Verbier

Perhaps Switzerland's best known resort - legendary skiing and partying.

Verbier Ski Holidays

The resort's sunny aspect, pretty centre, vibrant nightlife and thrillingly steep terrain make this one of Europe's most famous resorts.

A must-do for everyone who can afford it, Verbier is extends into awkwardly linked Four Valleys ski area which includes Bruson, Evolene, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Siviezm, Thyon les Collons and Veysonnaz.

Pretty village
Large ski area
Nightlife

Sion, 1h. Geneva and Turin, 2h

100km of pistes. 412Km in 4 Valleys.

Ski from 1500m to 3330m.

Verbier Ski Chalets


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Verbier Ski Holiday Guide

Verbier is probably the largest and best know of the Swiss ski resorts. It's permanent population of 3,000 residents swells to over 40,000 in the peak weeks of the ski season, mainly because of the resort's sunny South East facing aspect and thrillingly steep terrain. Verbier is a rightly popular ski holiday destination, and is part of the wholly Swiss Four Valleys ski area which also includes the ski resorts of Bruson, Evolene, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Siviezm, Thyon les Collons and Veysonnaz.

Beginner
A few beginner ski areas are well located in the resort, so good for kids. Adult beginners might be better learning in a different resort

Intermediate
Varied and challenging but there's not a great deal of intermediate terrain to go around!

Advanced
The freeride and off-piste capital of the European Alps by far

Snowboarders
Great snow parks in addition to the very satisfying off-piste terrain

Families
Beginner families with small children may struggle to find progressive pistes, especially during school holiday times

High Altitude
1500m - 3330m, South facing slopes are well groomed during the Spring time

Nightlife
The stuff of apres legend with something for everyone

Pretty Village
Low-rise chalet style buildings and a pretty resort centre

Cheap
The resort is in Switzerland, which says it all!

Large Ski Area
412km might sound huge, but connections between resorts are often poor and busy

Close to airport
1 hour from Sion, 2 hours from Geneva & Turin

In resort convenience
There's a free bus service across the resort but accommodation is sprawling

So to sum it all up,

Verbier ski holidays are great for:

  • Sunny chalet style village.
  • Big ski area, great for mixed ability groups
  • Heaven for advanced skiers

Verbier ski holidays are not great for:

  • Those looking for a budget holiday
  • Beginners are better off elsewhere

Skiing in Verbier

Verbier and the Four Valleys offer some of the most extreme skiing and snowboarding that you're likely to find anywhere in Europe. The longest run measures a staggering 15km in length with a total descent of over 2500m - phew! That's one of the biggest vertical ski runs in the world. And that's just where Verbier gets started. The whole Four Valleys ski area covers 412km and while the links between the resorts might become crowded and inefficient at times, there's still plenty of fun to be had for progressing and confident skiers and snowboarders.

It's also worth mentioning that the powers that be in the Four Valleys have been planning and spending on the ski lift infrastructure in recent years. The huge 'Le Jumbo' (jumbo by name, jumbo by nature as you might have guessed) carries 150 people up the Mont Fort glacier at a time, which is an experience in itself!

Beginners

While there is an excellent range of ski schools, it's fair to say that the terrain isn't particularly learner friendly, but there is a sunny beginner area at the top of Les Esserts. Beginner lift passes are available for 29.00 CHF per day.

Once beginners have found their ski legs and a bit of confidence, progression can be found in the Savoleyres area, which is popular with families. The blue runs from Mont Gele are also satisfying for confident beginners, though they do get very busy during school holiday weeks.

Intermediates

If you're an intermediate skier in Verbier and the Four Valleys, you'll wish you were an expert, and what better motivation could there be? While the South facing pistes are either very busy or very slushy (depending on the time of year), intermediates will find challenging terrain on the opposite side of the valley in Bruson, where the snow stays better for longer.

