Like mountain biking? Try Verbier’s new bike park
When most holidaymakers think about Verbier, they associate it with ski holidays of the rich and famous. But now there is every reason to pack your bags, grab your passport and health card, and head to the alpine Swiss village during the summer months, because Verbier has turned itself into one of the planet’s top mountain biking destinations.
It’s in no small part thanks to the work of ex-mountain biking professional Fabrice ‘Trifon’ Tirefort, who has campaigned for Bikepark Verbier to be developed over the last six years, and is now proudly in charge of an unbelievable expanse of scenic bike trails stretching over 200 kilometres.
The good news is that the bike companies that have sprung up offer packages for all abilities, meaning you won’t be hurtling down the mountain side at high speeds on your first attempt! Bike hire and maintenance, coaching, guiding and accommodation are also usually package options, so those heading into unfamiliar territory need not be perturbed.
Popular routes include the Tour de Mount Blanc, which spends several days circling Europe’s highest peak, and a tour which takes in the route of the Grand Raid Cristalp, albeit over a longer space of time than the famous bike marathon. The beauty of the bike park is that is takes advantage of a fantastic lift system in the area, meaning bikers can head straight back up after bombing it down the hill, ready for their next descent.
The village of Verbier itself is packed full of fine restaurants, luxury spas and lavish chalets, so you won’t be short of activities when the sun goes down. Add to that cultural events such as the International Classical Music Festival, and some fine examples of regional cuisine such as Entremount sausages and Bagnes cheese, and you might have found your perfect summer holiday destination.
Aim to book in the region of June to September, but there’s usually a little leeway either side. With breathtaking peaks and valleys, you’re not likely to forget Verbier in a hurry, whether you’re a mountain bike fanatic or simply want to try something new. Just don’t forget to renew your passport or your EHIC.