EPICURUS LIFE

NEWS ARCHIVE


October 2018

October 17, 2018 - Susanna

RELAIS DES CHASSEURS - CHIBOZ

Relais des Chasseurs - Chiboz: The most renowned “Wild Game” restaurant in Switzerland Last night, I had the honor of dining at restaurant Relais des Chasseurs in Chiboz (Valais Switzerland). We have heard so much about this restaurant since moving to the Valais: "the best place to eat the local wild game", "book in advance or risk waiting for hours". After a typical Valaisan dr....


October 10, 2018 - Susanna

VIA FARINETTA (VIA FERRATA) SAILLON

Via Farinetta (Via Ferrata) Les gorges de Salentze, Saillon VS Swizerland The Via Farinetta in Saillon, is named for local legend Joseph-Samuel Farinet, a counterfeiter who gave his money to the poor. Arrested many times but he always escaped, in 1880 his body was found in the gorges of Salentze. To honor the Swiss Robin Hood, a vertiginous bridge was built, over the gorge where h....


July 2018

July 06, 2018 - Susanna

LUCERNE TOP 5

Lucerne Top 5: A city, a lake and mountains, what else? This incredible combination gives you a wide choice of activities. Private City Tour: Without a doubt the best way to experience the history and sites of Lucerne. Our local guides offer a wealth of information on the history, culture, traditions and daily life, learn what it is like to be a local in Lucerne and vi....


June 2018

June 29, 2018 -

48 HOURS IN LAUSANNE

48 hours in Lausanne Switzerland Lausanne is the second largest city on Lake Geneva. The capital of the canton of Vaud is a lively university and congress town and the Olympic Capital. Start your day with a city tour to discover the Gothic cathedral, town hall, castles, beautiful lakeside area and neighborhoods. Lausanne is a city of culture, green parks and charming pictur....


May 2018

May 20, 2018 - Susanna

THERMAL BATHS IN THE VALAIS

Top 5 thermal baths in the Valais, Switzerland: People have visited the Valais for its natural thermal springs since Roman Times. The thermal water relaxes muscles, stimulates the circulation, and its mineral content alleviates chronic joint pain. Here are our top 5 thermal baths in the Valais open to the public: 1. Lavey les Bains The warmest water in all of the Vala....


March 2018

March 03, 2018 - Susanna

CRANS-MONTANA, MORE THAN JUST SKIING

Crans-Montana, more than just skiing: Crans-Montana is a ski resort in the Valais Canton of Switzerland, situated on a sunny plateau at 1500m altitude, and one of the sunniest destinations in Switzerland. If you are in Crans-Montana in winter, you will of course be drawn to skiing, but if you are not a skier, there are many activities on & off the snow. Crans-Montana with frie....


March 01, 2018 - Jack

THIS IS THE ALPS

We produced this video in partnership with our friend Guido Perrini at Timeline Missions, to show exactly what we do and where we do it here at Epic Europe.


January 2018

January 15, 2018 - Jack

LAUBERHORN BY HELI

When it's a bluebird day on Switzerland's biggest Saturday sporting event, it just makes sense to call in the heli for a flight directly to the 88th running of the Lauberhorn downhill in Wengen. So that's what we did this past weekend, and took advantage of a perfect day to fly 25 minutes up the Rhône, crossed over the Lötschental, and into the Lauterbrunnen Valley and up to the base of the J....


November 2017

November 09, 2017 -

UPGRADE YOUR WINTER!

Switzerland Tourism just came out with their newest promotional campaign for this winter, and some very familiar shots from Jérémie Heitz's film La Liste , shot by our friends at Timeline Missions. Also highlighting some of our other favorite locations throughout the Swiss Alps, ST has done a great job of showing why we live and ski here. If these videos don't get you in the mood for ski s....


October 2017

October 17, 2017 -

VALAIS MTB ODYSSEY

With a cracking forecast of weeks of high-presssure, fall foliage at its peak, and trails in prime condition after late September's snowfalls, we decided to explore some of the lesser-known corners of our home Canton, the Valais - or Wallis as it's called in the Swiss-German. With dozens of cablecars, trains, and alpine buses still running through October, and mountain huts and hotels staying....


October 06, 2017 -

TURTMANN HUT SAC HIKE

TÜRTMANNTHÜTTE - TOURTMAGNE HUT A beautiful family weekend in a mountain hut, the Swiss way! In Switzerland everybody hikes, old and young, large and small, bankers and farmers. Originally a necessity to access summer or winter hamlets without road or car access, walking in the mountains today is a way for us to celebrate and enjoy the beautiful landscape and reconnect with....


