Verbier is a ski resort in the world famous Four Valleys ski region, which brings together more than 400 km of first-class pistes of varying difficulty. The resort is located in the southern part of Switzerland near the Grand Saint Bernard pass at an altitude of one and a half thousand meters. At the beginning of the 20th century, this place was only a summer pasture, but everything changed with the opening of the first ski school and the first hotel in the 1930s. 35 years later, the resort was already equipped with a lift system capable of lifting 10 thousand people per hour and in the 1960s it began to build up with luxury hotels and chalets actively. Today Verbier rivals such resorts as Val Thorens, Courchevel and Val d’Isere.
How to get there
The nearest international airports to the resort are in Geneva and Zurich. You can get from there by train with a bus change to Le Chable, the journey from Geneva will take about three hours, from Zurich – just over four hours. For those who prefer a more comfortable way of travel or who are carrying equipment with them, an alternative option in the form of a direct airport transfer or car rental is more suitable. The distance from Geneva to Verbier is 160 km, the travel time by motorway is approximately two and a half hours.
The skiing season in Verbier runs from late November to April. The high location and the presence of a large number of snow cannons guarantee a stable snow cover in all ski areas. In total, the resort has 200 km of prepared ski slopes, 32% of which are blue, 42% are red and 26% are black. The highest point is 3330 meters and the height difference is 1830 meters. The slopes are served by 48 lifts.
The resort is most suitable for experienced skiers and snowboarders as most of the runs could be too difficult for beginners. There are few places that are safe for beginners including the blue slopes in Bruzon, La Tzuma and Tion, the slopes in the Savoleyres area and the Station subsector, which is located directly above the village. Mid-level skiers will feel comfortable in the areas of Savoler, Le Ruinata and Lac de Vaux. Moreover, Savoler is distinguished by the lowest load. There are also interesting slopes in Les Attelas, near the Gentianes cableway and in Vayson – the venue of the World Cup stages. Experts will love the steep runs from the Mont Jell and Mont Fort peaks. Black runs on the Mont Fort slope descend into the Le Chable valley, the longest of those runs is 15 km long. There is an extreme descent of Torten from the same mountain, where skiers need to be especially careful because of the protruding stones.
Verbier has been holding the honorary title of “freeride mecca” for many years. There is a snowy Riviera on one of the Mont Fort slopes – an area of untreated slopes by snow groomers, which is patrolled by lifeguards. Other freeride runs are no less popular: a kilometer descent from Vallon d’Arby and a 900-meter slope downhill from Col de Gentianes.
There is a large snow park “1936 Neipark” for snowboarders. The freestyle area is equipped with a halfpipe, big air jumps and other stunt facilities. Lovers of flat skiing are offered 40 km of prepared slopes, laid along scenic routes. Snowshoeing is also available and, moreover, the resort is a part of the famous Haute Route which runs from Chamonix to Zermatt.
There are several ski schools in Verbier, the best among them are La Maison du Sport, Warren Smith Ski Academy and the Powder Extreme freeride school. Kid’s Club accepts children from 4 years old.
The resort hosts several events each season, including the Verbier Xtreme Finals, the Adrenaline Contest, the Carlsberg high five and the Patrouille des Glaciers ski touring.
Ski-passes and equipment
A six-day ski pass will cost around CHF 350. Children under 5 years old can ride for free accompanied by an adult relative, for children from 6 to 15 years old there is a 30% discount on the season ticket, for teenagers under 20 years old and elderly people there is a 15% discount.
Prices for ski or snowboard rental start from 38-40 CHF. The most popular of the nearly two dozen rental shops are Xtreme Sports S.A., Montagne Show and Fellay Mode & Sport II.
Verbier has a very wide range of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. The five-star Le Chalet d’Adrien boasts a high level of service, the W Verbier hotel claims to be the most stylish and modern and Vanessa is famous for its almost family friendly atmosphere. The three-star Phenix and Mirabeau are in close proximity to the ski lifts. There are also more budget accommodation options: the two-star Garbo and the youthful The Bunker.
Recreation and entertainment
Guests of the resort will find something to do beyond the slopes. There is a sports complex with indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center and even a small golf course. In the entertainment park “Esserts” you can ride a snow cart or a snow tube. There are also two toboggan runs on the Verbier territory with a total length reaching 10 km. Those who prefer a more relaxed après ski should visit the local glass museum at Jean-Pierre Perraudin’s House, an old castle or smithy of the 17th century.
Connoisseurs of gourmet cuisine will appreciate the resort’s gastronomic restaurants. Chalet d’Adrien L’Appartement has a Michelin star, the mountainous Le Dahu is known for its excellent fondue and pizza, Le Namasté offers dishes prepared according to old recipes.
Ночная жизнь здесь очень оживленная, Вербье не даром имеет репутацию тусовочного курорта. По выходным бары и ночные клубы заполнены молодежью из Женевы и Лондона. Самые модные места: бар Le Farinet, паб Mont-Fort, клубы Casbah, Icebox и Taratata.
The nightlife is very lively here and Verbier has a reputation of a party resort for a reason. The bars and nightclubs are packed with young people from Geneva and London every weekend. Hottest spots are: Le Farinet Bar, Mont-Fort Pub, Casbah, Icebox and Taratata Clubs.
The ski resort has a huge ski area with a surprisingly varied landscape. Verbier may be a little disappointing for beginners and supporters of a relaxing holiday, but professionals and freeriders will feel at home. Also, the atmosphere of the resort, where many sports and music events are held, will definitely appeal to lovers of a fun pastime.