Verbier Ski Resort is well-known for its excellent skiing conditions both on and off the piste. It is part of the 4 Vallees, which covers 410 km of ski slopes and is the largest ski area in Switzerland. The ski resort has been named the World’s Best for two consecutive years, 2021 and 2022. This glamorous resort is a favourite among the rich and famous, including royalty such as Prince William and Princess Kate, as well as celebrities like Diana Ross, Bono, and Heston Blumenthal.
Off the slopes, Verbier is just as famous for its lively après-ski scene, as well as its luxury accommodation. After a day of skiing, you can enjoy the lively atmosphere in the numerous bars, pubs, and clubs. Before returning to one of the many hotels like Le Chalet d’Adrien or private chalets like Richard Branson’s The Lodge.
For those visiting Verbier 4 Vallées in Switzerland for the first time or beginners, here is a guide to skiing.
The Verbier sign at La Chaux ski area, Swiss Alps
At an altitude of 1500 meters, in a sunny southwest aspect position, Verbier is the highest of the 4 Vallees ski resorts. Its ski season starts in November and lasts until April, giving you an impressive 6 months of skiing, like in Val Thorens France. This is due to the world-class infrastructure, attitude and snowmaking facilities.
The village of Verbier maintains a traditional Swiss Alpine charm with wooden chalets, stone buildings, and sloping roofs. The architecture adds to the picturesque ambience of the surroundings. However, behind these closed doors are some of the most luxurious chalets and hotels in the world, owned by such celebrities as Richard Branson and James Blunt.
Apart from the W Hotel Verbier, most chalets and hotels are run by families or independent companies like Ski Armadillo. Beyond skiing, Verbier is also famous for its lively and vibrant après-ski scene and its clubs. After a day on the slopes, skiers can enjoy the village’s bars like Mont Fort Pub or Lumi for Après Ski. Before dancing the night away at the Farm Club or Farinet Club which Prince William has been known to visit.
Read my review on staying at one of Ski Armadillo’s luxury Chalets in Verbier Switzerland.
Verbier Skiing Area
Six resorts make up the 4Valleys, Verbier, La Tzourmaz, Bruson, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon. Creating one of the largest ski areas in Europe with 410 km. All are connected by 80 ski lifts that consist of cable cars, gondolas, chair lifts and magic carpets. The ski terrain has a vertical increase from 1,250 m to 3.330 m at the summit of Mont-Fort.
There are 24 blue, 39 red and 10 black slopes, plus yellow slopes (marked but not maintained or controlled) and plenty of opportunities for freeriding, ski touring and telemarketing on the backcountry. Apart from downhill skiing, there are also routes and trails dedicated to cross-country skiing.
Skiing in the La Chaux Ski area Verbier
Skiers and Snowboards wanting to test out their skills and have fun can head to La Chaux Snow Park. It is located at 2,250 m (7,381 ft) and has various modules (kickers, rails, boxes) for all levels of skills. There are three lines (S, M, L) that can be accessed by two entry points.
Off-Piste and Freeriding
Verbier is well known for its extensive off-piste terrain for freeriding skiing and snowboarding. This is mainly due to the accessibility to the 4 Vallees’ extensive ski area region via the various lifts. Every year Verbier hosts the Grand Finale of the Freeride World Tour down the iconic Bec des Rosses.
Popular off-piste skiing areas are anything down Mont Gele or the Col de Chassoure towards the direction of Nendaz Ski Resort. If this is your first-time off-piste skiing in Verbier, I suggest getting a guide who knows the Swiss Alps. Due to its popularity, there is a large selection of off-piste guides and instructors available like Warren Smith Academy.
Verbier offers yellow slopes ( ‘jaune’), which are safe freeride itinerary routes marked with yellow or orange poles. These trails are not maintained or controlled but are marked out by the ski patrol to be secure from some of the dangers on the mountain like avalanches.
They are intended for more experienced users and freeride skiing safely. One of the most popular areas for off-piste skiing is from the Col des Gentianes 2894 m, which you can get to via the La Chaux and Tortin cable cars. The famous yellow route down is the Chassoure-Tortin “wall”.
⇒ Check out this range of downhill skis that you can use for on-piste and off-piste terrain.
Snowboarders going off piste at Col des Gentianes before joining onto the red slope
Skiing in Verbier for beginners
There are a couple of dedicated areas in Verbier for beginner skiers and children learning; Les Moulins, Les Esserts and La Tzoumaz. The areas offer magic carpets, ski lifts and nursery slopes. Beginner Ski Passes for Verbier are available to purchase for these areas at a discount rate. However, if you want to access the Les Esserts ski area and the magic carpet it is free to use.
Once you are more confident, I suggest the long blue slopes at La Chaux 2265m for beginner skiing. It is easy to get to via gondolas or chairlifts but you will need a Verbier ski pass. There is a blue slope down from there back into Verbier but if you are not comfortable skiing, you can always catch the gondola back. Please make sure to wear a ski helmet when skiing in 4 Vallées and that it fits correctly.
Verbier Ski Passes
There are two main ski passes that you can get for skiing in Verbier, the Verbier Valley ski pass or the 4Vallées ski pass. The Verbier Valley ski pass gives you access to 200km of pistes, which Includes access to Bruson, Savoleyres, La Tzoumaz, Tortin and Verbier. It is a great lift pass if you are doing a 2-3 day skiing trip or for beginners.
