As the undisputed European home of freeriding, Verbier is right up there as the destination of choice for big mountain skiers and snowboarders worldwide. It is also ideally positioned with easy access to some of the best climbing, mountaineering and hiking in Europe - a true, year round mountain adventure destination.
It comes as no surprise therefore that Verbier is the place that some of the world's best mountain guides call 'home'. To find out a little bit more about what makes Verbier such a lure for the mountaineering community, we decided to have a quick chat with Verbier based Swiss mountain guide Bastien Nobs of iGuideYou.
Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you're from, what you do etc...
So, I'm 28 years old and am a Swiss mountain guide. I'm originally from la Chaux-de-fonds, 200 km from here but have been in Verbier for about 10 years. I've been a ski instructor for 10 years, a canyoning guide for 5 years and a fully qualified mountain guide for the past 2 years.
What was it that made you decide to follow this career?
The mountains have always played a part in my life and from a very young age, I was skiing and climbing with my family. When I was 11 years old I went on a trip into the mountains with my school and after I witnessed the mountain guides in action, I knew straight away that this was what i wanted to do with my life.
What is it that makes Verbier so special for a mountaineer?
Verbier is very famous for winter sports, specially for freeriding, offpiste skiing, and heliskiing. The 4 Valleys is an enormous playground for the mountain lover and we have incredible terrain that is easily accessible from the lifts. Furthermore if you are prepared to walk for just half an hour, there is even more amazing terrain to ski - it's a huge and wild environment.
In the summertime Verbier is far quieter which can be really nice. It's also briliantly located with easy access to other legendary mountain adventure destinations such as Chamonix and Zermatt. It's a great place for a mountain guide to locate themselves.
When it comes to skiing - the Freeride World Tour has really helped to put Verbier on the map as a freeride destination - is it really as good as the reputation suggests?
Absolutely - Verbier has played host to the finals of the Freeride World Tour for years now and there's a reason for that. The legendary Bec des Rosses in Verbier is the one of the most impressive faces to ski and is perhaps one of the most famous descents in global skiing.
So, yes, it's definitely as good as the reputation suggests. And if you don't believe me, then come here and see for yourself - the skiing here is seriously impressive.
For someone who has never been to Verbier before, what would be your top 3 suggestions for them to do in winter and in summer (a climbing route, a ski descent, a pub, a particular viewpoint, a restaurant etc....)
1 Hire a mountain guide for the day to take you powder skiing
2 Have a drink (or more) in one of the many pubs in Verbier
3 I would suggest that you come here for 2 weeks per winter, minimum!!!
1 Climbing, canyoning, walking - there are so many things to do in Verbier and the surrounding area.
2 If you're looking for great views then head to la Pierre-Avoi which offers a very nice view point in the Valley du Rhone. Alternatively, the top of Mont-Fort can offer a spectacular view of the Mont-Blanc massif and most of the famous 4,000m summits in the Alps
3 Climb the Grand-Combin, a 4,314m summit. It's very wild, easy climbing with nice, traditional Swiss mountain huts and is located just in front of Verbier itself.
How do you believe the experience of a skier/mountaineer travelling to Verbier could be enhanced by taking a mountain guide?
mmmh... First for SAFETY!! So many people ski everywhere around Verbier, everyday with every level of danger. A lot of skiers tend to follow other people's tracks and sometimes that's really not a really good idea. It generally means that you don't have the relevant off-piste experience and it'd be much safer and more fun to go with a professional who can help you manage the risks and help find the best snow. Lots of people think that everything will be tracked out 2 days after a big powder dump but going out with a mountain guide means you'll be far more likely to find the fresh stuff! With a pair of skins and a desire to explore, everything is possible!
You spend most of your professional time in the mountains - how do you like to spend your time when you're not at work?
The great thing for me is that my job is also my passion. That means on a day off I am more than likely to go climbing. I also like to go surfing during my free time and spend time with my family!
Where else do you like to travel when you're not in Verbier for skiing/climbing etc....
All around the world - I really enjoy discovering new places to climb, surf, hike etc so this is how I spend my holidays.
Verbier attracts a lot of rich and famous people - what do the locals think about this?
As I am from 200km away, I don't really consider myself to be a true 'local' but as a mountain guide, we rely on working with holidaymakers and tourists so inevitably, I'm extremely happy that lots of people come to Verbier. I don't ask my clients how much money they have..
What are your personal and professional goals for the future?
To explore new places, new peoples, keep growing and learning, make people happy and continue to share my passion for the mountains.
Many thanks to Bastien for taking the time to answer our questions.
If you'd like to get in touch with Bastien or any other mountain guides in Verbier, visit our mountain guides section.
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