Mountain Biking in Verbier/Tzoumaz Bike Park
Ellie Mahoney | Verbier Editor | published: 9th July 2013
Just before the weekend we'd seen that the team at Verbier Tzoumaz Bike Park had finished off some new north shore and two new sections of red trails. Thankfully most of the snow that delayed the bike park opening this year has gone, so we headed up to check out how it's all looking.
The great thing about Verbier in summer, and on a clear, sunny day like Saturday, is the views. There doesn't seem to be a place in resort where you can't see across the valley to Bruson & beyond, it's really quite beautiful. Plus most of the snow has now gone except for on some of the higher walking trails (hats off to the guy with his cross country skis that I saw at the top of Ruinettes!), so there's generally a lot more to access.
Since it was so hot, it felt a bit wrong to be heading up the mountain in full face helmets, long sleeves, gloves and body armour, but then as soon as soon as we started checking out the tracks we didn't mind so much.. the riding here is full on and you needed every bit of protection you've got!
If you're more used to riding single track and a few bits of berm-laden downhill tracks like me, the mountain bike trails in Verbier might come as a bit of a shock to the system. To say Verbier is a testing downhill bike park is a massive understatement. The one and only blue trail is more like a red, the reds are like blacks, and then there's the yellow trail which is one level up from the black.. it's super technical in places, it's steep, it's got 3 different grades of difficulty jumps & locals say this is the only downhill track worth riding. Gulp...
To put it in perspective I rode (ahem - mostly rode) the bottom section of the "Tu Cici!" trail, which starts off with a steep entry into steep, tight switch backs, then north shore to a small step down, onto a loop of north shore round the trees, down into a steep rocky switchback and then onto more north shore. This bit drops off at waist height (where I dismounted!) down into a sharp left handed wall ride, and then on to the last section which takes you up onto a platform where you can either ride the steep ramp down, or take the ballsier approach and stay left, exiting off a massive drop (see pics). Nails... and this is a red!
Small sections of the yellow were good fun, but then turned into a no-chicken-line choice of jumps; the big one or the even bigger one (I made my own way round on the grass while the lads got lots of air!). The good thing is that you can mix and match which route you take all over the bike park; Start on the blue, take a cut onto a red followed by a yellow, then back onto a red or fire road and so on. The blue trail which I spent most of my time on was fast and flowy with quite a few rocky, technical sections, north shore and plenty of jumps and little features to ping over - loads of fun, and I added on parts of the reds or yellow depending on how brave I was feeling. I didn't try the black although I expect it's pretty darn hard.. maybe another day?!?
There are plenty of options once you're on the mountain, it's not all downhill hard core riding. You could spend time just riding on the fire roads or doing the Tour du Mont Fort for enduro fans, or heading over to the Savoyleres lift for some single track (be warned this is really a walking trail, so don't expect to have it to yourself!) You can also time youself on three different sections of the downhill trails with the 'Freelap' timing system. Look out for handy signs at the start and finish of each section and hire or buy your timer watch from the Information Office.
Whilst we were getting on the Medran lift, we spotted a couple of mountain scooters which you can hire for 12CHF (around £8) We saw a fair few kids racing around on these and it has to be said I was tempted ;-) There were also a couple of people on the electric bikes which they told me were great - no more pedalling uphill, which I'm not surprised they were happy with on such a hot day!
If mountain biking isn't your thing, then there's still lots to do in Verbier in summer. We saw golfers, paragliders and parapenters enjoying the good weather, as well as plenty of hikers. There's also paddle-boarding on the quarry lake down in Le Chable, a horse riding centre, volley ball and swimming. Check out our Activity Section for more ideas.
If you're coming to ride the trails here from outside resort, I'd recommend you park at Le Chable lift station, as there's lots more space for parking, and you can get your bikes up two at a time on the gondola cabins. From here you stay on the gondola as it passes up throught the centre of resort and through the main Medran Lift right up to 2,200m where the start of most of the trails are.
The other bonus about parking at Le Chable is that you can drop into La Ruinette Cafe for a cooling drink & some food after a long, hot day on the mountain. They're open from 8am to 11pm (except for Mondays when they close at 4pm) and serve a great selection of home made food on the menu. There are lots of veggie options, and you can get a curry every Tuesday night and delicious sausage rolls ;-)
A one day mountain bike ticket will set you back 30CHF (around £21 or 24 euros), and give you access to the two lifts mentioned above as well as La Tzoumaz / Savoyleres.
UPDATE: Verbier Bike Park are giving FREE ladies only bike lessons every Wednesday in August. Sign up here.
