Hérémence play area.

Swiss siblings and professional skiers Mélanie and Loïc Meillard act as our expert guides around their adopted home of Hérémence. They introduce us to their favourite places and slopes at their usual fast pace.


The charming little village is located in a side valley of the Val d’Hérens. Hérémence is not only rich in cultural heritage with a unique regional character but also combines tradition and modernity. The village is the ideal starting point for exploring the surrounding area with its diverse nature at any time of year.

A secret paradise in the ski region of the “Four Valleys”, in Valais.
Les Masses. A secret paradise in the ski region of the “Four Valleys”.

Home sweet home.

Just a few minutes from Hérémence is the hamlet of Les Masses, where there is a chair lift that will take you directly to the largest ski area located entirely within Switzerland’s borders: Les 4 Vallées – or Four Valleys. The smaller valley of Val des Dix, where the Grande Dixence dam is located, offers numerous alternatives to alpine winter sports. The people of Hérémence also like to call this area Switzerland’s little Lapland. This secret is revealed by professional skiers Mélanie and Loïc Meillard, who have settled there, finding a new home in the region.

Mélanie Meillard

Despite several serious injuries, Mélanie hasn’t lost her perseverance and fighting spirit. She works hard every day to realise her dream of a place on the World Cup podium. Her fun-loving laugh is ample proof that with a positive attitude even difficult times can be overcome.

Loïc Meillard

If you’re looking for an archetypal sports fanatic, look no further than Loïc. Highly ambitious and disciplined, he always pushes himself to his limits on skis to reach the highest level. Loïc is not just an active participant in the ski circuit. Anyone who spends time with him will quickly realise that he has many other interests besides sport.

Precision goes hand in hand with discipline.

Skiing can be a challenging business. The sport is demanding, and even professionals like the Meillards are constantly working on their fitness levels and technique. This is the only way to achieve a perfect performance. And even the best skiers don’t always manage to produce what they’ve been trained to do at the right moment. To get as close as possible to this perfection requires a lot of hard work and self-sacrifice.

Loïc Meillard skiing in Thyon, Valais.
It is precisely for moments like these that skiers are willing to sacrifice a lot. This is an almost perfect curve.

"It’s good to share the same passion and be able to talk about it with one another." Mélanie Meillard

The two siblings agree: they are ready to accept all the hard work and obligations that come with pursuing their passion. On the chair lift, Mélanie explains how much she appreciates having a brother who shares the same passion as her. Because of what they have in common, they can better understand each other’s feelings and can always count on each other’s support.

Their interests go far beyond ski racing. Photography also seems to be in the family’s blood. The siblings are very photogenic, and Loïc not only likes to spend time in front of the camera, but also behind it. Thanks to their chosen careers, the pair have the privilege of travelling extensively and getting to know new people, customs and cultures. Photography allows them to capture all these special moments and take them back home with them as a souvenir.

The siblings enjoy life on either side of the camera.

Mélanie und Loïc Meillard haben Spass auf ihren Skiern im Thyon, Wallis.
"When I feel the acceleration of the skis and get that feeling of freedom, I know I’ve performed well."
Loïc Meillard

Behind the gates. 

Spring is the perfect time for combining skiing fun with other pleasures. Once the racing season is over, the Meillards can relax a bit and sit back and recharge their batteries on a sun terrace after the morning’s training runs. They like to do this at the Hotel Eringer, which is ideal for a break along the downhill slope to the valley – or even better, for holidays in the heart of the ski area.

Hérémence A village rich in cultural heritage.

Hérémence has been massively shaped by its history, including the construction of the Grande Dixence dam. In addition, the Val d’Hérens is also one of the few regions in Valais where the Valais patois, an old French dialect, has not completely died out. Today, the population is aware of the linguistic and cultural richness of this Romance dialect and is doing what it can to preserve it. It is for this reason that Alphonse Dayer produced the “Patois d’Hérémence” dictionary. This is just one of many examples of how Hérémence and its inhabitants are trying to protect their diverse culture and traditions, which visitors will see and experience as soon as they arrive.

Source: myswitzerland.com
Photo rights: © Switzerland Tourism - Nico Schaerer

Published: October 2022

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