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.
Thankfully the Verbier festival coincided with a good turn in the weather and temperatures have soared into the 30s at times, but a frequent cool breeze has helped to keep Verbier comfortable while the valley below swelters. Frequent showers and occasional storms have kept swinging in too but the sun has often come back out and dried things out quickly.
With the fringe concerts and events in town things have been very lively through July and town has had a constant buzz. Most restaurants, bars and shops in resort are open as are many restaurants up the mountain. The pick of the best up the mountain are the Dahu (La Chaux), Sonalon, Marlenaz and my favourite, Chez Danny. All mountain restaurants are open currently and provide a good selection of French/ Swiss and Italian dishes and great views of the stunning surroundings.
Last weekend we went out and although the bars of Verbier were quite quiet there was only one place for everyone to end up. And so at 2am the crowds suddenly arrived in coup d’Etat and DJ Ratty began pumping choice tunes to the masses.
As we are into mid summer now and all the usual summer lifts around the 4 Vallees are open. They start running at 8am and finish around 5pm. With the recent great weather there have been lots of walkers, bikers and para-ponters out and about and even though it has been a quieter summer than previous ones the mountains were very busy over the last couple of weeks of the July period.
With regards to the bike park there have been few improvements and no new additions to the various tracks. The work that has been done has mainly centred around the blue which has had a lot of work on its corners (to make them smoother) and a few new obstacles have been added too. The downhill, red and black routes remain highly charged and for experts only with full armour and a bike with beefy suspension. There will be some more development hopefully towards the end of the summer which will eventually see bike access to the La Chaux Express ridge line. At the moment the park organisers are waiting for the red tape makers to be satisfied but in truth Verbier needs to get a move on as other resorts close by are already miles ahead in terms of bike track development.
As I am only writing a couple reports a month this summer I would advise readers to check the Verbinet report archive for previous reports as it is never possible to tell all in just one report.
At the start of the month excitement rose in Verbier as the Savoleyres and Tzoumaz lift sectors opened. Initially I was quite disappointed as no new work had been done. My first two visits over there were an anti-climax as on the dedicated bike courses and forest tracks the farmers had broken them up with electric fencing for their grazing cows. Also there were still many trees down from the huge storm that we had during the winter. Although the Verbier side all the way down to Le Chable has been cleared the Tzoumaz side remains in a real mess. I did go back a few days ago and found that the farmers has relocated their fences (as they need to do periodically) and tree removal continues so hopefully within the next few weeks the area will be clear and free for bikers and walkers to enjoy this beautiful and quiet area.
We just had Kermesses (Swiss National Day) which saw the local Swiss let their collective hair down, with a little help from the many non Swiss residents in Verbier. The main street was awash with booze, food and various attractions which added to the already great July atmosphere.
On Sundays the local organic market is in town and sets up outside the post office and it is a great place to go for local organic produce and local crafts. Check out Lucy Dunnett’s painting stall which shows a selection of greetings cards, posters, art prints, books and small paintings. Every week she will be auctioning off a small original painting. All you need to do is write on a piece of paper how much you would like to bid and deposit it in the box with your name, email and phone number. The highest bidder will win the painting. The market will take place on Rue de La Poste, Verbier on Sundays from 9am – 2pm until 19th August.
Lucy will also be exhibiting her work at Nanuq Gallery this summer along with fellow painter Stephanie Noble. Both artists’ styles are very different but both use local alpine scenery as a base. The gallery has just re-opened for the season and opening hours are: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am - 12pm, 3pm - 7pm. Sundays: 3pm - 5pm. Or please get in touch with Natalie Howe on +41 (0) 786 793 203 to arrange an appointment.
Hopefully August will be as lively as July was but with better weather. As they say in the movie The Crow ’it can’t rain all the time”.