Arolla & Evolene Ski Resorts

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Arolla ski area in the Swiss Alps Val d
Arolla ski area in the Swiss Alps Val d'Hérens, Espace Dent-Blanche
Powder skiing in the Espace Dent-Blanche ski region
Powder skiing in the Espace Dent-Blanche ski region
Evolene ski area, part of the the Val d
Evolene ski area, part of the the Val d'Hérens Espace Dent-Blanche
La Forclaz ski area is the smallest in the Espace Dent Blanche
La Forclaz ski area is the smallest in the Espace Dent Blanche
The chairlift up to Chemeuille at Evolène is the only non-surface lift in the valley
The chairlift up to Chemeuille at Evolène is the only non-surface lift in the valley
Mountain hut at La Forclaz ski area
Mountain hut at La Forclaz ski area
Mountain yurt at Arolla ski area surrounded by spectacular peaks
Mountain yurt at Arolla ski area surrounded by spectacular peaks
Hotel Aiguille de La Tza provides affordable winter lodgings in the Val d
Hotel Aiguille de La Tza provides affordable winter lodgings in the Val d'Herens
The fabulous Val d
The fabulous Val d'Hérens backcountry skiing can be 'human or helicopter powered'!
La Forclaz ski area and the impressive mountain peaks of the region
La Forclaz ski area and the impressive mountain peaks of the region
Skiing the upper alpine zone of Arolla ski resort in Switzerland
Skiing the upper alpine zone of Arolla ski resort in Switzerland
Hôtel Dents de Veisivi is centrally located in the Val d
Hôtel Dents de Veisivi is centrally located in the Val d'Hérens town of Les Haudères
Espace Dent-Blanche Ski Region - Arolla, Evolene & La Forclaz
Espace Dent-Blanche Ski Region - Arolla, Evolene & La Forclaz

Arolla & Evolene Ski Resorts

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Arolla-Evolene

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Arolla-Evolene Maps & Stats

     Espace Dent-Blanche Ski Trail Map
  • Espace Dent-Blanche Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    Espace Dent-Blanche
    1,255m - 3,000m (605m)

    Arolla
    2,000m - 3,000m (1,000m)

    Evolene
    1,400m - 2,680m (1,280m)

    La Forclaz
    1,730m - 2,200m (470m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    Unknown
  • Lifts (16)
    1 Chair
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Arolla
    Early December to late April
    8:30am to 4:00pm

    Evolene
    Mid-December to late March
    9:00am to 4:30pm

    La Forclaz
    Late December to late March
    9:15am to 4:15pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 104km
    Longest run - 5km
    Advanced - 14%
    Intermediate - 57%
    Beginner - 29%
  • Ski Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 22/23
    Espace Dent-Blanche
    Arolla, Evolene & La Forclaz
    Adult - CHF46
    Child - CHF30
    Child u/6yr - Free

    La Forclaz only
    Adult - CHF28
    Child - CHF19
    Child u/6yr - Free
     Arolla Ski Trail Map
  • Arolla Ski Trail Map
     Evolene Ski Trail Map
  • Evolene Ski Trail Map
     La Forclaz Ski Trail Map
  • La Forclaz Ski Trail Map
    Arolla Ski Touring Map
  • Arolla Ski Touring Map

Arolla & Evolene Ski Resorts Switzerland

In a classically Swiss Alps alpine valley, with high mountain peaks and glaciers snaking down their flanks, the Val d’Herens has long been a secret hideaway for skiers seeking a quiet outpost in an ever-maddening world. The Val d'Hérens ski resorts of Arolla, Evolène & La Forclaz make up the collective ski region called Espace Dent-Blanche (presumably named after the looming 4,357m peak, Dent Blanche = white tooth!). Simple lifts, a relaxed attitude, affordable prices, splendid vistas, awesome food, friendly locals and mountains full of off-piste freeride potential make it a guarantee that you should visit at some point soon in your powder privileged lives.

Pros & Cons for Arolla & Evolene Ski Areas

Pros

  • High-altitude, generally snow-sure ski areas.
  • Long skiable verticals of over 1,000m at Arolla & Evolene.
  • Uncrowded slopes & negligible lift lines.
  • Wonderful off-piste freeride, ski touring & backcountry skiing opportunities.
  • Quality on-piste trails for intermediate skiers.
  • Good value lift pass combining all three ski areas under Espace Dent Blanche.
  • Gob-smacking vistas
  • Affordable accommodation.
  • Great local food.

