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New In Verbier Winter 2019- 20

What’s New in Verbier for Winter Season 19-20

New In Verbier Winter 19-20

No New Ski Lifts in Verbier this Year

New In Verbier Winter 2019 – 20

What is new in Verbier for this winter? Every year I do a little round up of what is new in Verbier for the coming winter season – Here are a few new things straight off the Verbier rumour mill.

New Indian Restaurant in Verbier

Every year the Verbier restauranteurs play a game of musical chairs. When the music stops this winter there will be some changes. First out of the game is Millennium. Taking over the restaurant in the Hotel La Rotonde is Marcel Bratter (KV Hotels). Apparently Mr. Bratter is going to open an Indian restaurant. Let’s hope it will be a truly authentic rendition of the Taj Mahal with an appropriate use of purple and mustard coloured flock wallpaper. Excellent news for lovers of an alpine poppadum!

New in Verbier Winter 19 20

Good Morning Verbier

Next out of the game is La Bec at Mountain Air which is being replaced by Good Morning Verbier. Good Morning Verbier previously in Le Hameau will serve an increased range of breakfast goods, Grandma’s cooking at lunch time and express sandwiches for those in a hurry. It is even possible to pre-order your favourite food on the Good Morning Verbier website. Christoph is certainly setting the pace and I look forward to some tasty lunchtimes.

However not to lose its hold on the space at Le Hameau and with a subtle name change to ‘Good Crepe’. Apparently, Good Crepe have employed a crepe-ist (if such a thing exists) from Breton to make fantastic Crepes. Fantastic moves from Good Morning Verbier.

New Snow Canons on Savolyres

On the mountain it is going to be easier to ski back to Les Esserts. TeleVerbier are installing new snow making machines all the way down the Verbier side of Savolyres to Les Esserts. Perfect for skiing to Le Hameau for a Good Crepe!

New Ski Lifts in the 4 Vallees

Nendaz not wanting to live in the shadow of big brother Verbier has upped the stakes. Ready for this winter is the new gondola between Plan du Fou and Prarion. And just to really make everyone in Verbier a wee bit jealous the dudes at TeleNendaz are adding more snowmaking between Siviez and Veysonnaz. 4 Vallee tours will be vastly improved.

New Off Piste Regulations

Off piste law changed again… Ski instructors with a Brevet Federal can ski up to 45 degrees off piste.

Brexit

New for this winter will probably be the Brexit effect. What is the deal or will be there be a deal? This hot potato is best left alone! But… who really knows what it will mean for the many British seasonal workers in Verbier? Until now British seasonal workers enjoyed the benefits of ‘Free Movement’ in Switzerland because of the bi-lateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland. Who knows what will happen? Answers on a very small postcard please! Or just book yourself some tasty ski lessons.

Savoleyres Ski Lift Accessed Powder

Savoleyres Bubble Lift Verbier – What is the Gossip?

Savoleyres Ski Lift Accessed Powder

Savoleyres Bubble Lift – What is the deal?

This week’s blog is about the Savoleyres bubble lift. It is not long since the end of the winter season and the skiing stopped in Verbier. Winter 18 – 19 has produced many tales of the deepest and steepest skiing ever. However, what has happened to the chat about replacing the oldest, slowest and wobbliest ski lift in Verbier? So, to help you liven up your bar chat this weekend!

Here are 6 question and answers about the Savoleyres ski lift

  1. How old is the Savoleyres bubble lift? The Savoleyres bubble lift first opened in 1970, like all things Swiss was built to last.
  2. Is the Savoleyres bubble lift safe? It maybe a little old and shaky – however TeleVerbier has managed to get a new licence to operate the Savoleyres lift. The previous licence expired in 2018. So, being Switzerland I can only imagine that there has been some sort of safety test!
  3. How long has the Savoleyres bubble lift got left? The current operating licence for the lift is due to expired in 2022. So, we have a few more winters before TeleVerbier will need to get a new licence to operate the Savoleyres lift. Or to build a replacement ski lift!
  4. Is there a plan to replace the Savoleyres bubble lift? Since 1996, TeleVerbier has made multiply attempts at getting planning permission to build a new lift. TeleVerbier’s current plan is shown in the diagram below. However, TeleVebier is struggling to get permission for their replacement plan.
  5. What is stopping the lift from being replaced? TeleVerbier’s planned replacement for the Savoleyres lift has been opposed, since 2012, by a group of chalet owners. The opposition’s views and ideas can be found on their website www.proverbier.com.
  6. What will happen if there is no lift-up to Savoleyres? This is an interesting question… The only downhill skiing access from Verbier to la Tzoumaz will be the Vallon d’Arbi itinerary. Otherwise, it is possible to skin up on touring skis or take public transport to la Tzoumaz.

