Tourism is a major industry in the canton of Valais; it's also an industry which is suffering right now.
Due to the high Swiss Franc, Europeans have been staying away in droves.
Well, that's what they print in the Swiss newspapers to explain the absence of French and German tourists from the slopes in the Swiss Alps. The real reason is that the right wing "Swiss People's Party" (SVN) has been shouting a little too loudly about what they think of the French and Germans. That's the real reason; if someone calls you a dirty foreigner, you are not enticed to visit!
Then there is that little detail about 72% of jail populations being made up of foreigners. A foreigner is ten times more likely to end up in the slammer than a local. Just think about that, because in the UK, that figure is 13%. You follow?
So, as a result of this, the Swiss have been targeting British and American tourists to fill their empty resorts, because they don't know about those things. Why? It's simple : because 60,000 French cross the border to come and work in Geneva every single day. By working in Geneva, Switzerland, these French have a pretty good feel for what's going on, and that's why they stay living in France, leave their family safe in France, and just hop over the border, go straight to work, and back home again.
The same goes on in Zurich, so the Germans know to stay away too.
Go if you must, but don't fall for their line about the Europeans being too poor to come.
They are too SMART to come.
And remember, The Swiss People's Party views every foreigner the same way.
My advice is that instead of going to Valais, to resorts such as :
Cran Montana : full of the blue rinse brigade. If the locals don't kill you, the boredom will!
Verbier: every nouveau-riche oik, with bad manners and loads of pretension goes there
Marecottes: They have the "Avalanche Festival" here. Remember if you bump into the cops after a drink, well, it could be a very long night for you.
Saas-Fee: Year round skiing, but why would you both
Zermatt: Quaint little village. They have an "alpinists cemetery" there, and did you know they make all climbers sign a contract agreeing to be buried there should they die on the mountain. SO THE SWISS ARE BUILDING A TOURIST ATTRACTION OUT OF THOSE WHO DIE TRAGICALLY, AND PROFITING FROM THEIR DEATH! How lovely!
Go somewhere a little more exotic and importantly, A LOT SAFER
So where can you go? How about...
How about Italy? On the other side of the mountain from Verbier you have...Courmayeur.
Courmayeur is classy. Just go there are check the place you. I went there in 2012. The slopes are great, the food is orders of magnitude better than the expensive slop one unanimously finds in Switzerland, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper, because, well, the Swiss Franc is on parity with the Euro.
Chamonix. Another beautiful resort town, there is a train line from Martigny, Switzerland straight to Chamonix.
So, if you do get arrested in Switzerland, as soon as you get out, you can make a run for it to Chamonix; plus there is a TGV line to Paris.
In France however, there is another, lesser known ski destination : Les Pyrenees. These alps run along the Frano-Spanish border. A great way to go is along the south coast of France, then turn off after Montpellier. Just make sure you stop in Montpellier, home to the oldest school of medicine in Europe. It's a beautiful seaside university town that oozes character and amazing architecture.
I went to the Pyrenees when my parents came to visit me back in 2004; specifically to Andorra. It's an independent principality somewhat like Monaco, but with shared sovereignty between France and Spain. I'd never though of skiing in Spain, but there you go, technically you can!
So when it comes to winter sports, Europe has a lot to offer, at a fraction of the price of Switzerland.
I hasten to add, that price isn't everything. Quality is important too.
The problem for Switzerland is that the value for money is less; it's really REALLY eye-wateringly expensive; yet leaves a lot to be desired in terms of quality. I never found a single decent restaurant in that country.