What you say - tell us what you're thinking
Verbier Activity Report: 2nd July 2013
Mixed weather continues as resort starts to open up
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 2nd July 2013
It has started to finally feel like summer over the last couple of weeks although the persistent brisk and chilly wind can be quite uncomfortable at times, especially in the shade. After the awful spring rain, snow, mist and cold wind Verbier seemed deserted as the locals quit town or hunkered down. As we slipped into June the lifts began to open for the weekends, although the opening was delayed the first weekend of June by heavy snowfalls which fell all the way down to town. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 11th October 2012
Mountain restaurants & activities in-between the odd lift still open
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 11th October 2012
Although summer is now behind us the weather has remained superb over the autumn period here in Verbier, so far. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 1st September 2012
Mixed weather continues with snow falling up the mountain
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 1st September 2012
Although the weather has remained mixed over this summer the last month of August did take a good turn with temperatures often as high as 35 degrees and plenty of sunshine to give us a real taste of summer. Those highs do appear to be behind us now as we drift into September and towards Autumn at an alarming speed. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 6th August 2012
Swiss National Day & Verbier Bike Park
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 6th August 2012
Great weather arrived in Verbier to see out the end of July as the summer whizzes by at an alarming speed. The end of the Verbier festival has come and the next international event in Verbier is the Grands Concours Hippique, an international horse jumping competition. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 17th July 2012
Sunshine returns to Verbier
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 16th July 2012
After a rough weekend, which saw rain, clouds and cold temperatures push into Verbier, Monday was stunningly beautiful. The skies were clear and the warmth of the sun quickly dried out the area. Above Ruinettes the temperatures up the mountain were so cold over the weekend that the rain landed as a thin veil of snow which soon disappeared with the arrival of the sun. Temperatures did remain comfortably chilly with a stiff breeze from time to time. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 12th July 2012
Mixed weather outside - plenty to do inside
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 12th July 2012
Mixed weather continues to continue and it seems that we may have to wait a little longer for summer with the Verbier forecast for the next week being unstable. Thankfully there is a hint of sunshine from time to time over the next couple of days and somewhere up there it continues to shine so hot that when the clouds do part, even for an afternoon, it has been drying up very quickly. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 28th June 2012
Mixed weather allows for indoor and outdoor activities in Verbier
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 28th June 2012
It looks as if more changeable weather is on the way, continuing the trend over the last couple of months. When the sun has been out it has been glorious in Verbier with high temperatures drying up the earth really quickly. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 14th June 2012
Mixed weather but the lifts are starting to open
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 14th June 2012
Summer is here as is the first summer version of our Verbier ‘snowreport’. Although there have been some really beautiful and sunny warm summer days the weather has stayed changeable and volatile since April. This has brought in frequent rain in the form of mainly showers and regular snow showers above 2000 metres, where the snowline stubbornly resists the inevitable thaw and clings to the mountain. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 22nd November 2011
Mountaineering & glacier hiking. No snow yet but
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 22nd November 2011
News has just come in that the first slopes will be opening this weekend in Verbier. The Lac des Vaux will be open from the 26th of Novemeber onwards and will be open from 9.15 to 16.15. more »
Rock climbing in Troubayet. Winter is in the air but warm weather means that climbing, hiking & biking are all still possible
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 15th November 2011
Mixed weather has provided an unsure start to the winter; a few weeks ago it was as if the ski season was just around the corner with heavy snow and cold temperatures. Recently, warmer temperatures have displaced the cold snap and forced the tenuous snow line to retreat back up the mountain. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 19th October 2011
Biking & climbing. Warm autumn weather and the lifts are still open
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 19th October 2011
With the weekend over, the full time opening of the lift is also now over until next weekend. The good news is that it still runs four times a week during week days. The lift from Verbier to Ruinettes will be open at 07:00, 10:30, 13:30 and 16:45 hrs. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 15th October 2011
Winter is on the way but there is still the opportunity to get out on the mountain bike trails
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 17th October 2011
Over last week Verbier received a significant amount of snow over 24 hours but the torrential rain that followed melted all but the highest pockets of snow. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 6th October 2011
Hiking & biking the Mauvoisin Dam. Autumnal hiking and some ideas for wet weather activities
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 6th October 2011
After a couple of weeks of great weather it looks as if conditions are going to change this weekend. Clouds, rain and colder temperatures are threatening and the forecast for the start of next week, although better, still suggests mixed conditions. more »
Warm weather & autumn hiking. Making the most of the late summer sunshine
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 3rd October 2011
Fantastic weather continues to grace Verbier with clear blue skies and beaming sunshine. The temperatures have dropped recently but it still remains warm in the sun; this last weekend there were lots of walkers in their shorts and t-shirts enjoying the incredible mountain views. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 23rd September 2011
Lifts may be closing but there is still plenty to do while the weather is good
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 23rd September 2011
As always the most important part of my report is the weather. After the awful weather of last weekend, which saw heavy rain and snow on the higher slopes, the fantastic weather returned. Sunshine and clear skies allowed us to get back into the mountains to play, although temperatures are now more comfortable when doing sport, in the direct sun it is still very warm and comfortable. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 5th September 2011
Hiking & biking... Summer may be coming to an end but the weather is good and there is still plenty to do
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 5th September 2011
Autumn has arrived, announced by a drop in temperatures and browning leaves on trees. Town is still busy though as the lifts are still open through until 19th September. After that the main lifts will still be open for weekends until the end of October. more »
Verbier Activity Report: 18th August 2011
Lee Fieldsend | Verbier Reporter | published: 18th August 2011
Thankfully the weather over the last week has improved significantly with clear blue skies and sunshine providing dry and warm conditions. Temperatures are warm but there has been a refreshing breeze which has kept things comfortable. more »