Skiing to paradise

Freeride, Arolla, Val d'Hérens, Valais, Wallis, Winter, Snow

40 kilometres south of Sion, behind Val d’Hérens, is Arolla.

Snow and mountains are common sights in this resort. So it came as no surprise when Dédé Anzévui became a mountain guide. And while others may call the peaks their home, his connection to the mountains goes even deeper.

The Dix hut high above Arolla: glaciers and 3,000-metre peaks as far as the eye can see.

Mountain guide Dédé Anzévui atop the terrace. Behind him is the majestic Mont Blanc de Cheilon, the region’s highest peak at 3,870 metres.

Arolla, Val d'Hérens, Wallis, Valais

Calm, but determined

The groups make their way, as sure-footed as chamois.

Winter, Arolla, valais

Even today, his projects are an inspiration to up-and-coming extreme skiers.

But despite his sense of pride, Dédé also knows that he has had a lot of luck in his life. This gives him even more appreciation for the here and now. At the age of 62, Dédé is always looking up. A cry of pure joy echoes between the mountain walls as he kicks up some powder.

Freeride, Arolla, Val d'Hérens, Valais, Wallis, Winter, Snow
Arolla, Winter, Apéro, Valais, Val d'Hérens

Drinks and stories

Such joie de vivre can work up a thirst! So sometimes ski tours are finished early, and the drinks start to flow from 11 a.m. An ungodly hour for a drink? “I‘m not worried about that”, laughs Dédé. As a young lad, his father – who was also a mountain guide – led a Belgian bishop up 3,790 metres to Pigne d’Arolla.

Arolla,winter, hut, Valais, freeride

 «Bring me up and back down in one piece, and you’ve earned your place in heaven.»

«The bishop was over 60 years old and unsteady on his feet. It was a slow climb,» reminisces Dédé. Hopefully someone above is looking out for you, he remembers saying to the bishop. «That’s why I need an intermediary», answered the bishop. «And today that‘s you. Bring me up and back down in one piece, and you‘ve earned your place in heaven. You can even skip confession and mass, so help me God!» the bishop assured him. «Cheers to that!»

guide, Arolla, Val D'Hérens, Ski, Wallis, Valais, mountains


Dédé Anzévui (born 1955)

1973: Aspirant certified mountain guide.

1975: Certified ski instructor.

1978: Certified mountain guide.

1985: Head of Security, Swiss Cableways (SBS).

1998: Opening of an off-piste and freeride school in Val Thorens (F).

2009: Opening of Freeride-Experience, a freeride and skitouring company.

Highlights and pioneering achievements

1974: Ridges of the Tsa, north face of Petit Mont Collon and north face of Pigne d’Arolla – first descent on skis.

1985: Dent Blanche, south-west face – first descent on skis.

1987 North face of Mont Blanc de Cheilon – first descent on skis.

1989: North face of the Matterhorn – first and (so far) only descent on skis.

Seventh heaven, high above Zermatt

Next story

Sheep spend the summer at Chummibodmen, near the mountain hut. From there, a path leads to three small mountain lakes. In the background, the Zinalrothorn.