Verbier; superb skiing and some of the best nightlife in the Swiss Alps
We are nearly three quarters of the way through our horrid British winter and while it will be a great relief to see the back of it, this also means the end of the ski season is fast approaching! If you haven’t had the opportunity to hit the slopes yet, now is the time to do so, and one Swiss resort that certainly deserves a visit is Verbier.
Located in the Swiss canton of Valais, Verbier is considered to be one of the most fashionable winter hangouts for high society. This French speaking Swiss resort is just under two hour’s drive fromGeneva, which is perfect if you are planning a luxury weekend getaway. But convenience aside, Verbier is also appealing because it embodies all the charm of an ancient village, with wooden chalets spiraling up a glorious south-facing terrace and breathtaking views towards the Grand Combin Massif. But its beauty does not end there; if you reach the top of Mont Fort Glacier you can enjoy the stunning vista of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
So what about the skiing? Well, Verbier is nestled in the very center of Les 4 Vallees, linking up to La Tzoumaz, Brunson, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and the Thyon area. However, the name is rather misleading. While the 4 Valleys constitutes 410 kilometers of marked runs, the areas are more disparate than say the Three Valleys in France and the Zermatt or Cervinia ski area in Switzerland. Hopping from one glacier to the next can be a little time consuming, but it is well worth the wait. There are superb runs to explore; my personal favourite is Les Attelas, which is on the way down to Les Ruinettes and Verbier. This sun kissed run is wide, manicured and perfect for anyone with an urge for some downhill slalom racing.
However, Verbier is ostensibly an off-piste destination, so much so that the endless, trackless terrain is comparable with that of Espace Killy, Chamonix and St Anton. This really is the ultimate winter paradise for passionate off-piste skiers and snowboarders alike. If you’re not usually accustomed to the deep powder, Verbier is the perfect place to begin your journey into the unknown.
Sample the off piste on the Medran and Savoleyres side. These areas are shaded from the sun, ensuring great snow cover and they always tend to be pretty quiet; so you can practice slicing through the deep powder and jumping through your first set of moguls without an audience. If you are feeling really brave, you can book a guide and attack the famous ‘Stairway to Heaven’, or the ‘RockyGarden’ off the back of Mont Fort.
No ski holiday would be complete without a steaming gluvine and a hearty lunch on the slopes. I recommend heading to La Marmotte on the Savoleyres side. Settle down in the warmth and indulge in the most delicious rosti you’ll ever eat. Another restaurant that definitely deserves a visit is the renowned Chez Dany, on the Les Ruinettes route down to Medran. There you can sit outside and soak up the glorious sunshine while tucking into their saffron risotto. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to Chez Deny, it is a little off the beaten track, but half the fun is actually seeking it out.
While there is some decent skiing to get stuck into by day, there is also an epic party scene to submerge oneself in by night. Verbier is predominantly a weekend destination, so the bars and clubs tend to be pretty quiet during the week, but come Friday the Place Centrale is a hive of activity.
When you come off the slopes in the afternoon you should head to Mont Fort where the Après Ski kicks off in fashion, very popular with British holiday makers. If you’re looking for something a little more cosmopolitan, The Farm Club in the King’s Hotel is a super chic hangout and perfect for those partial to a seriously good cocktail. Complete your night by sipping champagne and dancing the night away in Public; the hottest new nightclub to open in Verbier.
Hotels: The Kings Hotel or Chalet d’Adrian / Chalets: Chalet Mont Fort or Chalet Tortin