Best Skiing in Verbier for Intermediates
By the end of a week in Verbier an intermediate skier can say they have skied the best of every type of downhill skiing. Verbier, the resort at the heart of the 4 Valleys ski domain, is famous for its mileage in pistes. With 400km of pistes in the whole area there is a lot of mountain to be explored - certainly a lot more than can be achieved in just one week's holiday. Good intermediate skiers can, however, pop over to the fourth valley from Verbier, ski some quieter pistes and return back to Verbier in time for dinner. This round route would certainly make for a hard day's skiing but does give the full flavour of what the 4 Valleys ski area has to offer quicker skiers.
If you are a slower intermediate skier or boarder there is plenty of terrain closer to Verbier to keep you more than amused. After all the ski areas immediately accessible from either the Medran cable car or the Savoleyres gondola (Verbier's two main lift stations) offer some of the best terrain in the Alps for intermediate skiers/boarders.
Intermediate Skiing - Verbier to Thyons
In Verbier intermediate skiers must be willing to travel. The 4 Valleys boasts an incredible 400km of pistes to make the week worthwhile this must be taken advantage of.
To do the 4 Valleys in one day the intermediate has to be on the ball. Heading up Attelas early doors and beating the crowd is the way to start this trip. From here you’ll take the piste down to the left, Lac Bleu. If you want to warm up the legs at the beginning of the day take the long sweeping blue around and down to Lac des Vaux. The other way, if you’re feeling up for it, is to immediately drop down skier's left taking the steeper, more direct and often icy black, Lacs Noir.
Arrive at two chairlifts, one going back the way you came and one older three seater, Lac des Vaux 2, which heads up looker's left of the mountain. At the top of this chair the intermediate will be met with their first serious challenge of the day. From the top of the Chassoure chairlift (2,740m) to the bottom of Tortin (2,050m) is the most popular itinerary in the entire 4 Valleys and as a result has some pretty large moguls. If battling these isn’t your cup of tea traverse over skier’s right, here you can make your way down over smaller, less skied moguls. At the bottom of this vast steep snowfield you will find a flat piste that gently winds its way down to the valley floor.
Whilst at the bottom of Tortin we recommend getting some affordable and well needed grub, possibly also a hot chocolate. From here continue on down towards Siviez. This means jumping on a chair to save you the skate/push/walk over a flat golf course. After this enjoy an easy and wide open blue all the way to Siviez.
At Siviez jump on the Combatzeline Gondola on the far side of the valley and at the top head left towards the Greppon Blanc double button lift. Make sure you take the lift on the left hand side as the one on the right will only take you half way up the slope. From the top of the drag lift (2,700m) you can start your descent into the last (fourth) valley. Here you will find some of the best piste with quiet and wide open slopes that you can really play about on. On the negative you will never come across so many t-Bar lifts as you do here. By the time you’ve had a little play around in Thyon on its quiet, undulating pistes and snowpark it will be time to head home to Verbier. The way back is fairly easy compared to on the way out as you avoid the Tortin itinerary route. You can also finish with a massive descent right the way into Verbier from Attelas. If you are feeling a bit worn out there is an easy and convenient option to download either from Les Attelas or Ruinettes lift stations.
Intermediate/advanced skiing - Mont Fort to Le Chaux
For those intermediates looking to push their skiing and advance onto some harder terrain the black piste from the top of Mont Fort (3,330m) provides an excellent challenge. The Col des Gentianes at 2,950m has a big cable car and an excellent cafe allowing those who want to work on their skiing a good base to do so. The cable car 2 Mont-Fort will take you up to Verbier's highest accessible point at a dizzying height of 3,330m. Skier's left of the glacier has the shallower slope angle but is also the most used, making for some large moguls. As you get lower down towards the Col des Gentianes (2,950m) the gradient eases so that you can start to put in some nice, fast wide turns. After this take the long red run down into La Chaux.
Best itinerary (off-piste ski routes) for intermediate skiers in Verbier
Verbier has a great range of itinerary routes including Tortin, Vallon d’Arbi and Mont Gele. An itinerary is an un-pisted route but one that is still patrolled by the pisteurs and, as a result, they are great for intermediates looking to push their skiing. An itinerary allows an intermediate to move from the predictable, blue, red or black pisted runs to more variable terrain or moguls. They also work well as a mid ground between piste and off piste for those looking to improve their off piste skiing.
The Gentianes to Tortin itinerary starts from just below Mont Fort. This itinerary is possibly one of the longest mogul runs in the world. With a lot of freedom as to how to get down the itinerary, far skier's left will take you to some wide open skiing. This side of the slope sees more of the sun so can give quite variable snow conditions. However, get it at its best and the skiing is incredible, especially if you are away from the moguls on the main line. If you go hard skier's right, you can find some steeper stuff which is again out the way of the main mogul line. This more north facing side of the bowl stays out of the sun and rarely thaws throughout winter, making for some great skiing. Be cautious of skiers and boarders on 'Highway' and 'Stairway' up to the left coming down into the same bowl from above. This slope is quite prone to avalanche so without transceiver, probe and shovel you are best to keep to the main mogul line in the centre of the run.
Vallon d’Arbi and Col des Mines
Vallon d’Arbi is another famous itinerary which is accessed from Les Attelas. Head down towards Lac des Vaux and go straight past the lift to ski the col below. Jump on the traversing goat track to reach the top of the itinerary. Skier's left will take you back to Verbier via the Col des Mines. This is a relatively easy itinerary. A relaxed gradient makes for some nice skiing to finish off your day coming back to Verbier rather than getting on the busy highway pistes coming down from the other side of Attelas.
At the end of the goat track Vallon d’Arbi drops down into the steep sided valley on the right. This route takes you down to below tree level and is also a bit of an adventure. It takes you right the way through a completely untouched valley with some amazing tree skiing further over to the left. You end up coming out in Tzoumaz.
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