It seems crazy to think that we’re approaching the half-way point in the season here in Verbier. What a season it’s been so far though, with fantastic snow conditions all throughout January.
The weekend before last saw the first mega-dump of the season, with an incredible 120cm falling over a few days, leaving us with epic riding conditions all over the mountain. One of the many things that makes Verbier such a great resort is that there are so many off-piste options in poor visibility. With the snow coming down hard over the weekend, closing all of the upper areas of the resort, the tree-lined areas of Medran and Bruson came into their own. At the top of the Bruson area around the ‘Canadian Trees’ route, the snow was nearly waist deep, making for an unforgettable few days of face shots, cliff drops, and powder heaven.
Following the significant snowfall, the sun came out and the upper section of the resort opened up. The riding around Col de Mouche, Tortin, and Col de Gentiannes was out of this world, and continues to be so in many harder to reach areas. The avalanche risk went up to Level 4, as is customary after a large fall of snow, although it has since dropped back down to Level 2. Caution should always be taken when heading off piste though, and all the correct avalanche safety equipment, including air bag, is available to hire from Mountain Air.
The temperatures have stayed cold since then, not rising above freezing in resort for the past two weeks. This means the snow has stayed fresh and light, and although most of the easily accessible skiing is tracked out, there is some amazing powder to be found only a short hike from the lifts.
On-piste conditions are excellent, with only a few icy patches around the 4 Vallees, and these are mostly confined to the shadier, colder runs in between Siviez and Thyon. On the Verbier side, the slopes are more South-facing, so receive more sun throughout the day and are therefore less prone to icy conditions. There’s also hardly anybody on the mountain at the moment, with it often being incredibly quiet in Verbier during the low-season. This means there’s hardly any lift queues, and the slopes are staying in brilliant condition throughout the day.
The cold temperatures have meant the artificial snowmaking facilities have been on full power for the past two weeks, building up the base of snow on piste needed to elongate the season when the snow begins to thaw later in the year. The snowbase around the mountain is already huge for this time of year. At the top of the mountain it’s sitting at nearly two metres, and at resort level it’s currently 80cm, which will no doubt grow as the season progresses.
With a soft 2-4cm layer of powder on top of the hardback on-piste, the runs around Verbier are an absolute pleasure to ski, providing a great edge hold at speed, and a softer landing if one should fall.
The snowpark has seen big improvements recently, with the addition of three larger jumps, as well as multiple rails, boxes, side hits, and features being built alongside the smaller tabletop jumps that have been present since early in the season.
The forecast is looking exciting too, with 50cm predicted to arrive over Sunday and Monday, as well as more on the longer range forecasts. If things go the way they’re suggested, we could be in for an amazing mid-season and February half term.