The 4 Vallées ski resorts (Verbier, Nandez, Veysonnaz and Thyon) constitute one of the largest lift-served skiing areas in the world. Located entirely in Switzerland, the maximum skiable vertical at Verbier, given conditions are perfect, they involve a trail of 15km descending more than 2,500 metres, making it one of the biggest and best verticals in the world.
Verbier features a high percentage of high-tech lifts that can quickly shift large numbers of skiers. The most noted of the lifts is ‘Le Jumbo’ cable car, capable of carrying 150 people at a time up to the Mont Fort glacier. The Funispace lift, on the other hand, features twin giant gondola cabins that can carry 30 passengers. Chaux Express and Les Attelas lifts have been added in recent times.
The main attractions at Verbier include Tortin snow bowl with its huge bumps, steep skiing around Mont Gele, extreme couloirs down from Les Attelas and the Gentianes run.
Activities at Verbier:
Popular activities at Verbier include ski safaris that are organised by the local ski schools and include trips to the French and Italian resorts in the area, heli-skiing, snowboarding and ski mountaineering. The intermediate level skiers have the biggest scope of skiing here with long trails in the blue/red category. Lac des Vaux bowl with lifts rising in every direction is one among the many options for ski mountaineering here. Beginners, however, need not feel cowed and discouraged by seeing the high trails all around. For them, there are nursery slopes located just above the village centre.
Those seeking to engage in cross-country skiing can choose from about half a dozen loops measuring between 4-5 km in various Vallées villages. There is also a eight kilometre long route through the Val de Bagnes.
Verbier hosts one of Europe’s best known freeride competitions each season, called the Xtreme. It is held on the north face of the Bec de Rosses that feature slopes at about 54 degrees. About 30 of the world’s best skiers and boarders are invited to participate in the contest. The spectators’ show is undoubtedly another top attraction at Verbier.
Given the snow conditions are exceptionally good, the vertical run between La Chaux and Le Chable from is a wonderful place to ski. If one can ski from the top of Mont-Fort to Le Chable, then he/she will complete well over 8,000 vertical feet. Attelas, Mont Gelé, Stairway To Heaven, Col des Gentianes are some of the names that skiers can associate with Verbier. However, the ultimate is the back of Mont-Fort and the couloirs here should not be attempted without a guide.
Verbier’s appeal does not end even after the end of the long day in the field. The nightlife here has something to offer to everyone. Le Bar Jo Jo located below the Chez Martin restaurant offers great music, while the Crock No Name is known for its Long Island Ice Tea. Nelson Pub and Mont Fort Pub are both busy places while a more tranquil King’s Bar serves cocktails, fine wines and Havana rums and cigars.