Verbier is a Swiss mountain town and a modern hub that sits high up in the Alps. It has grown out of solid sporting roots, and an active lifestyle is embedded in the culture. Many pro athletes choose Verbier as home base, the great outdoors a playground for activity and extreme sport both in winter and summer. But it is most famous as a ski resort, one with jaw-dropping scenery, a glamorous resort life, legendary après and world-class ski terrain.
Over the years, it has diversified and is now very much a winter-break destination (skiing not essential) where you can get stuck into an endless list of activities or soak up the beauty of the Swiss Alps in this cosmopolitan alpine resort. For every ski run and cliff drop, there’s something else to relax, restore or indulge in, both on and off the snow. Here’s my guide to the best things to do in Verbier in Winter.
- The Best Things To Do In Verbier in Summer
- How to Get To Verbier From Geneva
- The Best Restaurants in Verbier
- The Best Bars in Verbier
Ski or snowboard the huge 4 Valleys ski area
Credit: verbier.ch / Pascal Gertschen
The top reason Verbier is one of the world’s hottest ski resorts is because of the terrain. So if you’re keen on snowsports, Verbier has you covered. It’s part of Switzerland’s connected 4 Vallées that links six resorts on just one pass, opening up over 400kms of ski runs. Verbier, Bruson, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon make up the largest ski area in Switzerland.
It’s worth noting that Verbier isn’t the ideal resort to learn how to ski or snowboard. The slopes are, on the whole, better suited to intermediates or above, and the beginners’ area Les Esserts isn’t connected to the central part of the ski area, so newbies can feel a little disconnected from the ski scene.
A 6-day adult lift pass for Verbier Valley is priced from 348 CHF (£276); a 6-day adult lift pass for 4 Vallées is priced from 355 CHF (£282). A complete price list for lift passes can be found here. If you are new to snowboarding, check out my guide here – Snowboarding For Beginners: A Complete Guide.
The terrain around Verbier is a playground for big mountain skiers. It hosts Xtreme Verbier, the final of the Freeride World Tour and perhaps the world’s most extreme sport and gnarliest sporting event. It figures, then, that Verbier is known for challenging alpine faces and freeriding, though, of course, your ‘off piste’ doesn’t have to be as hardcore. Verbier is also famed for its high altitude, making it great for snow. The Mont-Fort cable car brings skiers and snowboarders up to a massive 3,300m with challenging descents between glaciers.
For somewhere between groomed pistes and wild backcountry, Verbier has an excellent selection of marked ‘itinerary’ routes, which provide a great intro to the world of off-piste skiing. Famous itinerary routes such as Tortin, Gentianes and the Vallon D’Arby offer off-piste skiing in a relatively safe environment – that is, avalanche controlled but full of natural features: steeps, moguls, traverses, narrow ways and exposed areas. Make sure you’re prepared.
Pick up a piste map or ask at the tourist office for more info on these suggested itineraries:
- Mont Gele skiing is a classic, with the gondola taking you to 3,022m.
- Col des Mines – a traverse over the top of Vallon D’Arby and a good chance of skiing through a 3-metre wide, 2- high snow tunnel.
- Over to La Tzoumaz – from the top of the Col des Mines pass you enter the Vallon D’Arby known for moguls and a hella good powder experience after snowfall.
Take a guided ski tour
If cruising the pistes or skiing the lift-accessed side country isn’t enough, head out of the resort with a mountain guide and into the Swiss backcountry for a piece of the world-class ski-pie. They’ll find you – in the safest way – Verbier’s best hidden spots and untouched snow where you can make your tracks deep in the Swiss Alps. Don’t forget – stay safe, take an expert. Hook up with a guide at Guide Verbier.
