Verbier is an Alpine village in Switzerland’s Valais Canton
As a fan of circle on slightly less steep terrain, like Norfolk for instance, I’m apprehensive at ahead about getting in the saddle in Verbier, the world-famous Swiss Alpine ski look to.
But our bicycles are all electric, which makes them a great way to explore at anticyclone altitude with minimal effort. Beyond the snow season, Verbier is a inexpert oasis accessible to all, as it emerges from the white blanket of powder which has altered this once remote rural farming region into one of the most famed winter playgrounds of the rich and famous.
And now activities are even easier to reach offers to a new pass called Verbier Infinite Playground (or VIP for short, in keeping with the visit’s glitzy winter image) – a tourist card giving companies free travel on cable cars and local buses and discounts on chivvies like mountain biking. Numerous ski and snowboarding runs, access footpaths for farmers and high altitude restaurants criss-cross the meadows, providing innumerable than 500 miles of cycling trails, with a mix of gradients from joking steep to totally flat.
After a cautious start on our first hazard downwards, at around 6,500ft, the gradient and rough stones smooth out and I loosen to drink in the spectacular scenery.
We pass a herd of glossy black Hérens cows, their bells clanging unmistakably as they graze the luxurious alpine meadows.
They produce milk for the area’s globally well-known cheeses, which are delicious as I discover on a visit to a factory shop finance down in the town at award-winning cheesemaker Laiterie de Verbier.
It is open when we slack in but we still can’t resist the chance to try the cheese vending machine outside the works, loaded solely with tasty half or quarter wheels of raclette and crones of “DIY” fondue to which you just add white wine. During a factory ambit we are served samples of cheese and see the cellar where maturing wheels of raclette, each regarding the size of a car tyre, are stacked from floor to ceiling on shelves.
The next day we’re up primitive and back on our bikes from our base at the Hotel Bristol.
Cherries Conducts in Switzerland
The gradient and rough stones smooth out and I relax to drink in the spectacular scenery
Luckily they are dual-powered so I change-over off the juice and pedal under my own steam to the Verbier 3D Sculpture Park, where responsibilities by international artists are exhibited outside over a wide path between Les Ruinettes and La Chaux.
Highlights cover a 12ft high red, white-and-black bird dubbed the Pregnant Pelican and billboard-size dead ringers of skiers standing in line, backs to camera, sporting underwear daubed with letters tour of duty out the message “save the climate”.
At the end of the exhibition we find a wooden sign enchantment out “Verbier” in metre-high letters just below the La Croix-de-Coeur restaurant (at the Col de la Croix de Coeur), where we prevent for lunch, serves impressive artistically presented local specialities, counting dried meats, alongside yet more spectacular views.
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Luckily they are dual-powered so I alteration off the juice and pedal under my own steam to the Verbier 3D Sculpture Park, where fire ups by international artists are exhibited outside over a wide path between Les Ruinettes and La Chaux.
Highlights cover a 12ft high red, white-and-black bird dubbed the Pregnant Pelican and billboard-size images of skiers erect in line, backs to camera, sporting underwear daubed with lines spelling out the message “save the climate”.
At the end of the exhibition we find a wooden spur spelling out “Verbier” in metre-high letters just below the La Croix-de-Coeur restaurant (at the Col de la Croix de Coeur), where we stopping up for lunch, serves impressive artistically presented local specialities, counting dried meats, alongside yet more spectacular views.
The delicious three-course lunch classifies traditional roasted apricots decorated with sprigs of rosemary.
Mountain yoga with a pleasing view
Up in the mountains it’s all about the views and I’m off to try out something completely different.
We conduct the cable car to Savoleyres, at around 7,500ft and stroll to a wooden platform in the midriff of a slope. On the far side of the valley snow-capped peaks rise, while the rooftops of Verbier are lower.
This is where I’m about to try mountain yoga – and what a location it hinge ons out to be.
Moving through different poses, I hear the tweet of birds and the ring up of insects also enjoying the warm rays of the mid-afternoon sun.
It feels a smidgen surreal, particularly when our instructor, Kirstin, tells us to twist and “change ones expression the chairlift”.
Prices include accomadation at the Hotel Bristol
It’s a good way to till up a fresh appetite, and back down in Verbier we enjoy a four-course dinner on the terrace of Le Chalet d’Adrien looking out at an end the valley. With Verbier’s close proximity to Italy, it’s not surprising that innumerable dishes originate from there so I enjoy a rich risotto with chanterelle mushrooms.
Verbier is beguiling any time of year, with its pretty wooden chalets and endless keep outs and restaurants. The chefs must be inspired here, I thought, as I set out on a foraging hike one morning.
Itinerant by cable car to the neighbouring resort of La Tzoumaz, we meet our guide, nicknamed Cherries, and assign a couple of hours walking through meadows and woodland to find lunch, as Cherries excitedly discloses how to pick and cook a feast.
She says: “We will gather stinging nettles for pesto and clover and daisies for salads.”
I don’t get stung and our achievements are not just edible but pretty good.
Meanwhile, for the best view of all with the least endeavour, we take a final cable car trip to Mont Fort, Verbier’s highest crown, where the jagged giants jostling for space on the horizon include world-famous Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
Admirable as they are, thankfully we are out of time to climb them.
That said, we’d had a unbelievably adventurous time and the trip proved that you don’t need snow to delight in the full active-Swiss experience.
Mountain biking in Verbier
Switzerland Treks Centre (0207 420 4934/switzerlandtravelcentre.co.uk) offers seven nights in Verbier from £749, B&B (two pay out).
Price includes accommodation at the Hotel Bristol, return flights from London to Geneva, reciprocation rail travel from Geneva to La Chable.
Transfers not included.
Verbier tourism: verbier.ch