La Tzoumaz in Switzerland is Verbier skiing without the expense of Verbier. It’s also a fantastic family resort as Andrew Dent recently discovered for himself.
La Tzoumaz is the little-known family side to Verbier
Switzerland’s Verbier is known as one of the most expensive and exclusive resorts in the Alps. The royals ski here. Richard Branson has a chalet which goes for £250,000 per week. And the resort’s nightlife is both notorious, and notoriously expensive. Although it goes without saying that the Verbier ski area of the ‘4 valleys’ is spectacular and deserves all the accolades it gets.
But the resort’s glamorous reputation surely means it’s inaccessible for your average family ski holiday with kids? You know the one? That wholesome trip where you ski during the day then take the kids ice skating in the late afternoon. Family dinner is usually around six and you’re collapsing into bed by nine. It’s unlikely you’re thinking about getting dressed up at midnight to party until dawn at the Farm nightclub!
Well think again. Verbier has a little-known family side to it in the shape of the village of La Tzoumaz which is directly connected to the 410 km of slopes of the 4-valleys. It takes less than 30 minutes from the base of La Tzoumaz to ski into the heart of Verbier. And, as the village is set at an altitude of 2,200m with slopes that face north and south, it enjoys maximum sunshine along with stunning views of Verbier and the imperious peaks all around.
Superb skiing without queues or crowds
However, you could happily spend a week with the kids in the immediate La Tzoumaz ski area without venturing further afield. There are 12 lifts serving 12 intermediate pistes none of which have the queues or hustle and bustle of other parts of the valley. So you can realistically be skiing your first slope as the folks in Verbier are still jostling to get their Dior skis onto the first gondola.
The immediate ski area would suit kids on their second or third ski trip or indeed beginner snow boarders. Of course, once they feel more confident there are those other 400km to attempt. Plus, the permanent Audi Quattro Funslope is an extremely cool snow park that’s safe and fun for all abilities.
Enjoy the challenge of Verbier off piste
I heard of several UK families who based themselves in La Tzoumaz, put the kids in ski school for the morning or full day while parents set off on a burn around Verbier. So even more advanced skiers here still feel like they’re getting a satisfying off-piste fix, but are also back in time to pick children up from ski school.
If you’re interested in the aforementioned ‘off-piste fix’, you should head straight for the Col de Chassoure where you will find the famous Tortin Wall.
Alternatively make for the summit of Mont Gelé at 3,023m. From here you can access several different routes. They’re technically ski itineraries, but more like black runs, with plenty of traffic. For the best day out, take a guide to help you find the best and safest routes depending on the snow conditions. Don’t forget, you’re a parent now!
Fun family activities feature high in La Tzoumaz
La Tzoumaz offers plenty of non-skiing activities as well. At 7km, the sledge run here is one of the longest in Switzerland with a vertical descent of 711m on a perfectly prepared track. It’s an amazing adrenalin rush, surprisingly good value and guaranteed to thrill kids of all ages. Naturally, under-eights must be supervised and helmets are mandatory.
The resort also has a pretty ice rink in the central square. Or, if you want a break from the slopes entirely, hiking and dog sledding are available from La Tzoumaz too.
Discover the secret savings on Verbier family ski holidays
La Tzoumaz accommodation is definitely geared towards families. The resort offers a range of self-catering chalets and apartments to suit all group sizes and budgets. There are also a couple of hotels and it’s more than possible to organise your own trip. Simply rent a car at Geneva airport and make sure you get snow tires. Then stock up on basic food supplies down in the valley before heading up to La Tzoumaz.
Verbier is rightly crowned one of the best resorts in the world. As a result, it attracts a high-end crowd and the main town is eye wateringly expensive. But nearby La Tzoumaz gives families access to equally outstanding skiing, along with a warm, friendly atmosphere and it doesn’t cost the earth. Just don’t tell everyone. The longer it stays a secret the better!
Planning affordable ski holidays in La Tzoumaz
How to get there
Direct UK flights to Geneva take from 1 hour, 25 minutes.
SWISS (Swiss International Airlines) offers direct flights from UK airports including Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh.
La Tzoumaz is 1 hour, 37 minutes’ drive east of Geneva.
Where to stay
La Tzoumaz offers a range of family-friendly apartments, chalets and hotels
Good to know
Visit Verbier for details of lift pass prices and February half term offers.
To find out more about ski guides and La Tzoumaz/Verbier ski tours visit Guide Verbier.