Cons

  • Aging lift infrastructure that mainly consists of long surface tows (which may challenge beginners, snowboarders and those gone soft on a diet of 8-person hooded express chairs with heated seats designed by Porsche!).
  • Few advanced piste trails.
  • Limited public bus services to Arolla (but better to Evolene).

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • Val d’herens is a quiet, traditional Swiss Alps valley with a remote feel and without all the ‘bells & whistles’ of other ski regions.
  • Limited snow-making so the many of the slopes are totally at the mercy of mother nature.
  • Sunny slopes in the morning on easterly aspect terrain (except the smaller La Forclaz which is westerly aspect so sunny in the afternoon).
  • Accommodation can be limited in the valley, particularly on weekends.

Skiing & Snowboarding, Lift & Terrain

The Espace Dent-Blanche skiing & snowboarding terrain is spread across 3 small to medium ski areas and includes 104km of mostly intermediate piste trails on predominantly east-aspect slopes. Arolla is the largest with up to 47 km of trails (but in reality less!), 1,000m of skiable vertical above its 2,000m altitude base, and the most advanced runs (9km of black trails). Closely following is Evolene with 42km of trails, of which 80% are rated intermediate, and 1,280m of skiable vertical from a 1,400m elevation base. Between them, the westerly aspect La Forclaz has 15km of both easy and intermediate pistes, providing a perfect place to learn the art of sliding on snow!

Check out the ski trail map for Arolla Evolene below.

Arolla Evolene (Espace Dent Blanche) Ski Trail Map
Arolla Evolene Ski Trail Map

Away from the piste trails, Arolla in particular has a multitude of off-piste freeride opportunities. The many surrounding peaks & glaciers, coupled with relatively few people compared to adjacent valleys, make it a land of promise for powder hounds. Ski touring from the lifts at Arolla or up the valley expands the freeride terrain immensely and includes all manner of high alpine Swiss pleasures. Look at some of the possibilities on the Arolla ski-touring map.

The ski lifts in the Val d’Herens are a stark reminder of the way things used to be before you grew lazy on a diet of 10-person heated seat gondolas and hooded 6-seater express chairlifts. Only one chairlift, an aging double, is in the entire valley, used to access the high alpine terrain at Evolène. Everywhere else it is a case of testing one’s leg strength on surface tows, both T-bars & J-bars. The old-style lifts do two things. One is to limit the crowds visiting these resorts. Two is to test beginner snowboarders, possibly limiting their numbers in the valley too! We do not recommend Arolla for any snowboarders other than advanced or experts.

Lift Passes

Lift tickets in Val d'Hérens are available in three flavours. The Espace Dent-Blanche lift pass is valid in all 3 ski resorts (Arolla, Evolene & L Forclaz) & represents reasonably good value for the 104km of ski trails. The smaller La Forclaz ski area has a more affordable ‘local’ lift pass; great for novices & progressing beginners. Cheaper lift pass rates for ski-tourers using the Arolla lifts to access the high alpine zone can also be purchased. The excellent value 'Magic Pass' is also valid in all of the ski areas.

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Where is Arolla & Evolène Switzerland?

The Espace Dent-Blanche ski region is in the Val d’Herens, a valley south of the Rhône River valley in the French speaking part of Valais. The furthest ski resort up the valley, Arolla, is 39km (1hr) by road south of the major town of Sion. Evolene is closer; 24km or a shade over 30 minutes by rental car.

The closest gateway airports is Geneva (GVA), 195km (2½ to 3hr) drive east to Arolla. The small airport in the Rhone valley at Sion (SIR) is an option for travelers from London, Zurich and those with their own private plane! Search & book here for all airport transfers to Arolla Evolene.