August 2017

August 22, 2017 -

EPIC EUROPE'S NEWEST STAFF

Hi! I am Bénédicte, the new member of the team at Epic Europe! I come from Jura-Bernois, which is a small region in the North of Switzerland. I lived 8 years in a little village under the ski resort Crans-Montana (Valais) and now I moved to Val de Bagnes (under the ski resort Verbier, also in Valais). I accomplished my Bachelor's degree at the Swiss Tourism School (HES), and decided to tak....


August 11, 2017 -

MONT ROGNEUX 3’084 M

The best hike in the Alps you have never heard of: Mont Rogneux 3’084m – Val de Bagnes/Entremont Switzerland. At the peak of August holidays, when families and throngs of tour groups flock to the over populated Swiss Resorts like Jungfrau, Zermatt, Lucerne, etc., it’s time to get off-the-beaten-path in the lesser-known regions of Switzerland. Mont Rogneux - why this ....


June 2017

June 04, 2017 -

BURGUNDY CYCLING, GASTRONOMY, AND WINE

Sometimes when you're waiting for summer to arrive in the Alps, the best thing to do is jump in the car and head to a nearby region where you can get on the bike and roll some beautiful roads in the sunshine, drink some legendary wines, and explore the history and culture of another country. We headed to Burgundy to ride through world-renowned vineyards, but also discovered empty roads th....


May 2017

May 10, 2017 -

SARDINIAN GETAWAY

We made a break from the Alps and took a flight over to the island of Sardinia - doing some recon and enjoying the multitude of flavors, landscapes, and bounty of seafood here. Some of the most gorgeous beaches we have ever seen in the Mediterranean, and fairly empty as it's still shoulder season. And the water is almost fully swimmable!


April 2017

April 24, 2017 -

CLOSING WEEKEND IN VERBIER

Well the season of 2016-17 certainly was one for the record books - maybe for the wrong reasons in December, but we still had some of the best days we can remember. Closing day didn't disappoint either, with zero crowds and some secret powder stashes for the faithful. Looking forward to a bit more time with the bike, some upcoming getaways, and then summer will be here before we know it. S....


March 2017

March 12, 2017 -

MARCH SKIING - POWDER & SUNSHINE

March Skiing in Zermatt & Cervinia March always delivers in the Alps; heavy snowfalls in the high peaks, followed by bluebird skies and sunshine, makes for epic days at altitude. This is the best and most reliable time for skiing in Zermatt & Cervinia, in one day you can ski powder at altitude and corn snow on south facing aspects. There is truly something for everyone - b....


February 2017

February 23, 2017 -

THE BEST MOUNTAIN RESTAURANTS IN ZERMATT, IN OUR OPINION!

Best On-Mountain Restaurants Zermatt: In Europe skiing is as much about lunch as it is the runs that take you there, from rustic mountain huts serving wooden plates of local cheese and dried meats, to gourmet restaurants with menus and wine lists to compete with Michelin starred restaurants, Zermatt has something for everyone. Here are our favorites: “Zum See” - in ou....


February 09, 2017 -

THE RETURN OF WINTER

Winter has made a triumphant return to the Alps. After an uncharacteristically dry December and a lackluster January, February has come in like a lion and left the entire Alps coated in a proper winter coat. The past week has given us some of the best powder skiing conditions of the year, and sets up the base for an outstanding spring skiing season. We still have some outstanding last-min....


January 2017

January 16, 2017 -

LA DOLCE VITA: ON-MOUNTAIN DINING IN CERVINIA ITALY

Best On-Mountain Restaurants Cervinia Italy: Maybe its the short days of winter, but we cant help thinking about spring skiing on the south side of the Matterhorn and the incredible lunch options that follow. What could be better than skiing under the Matterhorn and a long Italian lunch? Wether you stay in Zermatt and just come across the border for lunch, or spend a week in Breuil ....


January 05, 2017 -

A YEAR IN THE LIFE - 2016

Happy New Year from all of us at Epic Europe! 2016 marks our 8th year living full-time in the Swiss Alps, and it seems that the longer we spend here, the more unique and incredible places we discover - from right in our own backyard, to far-flung remote valleys, to hidden corners of well-traveled cities and towns. We are so fortunate for this fairy-tale landscape ....


December 2016

December 19, 2016 -

ZERMATT: WHERE TO APRÈS SKI

EPIC EUROPE'S TOP PICKS FOR APRÈS IN ZERMATT On-mountain: “Hennu Stall”: Alongside the piste below Füri, Zum See, and Blatten, this is the Zermatt version of the Kangerüh or the Mooserwirt of St Anton. Owned by one of our mountain guides. Classic for a beer, but don't stay for too many. Or do. “Chami Hütte”: Coming down from Gornergrat is a great place piste-side....


December 07, 2016 -

FOIRE AU LARD - BACON FESTIVAL, MARTIGNY SWITZERLAND

Foire au Lard - Bacon Festival, Martigny Switzerland These days there is a lot of buzz around bacon; either you are crazy about heritage breed, hickory-smoked, salty delicious bacon, or you are totally against the fatty pork belly and the inhumane conditions at many pig farms. These trends, as with most new foodie obsessions, are non-existent in the Alps of Switzerland - where c....


