For those of you familiar with the best routes to escape La Tzoumaz excellent snow and family-friendly pistes, you will be delighted to hear that the link to Verbier’s 4-Vallees will be improved for 2014/2015. For those of you unsure of how to access the legendary Mont Fort and other world-class areas of Verbier’s 4-Valleys, the following should serve as a useful guide.
Intermediate-level skier link to Verbier’s 4-Vallees
A ride up the La Tzoumaz telecabin will bring you to the top of the Savoleyres in less than 8 minutes. From here there are several pistes that will lead you down on the Verbier side of the ridge. Our favourite is the red piste just over the top. Walk through the double-telecabin building past the sledges for hire and exit the building with Verbier-Savoleyres telecabin and the Savoleyres restaurant to your right. Just after you pass the bottom of the Savoleyres Sud drag-lift this route flattens out into a pleasant road that gently carries you to the Carrefour Restaurant, which has been newly-transformed-for 2014/15. Just beyond you will see the Mayentzet chairlift, from where you are swiftly brought up to the large interchange area of Les Ruinettes.
After any snowfall the road to the Carrefour restaurant is often closed due to avalanche risk from the sun-drenched hillside above, and the only alternative used to be the Pedestrian link (see below). This year there will be an alternative that avoids the bus ride! When you see the “Piste Closed” barriers near the bottom of the Savoleyres Sud drag-lift, simply follow the new piste down towards the Esserts drag lift. At the bottom of this lift there is a piste through the chalets linking to the Rouge drag-lift. Take the Rouge to the top and you will find yourself next to the Carrefour Restaurant, from where you can get to the Mayentzet chair up to Les Ruinettes.
Returning to La Tzoumaz, the link remains unchanged for 2014/15. After skiing down from the Ruinettes interchange to either the Carrefour Restaurant or the Medran base station, the free ski-bus brings you to the Savoleyres telecabin for the 11-minute ride home in this tiny, near-antique, 4-person cabin. If you don’t know where to get off the bus, keep a look out on the left-hand-side as the bus stop is on a roundabout in front of the 5-star luxury hotel and restaurant Chalet d’Adrien. Walk around the far side of the telecabin building as the entrance is at the rear. We always love the pistes home to La Tzoumaz from the Savoleyres summit, wondering if perhaps we should have stayed on the La Tzoumaz side all day to really enjoy the fantastic snow conditions! Keep an eye on your watch to make sure you don’t miss the last lift home, as the taxi fare back to La Tzoumaz can run to 300 Swiss Francs – contact us for our driver’s special rates if you do get stuck and we’ll bring you home as soon as possible.
Advanced-level skier link to Verbier’s 4-Vallees
The link to Verbier’s 4-Vallees is the same as for intermediates, but you have an alternative route home that avoids the bus. Descend into the Lac-des Vaux area from either the Chassoure or the Attelas, and if you stay high when the red sweeps round the last right-hander to join the Lac des Vaux 1 chairlift, you’ll see the “Itinerary routes” of the Col des Mines and the Vallon d’Arby on the left. “Itinerary” routes are neither maintained nor controlled but are opened and closed according to the avalanche risk. Avalanche equipment (ARVA, shovel & probe) are a personal choice and many people ski the Itineraries without them. The routes are marked with single yellow marker poles, so stay on the left or right but within a reasonable distance to ensure that you don’t get lost. We love skiing down here as the snow conditions are highly variable and you never know what to expect! We often don’t recognise the route from one day to the next and are suspicious that someone, perhaps even the mischievous marmottes (who should be hibernating but we have no proof) moves the poles overnight. There are fresh powder bowls, narrow paths through ice-walls, tree-lined sections and delicious mogul-fields that are often hidden under fresh snow. There are many options and tracks if you choose not to follow the yellow marker poles and you obviously do this at your own risk!
Follow the Col des Mines Itinerary until the signposts on the ridge and then turn right to drop down into the Vallon d’Arby and home to La Tzoumaz. When the itinerary routes are closed due to avalanche risk, the only alternative is to head back over to Verbier to catch the bus. On warm days the avalanche risk can rise throughout the day, so don’t count on it being open at the end of the day, even if it was open in the morning. Keep an eye on your watch to make sure you don’t miss the last lift home to the Savoleyres, as the taxi fare back to La Tzoumaz can run to 300 Swiss Francs – contact us for our driver’s special rates if you do get stuck and we’ll bring you home as soon as possible.
The Croix-de-Coeur is the main heli-skiing base in the area. It’s simple to access from the top of the Savoleyres on skis all season long, and the pistes home at the end of the day are snow-sure. The heli-ski operators here will take you and your friends to legendary places such as the Petit Combin, the Rosablanche, the Wildhorn, the Trient Glacier or the Pigne d’Arolla.
Pedestrian link to Verbier’s 4-Vallees and Mont-Fort summit
A ride up the La Tzoumaz telecabin will bring you to the top of the Savoleyres in less than 8 minutes. From here we recommend a stroll around the 2354m summit to admire the views, or maybe enjoy a hot chocolate on the sunny terrace of the Savoleyres restaurant before re-entering the telecabin building to enter the tiny, almost-antique, 4-person Savoleyres cabin to travel down to Verbier. The cabin takes you down at a pace slow enough to enjoy the stunning mountain views and Verbier’s huge urban sprawl before a close-up, birds-eye view of some of Verbier’s luxury chalets as you head down into the base station. Whilst waiting for the bus, take the time to browse the menu of the 5-star luxury hotel and restaurant Chalet d’Adrien, or admire the scrap-metal goat outside the sports shop. There is even a fun scoping sculpture by the goat that identifies the peak or feature you can see through each metal tube. The bus takes you on a winding tour of the village before dropping you at the central Medran lift station. From here you can follow signs to Mont-Fort, which will lead you up the Medran cabin, the double-station Chaux Express cabin, the huge Jumbo cable car and finally the Mont-Fort cable car and the Mont-Fort summit at 3330m. We recommend that you wrap-up warmly for this trip as it can be very cold at 3330m, even on a sunny day. There is a toasty-warm igloo-shaped cafe serving fondue, soups and sandwiches, with room to seat about 15 people who will serve you a drink from the bar or a good hot chocolate.
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