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.
The weather has also been good for bikers and many came up to Verbier this last Saturday and Sunday as most other bike areas are now closed. Cold temperatures over night followed by sunshine in the morning have meant that the biking tracks are damp for most of the morning and by the afternoon they have totally dried up. This has made the tracks perfect for riding as they are not too wet and not too dry and dusty. The cooler temperatures but brilliant sunshine has also created very comfortable conditions. It is possible to get to the top of the blue run now as work on the new lift has been stopping through the weekends. The way to avoid the steep climb uphill is to turn right coming out of the lift station at Ruinettes, go downhill bearing right around the front of the lift station and follow the road to the blue start point.
A few days ago I walked from Verbier up to Pierre Avoi, which is a prominent tower of rock that dominates the Savoleyres ridge line and can be seen for miles around. The last ten minutes of the climb is protected with chain handrails and steps that have been cut into the rock but care should be taken as the rock steps are polished. The reward at the top is worth the effort as there is a 360 degree view of beautiful alpine scenery in every direction for as far as the eye can see.
There is only one lift, Verbier to Ruinettes, open during weekends (Saturday and Sunday) at the moment. The lifts are expected to open for the next three weekends until around the middle of October with the ski area scheduled to open around 5th November.
The construction of a new six man express chair lift continues and it is expected to be ready in time for Christmas. The chair replaces the old Mayentzet (below 1936 bar) and the La Combe lifts. It will allow access to the mountain by bypassing Medran. Skiers will be able to go up the La Rouge drag or catch a bus to Carrefour and then the lift will take them to the top of the old La Combe lift. From there skiers will be able to ski down to the Attelas express or to the Ruinettes station. Even better news is that on stormy days the tree covered slopes around this area will provide skiers with much better service. The new lift will cut the journey from around 15 minutes to around 6 and there will be 6 seats instead of 2 which is a huge improvement to easing congestion around Medran and providing a more accessible route up the hill for large numbers of Verbier residents.
Also there has been a line of permanent snow canons installed along the road down to Medran which will help to keep the normally icy and busy home run in better condition throughout the winter months.
The weather for the coming week looks set to continue with sunshine and dry conditions. Even though the lifts are closed on weekdays there are still plenty of activities such as rock climbing, walking, cross country biking and mountaineering to keep me busy until the lift service resumes next weekend.