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Killer Trips:
Verbier, Switzerland

Features
posted: 10/25/2002

IN THE EYES OF AN EXPAT

Transplant
Mark Shapiro
Job
Photographer
Time Done
31 years
Home Hill
Collingwood, near Toronto, Ontario

Why Verbier?
I worked with a Swiss guy in the States, and he told me to come over. He was my catalyst for Europe. It became a walkabout, an adventure. I ended up renting a chalet in Verbier and met tons of people. And the skiing is 10-star.

What's the perfect day?
Get up first thing. Ski Creblet, a slot on the front of the mountain above Lac des Vaux that ends up in a huge bowl. Often there are moguls up high and powder below. If it's not crowded, do it again-or try the Attelas Couloir. Then, just keep going farther and farther away-to Vallon D'Arbi, a tree run on the back side, then Mont-Fort, then Rosablanche...eventually, it starts turning into the Haute Route.

Your favorite spots for food and grog?
L'Ecurie is Swiss without the cheese; it has risotto, grilled meats, big salads. The Kings serves French-Asian fusion and has wood paneling and 1920s-ish lounges. If you miss your burgers or want a big American breakfast, go to Off Shore. I like the Pub Mont Fort for beers; it's where nightlife starts, there's no techno, and the walls are covered with black-and-white pictures. People usually head to the Farm Club (where the Royals go) and Taratata (for the younger crowd and the boarders).

[250AD]

What's the best time to go?
The week or two after New Year's. It's much less crowded, and snow is usually solid by then. February has all the school holidays, and March has Easter break.

Got any advice for Americans?
Try to come for the Verbier Extremes at the end of March. Snowboarders hike up the Bec de Rosses and choose 45- to 55-degree lines through couloirs and cliffs. People hang out at Gentienes all day in the sun and watch them come down.

What's Verbier's claim to fame?
It's a party town like Aspen, but it's really international. The common language is English even though the local language is French-you can buy USA Today. Oh, and it's very posh-and getting more so.

The Vitals

Top elevation: 10,930 feet
Vertical drop: 6,010 feet
Number of lifts: 100
Number of pistes: 91
Phone: 41 (0)27 775 3888
Web: verbier.ch

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