Verbier: The Air is Swankier up Here

Verbier: The Air is Swankier up Here

The world-class ski resort of Verbier lies in the southwest of Switzerland in the canton of Valais. When it comes to skiing in Switzerland, no resort is more idyllic than Verbier. Although not a familiar name to many Americans, Verbier certainly does not go unnoticed. Celebrity regulars include Jamie Oliver, Leonardo DiCaprio, Princess Mary and Prince Frederik of Denmark, and the ever-fashionable David and Victoria Beckham. Jeremy Rollason, Managing Director of Alpine Homes International, calls Verbier “the benchmark for Swiss ski resorts.”

And he’s right. But perhaps he still isn’t giving Verbs (as it’s known) quite enough credit. In the skiing world, Verbier is considered one of the world’s premiere ski resorts, and it sets a standard for ski resorts around the world.

So what makes Verbier so special? Verbier offers everything a visitor could want in a ski resort. It’s in Switzerland, so there are amazing views of the Alps. As you swoosh down the mountain, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the highest Alpine peak—Mont Blanc—as well as the most iconic—the Matterhorn. And the town itself has an abundance of Swiss chalets and plenty of charm.

Terrain

While Verbier is a great place from which to admire the Alps, skiing is the main focus. The ski and snowboard terrain in Verbier is incredible. If you want to satisfy the skiing needs of your beginner child, your daredevil teenager, and your ski-savvy self, Verbier is the place. Verbier’s own network of pistes is connected to a larger, four-valley system. The Four Valleys encompass six different ski resorts—Verbier, Bruson, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, and Thyon—and the Four Valleys Pass gives access to all of them. Visitors can also choose to buy a pass with access to only the local Verbier ski area and beginner slopes.

A combined total of 412 km (256 mi) of downhill skiing and 205 individual pistes served by 93 ski lifts make up the Four Valleys, one of the largest ski areas in Europe. Verbier is at the center of the Four Valleys and has been called the capital of the Four Valleys ski circus. And while it has ski and snowboard terrain for all abilities, it specializes in steep off-piste slopes, thus attracting expert skiers from around the globe.

Accessibility

Another perk is that Verbier is extremely accessible. The airport nearest to Verbier is Geneva. Driving time from Geneva to Verbier is about two hours and ten minutes. Three other international airports (Zurich, Lyon, and Milan Malpensa) are all less than four hours away. If you decide against renting a car, the resort is still easy to get to. There are airport shuttle services to Verbier from the Geneva Airport and there is always the impeccable Swiss railway. Rest assured that no one does transportation better than the Swiss.Verbier Chalet

Smaller Villages

Let’s face it: skiing in the Alps comes with a high price tag. Another reason to choose Verbier is that there are a few more affordable options. If there is room in your budget to stay in a glitzy chalet in Verbier, there are plenty to choose from. But remember the five resorts in the Four Valleys area that aren’t Verbier? If you’re looking to spend a little less, look into one of the villages associated with those resorts. These satellite resorts still have access to all of the terrain of the Four Valleys and have their own versions of the more local Verbier Ski Pass.

Long Season

With its village at 1,500m (4,921 ft.) and slopes up to 3,330m (10,925 ft.), Verbier’s altitude promises a good chance of high-quality snow throughout the season. On the trip of a lifetime, it’s a good idea to go to a ski resort with an abundance of snow. Verbier’s altitude also makes it a safe bet for early or late season trips.

Après Ski

If you’re going to ski in the Swiss Alps, you might as well do it in style. Verbier is a place to be seen, and skiers flock to the resort not only to enjoy the challenging terrain but also the exciting nightlife. Excellent restaurants, shops, bars, and clubs mean the evenings are as exciting as the days. Après Ski literally means “after skiing,” and no resort does it better than Verbier.

Yes, Verbier is the quintessential Swiss ski resort. For some, skiing in Verbier is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. For others, it’s a repeated occurrence. Either way, Verbier’s Swiss charm, classy comfort, exhilarating slopes, unforgettable views, and even celebrity sightings will make for a ski trip you’ll never forget.

—Kate Hulme

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