Verbier is the resort which needs no introduction. Playground of the rich, famous and party fiends alike it’s a lively resort with a big personality and enthusiasm for après which is matched only by its thigh burning itineraries. And it’s penchant for bumps!
Skiing in Verbier
Verbier is great for….. advanced skiers
While the resort has its own beginners area in Les Esserts (complete with magic carpet, shuttle bus from main lifts and the odd D list celebrity), it’s fair to say that intermediate to advanced skiers are those who get the most out of the ski area of Verbier.
Being confident on blue and red runs opens up much more of the resort, from the popular pistes of Les Ruinettes to Gentianes, the long red from the top of the Col des Gentianes. However, it’s the itineraries where Verbier really comes into its own. Subject to conditions, you can pick your line from the top of Mont Gelé, or hold your nerve on Tortin. The traverse over to the latter is actually worse than the descent!
Where to stay in Verbier
The resort is snuggled together in one side of the mountain, meaning that it’s easy to get around (especially with free buses running during the day and the lift to Le Chable at the bottom of the hill). Chalets and hotels like the W which are based near the Medran benefit from easy access up the mountain first thing in the morning, and sneaking in ahead of the queues.
Areas such as Verbier Village, Savoleyres and Patier are a little bit further away than the main Medran lift area but offer different alternatives all connect by bus.
Most hotels and chalets will either offer transfers to the lifts in the morning if you’re a bit further out, or you’ll never be more than a 5 minute walk to one of the free buses. The view south across the valley is stunning – even if you’re not on the piste!
Where to eat and après in Verbier
Best places to eat? Offshore is a friendly bar and restaurant near the Medran lifts and is the perfect place for a pit stop in the middle of the day; whether it’s one of their world famous milkshakes or burgers the size of your head. It’s also not as eye wateringly expensive as eating upon the hill.
Sticking at the more affordable end of the scale, Relais de Neige is a friendly local restaurant which has great value daily menus (and is our meeting point, so you can often find New Generation instructors getting fuelled up on coffee before the day starts). And the evening? The Pub Mont Fort is the seasonnaires’ hangout for cheap eats and beer, or the Farinet Lounge for cocktails, live music and dancing on tables.
If you want to spot the celebrities in resort though, you’ll need to venture further up the mountain. The Carrefour is Richard Branson’s favourite restaurant and with specialities like meat cooked over a hot stone, and views across the Combin, Trient, and Mont Blanc it’s not hard to see why.
But that’s not the only hang out we love. 3 years ago James Blunt, Lawrence Dallaglio and Carl Fogarty set up La Vache, a more affordable option for eating out on the hill. Pizzas start at £13 and our favourite is the Dallaglio, with tomatoes, mozarello, pepperoni and jalapenos. It’s got a great kick!
And last but by no means least is Le Mouton Noir – party centre and restaurant on the hill. With awesome live music, great food and a fab, dancing on tables vibe, this is the place to let your hair down after you’ve put your fork down.
Pick of the pistes
Lac des Vaux runs and fontanet often have well groomed pistes and quick turns arounds to really get your legs burning before lunch! Try to avoid the red run down to Ruinettes at the end of the day, nicknamed the M25 because its so busy!
Secret powder stashes
We sort of don’t want to tell you this but… try heading up the other side of the mountain to Verbier. Lifts from Le Chable up to Bruson open up the secret ‘Bruson Trees’. Here the snow is normally untouched and is great fun for bouncing off pillows of snow and between the trees. Also try Vallon D’Arbi and the back of Savoleyres for lots of fun terrain. But make sure you go with someone who know’s where they’re going, that you’re wearing avi gear and know how to use it.
Or better still, why not book an off piste guide and let us show you our favourite lines.
The best place to party on a New Years eve isn’t in one of the many exclusive and expensive clubs – but in the main ‘square’ on the Medran road. There’s live music, an amazing party atmosphere and you can bring your own booze. Perfect.
Lifts open at 8:45 and on powder days people will begin queing even earlier so get up nice and early!
Savorleys and Bruson are great places to go to avoid the crowds.
After the lifts close
If you are not firmly ensconced in a bar or dancing on the tables at the Farinet, then try your hand at ice karting. Our other favourite spot is the swimming pool right in the heart of Verbier – great for stretching out tired legs as the snow falls around you.
So the scores on the doors for Verbier…
beginners ** 2/4
intermediates *** 3/5
après scene ***** 5/5
families ** 2/5
dining ***** 5/5
off piste ***** 5/5