Why Verbier should be on #1 on you bucket-list, especially for advanced skiers and boarders.
With over 410km of piste across the 4 Vallees, and 210km in the Verbier area alone, there’s loads on offer for all abilities of skiing in Verbier. Despite the multitude of blue and red runs across the resort, catering perfectly for beginner skiers, it’s the legendary status of Verbier’s advanced skiing that attracts so much interna-tional attention. Each year the final leg of the Freeride World Tour is held here on the North face of the Bec des Rosses, showing in itself some of the serious terrain that Verbier offers.
Image: Bec des Rosses
Skiers flock here from all over the world to test themselves on Verbier’s incredible lift-accessed off-piste routes, some marked as ‘itinerary’ runs, and others just well-known freeride routes.
It’s hard to comprehend the true scale of the 4 Vallees, but if one word had to be used to describe it, “behemoth” might seem adequate. With 250 miles of marked pistes, it’s one of the biggest ski areas in the world.
What’s great about the size of the area is that it’s almost impossible to cover it all in a week, so Verbier is a great resort for anyone who enjoys really exploring and covering new ground. The impressive modern lift system also spreads the crowds excellently, so lift queues in Verbier are some of the low-est you’ll find in a major ski resort. Even during peak weeks queuing for longer than 10 minutes is a rarity.
The wide runs and well spread crowds also means there’s plenty of space on-piste to practice technique and tricks without having to worry about unwanted collisions.
Variety of terrain
This is where Verbier truly thrives. The massive ski area opens up a world of opportunities for different kinds of terrain, from steep, narrow couloirs, to perfectly spaced tree-skiing.
Uncommon for other resorts, the marked but unpisted ‘itinerary’ runs in Verbier have something of a cult status. ‘Chassoure de Tortin’ is often likened to other famously challenging runs such as ‘La Face,’ in Val D’Isere, or ‘The Swiss Wall’ in Avoriaz.
In Verbier we even have the incredible Mont Gele lift, which whisks you up to above 3000m, but has no pisted runs down from the top. Essentially, it’s a freeride skier’s paradise, with several unbelievable routes to choose from, some with as much as nearly 1300m of vertical descent to finish at 1730m above sea-level down in Siviez.
Image: Empty Slopes
If the visibility is poor, then the lower parts of the resort come into their own, with Medran, Savoleyres, and Bruson all having tons of world-class tree-lined skiing on offer. The name ‘Canadian Trees,’ found over in Bruson, perfectly illustrates the kind of epic skiing you can expect between the pines.
When the snow off-piste isn’t quite perfect, the snowpark in La Chaux is a great alternative for getting your adrenalin fix, with several jumps and plenty of rails to test both the advanced and intermediate freestyle skier.
“Ski de Fond” is growing in popularity in Verbier, and many skiers are using ski touring as a way to access perfectly untouched powder, sometimes several days after any significant snowfall. ‘Backside Mont Fort’ is an area well-known as a vast landscape of endless ski-touring opportunities.
Image: Backside Mont Fort
However, you don’t have to go for massive full day expeditions to access incredible terrain. Many of the best lines in Verbier are less than an hours hike, which means less of the uphill and more of the downhill.
If you’re an expert skier, or an intermediate who wants to push themselves into the advanced echelons of skiing, Verbier should be high on your list for you next holiday destination. There’s a good reason why so many people come back here year on year.