Experts

Experts regularly return to Verbier for their ski holidays, with good reason. Where do we start? Maybe on the huge mogul fields of the Tortin snow bowl, which will surely wake up the legs of even the fittest skier. The notorious couloirs on Les Attelas are not for the faint hearted and the super steep back side of Mont Fort is like every off-piste ski movie you've ever seen, rolled into one. There's also lots of fun to be had on Val de Bagnes, but seriously, this is for expert skiers only due to the constantly high avalanche risk, hidden obstacles and crevices. People die here, so take the terrain seriously and show it some respect!

The Four Valleys area also has a number of 'itinerary' runs, which are basically 'legal off-piste' or marked but unpisted runs that aren't supervised or managed. It's on these itinerary runs that expert skiers will find the most challenging terrain, but in our experience, the runs are often closed, which you won't discover until you get to the top of them. Which is deflating to say the least.

If all of that doesn't sound like enough of a thrill for you, there's always heli-sking. Local landing spots in Verbier include Rosablanche, Petit Combin and the Trient Glacier. The Bureau des Guides (guides-verbier.com) in Verbier offer expert guides to show you the best of the area’s off piste terrain, and they organise heli-sking trips too.

Freestyle

Verbier may be the freeride capital of Europe, but its park facilities stand pretty tall too. La Chaux Park can be found directly beneath the Chaux Express chairlift and features include kickers, rails and an airbag, all of which bask in the glory of a sunny natural bowl. La Chaux has also adopted the very clever video camera technology, so freestylers of all abilities can record their own lap of the park.

Snow Conditions

Verbier has an excellent snow record, both because of its altitude and because it sits on a stunning glacier. Even during the spring time, when the area benefits from a lot of sunny days, artificial snow making facilities across the ski area do a great job.

A snow history of Verbier is coming soon!

Verbier Resort Facts

Resort altitude: 1500m

Highest lift: 3330m - Mont Fort

Lifts/Drags: 35 in Verbier, 93 in Four Valleys

Total km of slopes: 100km in Verbier, 412km in Four Valleys

Four Valleys

  • 2 green
  • 77 blue
  • 106 red
  • 20 black
  • 2 snowparks

Verbier Ski Area

  • 1 green
  • 19 blue
  • 20 red
  • 5 black
  • 1 snowpark

Open: 1st December to 28th April

Cost of lift pass:

Day

Adult: Verbier = 65.00 CHF / Four Valleys = 70.00 CHF Child: Verbier = 33.00 CHF / Four Valleys = 35.00 CHF

Week (6 Days)

Adult: Verbier = 306.00 CHF / Four Valleys = 355.00 CHF Child: Verbier = 153.00 CHF / Four Valleys = 178.00 CHF

Piste map

You'll find both the Verbier and Four Valleys piste map to download here - http://www.verbinet.com/item_files/verbier_4_vallees_piste_map.pdf

Ski Schools

There are some great ski schools in Verbier such as European Snowsport (europeansnowsport.com/ski-school-verbier), and many of them specialise in kids lessons, so it’s hard to criticise the resort’s appeal to families too much.

Amenities

There's a lot going on in Verbier that doesn't involve skis or snowboarders. First up (and you might as well commence this activity as soon as you arrive), celeb spotting. If you're lucky you'll catch a glimpse of Prince Harry, Posh Spice, James Blunt or Richard Branson before they grace the pages of Hello! Magazine. Celeb spotting is best combined with a spot of shopping, and you'll find lots of designer boutiques as well as the more standard sports shops in the centre of the resort.

The Verbier Sports Centre is also a very nice place to hang out, especially on bad weather days or if you're travelling with a family. The centre includes a 25 metre swimming pool, jacuzzi and spa, a kids swimming pool and an ice rink too.And there's squash courts for those who haven't quite spent all their energy on the mountain!

Pamper Yourself

Verbier is home to some of the most luxurious ski resort spas in the world. If you're keen to take the celeb spotting one step further, the Cinq Mondes Spa has a 15 metre swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room in addition to a luxury treatment menu and an in-house physio. The Active Fusion spa also offers similar facilities in addition to meditation courses and yoga sessions.

