Skiing in Veysonnaz & Les 4 Valleys
As soon as the snow comes, Veysonnaz becomes a winter sports paradise. The new Veysonnaz high speed gondola takes you directly up to 2100m and in to one of the world's best ski systems, www.4vallees.ch. This is the same ski area that encompasses Verbier but Veysonnaz is a charming small resort that is always much quieter (and cheaper) than its famous neighbour. Even at Christmas, New Year and February half term there are virtually no queues and the resort retains its charm.
The season runs from early December to mid April. The snow reliability is excellent by virtue of the high altitude, and also some east & north facing slopes which are protected from the hot afternoon sun. There are lots of snow cannons just in case nature doesn't provide sufficient snow.
Les 4 Vallées links the resorts of Veysonnaz, Verbier, La Tzoumaz, Siviez, Nendaz and Thyon. There are 100 lifts serving 412kms of world class pistes comprising 33% blue runs, 41% red runs, 6% black runs and 13% itinerary routes (marked pistes that are patrolled but not groomed) so skiers of all abilities are spoilt for choice. Combined with the infinite off-piste options for which the area renown, the 4 Valley region is one of the most diverse and challenging ski areas in the world.
Although Veysonnaz is an undiscovered ski destination by most of the world, the Swiss have been training their World Cup racers here for decades. The Piste de L'Ours (starting from the top of the Veysonnaz gondola) is on the World Cup race circuit and a thrilling descent for skiers wishing to emulate Didier Cuche!
Whilst Verbier holds the crown for the most glamorous resort in Les 4 Valleys, those in search of emptier pistes, fewer queues, yet equally dynamic backcountry runs, tend to head to the eastern end of the 4 Valley map. Thanks to Veysonnaz's convenient location you can ski to Verbier in as little as an hour an half, and reach the top of the infamous Mont Fort quicker than Verbier neighbours.
With empty pistes on one's doorstep, but the vast 4 valleys at your fingertips and varied landscapes, Veysonnaz truly is a little known gem.
It's become a skiing cliché, but Veysonnaz really does cater for all abilities and delights families and experienced ski aficionados alike. There is truly something for everyone:
- For nervous novices & beginners there is a snow garden (with a magic carpet and other fun equipment) and an excellent selection of nursery slopes on the plateau at Thyon, together with the ski-school meeting area. Being conveniently at the top of the Veysonnaz gondola (2100m) means the snow conditions are always good. With several nice bars/restaurants it's a convenient meeting point for skiers and non-skiers alike.
- For intermediates the vast Four Valleys has to be skied to be believed! With 412km of pistes, this huge ski-playground offers some of the most varied skiing in the Alps, including the infamous Piste de l'Ours where the Swiss train their World Cup racers.
- Advanced skiers will be in seventh-heaven testing their prowess on difficult blacks and itinerary routes. Mont Fort, at 3330m, is regularly billed as one of the 'Top ten black runs in the world' but instructors will tell you the faces of Tortin, Col de Gentianes and Mont Gele (all itinerary routs) are harder to conquer.
- For off-piste skiers and riders Les 4 Valleys is reknown for having some of the most accessible off-piste in the Alps. You'll find powder on all the ititinary routes and from many of the lifts there are great areas of unpisted slopes that can be reached without too much trekking. There are legendary unmarked trails off the back of Mont Fort. The backcountry options are incalculable and the reason why expert alpinistes return year after year in search of untracked snow.
- Boarders, from total novices to advanced, will find plenty to keep them occupied, whether it be pistes, powder or snow parks.
- For snow parks there is a choice between Thyon, 1936 Neipark (under La Chaux), Tacouet. and Verbier Xtreme (host to freeride championships)
Within about an hour's drive you can get to other ski resorts including Zermatt, Crans Montana and the Portes du Soleil.