Verbier, Switzerland 2/19/04

Tony Crocker

Staff member
After Courmayeur I was skeptical of how much skiing we would get after a 2 hour bus excursion to Verbier. I also wondered about snow as the bus ascended switchbacks of a south facing slope to reach the town at 5,000 feet.

But I was pleasantly surprised as this was another highlight day. Chamonix was socked in today, but Verbier only had high overcast which did not impair visibility or close any lifts. There were also 2-3 inches of overnight new snow to refresh the surface.

The slopes above the resort generally faced west, but there were ungroomed NW aspects and wide groomed pistes with excellent conditions. Verbier provided 2 guides, and with an ability split 7 of us headed up to Mont Fort at 11,000 ft. Pierre turned us loose in the vast NE facing bowl above Tortin, which is over 3,000 vertical with innumerable lines to choose from.

We returned to the front side for an outstanding lunch with the NASJA group. After lunch most headed down to a 3PM wine tasting at Le Hameau, but I decided to go for an encore Tortin run, this time via a different bowl from the Mont Gele tram. Euro trail maps sometimes do not convey the large scale accurately, so when I reached Verbier at 4PM I found that I needed to take a bus to meet the rest of our group.

No room for pics today. Verbier has a very efficient lift system. Lines were short and I was able to ski quite a bit despite the 10:15 arrival and long lunch. It is also interconnected to several smaller resorts, all covered by the 4 Vallees skipass. Verbier is a very appealing resort. There is much less dependence upon car or bus than Chamonix, and much of the lodging is directly accessible to the lifts.