Verbier – what’s not to love?
Verbier is probably the most exciting of all European resorts for skiers
, with the unique combination of an extensive off-piste playground, groomed slopes, and a vibrant village
offering serious shopping, serious dining and serious fun! Verbier is the perfect destination
, a French-speaking Swiss resort that respects the dedicated skier and is situated only an hour and a half from Geneva
. The main lift station, the Medran, is a short walk from the Diva Ski accommodation
, where it is possible to lock skis at night, so there is no necessity for waiting for buses, or lugging skis after a day on the slopes. The mountains are scattered with a variety of restaurants
that provide stunning views and fantastic food. So what else makes this resort so enticingly special to us?
Verbier is superbly positioned at the heart of a network of slopes running through four valleys and seven resorts and provides more kilometres of skiing than any other resort in Europe and that does not include the Bruson and the Great Saint Bernard Pass, which are also included in your ski pass.
Verbier has four serious black runs but also has wonderful slopes for skiers who are just getting started. It’s a resort that effortlessly combines the best skiing for those just finding their ‘ski feet’ and the most challenging runs for experienced enthusiasts. So it doesn’t really matter how long you’ve been skiing, at Verbier you’ll be right in your element.
Mont Fort is Verbier’s most famous run, situated at 3,300 metres. It is dauntingly steep, with moguls that become more challenging between snowfalls. From there it is possible to keep going past Gentianes down to Tortin, choosing from a dozen different routes. The bubble goes up to Col de Chassoure and Tortin is accessible once again, offering magical powder in the most spectacular bowl in the Alps.
For the adventurous
For the experienced and ambitious skier, there are several exhilarating challenges to tackle with a guide. Mont Gele is open only after a heavy snowfall and can be simultaneously icy and deep in powder, yet provides some of the most stunning views in the Alps. The Rock Garden, Stairway to Heaven and the back side of Mont Fort require some hiking, but the ski down, in deep fresh powder makes the effort more than worthwhile.
Heli-skiing on Petit Combin and La Rosa Blanche can also easily be arranged through Diva Ski.
For a more leisurely pace
For those who prefer something a little less energetic, well groomed pistes stretch right across the four valleys, providing a fun and satisfying day trip, perhaps with a traditional Valaisanne lunch in the mountains as well. Alternatively, the area above Verbier village of Lac des Vaux, La Chaux and Les Ruinettes provides a wealth of red and blue runs, and some short mogul fields and powder off-piste that aren’t too taxing.
There is a beautiful run through the trees down to the main lift station, the Medran, at the end of the day – or the bubble could do the work!
Verbier also caters for the complete novice, and can provide a gentle and undaunting introduction to skiing on the nursery slopes. Many of the mountain restaurants are accessible by lifts alone, so if the ski party comprises different standards, it’s not a worry, everybody can be together for lunch and still enjoy instruction suitable for their level of skiing competency.
Verbier is chic without being ostentatious, and encompasses everything that is desirable and necessary, in a resort. It has a compact central core and the majority of facilities are within easy walking distance of the Diva Ski accommodation. There is a wide variety of fantastic shopping, great bars and restaurants, and vibrant nightclubs too – it is possible to eat anything from sushi to fondue in Verbier! There are chemists, doctors, and a dentist in the centre of the village, and there is also a gym and a swimming pool.
Here are a few of our recommendations:
- Enjoy a laid back breakfast at the Offshore with its 1960s pink VW Beatle complete with surfboard on the roof, or a cappuccino at the Fer a Cheval.
- The Cabane de Mont Fort is a perfect suntrap with stunning views for afternoon skiers. Unbelievably perched on a cliff-top, it has an extensive menu and the biggest mugs of hot chocolate on the mountain.
- Le Crystal (above the Ruinette self service restaurant). For that special lunch including steaks, chicken and the best spaghetti Bolognese on the mountain. Also the outside bar serves coffees and hot chocolates all day.
- Carrefour and Chez Danny are both buzzing restaurants situated at, or near the bottom, of runs, so it is possible to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the skiing day without worrying about finding the way home. Carrefour is famous for its ‘pierre chaud’, a hot stone slab on which beef, or even ostrich are cooked, accompanied by frites or rosti.
- Vieux Verbier is an amazing restaurant for either lunch or dinner and is situated right next to the Medran. Their signature dish is ‘Potence’ which, literally, means gallows. Pieces of fillet steak are skewered onto burningly hot wrought iron gallows, doused in brandy and set aflame. Delicious and dramatic dining!
- Verbier is famous for its après-ski! The bars vary from raucous to the more subdued. Choose from the Farinet après-ski bar with live music, the T-Bar with flat screen TV for important sporting events, or perhaps the cocktail bar at The Nevai – it’s all there.
- Evening diners are spoilt for choice. Traditional fondues and raclette, pizza, pasta, sushi and hamburgers, for the less formal, and stylish haute cuisine is also widely available. Don’t worry though, Verbier is not overly formal in terms of dress – jeans are always acceptable.
- An exciting way to spend the evening is to eat in a traditional wooden restaurant up in the mountains, such as Les Marmottes. Catch a ski-doo up, and sledge down in the dark with a head torch!
- The New Club is a delightful throw-back piano bar and Garbo’s offers an inviting Japanese alternative menu.
- After dinner choose between the modern, glitzy Coco Club or the world-famous, wood-lined, Farm Club for drinks and dancing into the early hours.
Then, on the way home stop at the hole-in-the-wall bakery near the post office and pick up a freshly-baked croissant or pain-au-chocolat for breakfast!
We at Diva Ski love Verbier, and hope that you will too!