One of the benefits of living in Switzerland is that you can go anywhere by public transportation - including Alpine ski resorts! With thousands of kilometers of slopes, it can be a daunting task to select a place to start. For us, RailAway's Snow 'n' Rail combos are a way of narrowing down the options while exploring a new ski resort at the same time.
Together with our blogger friends Katja and Walter from reisememo.ch, we decided to "rail" to Verbier for a weekend of skiing. And thanks to a great connection and the impressive Lötschberg tunnel, the ride from Zürich's main station to Visp took us just two hours.
Breakfast on Rails
Before we had finished our breakfast in the bistro coach, our train pulled across the Aare bridge into scenic Bern.
From Visp to Martigny, we boarded an intercity train. And for the last stretch, a cozy commuter train took us up the valley to Le Châble.
We conveniently chose the gondola to get up to Verbier, but there was also a periodic postal bus as an alternative.
During the ascent, the gondola ride provided awesome tilt-shift views of the Alpine roads snaking uphill, with roaring car engines aiming at just the right moment to pass the yellow postal bus in front.
Approaching Verbier by "air" was quite an experience, as this resort town is set in a sort of mountain arena at 1500 m above sea. We observed many aged wooden chalets spread across the gentle foot of Savoleyres.
The connecting gondola to Les Ruinettes leaves from the same building in the center of Verbier. Despite the ski gear, switching cabines did not prove to be a hassle at all.
Hitting the Slopes
With 164 km of slopes, 4 Vallées at the foot of Mt. Fort is one of Switzerland's biggest ski resorts. Our day pass allowed the use of ski lifts in all four resorts. However, due to the sheer size of the Verbier side, we never left the slopes for another resort.
The snow condition was good for skiing thanks to the high altitude. Just one weekend later, Verbier was hammered by fresh snow (which was desperately needed)...
Majestic Mont Fort
Mt. Fort is a spectacle in itself: At 3328 m above sea, this massive throne allows for breath taking views of the surrounding peaks, including Mont Blanc, Grand Combin and the famous Matterhorn. This is the highest vantage point in the area, which makes it perfect for those seeking an adrenaline rush on black diamond slopes.
But us Newly Swissed skiers safely parked our skies near the igloo restaurant at Col de Gentianes and hopped on the gondola to reach the peak.
Between skiing, Mamiko made friends with the locals here in the St. Bernard region...
After a day of skiing, we stayed the night at Hotel Mirabeau, a family run B&B just up the street from Verbier's center. We had a lovely Swiss dream in our Heidi themed room...
On the way home, we got off the train in Bern to catch up with a friend. That's another benefit of the Snow 'n' Rail ticket: It allows for as many stopovers along the way as one can handle (with ski gear in tow)!
(This trip was generously sponsored by SBB RailAway and Verbier Tourism)