Spend the night in a mountain hut
Climbing up to and staying at a secluded mountain refuge has become quite the skier’s trophy. Verbier’s iconic Cabane Mont-Forte, sitting at a mighty 2,457m, offers a little more luxury than other traditional mountain huts (showers, private rooms) but, on the whole, gives its guests a pretty rustic experience. It’s also not reserved for the extreme skier, with relatively easy access just above La Chaux ski area. Arrive for a sun-downer on the large deck before settling into a simple alpine dinner – whatever the host is cooking up that evening, expect the likes of fondue or croute – alongside your fellow lodgers. Wake up to a mountain sunrise that makes the snow-covered peaks glow pink and see Mont Blanc wake up rosy (pictured above). It is quite possibly the best spot anywhere in the world to spend the night: It’s simple accommodation that lets nature and the views do the talking.
Cabane Mont Fort sits beneath the Bec des Rosses and can be accessed from the Verbier or Nendaz ski lifts and the La Chaux-Gentiannes gondola. Take the last lift and ski down to the cabin, or reach by ski touring/snowshoeing. The 100-year-old cabin stay is a ‘hotel’ experience that is much more affordable than you might think, usually under 90CHF (around £75/€85/$100) a night. If you want an alternative, I have another mountain hut suggestion below.
Go on a snowshoeing adventure
Snowshoeing is an alternative on-snow activity to skiing, and one everyone must try, whether you’re a keen skier or new to the snow. Snowshoeing started thousands of years ago as a mode of transport but has had a recent hit in popularity. It’s low impact, aerobic work that can be taken as easy or hard as you like. Snowshoe out to serene spots, slow it all down and take in the views.
Verbier has a handful of marked trails, but I’d recommend taking a guide to get further off the beaten track. Get in touch with Adrenaline ski school or Melanie at Alps Inspiration for snowshoeing excursions. On my most recent trip, Melanie arranged a fantastic snowshoeing hike through larch forest in the Col du Lein and Col du Tronc areas. Reachable only by foot in winter, the scenes were pure, untouched wild winter snow, and the only footsteps we saw were traces of wild animals. You can add in more snowshoeing up to La Crevasse or Les Bliziers viewpoints if you’re feeling active. The hike included an overnight stay at Cabane du Lein which we reached at sunset. It’s dorm sleeping in the cabane, which is perfect for families and groups, with a log-burning stove, kitchen, bathroom and, if you’re lucky, star-studded night sky. If you’re after a magical wilderness escape tucked away in nature, this is for you.
Want to hire snowshoes? Check out Montagne Show sports shop in Le Châble, Verbier. They have one of the largest selections of snow kit, including snowshoes and skis for hire in the area.
Paraglide over the Swiss Alps
Take in Verbier from a different perspective. Take a flight lifting off from 2,200m for a birds-eye view of the resort, slopes and what feels like the entire Alps range. It’s a unique and exhilarating experience and is an activity for anyone and everyone. For a tandem paraglide ride, book with Verbier Summits.
Try cross-country skiing
If you’re looking to use a different set of muscles (and indeed all of your muscles) while you’re on a set of skis, give cross-country skiing a try; it’s quite the workout. There is an excellent track for beginners in the Bagnes valley – Plamproz piste. Prefer to take a short introductory class? Contact Stephanie Mugnier from the European Snowsport School (+41 76 470 95 74). Stephanie was a wonderful teacher and is great if you’re not especially confident with a set of skis on your feet.
Visit the 3D Sculpture Park
Did you know there is a 3D sculpture park on top of the mountains in Verbier? Located between Les Ruinettes and La Chaux, at 2,300 meters, the 3D sculpture park features sculptures from international and local artists who have each designed a sculpture to sit on the mountain. The sculptures are scattered along a winding route that offers fantastic panoramic views over Verbier. The sculpture park is free to visit and starts at the bottom of La Chaux. Find out more, including how to get there, on the Sculpture Park website.
Summit Mont Ford – Verbier’s highest peak
Whether you’re up there to ski or take the cable car for the views alone, you should take time to summit Mont Ford. As the highest peak in Verbier and the 4 Valley area, at 2,900m, the views are simply breathtaking. Wait for a cloud-free day, and don’t miss the fun photoshoot camera – swipe your cable car pass, hop into the viewpoint and use your pass number to download the pictures later. You can find out how to get to Mont Ford here.
