Apres Ski in Verbier
Verbier looks like picture-postcard chalet heaven from afar and close-up it’s undoubtedly one of the more attractive ski villages, but still there’s too much traffic in the centre of the village and commercial development continues apace.
The Village of Verbier
Unless it has just snowed three feet, Verbier never looks quite as good as you feel it should. The main reason is the traffic which roars up the hill through the centre, revving hard to cope with the gradient, dividing busy après ski areas and scaring pedestrians. Though it may not compare well to the picture postcard view of town from Savoleyres on a sunny day, from where Verbier looks like a snow-laden chalet heaven, Verbier is an attractive ski village with scenic views and the effective one-way system at least allows the essential bus system to run well.
From La Place Centrale up to the Medran lift is Verbier’s main street – it’s the route to the main ski lifts with good ski shops scattered between the bars and restaurants that line both sides of the road leading up to the lift station. Going down the hill from the central square are more shops and some accommodation. The entire area feels sufficiently swamped with English speakers that you might expect the official statistics to be the opposite of the reality: 40% of Verbier’s visitors are Swiss, with just 12% English. Really?
The further you go from the centre of Verbier, the more traditional charm there is in the shape of big old chalets. Newer ones have also appeared, with some of the finest around the Savoleyres area dividing the old ski routes down into town.
Apres-Ski Bars & Nightlife in Verbier
Verbier’s main apres-ski scene is below the Medran base station – a downhill pub crawl back to the Place Centrale and beyond. Dining options in Verbier range from hamburgers at Harolds to gourmet at much-lauded Pierroz, then on to some of the most exclusive nightclubs in the Alps.
Verbier has on-mountain après-ski at the Wax Bar and Au Mignon, whose sunny terrace beginners can ski to from Le Rouge, but the main apres-ski scene is below the Medran base station – a downhill pub crawl back to the Place Centrale and beyond, with music thumping out into the street from the bars, care of live bands and DJ’s drawing in the crowds. If it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re in this part of the Alps, La Place is the place to be!
The Pub Mont Fort near Medran is a long established après-ski bar essential for English-speakers, with happy hour from 4-5pm, food and late night opening. The Big Ben pub is also lively with a good outside area. Nearby, the Offshore Cafe goes right through from breakfast until 7.00pm; a surfing VW Beetle interior sets the tone, and there are cakes and shakes on the menu. Lower down along Verbier’s main street, Le Fer a Cheval has good apres-ski outside and a small North American Indian-meets-the-Alps interior for pizzas and pasta; it’s also the place to get local knowledge on the skiing. Murphy’s Bar is another major indoor and outdoor après-ski venue.
For a completely different vibe, the Milk Bar does hot chocolate, cake and more; it’s in a central location but without the loud music that pervades most of this area. Other tea rooms in Verbier include Chez Kamel in the Migros building, which also serves a full curry menu including a buffet every Friday and Saturday evening. Right on the Place Centrale, Farinet has high energy live music and happy hour in the apres-ski bar, or a more relaxing wind down in the lounge bar.
Beyond the Place Centrale, the Wonderbar has pool tables, internet and pub games; the Kings Bar and Lounge (part of the hotel) has a real fire, leather armchairs and cocktails. In the sports centre you can find the Verbier Beach happy hour, DJ’s, big screen TV and cheap pasta with all you can eat on a Saturday night.
Then comes what Verbier does best – some of the most expensive nightclubs in the Alps. The Farm Club is a good place to start parting with your money, if only because you have to go there once, and you can club till the small hours at Scotch, Taratata and Casbah (in the Farinet hotel basement) without spending quite so much.
Restaurants in Verbier
There are over 40 dining options in Verbier, from hamburgers at Harolds on the Place Centrale to a gourmet meal at one of Le Rosalp Hotel restaurants: the ‘Pierroz‘ restaurant is run by Roland Pierroz, one of Switzerland’s most renowned chefs, with 19 points in the 2004 Gault Millau guide; there’s also La Pinte du Rosalp and Le Baravin wine bar. The Hotel Garbo has two restaurants (a sushi bar and a mid-priced brasserie); Kings Restaurant has great seafood and game on the menu.
Other Activities in Verbier
Verbier has plenty of other sports activities, including cross-country skiing, ski touring, snowshoeing, tobogganing, winter walking and ice climbing in winter, but for non-skiers and non-sporty types the range of other activities in winter is somewhat limited.
Verbier has 16 miles of winter walks, ice climbing, snow shoeing, a small amount of cross-country skiing in resort and one trail at 2200m, Ruinettes-La Chaux; there are more extensive routes at Le Chable (when there’s snow), with a total of 45km in the Val de Bagnes. The Maison du Sport guides run a ‘suspended adventure trail’ at the Medran Parc and there’s an impressive 10km toboggan run from Savoleyres-Tzoumaz. The sports center has a range of facilities including swimming pool, sauna, whirlpool, solarium, squash, ice rink and curling. Mondzeu has another pool, sauna and fitness centre. Verbier’s cinema shows films in English language as well as French.