The 4Vallées ski pass gives you access to 410 km of pistes that cover all four neighbouring valleys and the highest peak Mont-Fort (3,330 m). These other areas included are Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon. Though this ski pass costs more than the Verbier one, it is a good idea to get if you are staying a week or if you are a confident/advanced skier who covers a lot of pistes.
All the chairlifts in Verbier offer cable cars to allow pedestrians to use them if they are not skiing. They are great if you have young ones with you or even dogs. Verbier ski passes can be purchased online in advance or at the resort. Compare quotes and prices for travel insurance that covers winter sports with Explorer travel insurance.
The Le Chable to Médran station Verbier Ski Resort
Ski hire in Verbier
One of the best places to hire your skis and equipment in Verbier is at Mountain Air. It is conveniently located less than 3 minutes walk to the Médran chairlift and just across the road from the W Hotel Verbier. Mountain Air has a shop, a rental equipment area, a ski lounge with ski lockers, and a coffee shop.
They have a large selection of the latest skiing gear, as well as other equipment from kid’s sledges to avalanche airbags. The ski lockers have warmers that are free to use when you pre-book your rental online. It was great skiing down and leaving your skis and boots there ready for the next day.
Verbier Ski Schools
Verbier has an abundance of ski and snowboard schools with experienced instructors and guides. They offer private and group lessons, off-piste guiding, telemark and even avalanche training. To suit all needs from children, adults, beginners, to skiers and snowboarders looking to improve their skills.
We had a ski instructor Abby for a full day of skiing in Verbier from Supreme Ski & Snowboard. I had just gotten out of the hospital, so I was feeling nervous and apprehensive about skiing with my pacemaker/ICD. Our private ski guide was wonderful, she made me feel at ease and was patient. She also gave me and my husband tips for improving our skiing.
Selfie with ski guide Abby from Supreme Ski & Snowboard
Take your dog skiing in Verbier
Verbier Switzerland is a dog friendly ski resort, meaning you can take your furry friends on your winter holiday with you. Dogs are allowed to be on the ski slopes with you and the chairlift system is designed so that there is a gondola every few chairlifts, enabling dogs and pedestrians to access the mountain. I saw several dogs pulling skiers and snowboards along on a lead down the slopes.
Most of the restaurants, cafes and bars in Verbier are also dog-friendly. As for accommodation, some pets are allowed, depending on where you are staying. Ski Armadillo where I stayed had dog-friendly chalets and no animal chalets, best to ask and check beforehand.
Where you can see Mont Blanc and Matterhorn
On a clear day head up to the Mont Fort summit viewing platform the highest point in the 4 Vallées Verbier. Where you will have 360 panoramic views across Switzerland, France and Italy. Which also includes seeing the Matterhorn (Cervinia) and Mont Blanc.
There are information boards on the first platforms that show you which mountain is which in the distance. As well as a nice little café where you can warm up and also a toilet. It roughly takes 45 minutes from Verbier village up to the Mont Fort one way. The best way to get there is via either the La Chaux or Tortin cable car, then change onto the Col des Gentianes cable car to the summit.
For the advanced skier, you can take the black slope back down to Col Des Gentianse before changing onto the red slopes. Be aware that the top of the black slope is covered in moguls before changing into a narrow slope. If you don’t want to ski you can catch the cable car back down.
The view of Matterhorn (Cervinia) from the Mont Fort Platform
Activities in Verbier
Here are just some of the non-ski activities you can enjoy while in Verbier 4 Vallees that cater to both families and adults.
- Snow tubing can be done in the ski resort of Nendaz.
- Zipline: Take the highest zipline in Europe on Mont-Fort which is 1,400 m (2,854 ft) long, with a descending elevation of 383 m (928 ft).
- Snowshoe trails: There are 19, trails across the 4Vallées with the longest one being 10.7 km (6.3 mi).
- Dog sledding: Try dog sledding or become a musher for the day with TakiTrek.
Gevena to Verbier by train
The Swiss rail system is one of the best in the world, it is efficient and convenient. Getting from Gevena Airport to Verbier Ski Resort is easy and only takes a few hours. All you have to do is get the Verbier Express that runs during the winter season on weekends and public holidays.
You can get the train directly from the Gevena airport which is a 5 minute walk once out of customs. You take the train to Martigny where you change onto the Region Alps train to Le Cháble VS. Which stops just in front of the cable car that takes you up to Verbier at Médran chairlift. Geneva has plenty of activities to do if you are staying there before or after skiing.
One option is to purchase a Swiss Travel Pass, which allows for unlimited travel on trains, buses, and boats during a selected period.
Taking a break from skiing and taking in the views of Switzerland
Other Ski Resorts in Switzerland
Looking for ideas for other ski resorts in Switzerland, I suggest these skiing guides. Or take a look at my skiing page.
- Ultimate Skiing Guide, Champery Ski Resort
- A Guide to the Lauberhorn Ski Races in Wengen
- Davos Ski Resort Switzerland – A Guide on Things to Do
⇒ Skiing with a Pacemaker or Defibrillator (ICD), then I suggest reading this informative article on skiing with a device.
Have you skied in 4 Vallées Veriber before? I would love to hear your experience below.
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Disclaimer: I was a guest of Verbier Tourism. However, all views are based on my own experience.