Verbier is a world-renowned ski resort with a lot to offer both on and off the slopes.
Here are just a few reasons to visit Verbier this winter:
1) Awesome freeriding
As well as being located in the Four Valleys with its 400 kilometres of slopes, Verbier also boasts at least another 400 kilometres of off-piste skiing, some of which is particularly steep and challenging.
Best of all, the off-piste in Verbier is easily accessible via lifts so both experienced freeskiers and up-and-coming riders can explore the backcountry.
From Lac des Vaux, chairs go to Chassoure and Les Attelas for a choice of steep off-piste runs. Chassoure is a wide, steep and shady off-piste mogul field going down to Tortin. Alternatively, take the cable car from Les Attelas to Mont-Gelé where there is only steep off-piste (no runs).
From Gentianes you can head down a long off-piste route all the way to Tortin; the whole north-facing run from the top to Tortin is almost 1300m vertical.
Of the many steep runs in Verbier, skiing from the top of Mont Fort is most memorable and starts as a precipitous mogul field. It is one of the steepest runs in The Alps and you need to know what you are doing.
Freeriding in Verbier. Courtesy of Flickr/Alex Grechman
2) Peak cuisine
Verbier has an excellent reputation for the quality and range of cuisine available through its 60 or so restaurants.
Take breakfast at the Mont Fort Igloo at 3300m, the highest igloo bar in Europe, while admiring the 110 different peaks including the iconic Matterhorn, Jungfrau and Mont Blanc.
At lunchtime tuck into anything from fondue to fillet steak at the authentic mountain restaurant of Chez Dany (1936m).
For in evening of fine dining with Italian influences book a table at the Michelin-star restaurant La Table d'Adrien where favourite dishes include stuffed pigeon, taglionlini with truffles and chocolate feather mille-feuilles. Alternatively, for the finest burger in town head to Harold's Burger Bar.
Pretty alpine chalets in Verbier. Courtesy Verbier Tourism
3) Party with glitterati
Vebier's nightlife is almost as famous as its off-piste. Hit the world famous Farm Club, an old favourite of Fergie's, which celebrated its 40th birthday last winter. Still run by the Berardis, the two Italian brothers who founded it, the Farm Club boast the largest profile in the resort. It has undergone a few facelifts since it opened in the 70s but the atmosphere is as glamorous as ever.
For those of us not made of money, the best dancing in town is found at the Casbah located in the Hotel Farinet. Open every night, it is decorated to look like a Bedouin tent, with the award-winning Rock-Bar (hosted by DJ de Douche) next door. Alternatively Pub Mont-Fort, located at the top of town, is a favoured hangout for seasonaires.
Hit the Farm Club in Verbier
4) Verbier Ride
The annual Verbier Ride event attracts enormous publicity and Europe's leading powderhounds for what has developed into one of the world's most prestigious freeride competitions.
The event is held at the La Chaux snowpark, considered one of the best snowboard and free ride parks in Europe, with a permanent boardercross run and a varied selection of hits, ramps, pipes and tabletops.
For those brave enough to enter, there is a CH 5000 prize money up for grabs. Entry is CHF40 which includes a lift pass, bib and drink on arrival. Spectators can watch the action from the bar at the sunny base of the snowpark, complete with DJ. This coming season's Verbier Ride is to be held Jan. 21, 2012.
5) 10km toboggan run
Verbier is home to one of longest sledge runs in The Alps, stretching 10 kilometres. To reach the start, take the cable car from La Tzoumaz or Verbier. The piste is reserved for sledging only. Located on the north side of the mountain, it has great snow cover and a hair-raising height difference of 848 metres.
For safety reasons, you have to wear a helmet and children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be bought for one day, half-day or a single ride. Day passes costs CHF26 adults; CHF22 teenagers/seniors; and CHF12 children.