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.
Last weekend saw the lifts open all day from Thursday through until Sunday. Many bikers rocked into town to take advantage of the lifts to access the Verbier Bike Park, which has tracks from easy green through to some tough reds and blacks and the well known downhill track. Not all trails are fully built or repaired at the moment so take a few check out runs to see conditions before committing. The lift from Verbier to Ruinettes opened as did the one from Le Chable which allowed bikers access to 1500 metres of decent through high-mountain, single track, forest path, downhill track, alpine meadows and warm sunny valleys full of the flowers of spring.
Also last weekend the Tour de Suisse road bike competition rolled into town, or I should say hauled themselves, up the steep mountain road from Le Chable. A great event but locals have criticised local commune leaders for centring most summer events such as the horse jumping shows, classical music events and sporting events such as the Patrouille des Glaciers down around the sport centre. This means that many visitors to Verbier do not head higher into town, especially around Place Centrale where most bars and restaurants are located and these businesses are feeling the pinch by contracting their operations which has an end result of fewer jobs. In defence of the commune the sports centre is a perfect venue for events as there is lots of space for cars, visitors and the event itself.
The good news is that we are heading into July when and on the weekend starting 7th July until 17th September the Le Chable to Verbier and up to Ruinettes lifts will be open full time. Other lifts will also open such as Mont Fort, La Tzoumaz and La Chaux Express (not for bikers over previous years but rumoured to be opening this summer) Allowing bikers access to the La Chaux express will open up some huge possibilities in the future, if it ever happens.
If you need to rent bikes or are in need of a repair then Verbier has plenty of bike shops with some open now and others opening later in the season. No Bounds bike and snowboard shop is just down the road from Medran and is the nearest bike shop and they stock mainly Kona but there are dealers representing all the major brands. If you are coming from down the valley then CrossRoadCycles in Martigny is a good bet. At this time of the year when the lifts are only really open for weekends there is another spot down by Martigny that will sate your appetite for adrenaline. The Dorenaz village lift runs every couple of hours all day and almost everyday of the year. It is on the way to Martigny-Fully where you pick up the signs, after crossing the river, for Dorenaz village and then the lift. On the way you will pass a prominent climbing area in a quarry and then one by a roundabout. The climbing at the 4 main climbing crags at Dorenaz is popular with local sport climbers. A wide range of routes are available in single and multi pitch versions and there is plenty of space for everyone even if it is popular because the climbing is right next to the car park, close to a motorway and dries out quickly after a rainfall.
Through June the Verbier lifts will only open for weekends non stop but through the rest of the week the lifts will run for 15 minutes each time to allow access to the mountains. The lifts open 07:30, 10:30, 13:30 and 17:00 weekdays until 7th July.
I signed up the other week for a summer pass for the pitch and putt at the golf course. The summer pass cost 250chf and it is a great way to spend time playing golf in the beautiful alpine setting.
Although the weather in Verbier has been very rainy over the last weekend and into the start of this week it is meant to improve for this weekend when the lifts open all day Saturday and Sunday.