The ’Highest Fondue in Europe’, the tiny café atop the Mont-Fort mountain peak above Verbier promised. How could we resist?

True, I had no proof that as the wonderfully gloopy melted cheese was placed before us to be scooped up with chunks of Swiss bread that the boast was accurate. How did I not know that there were other, more altitude-heady fondues available on peaks elsewhere on the Continent?

Indeed, if I thought too deeply on the issue, why only the highest in Europe? Were the owners of the igloo-style restaurant perched some 3,300m above sea level in the Swiss Alps aware of higher melted cheese offerings elsewhere on the globe?

It was all too, too mind-altering – so we concentrated on eating the stuff and tackling far more pressing matters, such as the heady run back down the mountain to Verbier itself.

Not you understand that the Miss M and myself were contemplating making the journey from the top of Mount-Fort itself. The mogul-strewn black run is famous for separating the men from the boys when it comes to skiing prowess.

And in this respect I was very much still in short trousers. Watching those who were brave enough to go over the top was breath-taking enough as we caught the gondola down to the Col Des Gentianes station and the start of the far-more-suitable red runs on offer.

Verbier remains one of the world’s great skiing destinations and with flights to Geneva from Southampton within easy reach for Hampshire winter sports enthusiasts.

The slopes are pristine, the off-piste superb, the facilities world-class. The resort itself oozes sophistication with its wealth of high-end boutiques and sassy bars and restaurants. And for obvious reasons – not least the exchange rate of the Swiss Franc to the pound – it is considered perhaps not the most pocket-friendly winter destination for the keen skier.

And yet it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to experience the sensation that is the main resort in Switzerland’s largest ski area: the 4 Valleys.

As we were discovering, a break with ski experts Inghams ensured that costs could be kept reasonable without having to compromise on overall experience.

We were staying with Inghams at their Xtra Chalet de Verbier complete with catered accommodation and all the support and expertise of their In Resort Team.

Sited at the very heart of the village and with the free ski bus stopping just outside the hotel door, the Chalet de Verbier was proving to be the ideal, and most cost-effective way to enjoy the whole of the 4 Valley region.

With comfortable rooms, spacious welcoming public spaces with cosy sofas before a roaring log fire, it was a wonderful place to begin and end each day on the slopes.

Food was plentiful and delicious, including a hot and cold breakfast buffet, afternoon cake and soup station, and a four-course evening meal complete with complimentary wine.

For those who decided not to venture out after dinner – and the attractions of the village are just steps away- the bar proved a draw and on several nights the brilliant Inghams team laid on entertainment in the form of quizzes (never laughed so much at questions about pop and Disney!), talks and tips on where to find the best hidden ski runs and perfect boarding thrills.

Andy, our Resort Rep was seemingly always on-hand to help with advise and suggestions as we tackled each day the quandary of just where to enjoy the snow with so much on offer. Inghams had also, at our request, organised our ski hire and ski passes before we left the UK which ensured these were at the keenest prices.

And Verbier offers so much for the winter sports enthusiast.

Nearly 100 lifts access more than 400km of runs in the resort, including some of the best lift-served off piste in the Alps. The slopes are snowsure – although we enjoyed days of heavy snowfall followed by blue skies - and the scenery spectacular. From the top of Mont Fort, at the views reach as far as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.

Not for nothing has the challenging terrain on Verbier's doorstep has given rise to thrilling spectator events, from Xtreme Verbier and the Verbier High Five, to the Patrouille des Glaciers, a gruelling ski touring race from Zermatt.

For us we found the Savoleyres slopes superb for those who enjoy their blue and red runs with little bite but nothing too dramatic.

From the famous Medran lift in the heart of the village we could access the huge ski areas of Les Ruinettes, or pass on higher to the brilliant – and slightly more challenging – slopes of La Chaux.For the truly daring among the friends we made at our hotel, the ‘Ski Tour’ routes, off-piste challenges that are clearly marked throughout the ski-school area, were proving sensational, they informed us over dinner when wide-eyed tales of daring deeds and personal challenges were exchanged.

In the end it was impossible to ski all that was on offer, so vast the ski-school area, so incredible the challenges.

But then, with the sky so blue, company so delightful, and with a hot chocolate in hand, why not ease back into a mountain-top deckchair and take in the stunning scenery, all the while contemplating how vital it was to arrange that return to wonderful Verbier - soon.


Inghams is offering a seven night holiday on a catered board basis (including buffet breakfasts, afternoon tea and cake and five course evening meals with complimentary wine for six days) at the four-and-a-half-diamond Xtra Chalet de Verbier in Verbier, Switzerland, from £799 per person departing in March 2017. Price includes return flights to Geneva and airport transfers.

Ski and snowboard tuition is available to pre-book for three half-days from £219 per person. For more information and to book, please visit or call 01483 791 114.