The Perfect Way to Spend Winter in Verbier, Switzerland
A brief history of Verbier
In the early 1900s Verbier wasn’t much more than a few agricultural huts and pastures for grazing cattle. But in 1925 a group of mountaineers discovered it while hiking uphill from Sembrancher, and found it an ideal place from which to ski back down.
Verbier quickly expanded as a winter sports destination, but wasn’t fully established as the top Swiss resort it is today, until the ski boom of the 1960s.
Top winter activities in Verbier, Switzerland
Winter is the time when Verbier is arguably at its best, and the range of things to do and see is expansive, like the stunning snowscape views on offer to visitors. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some popular activities to explore.
Skiing and snowboarding
Let’s be honest, this is the main reason people come to Verbier in winter. Yes there are plenty of other things to do, but the pristine slopes traversed each year by as many as 40,000 visitors are the main draw.
And for good reason too. Verbier is known as a skiing paradise. This did mean at one time occasional crowding at certain ski lifts, but hefty investment in piste infrastructure now means that Verbier can cater comfortably to its great demand. Now with a super-efficient system of trains, gondolas and cable cars, people can quickly and easily ascend the slopes and spend their time cruising down a range of pistes suitable for all aptitudes, on a pair of skis or a snowboard.
Verbier is surrounded by more than 400km of hiking trails, offering everything from relatively short treks to multi-day hikes on trails traversing glaciers and mountains. One popular walk is to Lac des Vaux, where people sometimes dare to take a bracing swim in the lake! This takes around half a day in total but is well worth the journey.
Verbier is also home to Switzerland’s second largest nature reserve - the Haut Val De Bagnes - which is worth a visit at any time of year. And for some man-made wonder you could hike to the world’s eighth highest dam - Mauvoisin Dam - which has a viewing platform offering incredible views of the surrounding scenery.
There’s so much beautiful country around Verbier that the only way to see it all is to jump on a helicopter and take to the skies. There are regular heli-tours available in Verbier that could take you to see the summits of peaks such as Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Les Dents Blanches. And if you’re a skilled and courageous skier there are even heli-skiing trips, which can drop you off high up an off-piste run to tackle the winter terrain as you hurtle down a mountainside. If that’s a leap too far though, a heli-tour will give you the opportunity to see Verbier in all its icy glory, and give you a new perspective on this winter sports mecca.
If you’re in search of a more adrenaline-pumping way to see Verbier then you can hit the skies on a paragliding tour. A few operators offer tandem flights with expert pilots, meaning even novice paragliders can soar above Verbier’s peaks and snow-dusted pine forests, and swoop along its valleys, getting a literal bird’s-eye view.
Spending the night in a mountain hut
If you’re visiting Verbier for five-star luxury (of which there’s plenty) this might not be for you. But then again maybe it will. Climbing up the Swiss alps to stay in a secluded mountain hut has become a popular activity among winter sports fans. And this isn’t a drafty old shed we’re talking about, but a pristine cabin hostel perched among high peaks, meaning awesome views and a destination unlike any other.
Verbier’s Cabane Mont Fort offers rooms, hot showers and even a rustic restaurant. Sip a sundown cocktail on the deck and enjoy a traditional alpine dinner of fondue or croute. And wake up to snow-covered mountains and a relatively easy ski route back down, meaning this ‘hut’ isn’t accessible only to top skiers.
Verbier isn’t just a daytime destination. In fact in the evening it really comes alive. Après ski in Verbier kicks off at 3pm at Le Rouge, a popular party spot. Bar 1936 is another well-used venue where you can relax on a deck chair in the late-afternoon sun and listen to the house band, which plays until 5pm. Young partiers tend to like Big Ben Pub at the bottom of the Medran lift, and everyone, including locals, visit Fer a Cheval, a buzzing nightspot right in the heart of Verbier. The list goes on to include places such as Pub Mont Fort, Farinet and Farm Club. In short, you won’t be lacking things to do in Verbier once you’ve hung up your skis or snowboard for the day.
Looking for a permanent place in Verbier?
If you would like a permanent base in Verbier so you can come and go as you please, you should take a look at the idyllic properties available in the region.
At Steiger&Cie Sotheby’s International Realty you can find the very best apartments and chalets in Verbier and beyond. We cater for a range of budgets with properties of different sizes and scopes.
Take a look at our current listings to find a dream Verbier property, and feel free to contact us to discuss a listing or the dream alpine home you’re still searching for.