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Fans of powder skiing love that they don't have to hike to get to the best off-piste slopes in Verbier...
Just like Courchevel in France, Verbier ski holidays have a reputation as being only for the rich, but what really marks Verbier out is it's superb lift-serviced off-piste terrain. Advanced skiers can just hop off the lift, snap their boot buckles shut, and go.
Resort height: 1,500m
Central to Verbier's appeal are two 3,000m peaks, Mont Fort and Mont Gelé, both of which are the starting point for many superb off-piste routes. There's plenty of less demanding powder skiing and snowboarding in Verbier too, and if you want to have a crack at it, you'll find lots of ski schools and guides waiting to teach you how. The Warren Smith Ski Academy in particular has made a name for itself helping Brits to develop and improve their ski technique.
By contrast, the pistes in Verbier are a disappointment. There are plenty of them - 410km in fact in the Four Valleys system - but they don't hang together as well as in the French mega-resorts, and most people congregate on a handful, which leads to chronic overcrowding. Verbier is okay for a weekend holiday, or a short-break, but intermediates will be a lot happier skiing somewhere like Courchevel or Tignes.
One thing that has improved lately is the terrain park in Verbier - thanks in part to the Verbier Ride, a freestyle event that takes place in December.
On a good run you can get to Verbier in less than two hours from Geneva airport...
The rail service is excellent too.
Verbier scores a big, fat 10 out of 10 for advanced skiers and snowboarders, who will adore the easy access to off-piste slopes...
This is not really a resort for beginners, though, while intermediates would also be better off elsewhere.
The resort boasts some of the most impressive mountain scenery going, as well as one of the most varied après-ski scenes...
Verbier has one of the best scenes in the Alps - not too beery, and not dominated by any one country either. The Farinet is the resort hub, thanks to its choice of bars and clubs, but the Pub Mont Fort is an essential stop too. By contrast, the Verbier restaurant scene is a little underpowered. There are plenty of mid-range restaurants of middling standard on the main street (the rue de Medran), but only a handful of exceptional places to eat. Downstairs at the Pub Mont Fort is one of the best places for a more reasonably priced meal.
Despite the ritzy image, Verbier is a single-minded, mountain-fixated place. There are some great masseurs in town (to soothe those aching muscles at the end of a day's skiing), and a good pool. But if you come to Verbier without wanting at least to try the slopes, you'll end up feeling like a second-class citizen.
Cost of living 6/10
Mostly, Verbier is an expensive place to eat, drink and sleep. There is one exception - the Bunker, a disused nuclear fall-out shelter that sleeps 12-36 per room. But for all but the most hard-core bargain-hunter, staying down in Le Chable, a short gondola ride beneath the main village, is the best way to keep a lid on costs.
Attractiveness of the resort 7/10
The village is sprawling and full of big, private chalets, and the one-way traffic scheme creates an endless cycle of cars and minibuses during the day. So it's not the nicest in the Alps. But jump on one of the ski lifts and the atmosphere is instantly transformed. It feels a privilege to be up there.