Sitting in a sun-drenched south-western facing bowl, perched high up on a mountainside at an altitude of 1500m, Verbier has it all. Boasting a wide array of sporting and leisure activities during both the summer and winter months, the resort also has a great nightlife, and stunning scenery which can be enjoyed at whichever pace suits you. And if peace and quiet is what you’re after…you never have to venture too far to get it!
Situated in the south-western part of Switzerland in the canton of the Valais, Verbier is bordered by France to the west and Italy to the south. During the summer months the resort is home to the Verbier Festival, a classical music festival of international acclaim, the Grand Raid Cristalp mountain biking competition and the Grand Concours Hippique horse show; and in the winter, the resort plays host to the world famous Verbier Xtreme freeride contest (the last stop in the Freeride World Tour), which takes place on the Bec des Rosses, and the renowned Verbier Ride freeskiing competition.
During the winter, Verbier becomes a skiers paradise. Verbier forms part of the 'Four Valleys' ski area, the four valleys being Thyon, Veysonnaz and Nendaz which together offer over 410 kilomtres of ski runs and 93 state of the art lifts, all covered in one (hands-free) lift pass. (Apparently if you want to show a love of all things Swiss, you can buy a Swatch Snowpass watch and load up your personal details!) The season normally runs from the second week in December until the end of April, with New Year and February/March being the busiest times. The valley is located at 1500m, and right up to the summit of the Mont-Fort glacier (3300m) the views extending across the breathtaking Swiss valleys are fantastic. Snow is guaranteed in Verbier due to it's high altitude and glacier skiing, and this 'mountain playground' means that there is guaranteed to be something to suit skiers and boarders of all levels. If the off-piste is more your thing, then Verbier is also recognised as one of the premiere "off-piste" resorts in the Alps and in the world, with great Heli-skiing opportunities too.
The area around Mont Gélé is popular with many beginners and intermediates alike however it can be busy. If you are a little more experienced and want to try something with a slightly steeper gradient, take the cable car down to Tortin (2050m) where it is quieter, and there are a number of red intermediate runs for you to enjoy. On the oppotiste side of the valley, Bruson (1080m) is an excellent area for intermediate skiers. There's fewer crowds here and the North East facing orientation means that the snow (and powder!) stay good for longer.
If you are an expert or advanced level skier then the world of Val de Bagnes is your oyster! You have to try out the classic black runs in areas such as Mont Fort and Combatzeline. The weather can usually be a major stumbling factor here and if visibility is good, expect the lift queues to replicate that. If you're a confident off-piste skier then take a mountain guide, and explore some of the off-piste potential in the Tortin, Mont-Gélé and Chassoure areas. There are many ungroomed, former black runs in the valley which offer some good off-pisting. They're usually quite busy, but you should still use the services of a mountain guide and ensure you carry (and know how to use) suitable off-piste equipment when skiing these areas.
Verbier has an excellent snowpark, located at La Chaux (2260m), with all the rails, jumps and corners you need to get off. It's the steep freestyle skiing opportunities that make this valley a favourite with many professional skiers. Many top skiers have settled down there in order to profit from these steep slopes and freestyle skiing which Verbier offers in abundance.
Things to Do in Verbier
The main activity in Verbier in winter is of course skiing and snowboarding, but you can do snowshoe walks, sledging or take a ride in a husky sledge. Off the mountain the 'centre sportif' provides swimming, squash, snow and ice karting, ice hockey and ice-skating. There is also a gym which provides private classes for every member such as Pilates, Yoga, Spin, Boxercise and more.
Verbier has a local golf club that is situated at Le Hameau which is only open in the summer. It has an 18-hole golf course and is located above the main town of Verbier only a 5-minute drive away. The golf course is situated on the winter piste called 'Les Esserts'. There is also a 18 hole short pitch and put course at 'Les Moulins' which is a 5 minute walk from Place Centrale, just behind Cordee Des Alps hotel.
Nightlife in Verbier
Verbier is known for some of the best partying in the Alps and it certainly does not disappoint with a wide range of options to choose from. From the Medran lift station down to Place Centrale you have between 10-15 bars open in winter from 3pm - 1-2am. For a late night option you have The Etoile Rouge, Twin Peaks and Farm Club all within the surrounding areas of Place Centrale and no longer than 5 mins walking distance in each direction.