Rail & bus services to the Val d'Hérens villages of Evolene or Arolla are via Sion. Trains from Geneva airport take a little over 2hr (on the IR90 service, direction Brig) to get to Sion, where buses or private transfers can finish the journey up the valley to Arolla. From Sion train station (gare), bus route 381 heads to Les Haudères via Evolene. From Les Hauderes, a change is required (it is however usually the same bus!) to the bus 382 for Arolla. Arolla Magine is the main stop at the ski lifts in Arolla village, with the journey from Sion taking around 1¼hr. Unfortunately the route 382 bus services to Arolla are limited to 5 per day so check the timetables carefully if using them to get around the valley. For Evolène, the route 381 bus runs at least 9 times per day and takes around 35min to the village. Search & book here for train tickets to Arolla Evolene. Buy bus tickets direct from the driver. 

Arolla Evolene Accommodation

The accommodations available in the Val d’herens close to the main ski areas are in the villages of Arolla, Les Haudères or Evolene. The entire valley has a propensity for simple, affordable, family run lodgings rather ‘over-the-top’ luxury hotels. Numerous apartments are available on the road near the ski lifts at Arolla.,

The most central location to all the Espace Dent Blanche skiing, plus convenient to the valley’s bus transportation, is in the traditional village of Les Haudères. A few great hotels like the 3-star Hôtel Dents de Veisivi & Hotel Les Mélèzes provide a tranquil night’s food & rest in this quiet town.

Search & book here for all Espace Dents Blanche ski accommodation in Arolla, Les Hauderes or Evolene.

Climbing up the valley sides, the tiny village of Arolla offers a mix of traditional & contemporary lodgings in hotels, pensions & private rental apartments. Surrounded by forest at 2,100 m above sea level, the Grand Hotel Kurhaus offers wonderful views over local peaks and glaciers. Whilst in reality a 3-star hotel, the building, bar/restaurant, billiard room & surrounds are nonetheless ‘grand’, and the price is affordable for mere mortals. The ski lifts & slopes are nearby via a nearby trail or with the help of the hotel's shuttle bus. The other option is Hotel du Pigne located in the heart of Arolla village right at the final bus stop. The panoramic views of the entire valley never get old. Cosy rooms and a fine restaurant at affordable rates can be expected. They do great crepes too! The ski lifts are a short walk down the road. Down the road on the valley floor, Hotel Aiguille de La Tza offers convenient & affordable lodgings in an idyllic setting, a short bus/car ride from the ski area. Note that services in Arolla are limited. Aside from the hotels, there is a good outdoor/ski shop, a small grocery shop and post office.

Search & book here for all Arolla ski accommodation.

Evolene is the prettiest and liveliest of the villages in the region. The village has all the services one would require on a ski holiday. Banks with ATMs, a large Coop supermarket, several bakerys, post office, an excellent ski shop and bars/restaurants are dotted along its single main street. In the heart of authentic Evolene, the 'go to' lodgings are at the unpretentious Hotel Restaurant Eden & Pension d'Evolène. Both have friendly hosts & staff, simple, affordable, & comfortable rooms, plus each has a fine bar & restaurant for superb evening meals. Alternatively, the BnB la Péniche has a range of modern rooms plus a resident herd of bivines to keep you entertained! A free ski bus links the village to the Domaine skiable de Télé Evolène at nearby Lannaz, whilst other local bus services (free on the Postbus with a guest card) or a rental car will get you further up the valley to Arolla or La Forclaz.

Search & book here for all Evolene ski accommodation.

Ski & Snowboard Rentals

Ski equipment rentals are available via our local partners near the ski lift base in the village of Arolla. Receive a discount when you search & book via our Arolla Evolene Ski & Snowboard Rental page.

Review

The Powderhounds visited Arolla & Evolene in Januarry 2023. More information about this European ski resort will come when we find the time to write it! Stay tuned for our sparkling repartee, new photos & insights.

See how the European ski resorts compare on the Europe ski resort ratings page.

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Tours in or near Arolla & Evolene

Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area Tours

Private Ski Lessons & Freeride Guiding
SKI INSTRUCTION & GUIDED OFF-PISTE SKIING
Full Day | Half Day | Multi Day
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Discover the mountains & improve your skills with private ski lessons & guided off-piste skiing for all abilities at the Arolla & Evolene ski resorts in the Swiss Alps Val d'Herens. Apply for your group's best dates & duration.
Price p/p From price based on full day private ski instruction in a group of 4.
Base/invoice currency is in CHF inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 149
View Details
 
See all Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area tours that visit Arolla-Evolene here
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