Verbier’s reputation as a world-class ski area precedes it; offering 410 kilometres of pistes which comprise a host of resorts and the varied terrain that comes with them. The 80 lifts which service the area promise access not only to exceptional conditions but stunning scenery with views of both Mont-Blanc and the Matterhorn. What is less well known is the town’s extensive array of sporting activities. From the state-of-the-art multi-activity centre to night-time ski touring and an array of opportunities to sample the local culture, Verbier offers the familiar as well as the chance to try something new and exciting. For more information about Verbier visit www.verbier.ch/en
Sporty Activities News
Visitors keen to try ski touring can make use of eight easily-accessible marked routes, organised outings and even hire a personal mountain guide to discover the mountains under the care of an experienced professional. For the more experienced the Patrouille des Glaciers is an internationally renowned ski mountaineering race organised by the Swiss Army which will run from 27 April to 3 May 2020. The competition is held every two years where teams of up to three people, featuring both military personnel and civilians, compete over two days across treacherous terrain. With Verbier serving as the finish line, more than 1,400 teams (made up of 4,200 participants) start from either Zermatt on Course Z a 53 kilometres trail, or from Arolla on Course A which winds 26 kilometres through the Swiss Alps.
The Cabane Brunet offers tourers the chance to refuel and warm up with spectacular views of the valley as well as overnight accommodation for those keen to take on the ascent of Mont-Rogneux.
Guests can see the village lit by moonlight on the night-time ski-touring routes, which are open every Wednesday from January to April, and bring skiers to the restaurant at the top of Savoleyres at 2,340 metres where they can enjoy a delicious meal with views over the village below.
For entertainment closer to home, the new sports hall at the activity centre boasts a 600m2 climbing wall, two squash courts, a covered tennis court and a multi-sports ground. Guests keen to try climbing or improve their skills can meet at the climbing wall every Friday morning to learn all about carabiners, quickdraws and practice the basics. For those looking for more options to test their fitness at altitude, Mondzeu’s swimming pool, two steps away in the centre of the resort, has a 19-metre indoor pool, sauna and a gym.
A six-day lift pass costs from £290 pp for an adult and £145 for a child.
Prices for a mountain guide start from £110 pp for one day.
A one-night stay at Cabane Brunet costs from £60 pp on a B&B basis.
Access to the Sport Centre’s climbing wall costs £13 for an adult and £8 for a child (the Friday morning sessions cost £16 pp).
Verbier boasts seven marked itinerary slopes. An Itinerary run is a happy medium between piste skiing and backcountry touring; they are recognised routes but are not maintained by piste groomers. This makes them an attractive option for skiers and snowboarders keen to push themselves without the hassle and increased danger of backcountry touring.
Venturing even further into the mountains, there are a host of exciting heli-ski options available from Verbier. Petit Combin (3,663m), Rosablanche (3,336m), Trient Glacier (3,000m) or Pigne d’Arolla (3,790m) are all accessible from Verbier and offer the eclectic blend of tranquillity and thrill that only heli-skiing provides. Guests arriving later in the season will be able to witness some of the world’s best skiers take on the Bec des Rosses, a treacherous 3,223 metre peak, as part of the Freeride World Tour which runs from 28 March to 5 April 2020.
For a further adrenaline rush, visitors can take on ‘The Infernale’. Running on 14 March 2020, ‘The Infernale’ is a ski-based challenge inspired by the military-style obstacle course race that have become popular in recent years. The challenge can be taken on individually or in groups of three and is made up of four disciplines; running, super G, giant slalom and special slalom. The course challenges guests to a tunnel under the snow, a wall of tyres and winding paths through the forest. Top athletes will complete the course in at around six minutes, but the course is open to everyone to have a go. There is plenty of opportunity for adventure without the need for skis or a snowboard. Exchanging skis for crampons and poles for ice pics, climbers of all abilities can test themselves on the many frozen waterfalls in the region. The waterfall at Fionnay is especially impressive and can be explored with the help of a guide. For a new perspective on the town and the surrounding peaks, Verbier’s south-facing disposition and regular clear skies provide some truly exceptional conditions for paragliding.
A private heli-ski trip for four people costs £380 pp.
A guide for ice climbing costs from £147 pp based on a group of four people.
A paragliding session costs £155 pp.
There are also a number of gastronomical experiences on offer in Verbier. The resort’s prodigious restaurants aside, visitors can enjoy a bespoke dining experience with Kando Events where a hand-carved, custom-made snow table will provide the secluded, mountain-side stage for a menu curated by a Michelin-trained chef. Accompanied by a live band or DJ, it promises to be a truly unforgettable dining experience.
Verbier is also home to the V Bier brewery which produces artisanal, fruity beers using water from the mountain springs. Derek Orford, a qualified beer sommelier and brewer, opens the brewery for organised tours where guests can sample the beers brewed on site whilst learning about how they are made. There is also the chance to experience a day in the life of a cheesemaker under the experienced tutelage of Marc, who learned the trade from his father at the same Verbier based-dairy he teaches at today. The workshop incorporates each stage of the cheese making process and also allows guests the opportunity to sample some of the cheeses made there, including Vieux Bagnes, Tomme and other house specialities.
A Kando Events dining experience costs from £650 pp based on 10 people attending.
A tour of the V Bier brewery costs from £20 pp.
The cheese making workshop costs from £40 pp.
Arts and Entertainment News
Possibly the only thing more famous than the skiing in Verbier is its nightlife. The party starts just steps from the end of the runs with Le Rouge and Pub Mont Fort providing cold beer, vin chaud and live music at the bottom of the final slopes into town. Later in the night, Farinet and the Farm Club cement Verbier’s reputations as an après ski icon. The party starts with the fifth anniversary of Polaris Festival, running from 28 November to 1 December 2019, which welcomes up-and-coming DJ’s as well as veterans of the dance music scene. Verbier’s affinity for the creative extends to the slopes with the 3-D Sculpture park located between Les Ruinnettes and La Chaux at 2,300 metres. The outdoor exhibition features work from artists around the world and is accessible via ski, snowshoe and dog sled. A three-day pass to Polaris festival costs £155.