Verbier Ski Holiday Guide
Verbier is the main resort in the 4 Vallees – Switzerland’s largest ski area. It has a reputation for tough skiing and big nightlife which makes it very popular with a young and adventurous crowd.
With 80 lifts serving 410 kilometres of snowsure slopes, intermediate and advanced skiers will find plenty to get excited about. But it’s the off-piste that is the main attraction, with more accessible spots than most other ski areas in the Alps. Verbier is also home to some of the snow industries biggest events.
Verbier has an excellent reputation for its range and quality of dining options, with more than 60 places to eat spread out over the mountain and in the village. For a unique way to start the day, the Mont Fort Igloo is the highest ice bar in Europe at over 3,300 metres. Sip coffee as you enjoy the view of more than 110 peaks.
Lunch options include Chez Dany with its big terrace and the King’s Restaurant in the village centre. There’s a big choice of dinner destinations to suit all budgets, including Harold’s Burger Bar and the relaxed Fer a Cheval – but we warned nowhere is cheap.
For a glamorous (and very expensive) night out, check out the world-renowned Farm Club. Or if you’re on a budget, then the Casbah nightclub is the place to go for dancing, with the award-winning Rock Bar right next door. There’s also a young and hip crowd at the Pub Mont Fort at the top end of the resort.
The 10-kilometre toboggan run at La Tzoumaz drops down almost a kilometre and is a must for thrill seekers. And even if you’re not skiing, take a trip to the top of Mont Fort for an unforgettable view.
The ambitious complex at the foot of the Medran gondola features shops, eateries, cafes and public spaces. With many of the main village attractions being located just a short walk away.
The beginner slopes are conveniently located next to the village itself on the sunny hillside, so it’s a great place to learn the basics. There are easy to use magic carpets and once you feel confident in your abilities, you can head out to explore big selection of blue runs nearby in Savoleyres. The beginner area is a little separated from the main skiing, which makes it a little tricky for family or group holidays where people are of different ability levels.
Across the 4 Vallees ski area there are more than 400 kilometres of piste to explore, but some of the connections are quite far away, so it’s worth planning your routes carefully. For intermediates this means that you frequently have to challenge yourself on some tougher runs to get around. If you’d like to stay closer to Verbier itself, two of the 4 Vallees biggest sections are located right next door: Savoleyres and above la Tzoumaz. The longest run is an incredible 15 kilometres in length.
Verbier is probably best suited to advanced and expert level skiers, with more than 20 black runs to choose from covering more than 75 kilometres. Go to the top of the Jumbo Mont Fort cable car to ski the famous Tortin bowl. However, much of the main appeal for serious skiers lies in the extensive off piste terrain.
Several major events highlight Verbier’s extreme credentials. These include the Verbier Ride freeskiing event, Verbier Xtreme – which is a leg on the Freeride World Tour – and the tough Patrouille des Glacier race rounding off the season in April.
Verbier is one of the most renowned freeride destinations in the Alps, with a huge choice of accessible areas both close to the town and across the extensive ski area. As always if heading off-piste you need the appropriate gear and to know how to use it, it’s always best to get a guide in a new area particularly somewhere as large and challenging at Verbier.
The Col de Mines is one of the most popular areas, with access gained the same way as the Vallon d’Arbi. Head to the sunny side until you can see the village below and you’re at the start of the run.
The Col de Mouches is accessed from the top of the Chassoure gondola, with a slope known locally as Tortin the real highlight. Try and stay high and traverse to the right and you’ll find a big open bowl with some pretty steep sections.
Further afield in the 4 Vallees you can ski the backside of Mont Fort with some steep terrain and glaciers. Gentianes resembles a maintained mogul slope from a distance but is great fun, and Stairway to Heaven is another classic off-piste itinerary.