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Ski Holidays | Lakes Holidays | City Breaks | Mountain Holidays
Verbier Ski Resort Switzerland
Verbier ski resort is a very fun, very stunning and very large skiing area in Switzerland. Forming the western section of the massive 4 Valees, Verbier has almost limitless premier on and off-piste opportunities, rightly ranking it amongst Europe’s best & most famous ski resorts.
Unlike some of Europe’s mega sized ski resorts, Verbier is also an attractive, vibrant village with low rise buildings built along traditional lines.
For Powderhounds, highlights of skiing Verbier are the freeride routes off Mont Gele & Mont Fort, which at elevations of up to 3,330m provide superb ski experiences and glorious views of iconic alpine peaks such as the Grand Combin, Matterhorn & Mont Blanc.
Pros & Cons for Verbier Ski Resort
- Sensational lift served freeride terrain.
- Stunning views.
- Interlinked with 4 Vallees for huge & diverse on-piste ski terrain.
- Numerous ski-in ski-out accommodation options.
- Switzerland’s best après ski & nightlife.
- Quality heliskiing available.
- Backcountry ski options easily accessed;.
- Easy to get to via train from Geneva airport.
- Busy on a powder day and weekends.
- On mountain accommodation expensive.
- While the après is good, the prices can be extortionary.
Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)
- The Mont Fort area is not actually included in the Verbier lift pass (requires a 4 Vallees pass) and takes 5 lifts to get up without putting on a ski!
- In Switzerland, so while everything is perfect, it comes with a price tag.
Skiing & Snowboard, Lifts & Terrain
Verbier ski resort is part of the 4 Valees ski domain and ranges from 821m at Le Chable up to 3,330m on the summit of Mont Fort. The ski resort has seamless connections with the 4 Vallees ski area, for a massive total combined 410 km of marked runs. The expansive off-piste terrain only adds to the size and adventure of Verbier.
See the Verbier Ski Trail Map
Verbier is in effect four ski areas which is reflected in the multitude of lift pass options. The lower Bruson ski area is across the valley via gondola from Le Chable. The Savoleyres / La Tzoumaz area has sunny open pistes great for beginners and lower intermediates on the Verbier village side, and better snow quality trails in the shaded side down to La Tzoumaz.
The Verbier sector includes 1500m of skiable vertical for all abilities up to Mont Gele. Finally, the Mont Fort sector is actually part of the 4 Vallees interlinked ski area, and not strictly part of Verbier. Terrain is mainly off piste freeride and advanced routes, although a major intermediate trail does link back into Verbier.
You will love Verbier if you live for off-piste and freeride skiing or boarding and luck into some decent conditions. Cautious intermediates may not enjoy the disjointed layout of the marked pistes and the inconsistency of the piste ratings. But anybody who wants to leave the groomed stuff behind (or wants to learn how) will have a ball. Heliskiiing is available on the nearby peaks as well.
Verbier is a quality ski destination for budding skiers. The resort’s size and elevation mean the snow quality will last, particularly for those that are prepared to stomp a bit of boot pack. Be warned though, there are definitely no friends on powder days at Verbier because every man and his dog hits the slopes. Get a guide to learn the area.
The ski terrain and lifts at Verbier are a tad complex to do any justice on this page!
Interlinked with 4 Vallées
The 4 Vallees ski areas (Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz, Savoleyres, Thyon and Bruson) offer quite distinct and different types of terrain of varied difficulty.
Local lift passes can be purchased for a cheaper price for Bruson, La Tzoumaz/Savoleyres and Verbier (which includes Bruson and La Tzoumaz/Savoleyres). Nendaz, Thyon and Veysonnaz are covered by the Printze lift pass. The Verbier and Printze lift passes do NOT include the top three cable cars including Mont Fort. The 4 Vallees lift pass is the only one that includes all lifts.
The Mont Blanc Unlimited pass (centred on Chamonix & Courmayeur) gives extremely limited, strictly conditional access to Verbier. It is of no value to anyone looking to ski Verbier, and of dubious value elsewhere. Read the detail of the pass carefully.
Where is Verbier Switzerland?
The village of Verbier is in the canton Valais, south west Switzerland. Verbier is 170km east of Geneva (2hr drive), a 1 hour drive from both Chamonix andAosta
The nearest & best international airport is Geneva (GVA) which has easy transfers to Verbier via taxi, shuttle bus or train. Sion airport is close to Verbier and is an option for travelers from London or Zurich.
The Swiss railway system provides a great way to get to Verbier. Train access from anywhere in Europe including direct from Geneva airport (2¼hr by train) and Brig can be easily achieved via Martigny. From Martigny, the St Bernard Express runs every 30min to Le Châble, where a gondola, bus or taxis will whisk you up to Verbier. Search & booktrain tickets to Chabel and Verbier
The key question is not what type of accommodation but where to stay in Verbier? The ski resort of Verbier has lifts all over the place but these are not easily accessible from all parts of the village, nor do the village lift queues move quickly in peak season. The best access to Verbier’s sensational off-piste terrain is via key lifts Medran 1 & 2, which leave from the top of the village.
For the ultimate in convenience, stay near the lifts (like in W Verbier or the more affordable Hotel Vanessa) unless your hotel or chalet has its own shuttle bus (like the La Cordee des Alpes).
Verbier hotels & Val de Bagnes accommodation options range from five-star hotels to bed-and-board. Verbier also offers more than one thousand rental chalets & apartments. If you are watching your pennies & want ‘atomic-proof’ accommodation try “The Bunker”, a converted nuclear fallout shelter in Verbier, but be warned it is a windowless, triple bunk, party centric hostel!
Staying down the mountain in Le Chable can provide excellent value. Access to the ski terrain isn’t an issue considering the daytime gondola & evening bus service that runs between Le Chable & Verbier. Plus, Le Châble is the base of the Bruson ski area.
Another alternative to high priced, low availability Verbier is La Tzoumaz (also referred to as Les Mayens des Riddes). Lift linked into Verbier, staying here may not provide the fastest access to Mont Fort, but it can be easy on the wallet whilst still providing an authentic Swiss alpine village experience. Try the newly refurbished Hotel de la Poste – great rooms & food, plus close to the lifts & valley return trail.
Ski Rentals, Guiding & Lessons
Ski rentals are available at multiple locations in the centre of the village.
A brain-snapping collection of ski instructors, ski schools & guides ply their trade in the Verbier ski resort & adjoining valleys.
There is plenty for non-skiers to do in Verbier including paragliding, ice skating, swimming, day spas, tobogganing, snow shoeing and dog sledding. Oh …….. & sleeping in after partying all night!
Verbier Après & Nightlife
Verbier’s huge range of bars, restaurants and clubs do après incredibly well, so it is well suited to seasoned party-hard animals. Many clubs only come alive after 11pm so be prepared to miss first lifts. Après-ski and nightlife options are almost as infinite as the skiing choice but some of the best are right in the centre of town.
Try the highly rated Le Farinet for combined après, bands (every night of the season) and nightclub til 4am. Alternatively the L’Etoile which opens at a more than reasonable 11.59pm each night (earlier on weekends) is just opposite. Those who are not drinking & dancing fit need not apply! Similarly, those on a budget, look elsewhere.
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