Away from the Verbier crowds

10th January 2013, by Dave Watts

Deserted pistes on Thursday, just over the valley from Verbier

Deserted pistes on Thursday, just over the valley from Verbier

The WTSS editors have disappeared to research resorts all over Europe this week. Dave is in Switzerland, Chris in France and web editor Abi in Austria. Watch this space.

It’s Dave filing the first report here. The good news is that it is snowing quite heavily here in Verbier on Thursday evening. Today I skied the little-known resorts of Vichères-Liddes and La Fouly, just across the valley from Verbier but a million miles away in terms of crowds and glamour. These are tiny resorts with just three lifts each which cater mainly for the family and ski touring markets – ski touring is especially big here. The mountains and scenery are impressive and judging by my experience well worth exploring with a mountain guide for a day if you want to get away from the Verbier hordes while spending a week there. I skied with mountain guide Jean-Benoit Coppey whose family have lived in or near La Fouly for three generations and his son Damien who speaks excellent English and acted as translator.

We went up the Vichères-Liddes lifts and skied a couple of completely deserted pistes before heading off on an off-piste adventure back to near La Fouly down a run of 1000m vertical that both Jean-Benoit and Damien claimed to have done at the age of three. The snow in the initial north-facing bowl was excellent light powder, despite no new snow for the last few weeks. Lower down where the sun had hit the snow and rain had fallen it was tougher. But the whole experience was great and very enjoyable.

The simple Edelweiss hotel in La Fouly where I stayed served excellent food worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant but without any pretensions and cooked by Christoph, the owner. Don’t miss it for lunch or dinner if you choose to visit the area.

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