This French-speaking resort rises above the valley on a steep, sheltered shelf at 4,904 feet. It commands a broad view across the Rhône Valley to the peaks of the Valaisan Alps, and its grassy and wooded plateau gets the benefit of Sierre's sunshine and fresh air. Behind the towns, the Rohrbachstein (9,686 feet), the Gletscherhorn (9,653 feet), and the Wildstrubel (10,637 feet) combine to create a complex of challenging ski slopes.

The resort towns themselves—basically one town, with two areas—have an American-style ambience marked by golf courses, chain fashion boutiques, and 1970s architecture that's likely to disappoint those seeking cozy charm. The crowds are young, wealthy, international, and roving in cocoons of the fit, fun-loving, and fashionable.

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