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What are Swiss conditions like?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone

I may have a chance to go for a couple of days in Feb 08 to Verbier region in Switzerland and was wondering whether anyone has had recent experience there

It will only be for a two or three days unfortunately and would be keen to get as much out of it as possible

Things like:
  • The "best" mountains (I am an experienced skier) in the region
  • Best equipment for the conditions (ie how cold does it get?, is it mostly on or off piste?, avi stuff needed etc)
  • What sort of costs there are (food, lift passes, insurance needs)
  • Whether you would recommend renting ski's or taking them (I am going for work and will struggle to carry a ski and boot bag)
And generally any interesting thoughts that people might have

Thanks in advance

Simonwoof
post #2 of 12
That time of year you should have a great time. If you're in the Verbier area, by all means, ski there. It's one of the best in Europe. My impression of Verbier was there were a lot of drunken Brits around, a lot of schlepping to do, and tracks in places that you couldn't even imagine sideslipping down. Some of Europe's best skiers ski Verbier. Other good choices include Zermatt or Chamonix in France, not far away at all. But choose just one resort if you only have a few days. Verbier has great offpiste and semi-offpiste, what they call ski routes in Europe, marked on most trail maps but not groomed. The Col des Gentianes is my favorite, but there's plenty of challenge everywhere and the snow is often good. The town of Verbier is no great shakes, but there's a lot of action. Plenty of good ski shops for renting with very high quality gear. Switzerland is expensive, keep that in mind. Noticeably more so than Italy or France. I stayed at a chalet when I was in Verbier so can't help you much on lodging. If you have a copy of Where to Ski and Snowboard, they've got a good chapter, or go to their site. Finally, if you can avoid it, don't bring a car to Verbier, it's a real hassle. As always in Switzerland, trains work great.
post #3 of 12
Bring lots of $$$$'s,power bars, and strong legs! So good skiing anywhere in the Alps. As well as Verbier try Les Diablerets Glasicier 3000. Take the blue Mt train from Aigle. I also say best way to travel at home is use the train. But last winter the snow was not so good. Lets hope this year its better!!!
post #4 of 12
Verbier has some of the best skiing in the Alps. You take the telecabin up to Les Ruinettes from Medran, follow by a 30 men stand-up gondola to Attelas (2,740m).
On one side of Attelas is some gentle cruising skiing around Lac des Vaux, and chair-lift access to the notorious Chassoure -Tortin run, which is always steep and heavily mogulled . On the other side of Attelas to Lac des Vaux, there are several other chair-lifts and runs leading to Les Ruinettes, Carrefour and on back down to resort level.
There is also access to the La Chaux area, with gentle pistes as well as the starting point for Le Jumbo, a 150-person cable car that runs up to Col des Gentianes (2,950m), from where a smaller cable car runs up to the top of Mont Fort (3,330m), the highest point in Verbier.

Some of the best runs in Verbier are:
Verbier - under the Mont Fort Tram
Col des Gentianes to Tortin
Col des Gentianes to La Chaux

Nice Off-piste runs are found at:
Mont Gele - try the couloirs up here for a real test of your nerve.
Attelas - Couloir Creblet
Mont Fort - backside.

Gentianes - stairway

Tough moguls fields are found at:
Chassoure to Tortin - one of the toughest fields in the Alps
Gentianes to Tortin - Long and Sustained
Mont Fort - tough field and steep


As for ski hire, you will find plenty of choices, but try to avoid the ski rental shop directly opposite the main station at Medran. You will find better choice in other ski shops in the village

A 6 day ski pass (All mountain) costs CHF331 (about Euro 200)

post #5 of 12
Have you look at their official web pages (for lift pass cost)?

http://www.verbier.ch/index.cfm?&Langue=en
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
Have you look at their official web pages (for lift pass cost)?

http://www.verbier.ch/index.cfm?&Langue=en
Couldn't find the ski pass prices in their Official site, but found it in the following site:

http://www.televerbier.ch/pages/en/tarifs_print.cfm
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scavenger View Post
Couldn't find the ski pass prices in their Official site, but found it in the following site:

http://www.televerbier.ch/pages/en/tarifs_print.cfm
There're the same. (you find the televerbier under "Winter")

No wonder Europeans say US lift passes are expensive! Verbier ticket per day is just under US$55! That's just unreal for a major resort!
post #8 of 12
Yeah, it's weird how skiing costs less here in Europe (Switzerland aside). Passes and food on the hill are much less than in the States. Lodging costs more, though, and of course so does gas.
post #9 of 12
Well, its been years but I used to live in Leysin. I agree with what Prickly says. If you have only 3 days, I would stay in Verbier. You will lose valuable ski time transferring gear and traveling between resorts.

The Swiss trains are excellant. I wouldn't bother with a car. Look at the train schedules closely though. Sometimes, there are "milk runs" that stop at every village. Also ask about checking your skis on the trains, a porter will then transfer them for you. It costs a little extra, but it is worth it in my book. I used to eat at the bar, much cheaper than many of the swiss restaurants. Make it for happy hour, the Crouts are awesome, I used to live on these and Goulash.

Post us some pics.
post #10 of 12
Depends on the proximity consider even a cab to Verbier, about 100 Swiss Francs from Martigny.

If only staying 3 days you will be depending on pricey hotel accommodation since chalets are usually rented out only for at least a full week. In case you are on a budget look at Le Chable and vicinity for lodging and ride the gondola up to Verbier in the morning. But make reservations soon, that option sells out quickly.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice everyone

I am going to go to Verbier for 4 days

I will post some pictures when I get back
It has been years since I skied in Europe and I am 1 part excited 2 parts nervous

Cheers again

Simon
post #12 of 12
Not sure about Switzerland, but the French Alps have very good early season snow at the moment...Matt
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