magnificent balcony, looking up at Mont Collon glacier and the towering Dents Blanches – white teeth – great description of these towering snowy peaks. Our clean neat suite offered a nice big bed with a fluffy Swiss down duvet, lots of closet space, a private bath with a big tub, and a separate sitting room with TV, couch and lounge area.
Our balcony at Du Pigne was by far our favorite place to relax after skiing, overlooking the cute little village, where there’s a full-service ski shop and a small gift shop selling local Swiss items as well as snacks and wine. It’s a walk or a short drive down to the Arolla skiing parking area.
After a day skiing Arolla, Hotel du Pigne’s charming proprietor, Severine, offers massage services, reflexology, and more. She and her husband – the Chef – have operated the hotel for 30 years. They are proud and present, without being intrusive.
Dinner became a highlight of our stay, served each night in Hotel du Pigne’s Resturant for guests and locals. Raclette and Swiss fondue are classics, plus there’s a full menu, including pastas and local specialties. Our first evening, we melted our own raclette cheese, onto delicious potatoes, bread, and cured meats. Dessert was an amazing apricot sorbet in local apricot liquor… an exquisite elixir! Next evening, a flavorful minestrone soup was followed by beef steaks drenched in herb butter and sauteed vegetables, a delicious apple torte capped with fresh cream for dessert. We slept contentedly and happily in our quiet suite upstairs, after star gazing from our balcony in the crisp Swiss night air.
Mornings at Hotel du Pigne, after an in-room coffee, a complete self-serve breakfast buffet is offered to the 12 rooms of hotel guests. Yogurts, fruits, jams, cheese, breads and croissant, plus boiled eggs, provide the perfect start to a skier’s day.
We enjoyed our time in this special Evolène valley, referred to as Espace Dent Blanche. It was a fun flashback, riding Arolla’s old but reliable consecutive pomas up the mountain, skiing the well-prepared pistes, and exploring the easy to reach snow fields, with extraordinary views all around. We hired a guide on day, Swiss Powder Guides, to explore more of the terrain safely with Gilles’ knowledge and professional experience. He is a wonderful companion, and phenomenal guide with vast awareness of the terrain from here to Zermatt (along the Haute Route).
Arolla is a special ski place, not overly commercial or contrived, just authentic Swiss Alps old-school skiing in a magical valley. Staying at Hotel du Pigne, with free parking, and it’s right next to the bus stop, is a very relaxing ski holiday. You’re a walk or a short drive down to the first of three pomas you’ll ride to Arolla ski terrain.
We recommend a Swiss ski safari in Valais, the Evolène region to include Arolla, Evolène, Les Forclaz plus neighboring Anzère, Grimentz Zinal, St-Luc/Chandolin, Crans Montana, Leukerbad and Nax Mont Noble, Villars Gryon, and more.
“Swiss towns remind me of the kid at high school who’s great at sports, has perfect hair, the best girlfriend, and the teachers all love him. Just too perfect.” – Rick Steves