Want to branch out with winter sports in the Verbier region? How about trying cross-country skiing? Don’t be fooled, cross-country skiing isn’t an old-fashioned sport. What with the influence of Dario Cologna and an ever-growing craze for physical activity, cross-country skiing is booming. It’s extremely ‘in’, rewarding, exhilarating… Its participants are getting ever younger, and with good reason. Some people are after outdoor sports in a wilder setting.
What’s more, cross-country skiing gets all parts of the body involved: abs, thighs, glutes. It gives you a super cardio boost and improves your balance and coordination. In short, this sport warms, strengthens and tones. Note to amateurs: this winter sport sends your worries packing, boosts your morale and guarantees you lots of energy.
Slopes in the Val de Bagnes/Verbier
In the Val de Bagnes, you’ll find 4 cross-country ski loops almost unknown to the general public, each one enjoying its own special character. Our personal favourite is the last one, Plamproz, very wild and endowed with enchanting scenery. Before going there, make sure these slopes are open and passable on the infosnow website.
1. VERBIER – Ruinettes- La Chaux, 2.5 km
In Verbier, this route at an altitude of 2200 m is ideal for beginners and offers a breathtaking panorama of the wonderful landscape of the Combins massif.
All you have to do is take the lifts from Le Châble or Verbier to Les Ruinettes. The track begins just below the lift station. The access card to the cross-country ski trails in the RSF network doesn’t include the transport card, which you have to buy from the Téléverbier ski lifts (pedestrian rate) in Le Châble or Verbier.
This route is not a loop. You’ll have to make a round trip on the same trail, 2.5 km long with a 60 m difference in altitude. The Dahu restaurant awaits you upon arrival (winter 2020-2021, depending on Covid measures).
2. CHAMPSEC – small loop, 3.5 km
Champsec is a small village on the road leading to the Mauvoisin dam.
For this loop, make sure the snow conditions are good, because the village is located at 900 m but has quite limited sunshine in winter, which lets the snow stay longer and makes this cross-country ski route possible. But sometimes the rain can impair the quality of the trail.
You have two options. You can stay on this small loop, or the more athletic can continue to the “Domaine de la Sasse” on the other side of the village of Champsec, passing through the forest before returning to your starting point. This way you’ll reach the large Champsec loop.
To get there (by vehicle), turn right at the first road after the Champsec dairy at the entrance to the village. Park higher up at the first crossroads.
The first part of the course involves a winding climb taking you approximately 111 m higher on the “Plat de Versegères”. The return, which offers a magnificent view of Champsec, follows a route parallel to that of the climb. These two routes (small and large Champsec loop) can be done consecutively.
Our tip: if the weather allows it, discover this trail by moonlight… You can also bring children, who can use a skibob or toboggan while you enjoy skiing.
This trail pays homage to Bagnes native Adrien Morend, winner of the first Patrouille des Glaciers in 1943. You can find out more about him in this CREPA interview from 23 May 1993.
3. CHAMPSEC – Large loop, 6.1 km
This loop is located in a peaceful and wild setting in the heart of the forest.
You can either: access it from the small loop at the entrance to the village of Champsec, by taking the trail that plunges into the forest on a path on the hillside. This way you pass above the village, at a place called “les Tzans”, and join the “Domaine de la Sasse”.
Or: go directly to the “Domaine de la Sasse” by taking the road which leads to the campsite at the exit of the village, just before crossing the Dranse. Park on your left. The trail begins at the campsite exit.
4. LE PLAMPROZ – 2.4 km
This route is a must-see if only to travel through the heart of a hamlet of adorable little mayens (chalets) and along the “Dranse” river. Don’t expect to find the sun there but an idyllic, wild, almost mystical setting. This hamlet is not inhabited year-round except for one inhabitant. But you may come across some locals who regularly come to seek refuge in their mayen and will be happy to chat.
Its 2.4 km loop is quite demanding. But you won’t be disappointed by the alpine scenery and the winter atmosphere.
By car, you can reach Plamproz in 20 minutes from Le Châble, heading for the bottom of the Val de Bagnes. After the tunnels, at the junction, go down 100 m towards the hamlet of Plamproz.
More and more sports shops in the region are renting cross-country skis for the day. Find out if you prefer the classic style or skating. If you’d like to take cross-country skiing lessons, you can contact our partners, Les Guides de Verbier, ESS (Swiss Ski School of Verbier) and Jules-Henri Gabioud.