Verbier : the skiing
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For years, Verbier has suffered from notoriously long queues and poorly planned lift transport, but these days, with the opening of new gondolas almost every season, things are getting better. Verbier is the main resort of the Four Valleys ski area, covering a vast swathe of some 400km of piste at all levels of difficulty, stretching from Thyon, Veysonnaz and Nendaz in the west, through the central Savoleyres and Mont-Fort areas, out to far-flung corners like the Super-St-Bernard. The lift-pass system is complicated: a Verbier pass (Fr.50/day, Fr.283/week) covers the Ruinettes, Mont Gelé and La Chaux runs, as well as Tortin, Thyon and Savoleyres, but isn’t valid up to the high pistes on Mont-Fort. For that you need a full Four Valleys pass (Fr.56/day, Fr.318/week, Fr.509/two weeks).

Beginners would do better to look elsewhere: a handful of blues at Bruson are all there is, really. There is a host of red runs from Savoleyres, and the Medran lifts take you up to Les Ruinettes, with its own cat’s cradle of reds and a scarily vertiginous black run. New, large-capacity gondolas connect to Attelas (2727m), with blacks and reds, and either on to the Mont Gelé summit (3023m), or by chairlift over to Tortin from where reds or a fiendishly difficult black to connect to the Siviez and Thyon ski areas. From La Chaux (2260m) above Ruinettes, one of Switzerland’s largest cable-cars, the Jumbo, swooshes 150 people at a time up to the glacier slopes of Mont-Fort (3330m), also one of the best places in the country for summer skiing. Boarders are well served by half-pipes at Gentianes on Mont-Fort, La Chaux and Savoleyres.

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