rash, a bit nouveau, perhaps over-rated, but you can't dismiss Verbier as a seriously good ski destination. Switzerland's answer to the big ski circuses of France is a post-war invention, but the resort is nonetheless surprisingly attractive and the skiing and snowboarding is BIG. The off-piste and marked trails are demanding, but there is something here for everyone, although it is an expensive choice, especially for beginners or timid intermediates who won't make the most of what the mountains have to offer (although there are bunny slopes in the village for beginners). On the whole Nendaz, Thyon and Veysonnaz are better for families and intermediates, Thyon for beginners - but Verbier is the destination of choice for party animals and adrenalin junkies. Verbier is relatively easy to get to, with good public transport links and a relatively short transfer time from Geneva. There are several lift passes available, the key decision to take if you are staying in Verbier is whether to get the Verbier pass (which excludes Mt Fort) or the whole 4 Vallées/Mont Fort pass.
Verbier contrasts with much of the rest of the 4 Vallées in that the equipment is more modern, there are no surface lifts and the runs connect better. An efficient navette service ferries people for free around the resort from the main Médran gondola to the ancient Savoleyres gondola and other points around the village. If you take the full 4 Vallées pass, be aware that the circuit does not connect up as efficiently as it does around Verbier, and it can take you some time to get back. Verbier often opens up early in the season, initially with a solitary run at Lac des Vaux at weekends in November, but with at least 30km piste usually open all week by early December, which makes it a good alternative to Saas-Fee and Zermatt for early season skiing..
Best of the Slopes
Much is made of the itineraries, black runs and really very tough off-piste off the back of Mont-Fort and off Mont-Gele, but there are some excellent marked trails to try out too - and they can often provide good off-piste conditions when there is fresh snow. The challenging wall down to Tortin from Chassoure is a must for strong intermediates to test themselves and the Vallon d'Arby trail to La Tzoumaz and the surrounding off-piste is exceptional. There are also some excellent runs for less adventurous intermediates too, such as the runs from Les Attelas down to Verbier. The runs down from Les Ruinettes and on Savroleyres include some gentler runs if you are intimidated by the red runs off Attelas. There is a good park at La Chaux.
Where to Eat and Party
For lunch in the mountains I like La Vache (+41 277 713291), at the top of the Attelas chairlift and Cabane Mont-Fort, above La Chaux (+41 277 781384), but quality is uniformly good in all the mountain restaurants and the self-service restaurants serve a good wholesome soup if you want a cheapish lunch. Verbier is one resort which competes for après with anywhere in Europe, but at a price. Amongst the places to start are Rocks bar at les Ruinettes, Bar 1936 below the Mayentzet chairlift, Pub Mont Fort (just above the Medran station in Verbier) and Farinet, at Place Centrale - which got voted by the Daily Telegraph as one of the ten hottest apres spots in the world. For fine dining the most highly regarded restaurants are La Grange (+41 27 771 64 31), Chalet d'Adrien (+41 27 771 62 00), Chez Dany (+41 27 771 73 48), Restaurant La Cordée (+41 27 775 45 00) and the W Kitchen (+41 27 472 88 88) at the W Verbier hotel. There are plenty of good less expensive alternatives, and you can even chill over a beer and a burger at the street cafe, Haut Sandwiches, just off the downtown roundabout.
By Public Transport
The best destination to access the downhill slopes by public transport in this ski area is Le Châble. Station adjacent to gondola. Various ski passes are available covering a section or all of the ski area. The resort operates the Snow'n'Rail scheme, providing a discount on the combined travel ticket and lift pass. Click here for details of the Swiss Railways discount scheme.
- From Zurich the least travel time is 3 hrs 17 mins with as few as 2 changes going via Visp or Lausanne / Martigny.
- From Basel the least travel time is 3 hrs 21 mins with as few as 2 changes going via Visp or Lausanne / Martigny.
- From Berne the least travel time is 2 hrs 32 mins with as few as 2 changes going via Visp or Lausanne / Martigny.
- From Lausanne the least travel time is 1 hrs 19 mins with as few as 1 changes going via Martigny.
Free parking at the Le Châble valley station.
Please refer to a map and check local conditions for accurate routing information.
- The road distance from Zurich is around 278 km and the journey time is roughly 3 hrs 10 mins.
- The road distance from Basel is around 251 km and the journey time is roughly 2 hrs 50 mins.
- The road distance from Berne is around 157 km and the journey time is roughly 1 hr 45 mins.
- The road distance from Geneva is around 162 km and the journey time is roughly 2 hrs .
- The road distance from Lausanne is around 98 km and the journey time is roughly 1 hr 15 mins.
- The road distance from Fribourg is around 127 km and the journey time is roughly 1 hr 30 mins.
Latest Resort Report
MySwitzerland report for Verbier