Bar Chat Conclusion

If, there is no new ski lift or no licence to operate the old lift Savoleyres lift, Verbier will lose access to the la Toumaz ski area. It is difficult to imagine not being able to ski epic powder on Savoleyres. Hopefully, there will be a sensible compromise and a new lift will be built before the current lift is to old to operate.

Seriously if you’ve got this far down the page! Then you really do need some help with your bar chat or your off piste powder skiing!

 

Plan for the new Savoleyres lift

Mont Fort in back ground

Mont Fort

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Mont Fort Verbier

Mont Fort is the highest point of the Verbier ski area. It is popular for skiing in winter and in the summer for sight-seeing and mountaineering. From the top on a clear day it is possible to see the Matterhorn, Dent d’Hérens, Grand Combin and Mont Blanc:

Mont Fort Skiing

Many glaciers throughout Europe are retreating due to climate change. The Tortin Glacier on Mont Fort in Verbier has not escaped the effects of a warming planet.

Over the last 30 years the size and shape of the ski pistes on Mont Fort have changed considerably. The changing geography of the glacier has affected skiing in many ways.

Mont Fort Picture – Showing the old Gentianes drag lift and piste

Mont Fort Ski Pistes

The ski pistes on Mont Fort have reduced in size and number plus changed directions. There were in the past several pistes in the winter. One piste headed in the direction of the itinerary to Gentianes Tortin. The other piste headed back to Col de Gentianes.

It was previously possible to ski from the summit of Mont Fort back to the Mont Fort cable car. So, this is no longer possible and access to the cable is via the recently built replacement Gentianes drag lift.

Has skiing Mont Fort become harder?

The top section of the Mont Fort piste has become steeper as the glacier has retreated and the entrance to the marked piste has become more technical and in busy Verbier holiday periods can be tricky to navigate.

Mont Fort Summer Skiing

Until 1999 there was summer skiing in Verbier on the Mont Fort Tortin glacier. So, in 2014 TeleVerbier removed the last remnants of the old Gentianes drag lifts used for summer skiing. And a new shorter drag lift was installed to take skiers back up the cable car.

However, in July 2013, the freakish weather enabled TeleVerbier to open for a weekend of summer skiing.

Flying Kilometer Verbier

Mont Fort Speed Skiing

The last XSpeedSki event held in Verbier was in 2013. An additional ramp was built at the top to enhance chances of setting a new speed record. However, the succession of recent hot summers has melted large areas of the Mont Fort glaciers. It is now no longer possible to build the Verbier speed skiing course. The additional ramp for the event has been removed.

Mont Fort Statistics

Summit Altitude: 3330 meters
Destination: Gentianes  2900 meters
Length of ski run: 1750m
Altitude difference: 350 Meter
Maximum gradient: 40% (steep)
Level of difficulty: very difficult (mogul slope)

Mont Fort Web Cam

To keep an eye on how Mont Fort is looking today check my webcam page.

Let me know if you want some help conquering Mont Fort!

 

 

 

 

 

Savoleyres looking down to Verbier

Off Piste Regulations – Verbier

 Savoleyres looking down to Verbier

Swiss Federal Ordinance for Activities of Risk

What are the laws for mountain professionals working in Switzerland? The answers can be found in the Swiss Federal Ordinance for Activities of Risk (Orisque). From 2014 all mountain guides, ski instructors, climbing instructors, mountain leaders have had to comply with Orisque. However, the Federal Council has revised the ordinance and the new regulations come into force from the 7th of May 2019. Here are some of the main changes for all mountain professionals working in Switzerland.

Snow Sports Instructors – 39 to 44 Degrees 

Previously the Orisque limited off-piste terrain for ski and snowboard instructors to AD (Assez Difficile), with a maximum slope angle of up to 39 degrees. Now the maximum slope angle for a Brevet Federal Snow Sports Instructor is 44 degrees. However, the routes taken must avoid ‘no fall zones’.

“There is clearly clientele who want to improve their ski technique on steeper off piste routes, for the past five years ski instructors have been limited in their services. The new ordinance will allow ski instructors again to prepare good skiers for Heli-skis excursions led by mountain guides”. Verbier Ski School Director

Climbing Instructors and Mountain Leaders

Because of the change to the Orisque climbing instructors will now be able to take their clients on via-ferrata routes. And mountain leaders will be able to follow routes of up to T4 level of difficult.

Authorisation to Exercise

Due to the change in the Orisque all mountain professional must have authorisation to practice their profession in Switzerland. All visiting mountain guides and snow sports instructor now need to obtain a licence prior to starting  work. It was possible in the past to work for up to 10 days without making a declaration.

If you want to find out more about authorisations to work in Switzerland visit the MontagnePro website.

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about Verbier off piste skiing.

 

Another epic winter in verbier

Winter Ski Season 18 -19 | It’s a wrap | Verbier

It’s been an amazing winter.

