Verbier has just won the title of Switzerland’s Best Ski Resort at the 2018 World Ski Awards! With so much going on, it’s easy to see why.
From snowfalls to spas and festivals, Felice Hardy reveals what to look forward to this season…
Verbier is a resort that never stands still, constantly updating and reinventing itself. In recent years, those changes have included a fast gondola link from Le Chable up to Bruson, creating an alternative ski area that remains peaceful and uncrowded. Then there was the completely new front de neige area with the W Verbier hotel, shops, and an outdoor après-ski bar conveniently located at the base of the home run. And of course there’s the ever-changing restaurant and bar scene, with new additions every season.
This winter, Verbier kickstarts the season with the Polaris festival, which runs from 29th November to 1st December. The line-up includes big names from the electro and techno music scenes. For the 2018 festival there’s a chance to see Massive Attack, Ben UFO, Carl Craig, and Dixon performing, as well as international DJs.
Following the path of the Experimental Cocktail Club in London, New York and Paris, as well as The Experimental Beach Club in Ibiza, owners Romée de Goriainoff, Pierre-Charles Cros and Olivier Bon have brought their magic touch to the mountains. The Experimental Chalet features the group’s first spa, a collaboration with the French tailor-made skin treatment brand Biologique Recherche (think biotechnical or natural ingredients without added perfumes). Situated on the ground floor of the hotel, it includes three treatment rooms, a steam room, hot tub and – just in case the sun isn’t shining outside – a 50sqm solarium. The hotel also boasts The Chalet Restaurant, where Gregory Marchand’s menu is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Alpine food. Classics like rösti, spätzle, and tartiflette together with line-caught lake fish and fresh salads and vegetables. Families are welcome, and there are sharing dishes children will love. It’s open to non-residents, but even if you can’t get in, this is just one of Verbier’s 90 restaurants. On the first floor of the chalet, the Cocktail Bar is a great place for après-ski, pre-dinner cocktails or to kick off your night on the town. Those in search of Verbier nightlife can continue the party by heading downstairs to the legendary Farm Club – it has set the resort’s nightlife benchmark for more than 45 years.
Football fans might be interested to hear that Verbier has signed a partnership agreement with Liverpool FC, with the highlight of the collaboration being Liverpool FC Week. The event runs from 20th – 25th January, involving lots of entertainment connected with the club.
The annual Verbier Art Summit takes place this year on 1st – 2nd February. It’s an event that connects the art world, with famous speakers helping to make this a memorable occasion. Some parts of the event are by-invitation-only, but members of the public can attend the art talks for free.
On 3rd March, the Skicolor Festival takes place at Savolèyres, mixing ski, fun and colour. Each participant wears a white suit and skis through zones where they will be sprayed from head to toe with different colours of biodegradable paint. It’s an unforgettable experience.
The Freeride World Tour Final runs from 23rd – 31st March and here Verbier acts as the final leg of the spectacular steep and deep event. Local legend Xavier de Le Rue and Chamonix’s Aurélien Ducroz will hopefully be taking part again this year.
April sees the gastronomic festival Haute Cuisine return for its fourth year. Taking place over four days, it sees 10 chefs with 17 Michelin stars between them bringing their eclectic cuisine to Verbier. Each evening has a specific theme attached, which the chefs draw on as inspiration for the dishes and cocktails they serve. Those passionate about food can learn how to conjure up new dishes, after which guests and chefs sit down to enjoy the meal together.
Felice Hardy is co-editor of the ski information website welove2ski.com
Images courtesy of: Alp Images, Melody Sky and Freeride World Tour