The best skiing spots in Verbier
While there are many excellent reasons to visit Verbier - and a great deal else to do for those who don’t plan on spending every waking moment on the slopes - skiing and snowboarding will always be one of the region’s main draws. Perfect powder, breathtaking scenery and sun-drenched descents from the iconic crags of Mont Fort and the Bec des Rosses make Verbier (and indeed the wider Four Valleys area) an irresistible lure for winter sports fans of all ages and abilities.
Speaking of abilities, one huge advantage of picking Verbier for a Switzerland ski season is that there’s such a broad range of both on and off-piste areas to explore here. Advanced skiers are well catered for, with plenty of adrenaline-pumping downhill runs on offer, while the area also boasts an enviable variety of steep off-piste traverses and itinerary runs. Most of these are easily accessible within a relatively short trudge of the various mountainside gondolas and lifts.
Similarly, beginners will feel very at home on the dozens of picturesque and welcoming green (learner/nursery) or blue (easy/shallow) slopes available in the area. Extensive snowmaking dramatically lengthens the learner season even on Verbier’s sunniest foothills, and local ski schools are typically excellent - an ideal way for first-time skiers, novice snowboarders or young family groups to start getting hooked on their favourite new hobby.
Verbier Switzerland ski options
For beginners visiting the region at any point during the lengthy ski season, it’s easy to recommend any of several hugely popular locations in which to start picking up the basics. Les Esserts, Les Moulins, La Chaux and Le Rouge all offer a wide selection of attractive nursery slopes and well-established ski schools. Here, first-timers or family groups with younger children can ease themselves effortlessly around the gently sweeping inclines. Learners can take full advantage of the numerous novice-friendly facilities at most of these beginner areas, including snow-level ‘magic carpet’ conveyors and variable speed drag lifts.
Those with a little more practice under their belts will probably want to head up to the main network of pistes and traverses immediately above the small town of Verbier itself. Access is extremely quick and convenient thanks to the famous Médran gondola, rising directly from the clustered chalets at the south-east corner of the village to the glittering heights of the 3000m+ Mont Fort peak. A free shuttle bus runs regular quick links between the Médran hub and numerous other runs and resorts in the immediate area.
With more than 30 lifts strategically dotted around the extensive map of local runs, you won’t have to go far in search of a truly spectacular ski slope that exactly matches your own personal style and experience level. There are four different types of lifts in operation during the peak ski season - button or drag lifts, chairlifts, cable cars, and gondola lifts. It’s well worth grabbing one of the many lift pass deals on offer around the resort before heading for the pistes - that way you’ll get to enjoy them all at the lowest prices, and with minimum hassle in terms of planning out your daily schedules.
Off-piste and itinerary runs
No introduction to the slopes around Verbier would be complete without a mention of the area’s famous off-piste skiing. It’s widely regarded as some of the best in Europe, thanks to the season-long availability of stunningly picturesque backdrops, accessible lift-served routes, and a diverse range of challenge levels from intermediate to expert.
Col de Mines and Col de Mouches are two of the most consistently popular off-piste and itinerary runs in the local area, both accessible via fairly straightforward traverses. Depending on the route you pick (as well as the time of day/season, and the number of other skiers in the area) you might choose to descend at a fairly sedate pace through a series of wide, shallow bowls. Alternatively, you can pick a path back down towards Médran that throws all manner of additional thrills at you - anything from bumpy mogul runs to heavily glaciated downhills, flat push-through sections to thickly forested hillsides.
Of course, the quality of the actual slopes themselves will always be the first thing most skiers judge a leading Swiss resort on, but most of us will also want to be assured of a great time when we come in for the evening, too. Thankfully, Verbier delivers on this front - you’ll find plenty of opportunity in and around Verbier to let your hair down and unwind at the end of a long day on (or off!) the pistes.
Eating, drinking and dancing spots in the town tend to be concentrated around a handful of venues that enjoy a bustling peak season tourist trade, with most of the action being found in and around the Place Centrale resort nucleus. However, you’ll also find numerous mountainside settings for a spectacular drink or two before you complete your descent - make sure to check out ever-popular cocktail hotspots like Les Ruinettes, Le Rouge, the Pub Mont Fort and Bar 1936 at various locations in and around the downtown area or the foothills directly overlooking it.