© Barnaby Bos
© Barnaby Bos
Why intermediate skiers love Verbier
Verbier is well known as a haven for advanced skiers, with several famous itinerary runs and copious opportunities for world-class, off-piste skiing. However, this isn’t all Verbier has to offer. If you’re an intermediate skier and just want some easy runs to practise your turns on, there are plenty of cruisey blues in the area.
The Verbier ski area comprises predominantly of two main ski areas: Savoleyres and Verbier.
Savoleyres is the most beginner friendly area of the resort (aside from the designated Les Esserts beginner slope). If you’re spending a day skiing the blues around Verbier, this is where I would start.
If you start on the Medran side of Verbier, then you have to take a bus to reach the Savoleyres gondola. However, you can ski directly to the Medran side from Savoleyres without any need for a bus trip, so starting a day here is more convenient.
The Taillay piste is a long, easy run heading down into the trees. You have the option half way down to either take the chairlift back up or carry on along the track as it winds its way through the woods.
From the top of the four-man chairlift, you can then follow another blue run which goes around the side of the mountain to the left and ends up at the bottom of the six-man Nord chairlift. You could easily spend a whole day in Savoleyres, as the red runs here also aren’t particularly challenging and would be good to progress to in a day.
After lapping these blue runs a few times, you can follow the Planards-Carrefour cat track back towards Verbier. This brings you out at the top of the Le Rouge piste, where there is a fantastic place to stop for lunch or a drink.
From here you can ski directly to the Mayentzet chairlift to head up towards the main Verbier ski area. Sometimes the cat track is closed due to avalanche debris covering the track. If this is the case, you can still ski to the bottom of the Le Rouge button lift, simply by following Les Esserts beginner slope.
From the top of the Mayentzet lift, head down to the Attelas chairlift. This takes you up towards the Lacs area, a lovely wide bowl with a variety of reds and blues which all converge at the bottom chairlifts. At the top of the Attelas chairlift you’ll also find another good place to stop for lunch, where in our experience the menu never disappoints. The pizzas in here are especially fantastic.
The Lacs Bleu piste is a great run, with a very nice, gradual incline. Even if you were to gain too much speed on this run and lose control, the steeper sections all level out quickly, which means you would naturally slow down. If you have a full Four Vallées area lift pass, from the top of the Lac 2 chairlift, you can either ski or head down the Tortin-Chassoure bubble lift and then take a short chairlift ride to the top of the Tortin-Siviez blue run. This is my favourite blue run in the whole area, it’s very long, wide, and forgiving - perfect for practising switch riding if you’re more advanced, or parallel turns if you are still a beginner or intermediate. Halfway down this piste is a restaurant that is one of our favourite places to stop for a cold beer or one of their consistently delicious burgers.
To get back to Verbier from Siviez you can either take the Chassoure bubble lift back up, or instead opt for the Toblerone/Tortin-Gentiannes cable car. From the top you can either head down the long Gentiannes red run, or take the La Chaux gondola down. The La Chaux area is great for beginners and has a couple of nice blue runs, as well as a snowpark and some very easy reds.
The restaurant at the bottom of the Chaux 1 chairlift offers a great place to sit in the sun on a beanbag or deckchair. They also have a variety of food options on offer here, with crepes, sandwiches, and other fast foods being served downstairs, as well as a more formal restaurant upstairs.
From Le Chaux, if you didn’t want to ski any of the red runs heading back to Verbier, you can choose to take the cable car from Dahu all the way to Les Ruinettes. Again, if you wanted to, you could carry on taking the Medran bubble lift to take you back to Verbier. Just next to the Medran top station you also have two of the most popular mountain-après locations in the region.
The best option, if you can, is to take the blue Etiertses cat track. Eventually, at the bottom of the track, you’ll come across of fork in the piste. Taking the left-hand blue run will bring you through the forest and back to Verbier, and the right-hand fork ends up taking you down the always quiet Le Rouge blue run. The restaurant at the bottom of the run is one of the best venues around Verbier to head for some après-ski partying, and usually get very busy with crowds before winding down around 19:00.
Verbier Valley, Verbier