Amazing snow – Fantastic people – Epic memories
Le Châble car park water feature

Secret Submarine Base Update – Water Feature

Le Châble car park water feature

Verbier Insider – Le Châble Train Station Update

It has been over three years since they started digging a massive hole in Le Châble. At the time there was much speculation about exactly what was going on down in Le Châble. Some of the bar chat rumours were exceptionally colourful: The Swiss Navy was building  secret submarine base: It was a secret tunnel for lifer ski bums who were planning their escape to the real world via a tunnel to Volléges! As it happens the big construction project is the new Le Châble train station. So, in time, it is going to be possible to travel by train from London to Le Châble quicker than a private jet and helicopter transfer.

The new Le Châble train station is a wonder. Like all things Verbier, the designers have really gone to town with the extra features. The designers have  even managed to squeeze in a water feature and a roof garden. I am sure this will make a fantastic difference to the general vibe of the station…. but, the snow will still be Epic in Verbier!

 

 

Verbier Half Term

Half term skiing in Verbier

Verbier Half Term

Half term skiing and ski lessons in Verbier

What is half term skiing like in Verbier? Roddy Willis answers a few questions about this winter’s skiing conditions and for some of his tips for making the most of the skiing in Verbier during half term week.

When is the February half term holidays?

‘This year most European countries and the UK are having half term week in the same week which is the second week of February. It will be busy but if you think outside the box you can ski as if it was a low season week.’

How has this winter been so far for you?

‘The start of the ski season feels like yesterday, but this winter is rocketing along. I have just finished the first busy school holiday period of the season. During Christmas and New Year, I have been busy with all levels of skiers and I am now getting ready for the next school holiday half term period.

How has the snow been this winter?

‘This winter we’ve had exceptional snowfalls and some of the best powder skiing which is great for half term holidays as we now have a great base layer of snow across the whole resort.’

What are your tips for making the most of half term?

‘The trick is to plan your days to be out of sync with everyone else. Start early (be on the first lift) making the most of the first few perfectly groomed ski-runs. Ski through the normal Swiss lunch time (12 midi day to 2pm) avoiding the busy restaurants during this period, the pistes will be quieter, then have a late lunch in a quieter mountain restaurant!’

Where should you ski in Verbier during half term week?

‘It is a good idea to ski in the less well-known areas of the resort – Most people head to the big names like Mont Fort, Tortin etc. But if you head to areas that you’ve seen on the Verbier piste map that were not mentioned at last night’s drinks party, then it’s a good chance it will be less crowded!’

How about ski lessons in the half term week?

‘The biggest tip here is to book early and be sure the school knows the name of the instructor you are getting, ask if they can meet early to avoid the 9am rush at the bottom of the lifts. If the instructor knows the resort, then he or she will know the best methods to finding the best of the current conditions in Verbier.’

Do you have any other tips for the half term week?

‘Have fun, smile and enjoy the great skiing – The snow this year is exceptional.’

If you need help finding an instructor or ski lesson for half term week, then please do get in touch.

 

 

 

Autumn Spiders coming into the chalet

Cheaper Verbier Lift Passes | Winter season 2018/19

Young skiers cheap season pass in Verbier

Young skiers cheap season pass from TeleVerbier

It’s that time of year, the days are getting shorter, spiders are coming into the chalet and TeleVerbier are offering deals on lift passes – Televerbier is offering 15% of lift passes purchased before the end of September: TeleVerbier are also selling the Mont4Card which is an amazing deal if you are young: 300CHF for 7 to 14year olds and 400CHf for 15 to 24year olds. More information can be found on the TeleVerbier website – You’ll even have some change left to pay for ski lessons!

V E R B I E R Selfie at Ruinette

VERBIER Skiing & The Biggest Selfie

V E R B I E R

V E R B I E R

Le premier Gigaselfie de Suisse est aux Ruinettes V E R B I E R

Tous à vos smartphones! Depuis cette fin de semaine, la station de Verbier propose à ses hôtes d’immortaliser leur pas- sage sur les pentes des Ruinettes, via le premier «gigaselfie» de Suisse.

 

Verbier Snow Report January 2017

Bruson Piste in the distance

Yes, my snow and piste report from Verbier has been a little bit like the propaganda from your local dictator – There is no revolution going on here and yes the snow is amazing! Since my last report I have been a little apprehensive about reporting the truth. We have had skiing and the ski lifts are open!  But January 2017 has not produced much in the way of fresh snow. Currently in Verbier, and probably like a lot of the Alps, the piste are very firm and the off piste skiing is chalky grippy snow and a lot of moguls! Stories of recent fresh powder, is….. just a story!

Having recently spoken to many old and wisened locals, I am brave enough to admit that the weather is changing, along with the moon and all the other mystical signs! This afternoon Mount Blanc and the Grand Combin had their hats on – this is a sure sign the weather is changing – So with luck we should see a dump of fresh snow just in time for the February half term.

If you want to learn to get to grips with chalky off piste conditions then maybe book some ski lessons with me.