Cross Country Skiing in Verbier
The Verbier St Bernard region has around 40km of cross-country ski trails spread across half a dozen locations – Champex-Lac (12 km), La Fouly (10 km), Champsec (9 km), Les Ruinettes (5 km), Plamproz (2.4 km) and Verbier Station (1.8 km) – of which most falls within the Ski St Bernard region (www.ski-psb.ch). Cross-country trails range from easy to medium difficulty, including forest tracks, high altitude trails and village circuits, skating tracks at La Fouly and Champex as well as classic trails at each location.
Ski Touring in Verbier
Deep in the heart of nature, enjoy an amazing experience far from the crowds. While it may require an effort to reach it, the mountain summit offers a stunning reward: a breathtaking view followed by a descent through an untouched valley. Carve fresh tracks in complete safety with the region’s guide! At the heart of VERBIER St-Bernard you will find classic routes such as the ascent to the Brunet hut or the Grand-St-Bernard Hospice, as well as some essential highlights for unforgettable experiences: the “Rosablanche” and the “Grande Lui” await you! A guide will accompany you for this activity. A few suggestions – Lourtier – Cabane Brunet – Mont Rogneux, Grand-St-Bernard Pass and Hospice, Rosablanche and Grande Lui
Snowshoeing in Verbier
Snowshoeing is popular with as many as 33 groomed and signposted trails, 155km in extent, throughout the Verbier Ski St Bernard region including Verbier (12 km), La Tzoumaz (13km), Val de Bagnes (28 km) and Pays du St-Bernard (102 km) with experienced hiking guides available to guide you on easy terrain and mountain guides for more difficult terrain. Snowshoeing itineraries range from 1 hour 30 minutes to 3 hours duration and mostly easy to medium difficulty.
Toboganning in Verbier
The start of the 10km toboggan run at La Tzoumaz is reached by cable car from La Tzoumaz or Verbier and offers thrilling fast descents along a 10km course – the longest toboggan run in French-speaking Switzerland – and 848m vertical elevation. Helmets are compulsory and children must be accompanied by an adult. There’s a small 600 metre long toboggan run on the Petite Combe run at La Fouly, which is floodlit every Wednesday and Saturday evening in winter, and a toboggan run through pastures and forest at Vicheres-Liddes. For more information contact the Tourist Office in Verbier.
Winter Walking in Verbier
The Verbier St Bernard region has 25km of groomed and signposted winter walking paths and a range of themed itineraries including walking FOR THE VIEW from Ruinettes to La Chaux, walking with pit stops and a gourmet lunch at mountain restaurants in the ski area above Verbier, walking trails with breathtaking glacier views at La Fouly and walking in idyllic winter landscape around the lake at Champex-Lac. For more information contact the Tourist Office in Verbier.
Ice Climbing in Verbier
Verbier and the Val de Bagnes is well known for ice-climbing with over 30 frozen waterfalls (icefalls) in winter offering climbing opportunities from beginner to expert level. Ice climbing guides can be booked through most of Verbier’s mountain guiding companies. For more information contact the Tourist Office in Verbier.
Paragliding in Verbier
Verbier has three paragliding schools offering tandem flights and various levels of instruction with stunning panoramic views of the Verbier St Bernard region. Take-off areas are at Ruinettes, Attelas (winter only), Savoleyres, Croix-de-Cœur, Tournelle and Breya, and landing sites above the Centre Sportiff and Esserts in Verbier and at Le Chable in Val de Bagnes. For more information contact:
Fabien Maillard, Ch. de la Chapelle 18, CH 1934 Bruson
Tel: +41 (0) 78 648 20 68, Email: [email protected], Web: www.fly-xperience.com
Chalet Anguillita, Chemin de la Côte 15, CH 1934 Villette
Tel: +41 (0) 79 710 91 32, Email: [email protected], Web: verbier-summits.com
Gaël Sahli Ammann, Case Postale 147, CH 1936 Verbier
Tel: +41 (0) 79 764 80 32, Email: [email protected], Web: www.flyverbier.ch
Cinema in Verbier
The stylish Cinema de Verbier in the centre of Verbier seats up to 400 people and features films in English as well as French language.
Cinema de Verbier
Case Postale 84, CH 1936 Verbier, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0) 27 771 24 35
Email: [email protected]
Verbier Tourist Information
Verbier Tourist Office
Carrefour Central 2, Case Postale 300
CH-1936 Verbier, Valais, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0) 27 775 38 70
Email: [email protected]
Open daily from 08:30 to 19:00