Verbier opens ahead of schedule
Verbier opens to skiers this weekend, thanks to the recent bumper snowfall in the Alps.
“We’ve had over 50cm of snow,” said Yan Baczkoski of Verbier Tourism, explaining that the Swiss ski resort will open every weekend — a month ahead of schedule — until later next month.
Though Yan added: “We may open early for the ski season, too — we’re working on it.”
Big changes are afoot in Verbier for this season. New hotels, restaurants and bars are opening, and work has begun on the sports centre and new lifts.
Two new mountain restaurants open this season — a wooden igloo at the Col de Gentianes and a new restaurant called La Vache at Attelas, in place of the old Powder Spirit bar, at the top of the James Blunt lift. La Vache has been transformed over the summer and will have a huge, tree-lined deck overlooking Val de Bagnes and Mont Blanc.
The restaurant is owned by the Farinet group, whose shareholders include James Blunt, Lawrence Dallaglio and five-times World Superbike champion, Carl Fogarty, all of whom are keen Verbier skiers.
A pop-up restaurant called The Pot Luck Club with South African chef Dale Roberts finds its home this season in the Farinet, displacing its nightclub the Casbah to the old Coco Club/Public venue. The Après and The Lounge in the Farinet has been rearranged to give more space, even more of the popular sofas and an oval bar.
The old Rock bar has been turned into a Martini bar. A new restaurant and bar — rumoured to be serving Asian food — is opening in the old Cilantro/Atelier/Casita building. A new sushi restaurant is opening this winter in Hotel Nevaï in the centre of Verbier.
In hotel news, from this season will Verbier will be the ski resort in the world with two Relais & Chateau. Joining the exisiting Le Chalet d’Adrien is the Chalet de Flore****.
The new four-star Cordée des Alpes Hotel, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, will open in place of the old Hotel Alba and Wonderbar.
And Verbier will be the first ski resort in the world to have a “W Hotel”. The property will open next year at Medran, on the Trois Rocs site, along with new shops and bars in the Place Blanche, in the centre of the complex.
Work has also started on the multi-million pound redevelopment work on the sports centre, which will have a new indoor pool, water slides, a new spa centre, indoor sports courts and indoor climbing wall by 2015. It remains open while work is undergoing.