Photo: Yves Garneau
Guide to Skiing in Verbier
Issue 44 / 28 August 2020

Guide to Skiing in Verbier

Come to Verbier to explore the 4 Vallées and experience incredible off-piste and backcountry skiing.

Serena Norton

Famous for its off-piste skiing and mogul fields, Verbier attracts powder hounds from all over the world, Linked to the 4 Vallées, Verbier and La Tzoumaz form part of Switzerland’s largest ski area with 410 km of pistes to explore. With an impressive setting on a wide, sunny plateau facing spectacular peaks, Verbier offers captivating views in all directions, including Mont Blanc to the west and the Matterhorn to the east. Stretching from 1,500 to 3,330 metres, the slopes are reasonably snowsure with excellent snow making facilities on the lower pistes.

The Ski Area

The main slopes local to Verbier are served by lifts from Médran, with two gondolas ascending to Les Ruinettes. During peak periods, the lifts from here can get busy, so an alternative is to drive or take the shuttle bus to Carrefour, giving you access to the fast Mayentzet chair to Les Ruinettes. From here, you can reach the gently sunny bowl of La Chaux, a fantastic network of red runs surrounding Les Attelas and further up the mountain, Col des Gentianes and the top of Mont Fort at 3,330 metres.

From Gentianes, you can head to Tortin which is the limit of the Verbier lifts. You will need a 4 Vallées pass to reach the likes of Siviez, Nendaz and Veysonnaz-Thyon. It’s worth pointing out that whilst the region claims to have 410 km of slopes, the 4 Vallées are in fact widely scattered with some tedious links and not the continuous ski network you might expect. Accessed from the north-west end of Verbier, Savoleyres is a smaller area of sunny open slopes and shadier forested runs which often fall under the radar. This is a great place to ski on low-visibility days. Bruson should also not be forgotten; accessed via a gondola from Le Châble, it offers quiet scenic slopes and some fantastic off-piste terrain.

Best for Beginners

Whilst Verbier wouldn’t necessarily be a ‘go-to’ option for beginners, the resort does have accessible nursery slopes. These can be found in the middle of the village at Les Moulins and at the larger Les Esserts, which features one drag lift and two magic carpets. Once you’re feeling confident on the nursery slopes, La Chaux has some gentle blue pistes to progress to. Verbier is also renowned for its fantastic ski schools and guides, making it a great resort for stepping up your skiing level.

Best for Intermediates

There is excellent and varied intermediate terrain in Verbier with the main slopes concentrated between Attelas and the village, around Les Ruinettes and at Lac des Vaux and La Chaux. However, these slopes can get crowded so don’t rule out heading over to Savoleyres or La Tzoumaz where there are some pleasant red runs with fewer people.

Adventurous intermediate’s have more scope in Verbier, as travelling across the 4 Vallées often involves negotiating some trickier runs. There are some fantastic intermediate itineraries accessible from Lac des Vaux; both Val d’Arbi and Col des Mines are a great introduction to off-piste skiing.

Best for Experts

Verbier is one of the best places in the world for advanced skiers and is a mecca for off-piste skiing. Much of the challenging skiing centres around Mont Fort, with a steep kilometre-long, often bumpy, black run from the top down to Gentianes-Tortin. Verbier’s most challenging itinerary is Tortin with a rocky traverse and huge mogul field to navigate. Another respected line on the mountain is known as ‘Banana Couloir’, with access from the top of Mont Gele.

For powder-lovers, heli-skiing is also possible; the four drop-off points are Petit Combin, Glacier du Trient, Rosablanche and Pigne d'Arolla.

Snowboarding & Freestyle

With its epic off-piste, it comes as no surprise that Verbier is one of Europe’s top resorts for extreme snowboarding. Verbier hosts the last stage of the Freeride World Tour; Xtreme Verbier sees the best male and female freeride skiers and snowboarders compete on the Bec des Rosses north slope.

Located at La Chaux (2,250m), Verbier’s snow park offers a diverse range of obstacles from kickers and rails to boxes and even an airbag feature. There are four separate lines catering for all abilities plus a ski cross course.

To find out more about Verbier, take a look at our Ultimate Guide.

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