The St. Bernard Express

Ski Trip: Verbier (1)

This weekend just past saw Steph and I in Verbier to buy a pair of custom ski boots for me enjoy a romantic weekend away. We found a great deal on a hotel (more on that later) and enjoyed some fabulous pistes.

For those not in the know, Verbier is located in the French side of Switzerland, though it’s also rather close to Italy. It’s a very posh little town accessible via a winding mountain road, or via gondola, from it’s rather poorer cousin Le Châble. Unfortunately, since things on the French side never work as smoothly as they do on the German side, our train was 7 minutes late to Lausanne and we missed the train to Martigny by two minutes, meaning the trip took a whopping 6.5 hours (rather than just over 4 as planned). Following that, we managed to get stuck in the last train – our door didn’t work, the girl in front of us moved to the next, we followed, she slipped out before they shut… and the train door locked as it pulled into it’s overnight parking spot 100 meters away. While a night locked in a train alone with a beautiful woman isn’t the worst thing in the world, the conductor found us during his final inspection and let us out, at which point we’d missed the last bus up and had to grab a cab.
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The last leg of the trip was on the St. Bernard Express, which included this cute little map on the table at each seat.

The St. Bernard Express
The St. Bernard Express

The resort was gorgeous, and a plethora of shops awaited to take our money. Surprisingly, we found the prices to be very competitive – I got a pimp new hat for 60 bucks, and Steph got a cute little helmet for 120. The hotel, while a bit on the noisy side, rang in at just 340 bucks for 3 nights, and lift tickets were maybe 60. The biggest cash outlay, of course, were the SureFoot custom-made ski boots that, while completely incidental to the purpose of the trip, just happened to be the first thing I looked at Friday morning. While I’m not overly keen on the look of the boots, they’re alright, and the fit is unbelievable. My skiing improved 10-fold over the old Head boots I was wearing before. If you’re doing a lot of skiing, look into them – they run 3-4 times the price of off-the-shelf boots, but they’re well-worth it.

Evening 1 in Verbier
Steph overdoing the ice for my drink again....

The slopes themselves were great, though the people in that region are completely incompetent at marking pistes. Red bars would, halfway down a slope, be replaced with either blue or black. Super-steep very long pistes full of bumps would be marked as red, while a mildly steep 20 meter piste somehow received a black designation. Even better, one slope changed from a red to a blue between Friday and Saturday.

While I did some of my own skiing, I mostly stuck with Steph, helping her to improve her skiing. By the end of the day, she’d even done her first black piste, though I imagine it will be a season before she does another!

One thought on “Ski Trip: Verbier (1)”

  1. Depending on how much we’ll be skiing this season I hope to do at least one or two more black runs – of course that’s easy to say now as I’ve just returned to a country that’s flat as a pancake and I’ve forgotten all about fear again 😉

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