Other Verbier Activities

Glacier walking is one of the coolest on-snow activities you can take part in in Verbier. A train runs from the top of the Attelas cable car to the lift station on Mont Fort. Give yourself a few moments to admire the spectacular views before ascending up the Mont Fort glacier wearing crampons.

Ice karting is also pretty adrenaline filled too. At the Centre Sportif in the middle of the resort you'll find karts with studded tyres and roll bars which go really really fast. This is a brilliant activity to enjoy with a group of friends.

Childcare

To make sure that your kids are as happy during their ski holiday in Verbier as you are, there are a couple of fun childcare and nanny options in the resort.

The Les Elfes Winter Camp (leselfes.com) is a kids camp that involves loads of great activities over either one or two weeks. There are ski and snowboard lessons, as well as optional language lessons and even apres activities too.

Verbier Excursions (verbier-excursions.ch) is another local company that arrange trips to a nearby aqua park, sledging, a trip to the farm and a visit to the famous St Bernard dogs.

Eating out

There isn't a lot separating the dining scene and the party vibe in Verbier. Many of the (plentiful) chic restaurants become after hours cocktail bars once the last of the caviar and lobster has been served. But, being the intrepid fact finders that we are, we've hunted down a nice blend of raucous apres and fancy pants dining, just for you.

Fine Dining

If the cast of 'Made in Chelsea' did a ski trip to Verbier (which they did last winter...), you'd see the Venai Restaurant, Bar & Grill on your telly. It is regularly voted the top restaurant in Verbier, and you'll find no cheesy goodness on this menu. Instead you'll find premium steaks and a wine list to match, but be warned, the bill will probably make your eyes water,

Local Food

Restaurant Le Grange feels like it's been owned by the same local mountain folk for years, but with it's smart white table cloths and roaring open fire, this is smart occasion dining, Alpine style.

Pizzas, Pasta and Grills

Chez Martin is a friendly little pizzeria, offering informal, relaxed service with no pretenses and no budget busing prices. It's central location makes it a really popular restaurant, and we're reliably informed that lots of locals people call it their favourite!

Drinking and Dancing

Verbier has four different nightclubs, ranging in style from the ultra swanky to the seasonaire's idea of heaven. Let's start at one end of the scale with The Farm Club, where folk have been turning out 'to be seen' since 1971. The club has had its fair share of royals and celebrities in that time, and it sits right next to (and is under the same ownership as) Venai Restaurant - we'd like to call the proximity 'stumbling distance'...

The Coco Club was once Verbier's only luxury VIP member's club, but (to the despair of many a Russian oligarchic no doubt), it's recently changed hands and become Public Verbier, an outpost of the London club bearing the same name. It has a capacity of 350, it's open 7 nights a week until 4am and its most famous drink is the 'mousetrap' shooter.

Coup d'Etat is more like a late bar / lounge than a club, it has a very sparkly cocktail menu and a display of vintage champagnes to make your eyes water.

The Casbah Club takes things down a notch (or five), and their 'rockbah' room is filled with pop-rock classics while the 'Club Dance' floor bounces to the tunes of techno until 4am. In case you're wondering, it's at the Casbah that you're permitted to dance on tables, be drunk and merry.

Travel

Getting to and from Verbier

Private jet is one of the more popular modes of transportation to Verbier. Should you find that yours is in for a service, Sion is the nearest airport for scheduled flights, just 20 minutes away. Airport transfers from Geneva and Zurich are another popular way to arrive in the resort.

Getting Around Verbier

Once you're in Verbier, the resort is pretty accessible on foot, depending on the location of your accommodation. Taxis are plentiful, and the local free bus service is reliable and well organised.

Green Verbier

  • Sonars have been installed on Verbier's piste bashers to measure the depth of snow on each run. This means the resort can avoid using important resources to produce artificial snow when it's not necessary.

  • New houses and other resort properties are encouraged to include geothermal heating equipment.

  • A recycling plan is currently underway, which involves installing more collection points for paper, aluminum, glass and plastic across the resort.

  • Each year 2000 people (or 1/3 of the commune's permanent residents) receive their power from one of three micro power plans, which use natural waterfalls to create energy.