After an amazing day exploring Morzine last week we thought it about time we packed our passports and exchanged our Euros for CHFs to see what all the fuss is about in the Swiss resorts of Verbier and Villars. Having never skied in either resort I was excited to say the least and with our powder skis safely attached to the roof and our avi gear packed we were raring to go, with reports of fresh snow ahead and new mountains to explore.
Admittedly, it wasn’t the smoothest start. Guy’s suspension was tested to the limit with four people with skis, boots and enough clothing to last the 3 days (yes the 7 tops I packed were essential. I was always taught to be prepared!!) so we were forced to take a second trusty steed. Thankfully I lucked out landing a space in the silver nipple (Bex’s Micra) with the Haribo so all was not lost, our Swiss road trip was about to commence….
After a good night’s rest in our gite in Orsiers at the foot of the mountain, we awoke to 10cms of fresh snow, ready to take on the might of Verbier and the 4 Valleys. Armed with a piste map, some tissues and emergency rations Gemma and I were ready to explore in true tourist fashion.
Verbier is renowned as a resort for advanced skiers and so we were a little perplexed to find ourselves skiing perfectly pisted blue runs with not a bump in sight. Admittedly, I am a fan of perfectly groomed corduroy but I was still keen to take on all that Verbier has to offer.
Thankfully after an hour or so lost in the beginner area of La Chaux Robbie from our Verbier team came to our rescue and offered to show us around. Within minutes we’d left the beginner area to explore the sights, taking in some challenging terrain as well as a beautiful itinerary run down to Tortin. Verbier is famed for its itinerary runs and it’s easy to see why. With stunning backdrops, paths snaking around cliff tops and pitches down steep faces we certainly earned our lunch and undertook some incredible challenges.
Just as my legs were starting to feel the effects of too many bumps we ran into Tom and Max who offered to show us some routes from the top of Mont-Gelé. After bidding farewell to Robbie, who was sadly donning piste skis, we took the cable car to the top of the mountain where only itinerary routes and off-piste terrain await. Standing at just over 3000m the views are breathtaking and as we stood perched on the top of a ridge above the cloud line, my heart skipped a beat in anticipation of what lay ahead.
After snaking through some rocky outcrops we reached an awesome open face and skied some of the best lines I’ve skied this season. Elated we were ready for lunch and a more leisurely afternoon, to save some leg power for après.
Although Verbier had taken its toll on my legs and my poor aging knees we awoke the following day to bright blue skies, eager to discover what Villars has to offer. The lesser-known Swiss resort of Villars is a little under an hour’s drive from Verbier and like Verbier is within easy reaching distance from Geneva. Villars is a quintessential Swiss chocolate box town and we were all in awe when we arrived and saw the view from Giancarlo’s apartment. Could you ever tire of this kind of view?!
Our ride up the mountain was equally as breathtaking aboard the snow train to Bretaye. Today was going to be a good day!!
After meeting up with our Villars team who were deep in training, Giancarlo gave us a tour of the ski area. If you’ve never heard of Villars then now is the time to look it up. The terrain is much more gentle than the faces in Verbier, making it ideal for families. And with free lift passes for children under 9 and prices lower than many of the more renowned Swiss resorts it’s more than worthy of your consideration. It’s more akin to the intermediate terrain of the 3 Valleys as opposed to the challenging terrain of Verbier making it a great place to build confidence and technique. And the scenery is pretty darn special too!
After 3 days on Swiss soil, it was time to head home. Although my heart longed to stay by body was weary and ready for sleep. All this skiing malarky really takes its toll. All that was missing was afternoon tea in the chalet in front of a roaring fire.
Although skiing in Switzerland is admittedly slightly pricier at present, you can’t beat the scenery and charm. If you’re heading to either Verbier or Villars this season and want some lessons, guiding or just a gentle refresher then be sure to look up our teams who would be happy to help you enjoy their stunning resorts.