SEASON START & END: Early/Late November to Late April/Early May
SKI ALTITUDE: 1500-3330m (821-3330m in region) / Vertical Drop- 1830m in Verbier
PISTES: 32% Beginner / 49% Intermediate / 19% Expert
LIFTS: 72 (Cable-5 / Gondola-13 / Chair lifts-18 / Drag lifts-29 / Magic Carpet-7)
SLOPES: 106 Pistes in the region for a total of 410 KM
CROSS-COUNTRY: 14.5 KM of cross-country ski trails
LIFT TICKET 2021/22 Adult: Verbier 348 CHF / £276 – 6 days // 4 Vallées 379 CHF / £309
AIRPORT: Geneva – 2:30 hours / Zurich – over 4 hours / Sion – 45 mins
TRAIN: Martigny Station, change train to Le Châble, then cable car to Verbier
Like most ski resorts, Verbier’s original roots were in mountain farming, there was also a little known 12th Century castle that was sadly destroyed in 1475, shame as it would have made a wonderful 5 star hotel today. However, when skiing first appeared on its slopes in 1925 and the first lift opened in 1946 things began to change. Despite being purpose built Verbier has a very different atmosphere to most ski resorts, there is no space for ugly architecture here, with gorgeous wooden chalets predominantly covering the village which clings to the South-West facing slopes of Verbier. This feels more like an authentic alpine Swiss village, with cosy style accommodation; even most of the hotels follow in the same vein rather than the Palace hotels found in other Swiss resorts. We enjoyed staying at the 4 star Hotel Vanessa, a cosy alpine residence with modern designed rather well sized suites; we also highly recommend The Lodge, part of the Virgin Limited Edition range. The village is well appointed with a huge selection of shops, head to InterSport Philippe Roux for all sports equipment. As for cuisine Verbier has a lot to give; for true rustic charm head over to L’Ecurie and make yourself at home. Another option is Le Rouge, who uses regional produce in its international gourmet menu, they serve delicious food with many organic and gluten free options too.
Verbier is famous for its backcountry or ‘Off-Piste’ as it used to be called; with steep powder slopes and long vertical descents, which is why the likes of the Freeride World Tour stop here annually. Verbier is the largest ski area entirely located in Switzerland, no sharing with other countries here. Verbier is part of the 4 Vallées which incorporates such resorts as La Tzoumaz at 1500m, Brusonat 1080m, Nendaz at 1400m, Veysonnaz at 1400m and Thyon at 2100m; all have a very different feel to them, with Verbier being the big daddy of the 4 Vallées. For the greatest views head up to the heady heights of Mont-Fort up at 3330m with its 360 views of the surrounding glaciers the likes of such mountains as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, this is not to be missed. The most local skiing of Verbier incorporates Verbier itself, La Tzoumaz and Bruson with 106 km of piste with a huge selection of mountain restaurants and activities outside of traditional snowsport; try your hand at snowshoeing, throw yourself down their Zipline or toboggan run and paraglide off into the sunset. For the ultimate experience, spend time with doggies and go dog-sledding with Takitrek, their gorgeous dogs just love to run and run. They will have you grinning from ear to ear.
For the best beginner runs stay low around the peripheries of Verbier or if you want to explore head over the hill to La Tzoumaz and keep to the blue pistes.
Verbier has a good selection and connection of Blue and Red pistes, so one can easily explore the area, just be careful not to end up on an un-pisted (Yellow) itinerary route. Most pistes are wide, big and fun.
There are not a huge range of Black pistes in Verbier, as most expert skiers want to head to the itinerary routes. However it is worth heading over to the FIS piste Inferieure or the wooded Piste des Profs.
-OFF PISTE – .
Verbier is in its element when it comes to Off Piste routes, with 8 (yellow) itinerary routes across the region. Most of these routes are pretty long, so you get a lot of bang for your buck. These routes are all marked with yellow and orange poles, they are secure but ungroomed.
Verbier area 1500m – 3330m / Vertical drop 1830
What can I say, there is such a variety of big mountain skiing. For ultimate long valley rides head down Gentianes. The Pistes really all do feel quite unique from each other, with high Alpine runs down to the lower valley tree runs. Ski down Attelas and then onto Combe for some great terrain. My favourite run home was Hattey, a piste that winds its way back through the forest into the town centre. For some fine mountain food Cuckoo’s Nest will provide that cosy Alpine experience with a huge menu and some fine wines. One can not visit Verbier without heading over to Le Mouton Noir once, twice or perhaps a few times, for fine food at lunch and the ultimate Apres Ski before heading back to Verbier.
La Tzoumaz 1500m – 2354m / Vertical Drop 854
One of my favourite areas to frequent, this may not have the hardest pistes on the mountain, but the pistes are varied, interesting and best of all they were really quiet every time we visited. They are great pistes for some carving drills or for simply having fun without too many people around. As the slopes are pretty much north facing the snow is usually amazing as the sun has had very little effect on it. Have fun on Saxon, Coeur Superieur and all the blues in between.
For more information or to book head over to their website: Verbier.