Chalet Mont Gelé boasts panoramic mountain views from one of Verbier's best locations.
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