Verbier On Point

Emma Wilson 24.06.2024

If you’d ever wondered if it was possible to ski all day with your mouth open, try skiing Verbier. As a reference, USA and Canadian mountains are absolutely epic but nothing beats the Swiss Alps for ground-to-sky 360 degree vistas. It really is a WOW-factor and if it’s not on your bucket list yet you must put it on there immediately.


Verbier is a destination that includes Val de Bagnes and La Tzoumaz, an enormous area of 300km encompassing six villages, a total of 410 km of slopes , 6 resorts and 80 ski lifts. This 4 Valleys (4Vallees) is Switzerland’s largest ski area, winning World’s Best Ski Area in 2021 and 2022 by the World Ski Awards. 

Accommodation and Foodie Mecca 

Up in the main area of Verbier township there are just 13 hotels, everything else is chalet accommodation or self-cater, 5000 rental chalets in total. Breakfast tends to start very European-style, with slices of ham, salami, boiled eggs, local cheeses, spreadable chocolate and croissants. The town has an excellent cross section of food choices for lunch and dinner with 114 restaurants and bars with many clustered within walking distance of the top of La Chable gondola (Medran). On the ski hill we deliberately sought out either restaurants with spectacular views (crazy not to!), or tiny eateries serving up homemade soups, breads and little delicacies.

Epic Pass

The Epic pass works here, but please read the terms and conditions. Make sure it’s the Epic pass that covers Europe and not the Epic Australia pass. Accommodation must be through one of the approved hotels listed through the Epic website, not Booking.com or other accommodation agencies for the same hotel. 


During our holiday week it snowed twice overnight, once a good POW dump and the other a light dusting. The powder dump was enough for us to find freshies all day for the rest of the week, compared to many resorts where an overnight dump  is skied out by 10am. We avoided European school holidays but noticed the Saturday chairlift queues were hectic and the gondola line down in Le Chable snaked all the way along the gondola station and around the corner as weekend visitors descended on the area.


The 4 Valleys have something to offer everyone but Verbier is not a beginners paradise. With vertical running from 3300m to 1250m there’s other resorts to cut your teeth on before hitting Verbier. However there are lower-ability focused areas, such as Sivez with accommodation and lower-level facilities. With a 4 Valleys pass you can access all runs, there are 24 blue runs, 39 green and 10 black, so there’s a huge range on-piste and official suggested itineraries to follow. Following these routes reduces trail map agonizing, unless you particularly enjoy the agonizing.  I personally love a good trail map agony session pre, post and during a trip. It’s part of the fun and gets all the uptight travellers chatting in a tight gondola space. 

Off-piste terrain wise, there are brilliant hikes to find fresh lines, and terrain for absolute miles! It really is a resort that suits the adventurous and advanced. Bring your avi equipment for off-piste, there are avalanches, and if you don’t know where you’re going, hire a local guide.  


For some reason I wasn’t anticipating too much cultural nuance, having noticed so many snow resorts across the world blend into one delicious snowy wonderment, but I surprised myself in Verbier. 

So many little thrills tantalized my eyeballs, packs of huskies pulling snow sleds, cow bells decorating restaurants, taxidermied local animals, farming tools and old fashioned mountain clothing decorating shared spaces, street lights with traditional village life scenes and the cheeses, the cheeses, the cheeses! 

Fun fact, the Swiss reportedly eat 23 kg of cheese per person every year and there is plenty of opportunity to sample Fondues, Raclette and local cheeses with bread in Verbier. This is not a winter-only destination, visitors come to Verbier year round and you can see the history of this mountain life as you move about the resort. The town has strict building and renovation policies to make sure dwelling exteriors are in keeping with tradition. The Verbier architecture with pretty wooden cut out shapes of snowflakes, stripes and flowers on timber balustrades is very sweet.

One of our highlights was skiing down into the valley from Attelas into La Tzoumaz. We stumbled upon a modest and cosy hut selling delicious home baked treats and soups. Decorated with crocheted doilies, second hand books and playing local music, it was simple finds like this that made Verbier a special trip. 


With just six days of skiing Verbier we got a good sense of the expanse of terrain but we couldn’t ski it all, it’s worthy of a full ski season or two. We saved the iconic Mont Font to Siviez excursion for next time, my plantar-fasciitis (sore foot!) held in place in my boot by ibuprofen and a wing and a prayer had me heading inside for hot chocolates just to stretch it more often than I’d liked but injuries happen. All was not lost. Gazing out to the Swiss Alps sipping a hot chocolate, wine or a coffee a little more than usual was all part of the ski day and I love it all. 

The Gondola Culture

Get that elbow ready, because ‘no friends on a powder day’ is alive and well in Verbier and in the morning after it snows everybody LUNGES for the gondola cabins and chairlifts. You have to be quick or you get left behind. 


Sadly we can’t tell you much about late night life as we were in bed by 8pm every night with a start early, line up for the first lifts approach. Reports from locals and skiers we met that week were that everywhere was jumping. Big time. If the 5pm to 8pm apres action was anything to go by, for night owls there is no shortage of bands, DJs, disco and dining into the wee hours. Give us another 5 years and we may just adopt that European ‘start late and finish late’ style.    

Switzerland Style

There are advertisements of Swiss watches everywhere you look but the Swiss watch is also a symbol of how this country runs. Travelling in Switzerland is very easy and intentional. The train station in Geneva is downstairs from the international airport. Trains are prompt and run to the minute. Trains are clean, fast and Alpine scenery speeding along Lake Geneva is gob-smackingly good with warm cabins and phone chargers. When you alight at La Chale train station, the gondola is right above the train station delivering you promptly to ‘downtown Verbier’ in Medran. Just cram your luggage in the gondola cabin and GO.  

Getting to Verbier

Verbier is 2.5 hours by train from Geneva, an international flight hub for jetting to Australia, NZ and beyond. There is just one train change at Martigny station to La Chable then the gondola from La Chable train station runs till 11.50pm every day up to Medran. Shuttle buses run free of charge all over Verbier from 8am till 8pm all winter. 

For more info head to Loving the Snowlife for an audio interview with more questions about Verbier answered.