With some of Europe’s steepest and best off-piste skiing and very lively nightlife, Verbier, in the French-speaking region of Valais (“valley”), is one of the Alps’ great ski destinations. The nexus of more than 250 miles of pistes connecting four valleys, it is a magnet for young, adventurous ski buffs, who consider this stylish but relaxed town nothing short of heaven. Advanced (and aspiring expert) skiers will have their field day, enjoying wonderful top-to-bottom off-piste runs in the company of a guide. Early risers can sidestep the drawback of long lines at lifts that are being modernized and improved one by one.

While the twenty-something cosmopolitan crowd fills the hopping pubs and bars with lively chatter, a very happy older set gravitates to the plush comfort of the rustic-chic Hotel Rosalp. Within it is the highly acclaimed restaurant of Roland Pierroz, who is widely known as the “Swiss Bocuse.” He provides some of the finest dining to be found in any Swiss ski resort, from start to finish line (the latter being the selection of more than thirty fine local cheeses, guaranteed to restore every last calorie burned during the day’s skiing). The chefs knowledge about and selection of the local Valais wines (as well as other excellent Swiss and French choices) doubles the pleasure.