With endless choices, accessible backcountry, and legendary itineraries, Verbier is one of the most popular spots in the world for off-piste skiing. Whether you want to navigate steep terrain, hair-raising couloirs, icy glaciers or huge powder bowls, the 4 Valleys is the place to be this winter.
But if you’re only in Verbier for a week or two, how do you ever narrow down where to explore? With 410km of pisted terrain in the 4 Valleys, it’s difficult to comprehend everything that lies beyond the poles.
Craft an epic winter break with this guide to off-piste skiing in Verbier, including its itinerary runs, heli-skiing opportunities, and the best ski guides in the area.
If you’re looking for a tailor made week of heli skiing in Verbier, or a weekend back country guided tour, then contact us today and we’ll create you an ultimate ski experience.
Verbier’s Itinerary Runs
Never left the piste before? One of the great things about Verbier is it offers easy and accessible options for your transition to the backcountry. Yellow itinerary runs are marked and opened according to avalanche risk, but they aren’t groomed or patrolled. This means you can sample rugged terrain with slightly lower risk.
Remember, you still shouldn’t attempt these runs alone and should make sure you have the right insurance to cover your descent. If it’s your first time venturing off-piste, make sure you go with a guide or someone experienced in backcountry skiing. Take some time to do your research and assess which runs are appropriate for your level.
If you have friends who already skied in Verbier, chances are you already heard about the Chassoure-Tortin run. It’s one of the most challenging items to tick off your Verbier freeriding checklist. Starting at the meeting point between the Lac Des Vaux 2 and Tortin-Chassoure lifts. From there you’ll need to choose whether you want to start with a rocky traverse or a huge wall of moguls.
Looking for more itinerary action? You’re in the perfect area. Take the lift up to Col des Gentianes and take the yellow run back to Tortin. At 3.5km, it’s rumoured to be the longest mogulled run in Europe. That’s one way to tone up your leg muscles!
You could also head over to the Mont Gele summit. At 3,023m, it’s the only spot where you can see the entire 4 Valleys at once. You’ll have two different yellow itineraries to choose from. Pick the south-facing route to La Chaux to ski a huge bowl or take the long winding route back to Tortin.
To wrap up the day, you could then ski down to the base of the Lac des Vaux 2 lift and take the Col des Mines run. You’ll start with a gully that could be powder or moguls before hitting a long traverse. You can then take a powdery run back to the Verbier bowl or opt for the longer Vallon d’Arby. This vast valley is packed with tree skiing, couloirs, and powder bowls. It emerges at a blue in La Tzoumaz, so make sure you leave enough time to catch the lift back home.
Once you’re ready to get further off the beaten track, there are over 87 off-piste trails to choose from in Verbier. You can find an in-depth backcountry guidebook at the tourist information centre. But if you’re looking for inspiration, Tortin, Mont Gele, and Chassoure all offer excellent powder. Bruson is also a fantastic option, as it collects deep powder between the trees.
Start between Mont Gele and La Chaux for a sunny day playing in the gullies. Then head to the front side where you can access the Stairway to Heaven via the Col des Gentianes yellow.
Stairway to Heaven is one of the most infamous backcountry routes in the 4 Valleys. You’ll need to hike a steep couloir before taking a long ski down the Glacier des Louettes Econdue.
From Mont Gele, you could also attempt the spine-tingling Banana Couloir. This exposed and steep couloir isn’t for the faint of heart and can be a pain to access.
To tick off more quirky names, head to Rock Garden and Hidden Valley. Hidden Valley is on the North side and offers a complex route of skiing and hiking. Rock Garden involves less hiking and, as its name suggests, offers a chance to make fresh tracks through a 300m wide rock field.
The back of Mont Fort offers the most challenging freeriding in the 4 Valleys. It’s only for freeriders with extensive experience in their pocket, thanks to the glacier, steep couloirs, and high avalanche risk. The long route involves lots of novelty, taking you past two lakes and a dam on your way out.
Why Hire A Ski Guide In Verbier?
Many people dismiss taking a guide, especially if they’ve already got some off-piste skiing under their belt. But if it’s your first time skiing off-piste in the 4 Valleys, we highly recommend taking a guide for at least one day of your trip.
Not only are they trained in how to keep you safe during natural disasters and medical incidents, they’ve spent years building up their knowledge of the ski area. They know the slopes like the back of their hands, helping you to find untracked routes and hidden gems.
They’ll be able to assess your level and match you to slopes that’ll maximise your backcountry experience. It also offers an invaluable opportunity to improve your freeriding technique, making your ski guide in Verbier an investment for many trips to come.
Heli-skiing In Verbier
To take your off-piste experience in Verbier to the next level, why not consider a heli-skiing tour? It’ll allow you to reach unmatched heights and make fresh tracks in some of the most remote corners of the 4 Valleys. And according to Adrenaline Heli-ski, Verbier is one of the best places to heli-ski in the Alps.
Touch down on the famous Petit Combin. From 3,672m you’ll be greeted with the fabulous backdrop of the Grand Combin and Mont Blanc. From here you’ll have over 2000m of powder to descend on, with various routes down depending on the weather and your ability. Brave the steep North face, marvel at the Grand Saint Bernard Valley, or explore magnificent glaciers.
Rosablanche offers variety for all levels of skier. If you’re new to heliskiing, you can choose from one of the easiest routes in the area. For seasoned pros, you could choose the steep Vallon of Severeu or the Prafleuri, ending at the huge Grande Dixence dam.
The Trient Glacier is another popular drop-off spot with a great choice of itineraries. Ski vast valleys, challenging couloirs, or ski all the way to France.
Best Ski Guides And Heli-skiing Tours In Verbier
Altitude Ski School are a great option for helping you to explore Verbier’s backcountry. Their private guides are federal quality and experts in the local area. Adults and children are welcome, as long as they are comfortable skiing red runs. They’ll discuss the plan with you the day before and can schedule anything for three hours to a full-day session. If it’s your first time skiing off-piste, they also offer tailored lessons to help you optimise your technique.
Adrenaline Ski School have been established in Verbier for over 25 years and have a highly qualified team. They offer off-piste coaching from three hours to a full day. If you’ve fallen in love with the world of backcountry, they also offer courses in mountain safety and avalanches so you can get off the beaten path for years to come.
Adrenaline Ski Guides are the most popular heli-skiing company in Verbier. They combine an official mountain guide office and a helicopter office. Their main base is Verbier, but they also operate in other Swiss skiing hotspots and represent some of the best heli-skiing operators worldwide. They offer one-, three-, or six-day heliskiing packages, so you could explore a different peak every day of the week if you wanted to.