Ski Verbier - A Swiss Tale

About 150 Km from Geneva, the village of Bruson gazes across the valley towards the popular ski resort, Verbier and our reason for visiting the area.

The history of Verbier as a fashionable destination is short, having in 1945 just 27 permanent residents and its first real ski lift opening in 1947. Nowadays it has extensive alpine and cross-country ski pistes, marked mountain touring terrain, snow-shoe trails and the peak of Mont-Fort served by an enormous cable car holding 150 passengers. Together with a host of further activities with buzzing bars and restaurants makes this a perfect setting for a winter holiday.

Après-ski has never really been our thing, normally propping open eye lids whilst massaging aching limbs from the day’s skiing - trying to make the opening run in the morning ‘til the closing in the afternoon. With passing years nothing has really changed much, though perhaps no longer quite making the first or last lifts of the day and, of course, the additional boundless energy of children.

Winter holidays have been varied, finding the cheapest deal with group’s of friends during our 20’s, a combination of week-end and week-long sojourns’ either as a couple or with groups of friends during our years in Norway, but always staying in traditional mountain cabins, followed by a combination of apartments and hotel’s in the Pyrenees and smart French chalets in the Alps; each and every one a fabulous time with many, many happy fun filled memories.

This year is different – it feels as though we have travelled a complete circle and though only having skied in this resort once before it feels remarkably familiar and like coming home to our Norwegian days. This home I speak about isn’t ours but a traditional Swiss mountain chalet in Bruson which has been very kindly loaned to us by some exceptionally generous friends-of-friends.

Though we haven’t met I feel as though we know you a little, from the pictures on your walls and the many books lining the shelves of your lounge - thank you!

A further difference is that I decided not to ski this year (I have left that to my husband and children), so have really enjoyed exploring and observing busy village life.

Bruson remains a village un-spoilt by development. New chalets have been built over the years, but with respect to local tradition. Around the centre see ancient barns and dwellings with the most fascinating supporting stilts with flat, circular stones (rather like large dinner plates) to keep out unwelcome rodents. Additionally, there is a large, very friendly village shop, school, post office, well-frequented bar plus its own amazing fromagerie – if this isn’t enough there are further ski slopes behind the village, and under 5 minutes away.

My day’s here have settled into a comfortably familiar pattern of preparing eggs and bacon for breakfast to keep the skiers happy, followed by a leisurely time spent reading and writing, then a walk (down the mountain) to Le Chable, where the St Bernard Express train to Verbier terminates right next to the giant car park and ski-lift, then back in time for a family dinner. Perfect!

Though not a local cheese, I did have a slab of Reblochon in the fridge, intending to prepare tartiflette, but decided instead to use it in my Thank You Recipe, named after your delightful chalet:

Risubarn Lasagne

An easily made lasagna, with a twist. Discover a rich, chewy cheesy topping which simply melts, browned and bubbling into a wonderful sauce. This was devoured after a long day’s sking.

  • 1 small pack or lardons or diced bacon
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 pack of lean minced beef
  • handful of mushrooms, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • tomato purée
  • mild paprika
  • salt and black pepper
  • pinch of mixed dried herbs
  • sheets of quick-cook lasagna
  • a couple of spoons of crème fraiche
  • 1 reblochon cheese, sliced through its centre into 2 discs

1. Over a medium heat, gently sauté the lardons and onion together, until the meat is browned. Add the minced beef and mushrooms. Stir well and cook a few minutes further.

2. Add the tomatoes and about a tablespoon of tomato purée to the pan, along with a good shake of paprika. Turn down the heat a little and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes into a thickened sauce. Season to taste and add a pinch of mixed herbs.

3. Preheat the oven to 180c then using an ovenproof dish, layer the lasagna sheets and meat sauce, finishing with a layer of lasagna. Spread a little crème fraiche over the lasagna then top with the reblochon cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the lasagna is steaming hot and the top is browned and bubbling.