Enjoy Verbier Village
Credit: verbier.ch / Melody Sky
Verbier is situated upon an alpine shelf at 1,500m. It’s seriously good looking and, what’s more, is south facing, meaning it gets the sun pretty much all day long. The famous Mont Fort peak rises tall behind the picturesque village, looking directly across the valley at the snowy Grand Combin massif.
The one-way main street of Verbier, Rue de Médran, is lined with luxury boutiques, bars and restaurants. You’ll spot many-a a hardcore sportsperson wandering the bustling streets geared up for an adventure, as well as a fair few rich and famous looking for a piece of it. It makes for great people-watching, and there are plenty of decks and terraces from which to do just this. Although Verbier is on the more expensive end of the ski resort spectrum (it’s Switzerland after all), its sporting spirit and residents keep it grounded and relaxed in attitude. It’s a favourite spot for ski bums and celebs alike and offers up the best of the lively ski resort experience.
If you’re in Switzerland and love the architecture, take a trip to Lucerne. You can read about the best things to do in Lucerne here.
Stretch with yoga in the mountains
D.CARLIER / davidcarlierphotography.com
Wellness and good health are about balance. Yoga is becoming synonymous with every sport, and skiing is no exception – a much needed and perfect foil to stretch the body out and limber it up. And there’s no better place to practice than up in the mountains, away from the stresses of the world below. Recharge, rebalance and calm the mind.
WholeyCow yoga has scheduled yoga classes at its central studio on Rue de la Poste. The centre offers timetabled yoga and private sessions and energising pilates classes for those on holiday looking to keep strong and active. You can also book treatments: sports massage, deep tissue massage, energy balancing treatments, reflexology, aromatherapy massage and acupressure.
Enjoy some winter hiking
If you can get out of bed in the morning after experiencing Verbier’s late-night wild side, a winter hike might be just the ticket. Leave the hub of Verbier behind and hike on foot to the ruins of Le Chateau along a winter trail through the woods with stellar views of Valais and the Rhone Valley. The views alone make this worth it. Here are the Verbier hiking routes.
Try Heli Tours Heli Skiing in Switzerland
Credit: verbier.ch / Melody Sky
It’s a luxurious way to sightsee and an unbeatable experience, discovering the Alps from above with endless vistas on a helicopter tour over Verbier. Fly above the famous summits of Mont- Blanc, the Matterhorn, Les Dents Blanches. If you’re a competent off-piste skier, a few heliskiing rides could be on your bucket list. Only certain countries and regions allow it, so it’s a rare treat, but one you can dine out on forever. Take on descents of over 3,000m through some of the most majestic glacial and mountain terrains the Alps has to offer. Ski the Petit-Combin, the Aiguilles du Tour, the Rosablanche or the Pigne d’Arolla. Hit up Adrenaline for private or open group heliski tours around Verbier.
Get stuck in to the famous après-ski
Le Rouge, restaurant, lounge, après-ski, nightlife (c) Alpimages
Live it up in Verbier. It’s possibly the Swiss Alps’ best party scene. But beware of how much it costs. With an intoxicating mix of sophisticated bars, live music joints, sun decks and clubs, it’s very easy to get carried away. It is a Verbier winter rite of passage. Check out my guide to the best bars in Verbier.
So, that’s my guide to the 20 best things to do in Verbier in winter. Verbier has long been considered one of the Alps’ best ski hideouts. Visit for Verbier’s party appeal, for its big-mountain skiing. Go for the vibrant restaurant scene – from the Michelin starred to traditional alpine lodges to the urbane cuisine and everything in between. Head to the sun decks for a winter hit of Vitamin D, long, al-fresco lunches and a lively atmosphere. Step into the action, breathe in the fresh mountain air, get stuck into wellness pursuits, soak up the town’s spirit in spectacular surroundings. Got any questions or things to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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This guide was written for Indiana Jo by Katie Bamber. Katie is a freelance adventure sports and travel writer. Happiest on the water, snow or on a bike her pieces bring an element of action as well as enthusiasm for new places and cultures.