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Verbier Activity Review
17th July 2012

Sunshine returns to Verbier

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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.

Currently all the trails are open for bikers and walkers plus the para-ponters are enjoying the good weather too. Many tourists have been up the mountain recently and as well as walking they have been renting Trottinette off road scooters and electric bikes, from the office at Medran Café. For walkers there are a series of trails that snake their way over every bit of Verbier and the surrounding mountains.

One of my favourite walking trails is the Pierre Avoi mountain, over by Savoleyres. You can catch the lift up to the top of Savoleyres from Verbier or Tzoumaz and then walk across and up until the via ferrata style climb begins up metal staircases with steel chains and cables as handrails. Climbing equipment is not necessary and the view over the surrounding area is superb. Alternatively the walk all the way up from Verbier to Pierre Avoi via the Sonalon and Marlenaz restaurants is a great variation as it follows a dramatic ridge with incredible views in all directions.

Mont fort 3,330m is also a great location to take in the alpine scenery. Walkers and bikers can catch lifts from Le Chable up to the glacier with hardly any effort. For both, the lifts from Le Chable to Ruinettes currently run all day everyday. For walkers the La Chaux Express will whiz them over to the Jumbo but the gently rising path from Ruinettes to La Chaux is a great walk and bikers must take that route in order to get to La Chaux anyway. The ground to the right, as you head to La Chaux, drops away dramatically and the snow capped mountain ranges across the valley, which include the Combin Corbassiere, Grand Combin and Petit Combin, provide an incredible backdrop.

The Jumbo only runs every half hour so check at the Medran information desk before you go. At the Col des Gentianes it is possible for walkers to continue up to the top of Mont Fort where jagged peaks extend in all directions. Bikers can sadly not access this area but they may catch the lift down to Tortin and then bike to the Combatzeline lift at Siviez. The biking is easy with plenty of gentle up hill sections and more of those great views. Walkers can also catch these lifts and walk the quiet and peaceful 4 Vallees areas. From the Col des Gentianes the rocky yet wide road zig zags down the mountain to La Chaux and the wide open rock fields allow bikers to see well ahead and ride really fast. From Col des Gentianes to the valley floor below it is a drop of just under 2000 metres of track, trail and bike park.

The Verbier bike park is in great condition with most of the recent work around the blue where the course is slick with hardly any braking bumps and super smooth corners (currently). Savoleyres and Tzoumaz have been open for a little while now and the biking and walking around the area is really beautiful. It is less developed than the Verbier side and much quieter too. The main bike run is flowy and quite smooth although there are some steeper lines and more technical sections. Watch out for random cow fences across paths as you ride around the area. Even the blue is affected from time to time through the summer as cow farmers exercise ancient pastoral rights for their livestock. As the summer progresses the cows move higher and higher to eat the new grass until autumn pushes them back down the mountain.

The sports centre is now open everyday and sun worshippers can head down there at 10am and sunbathe and swim all day. The outdoor pool has a kiddies area and a play park and there is beach volleyball, table tennis and diving boards for the more active. Also around the same area there is an ice rink with ice go carting, tennis, squash and an indoor pool with steam room and Jacuzzi. Also down by the sport centre there is the horse riding stable and the large concert hall where the Verbier classical music concert will be centred. The Verbier Music Festival takes place 20th July- 5th August.

If you want to have a lazy Sunday then check out the local market on Sunday. The market runs from 09:00hrs to 13:00hrs and features a collection of stalls selling arts, crafts and local, organic and free trade produce.

The coming event of note is the live music performance by Spencer Chaplin at T-Bar from 22:00hrs on the 20th July. Most other bars and restaurants are now open and the streets of Verbier have a buzz that always accompanies the music festival.

The weather over the coming days looks as if it will be very sunny with temperatures pushing over 20 degrees by the middle of the week but remaining comfortably cooler higher up the mountain for sports lovers.



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