With its all-wood facade, Chalet Mont Fort blends harmoniously with its surroundings. Beautiful windows open onto the balcony, which runs around the cottage to let the light in. Inside, you find the warm atmosphere of mountain chalets, with wood from floor to ceiling. But the rustic side has given way to a more modern decor. In the living room, a huge rug with graphic print is laid alongside a contemporary corner sofa. In the bedrooms, the alpine style has been given a fresh touch: with the bunk beds adorned with neon green bedspreads, the dormitory looks like a psychedelic refuge. With the first light of day, go out on the balcony to have a coffee while admiring the panoramic view of the mountains. Don’t wait too long before putting on your skis and boarding the cable car, located at the foot of the chalet. After a day of skiing down the slopes, warm up in the wood panelled interior of the Milk Bar. Enjoy a hot chocolate or a house special crêpe au caramel before heading out for a snowshoe hike on the snow-covered trails.
At the bottom of the Val de Bagnes, cascades tumble down the mountains into lake Mauvoisin. Go along the blue glacial waters and up the Mauvoisin road, guided by the lights of Verbier. As you come closer, you can see the red and white silhouette of the Saint-Bernard Express arising from the snow to drive the skiers to the station. On the main square, perched at an altitude of 1500 meters, you find Chalet Mont Fort.
Discussions about skiing in Verbier quickly become discussions about après-ski in Verbier. 'The nightlife is amazing,' croak voices that still remember their hangovers. A notice outside a bar reads: 'Verbier is a drinking resort with a skiing problem'. 'Come in March,' says a local, 'and it's like Ibiza on the slopes.'
Verbier has more than 400km of runs, with some of the best on- and off-piste skiing in Europe. There are hundreds of lifts, many recently upgraded, connecting the bright peaks and sparkling slopes of the 4 Vallées, including le Jumbo, the Verbier to Mont-Fortcable-car, which swoops up to a mighty 3,300 metres.
Set in a crown of mountains at 1,500 metres, Verbier town is scattered across a south-west-facing shelf that is bathed in sunshine year round. Alpinists first discovered the spot in the 1920s, Verbier is still primarily a chalet resort, and until the 1950s there was little more than cow pastures here. It wasn't until the travel boom in the 1960s that this place became popular with a hippyish, itinerant rabble of ski bums, many of whom settled and bestowed upon Verbier the unpretentious attitude that remains (mostly) intact today.
Fly into Geneva, 1h50 drive