Verbier, comprising mainly chalets and chalet-style apartment blocks, has one of the finest situations in the alps.
Verbier is one of the most gloriously situated ski resorts in the Alps. It sprawls over a sunny hillside high above the Rhone valley and is especially appealing in springtime, when the long days mean that many balconies and terraces retain the sunshine very late into the afternoon. There are spectacular, open views of the surrounding peaks.
Comprising hundreds of small wooden chalets and many larger, but still chalet-shaped, apartment blocks and hotels built of concrete but clad in wood, Verbier sometimes looks as though it has existed for centuries. In fact serious development only began after the last war, when the first ski lift was erected. The resort is far from compact and many chalets are quite a long walk or short bus ride from either of the main lift stations and the village centre. On the other hand most of the chalets have uninterrupted views and spacious private gardens and terraces. Verbier has the exciting buzz of a young resort and it plays host to a young and young-at-heart clientele. The French-speaking Swiss Romande locals are generally more laid-back than their German-speaking counterparts and they foster an agreeable atmosphere of informality in this fashionable, cosmopolitan resort. Being just over an hour and half's drive from Geneva, Verbier is much favoured as a weekend ski destination and it is at this time that the slopes and bars are at their busiest. Indeed, increasingly Verbier seems rather quiet from Monday to Wednesday, meaning empty slopes and empty nightclubs.
Verbier was once given a rough ride by the British press, principally on account of its queuing problems, but also because of a curious inverted snobbery about the type of Brits who holiday there. However the construction of new lifts has eliminated virtually all of the queue bottlenecks and the eight-seater gondola from Tortin to Chassoure finally removed one of the Alps most notorious queuing blackspots. The proportion of British guests peaked in the 80s and then dropped off, but it is once again on the rise.
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