Skiing tops the list of attractions. The area offers 306km (190 miles) of ski runs, serviced by 47 lifts. Téléverbier, a company founded in 1950, oversees one of the biggest conveyance systems in all of Switzerland. A recent addition, a heavy-duty cable car ("Le Jumbo"), whose cables are strung between the region of La Chaux and the Col des Gentianes, is the largest lift in the country.
In cooperation with neighboring regions, visitors can use their Téléverbier passes on more than 98 additional lifts in the area known as Les 4 Vallées (valleys) and L'Entremont. From Verbier, a single lift ticket can take skiers as high as 3,300m (10,824 ft.). The permit also authorizes cross-country skiing, and several circuits are possible. One goes from Verbier to Mont-Gelé, Mont-Fort, and La Chaux, and then back to Verbier. Another circuit goes from Verbier to Tortin, Mont-Fort, and La Chaux. For information on skiing in the Téléverbier network, contact Téléverbier S.A., CP 419, CH-1936 Verbier (tel. 027/775-25-11; www.televerbier.ch).
Throughout the winter, comprehensive passes that entitle skiers to access on all the ski lifts and slopes in the 4 Vallées region cost 134F for 2 days, 318F for 5 days, and 397F for a full week. Children ages 6 to 16 and seniors 63 or older pay only 60% of these rates. See www.esecure.ch/verbier for information on pass purchases.
The Swiss Ski School (Schweizer Schi Schule; tel. 027/775-33-63) has 170 instructors and in winter offers group lessons daily from 9:15 to 11:45am and more individualized lessons every day in winter from 2:10 to 4:30pm. Private lessons can be arranged as well.
The inauguration of Le Centre Sportif (Verbier Polysports Center; tel. 027/771-66-01) has greatly expanded sports offerings in all seasons. Facilities include a covered swimming pool, 10 indoor curling lanes, an indoor ice rink, 9 tennis courts, squash courts, saunas, whirlpools, a solarium, and a games area. The center, open daily 10am to 9pm, also contains a simple restaurant.
Besides sports, Verbier abounds in alpine beauty. The Haut Val de Bagnes Nature Reserve (Haut Val de Bagnes Réserve Naturelle), whose terrain can be safely visited only between mid-May and early October, has a rich variety of flora and fauna, including some rare species of plants. Botanical walks are organized in the summer; inquire at the tourist office. There's a sweeping view of the Bagnes Valley from the Combe des Violettes. In the distance, you can see Mont-Pleureur, with Italy in the blue mist on the horizon.
There are about 21km (13 miles) of footpaths in and around Verbier that are open for hiking in summer and hiking or cross-country skiing in winter. These are carefully maintained and signposted by the municipality. A bit farther afield from Verbier, you'll find almost 402km (250 miles) of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Maps are available. There are usually signs posted to indicate the estimated time it takes the average hiker to reach each destination.
If you'd prefer to participate in more strenuous activities, you can try one of several alpine adventures. Trained mountain guides lead jaunts in rock climbing, mountaineering, and cliff climbing, often on excursions of 3 days or more. Call the Bureau des Guides de Verbier, a branch of the above-recommended ski school (tel. 027/775-33-70; www.guide-verbier.ch), or one of its competitors, La Fantastique (tel. 027/771-41-41; www.lafantastique.com), for more information about hiring a mountain guide.
Golf Club de Verbier (tel. 027/771-53-14) is an 18-hole course open from June to October. It is one of the finest in the Valais, set against a scenic alpine backdrop, at an altitude of 1,574m (5,163 ft.). In July and August, greens fees are 90F daily; otherwise, they are 65F Monday to Friday, rising to 75F Saturday and Sunday. Every hole provides stunning views of such mountain ranges as Combin, Rogneux, and even Mont-Blanc.