Things to do
Things to do during the ski season
The 4-Valleys is one of the largest interconnected ski-areas in Europe, with lifts linking La Tzoumaz to Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon. Altogether there are over 400km of pistes that cater for different levels of skiers. Beginners can follow long gentle trails (which in Switzerland are marked out in blue instead of green or blue) that wind around the mountainside, never going too steeply. Intermediates benefit from many long reds pistes, with up to 1,800m of height change between the top and the bottom of the lifts. For experts, not only are there numerous steep black runs, but also clearly-marked yet un-pisted yellow itinerary routes, where the snow conditions will test your skills to the full. There is a vast expanse of off-piste skiing where the local guides can show you how to access the freshest powder and the famous routes that include those used during the World Freeride Championships.
Things to do for non-skiers
There is a children’s playground in the village
There are many nice routes to walk or snowshoe in the mountains and through the forest. Here is an example: http://4vallees4saisons.com/walking-to-iserables/
Pedestrians can travel in the telecabins to Verbier, where there is a sports centre with indoor swimming pool, tennis, ice-skating and a rock-climbing wall: http://www.centre-sportif-verbier.ch/horaires (take the telecabin up, then the telecabin down, then the free ski-bus to the pool)
At Verbier’s Medran lift station there is a shop, cafe and a simple climbing wall (5chf to borrow children’s harness and 5chf to use the 4 climbing routes)
Non-skiers can use the ski lifts as far as the top of Mont Fort (3330m), perhaps meet up with skiers for lunch at the Olympique restaurant http://www.verbier.ch/eat/details?ts_item=211859-olympique-self-service-de-l#.VH_7xTHF-8o
Things to do outside of the ski season
In summer, the area turns into a hiking and mountain biking paradise, with hundreds of kilometres of marked trails criss-crossing the mountains, awash with alpine flowers and a range of wildlife to spot. The “Bisses” are relatively flat footpaths that follow the water as it trickles around the mountainsides, where for centuries farmers and villagers channelled the streams for their own uses. They have been preserved now and can be an incredible way to spend a day or more on easy hikes with stunning views across the Rhone Valley or over to the Massif des Combins.