Verbier is one of the world’s greatest ski resorts and is ranked by many experienced skiers in their top 10, or top 5, or even number one. The resort has it all; a huge ski area with a vast vertical, topped with a glacier; an authentic Swiss village with chalet-style architecture and great mountain scenery above and action-packed night life with excellent off-slope facilities. These combined attractions draw skiers from all over the world, but with a far better and wider international mix than many other international resorts with British, North American, German, French, Benelux, Dutch and Scandinavian guests all figuring prominently.
Verbier is something of a ‘purpose-built’ resort, although not in the way most people think today. Before 1925 there were no skiers here, and very few people, what is now the ski area only being used as summer pasture for cattle. The first hotel was built and ski lessons were given two years later and in 1928 Verbier’s first baby was born and the resort’s population reached three.
The first lift, in 1946, was a rather dangerous mechanised sledge-on-a-rope and the resort didn’t finally explode onto the international scene until ten years after that. The famous church with its 40 metre (130 foot ) spire that dominates the resort to this day was completed in 1962 and the resort was one of the first to offer a skier uplift of 10,000 per hour by the mid ’60s.
Verbier is now part of the vast 4 Vallées ski area, Switzerland’s largest, with 410km of pistes and 80 lifts. The area spans a huge vertical, from Le Châble at 850m up to Mont-Fort at 3,330m, and is a must-visit destination for those that like a little adrenaline. It’s always one of the most hotly anticipated stops on the Freeride World Tour, with the varied terrain and plethora of freeride opportunity delighting skiers of all ages.
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