By Steve Taggart
Best known for its ski resorts, the picturesque mountain village of Verbier in South west Switzerland is fast becoming a go-to destination for mountain bikers. Not only does it have the facilities to accommodate adrenaline-junkies, but you can try out every discipline of mountain biking in the very same day.
From meandering cross country to fast adrenalin-pumping downhill to epic enduro and even dirt jumping, Verbier has it all. Few locations have such broad scale of options and all offering participants the best quality trails, jumps and heart-pounding good times.
Verbier Bike Park
Built for those who like a challenge, Verbier Bike Park has seven downhill tracks ranging from the fast, fun and flowing blue track to the full speed, wild ride black race track. Thanks to clever track design, riders can cross between different tracks at certain points meaning there are far more than just seven combinations of track to ride. 2014 saw the opening of two new red tracks, one with 65 jumps and stunning views of the Combin and Dents-du-Midi and other with a giant wooden causeway that weaves through the rocks below the chair lift. With the addition of these tracks Verbier Bike Park now offers a total vertical drop of 880m.
All Day Enduro
The valleys of the Val de Bagnes reward those willing to put the effort in, and for those intrepid adventurers Verbier has created 23 enduro itineraries with all levels of mountain biker in mind. Using pedal power and the occasional chairlift mountain bikers can explore mountains, ride into hidden valleys and even go on such long adventures they need to get the train home. The popularity of full days out on the bike is growing year on year and the more adventurous the better. Verbier has the views, the trails and the diversity to keep people coming back summer after summer.
Cross Country Kings
Over 500km of cross country trails await those looking for distance without too challenging terrain. From the Grand Raid race itinerary which mirrors the famously gruelling 125km cross country race that departs from Verbier and finishes in Grimentz to relaxing double-track loops that can be enjoyed with the whole family, the beauty about the amount of terrain and trails is there is something for everyone.
La Châble Fun Park (due to open in September)
Good things are worth waiting for and the Fun Park, located next to the La Châble gondola, is no exception. As you read this a full asphalt pump track is being built, suitable for both bike and skateboard it’s going to be a real favourite for adults and kids alike. A dirt jump area, situated near the Vaudan Pond, with beginner to advanced jump lines will be available for people wanting to polish up their airtime skills and learn some new tricks.
All together the area of Verbier, Val de Bagnes and La Tzoumaz has hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of trails, accessible to all levels of mountain biker from the very beginner to the seasoned veteran. For those looking to break away from the monotony and busyness of the French Alps, this is where the next adventure lies.
Tour company Bike Verbier focus on giving guests the local’s taste of Verbier’s copious amounts of mountain biking opportunities. Owners Lucy and Phil provide like-minded holidaymakers with guiding, accommodation and evening meals with wine.