November 2016

November 29, 2016 -

EPIC EUROPE: CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER "SWITZERLAND SPECIALIST" 2016

Jack Shaw of Epic Europe named Condé Nast Traveler "Switzerland Specialist" 2016 Travel Specialists - They'll pull off the impossible and spare you the logistics. We are honored yet again to be named to the Condé Nast Traveler specialist list, for the 5th year in a row. We'd like to think it's because of our different approach, constantly discovering new places and unique e....


November 10, 2016 -

WHERE TO SKI IN THE ALPS NOW

Winter has arrived in the Alps! Last Friday was still autumn in all its glory - yellow larch trees and fiery red maples illuminated the mountainside of the Val de Bagnes. But by Saturday, it was white, with snow limits dropping down to around 1000m. With a solid forecast of cold temperatures and precipitation across the Alps for the next 2 weeks, the ski season is shaping up nicely, s....


November 05, 2016 -

ELEKTRIK LÄRCHEN IN LÖTSCHENTAL

During the last weeks of autumn, there's always a fine line between when the vineyards start to go golden, the deciduous trees turn their multi-hued shades of orange and red, and the larch needles do their magical transformation from green to yellow to orange, and then brown and fall off. Once the first hard freeze arrives , then a following rain or snowfall, everything is gone, and the Alps....


September 2016

September 21, 2016 -

"PICASSO. L’ŒUVRE ULTIME"

One of the best-kept secrets of the Valais region here in Switzerland is not a secret powder stash, or the best raclette, but a small museum in the center of Martigny that regularly exhibits world-class art. Not just a famous name here and there - we are talking shows worthy of the MOMA or Guggenheim in NYC, or any other top musée, pinacoteca, or gallery worldwide. Case in point, the current ....


August 2016

August 31, 2016 -

THE SWISS RHONE VALLEY & ITS WINES

A COMPREHENSIVE DAY TOUR THROUGH SOME OF SWITZERLAND’S BEST VINEYARDS DOMAINE RODELINE, FULLY RENE FAVRE & FILS, ST PIERRE DE CLAGES BONVIN 1858, SION A visit to 3 different vineyards that show the variety of Valais wine and the wine-making techniques. Starting in Fully, in the famous “combes” or bowls that bake in the sun of the local micro-climate, foll....


August 19, 2016 -

YETI SB6C - THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF MOUNTAIN BIKES

We were thilled to partner with one of mountain biking's most classic brands this year, Yeti Cycles out of Colorado, USA. Since 1986, they have been hand-crafting some of the fastest race-proven bikes, as well as gaining cult status for the cognoscienti who appreciate the detail and design of a smaller bike company. When our SB6C's arrived, we realized that these were the ideal bikes for the ....


July 2016

July 20, 2016 -

GOTTHARD PASS HISTORIC POST CARRIAGE

Alright, the price is ridiculous, but not much compares to this unique experience: traveling from Andermatt to Airolo via the Gotthard pass on the legendary horse-drawn mail coach just as they did 170 years ago. The reproduction carriage holds 8 people and costs CHF 680/pp for a full day ride over the pass, with stops at historic inns & restaurants for an aperitif, and lunch at the Gotthar....


July 13, 2016 -

NEIL YOUNG AT MONTREUX JAZZ

The 50th anniversary of Montreux Jazz did not disappoint, with a line-up including Monty Alexander, Herbie Hancock, Buddy Guy, Patti Smith, Van Morrison, Quincy Jones, Lisa Simone, Santana, Dweezel Zappa & Deep Purple, and the Brazilian Dream – Tribute to Claude Nobs, it was hard to decide. Couldn’t we just take 2 weeks off from work and get a suite at the Montreux Palace and see it all? ....


July 01, 2016 -

JUNGENALP

We love small mountain villages only accessed with small cable cars or on foot :)


June 2016

June 29, 2016 -

ST. BERNARD PUPPIES AT THE FOUNDATION BARRY

The Barry Foundation (Martigny CH) owns the world's oldest breeding stock of Switzerland's national dog, the St. Bernard. Around 20 pedigree puppies are born at the Barry Foundation each year, we cant decide how many to take home! Visit the dogs during the summer months, on the top of the Grand St. Bernard Pass, on our SWISS FAMILY HIKING, HISTORY & CULTURE TRIP


June 16, 2016 -

EDDY BAILLIFARD & LA FROMAGERIE DE CHAMPSEC

The Epic Europe office is located in the small Val de Bagnes village of Bruson; off-the-radar for most, unless you like to ski powder or search out some of the best cheese on the planet (and mountain biking, hiking, mushroom hunting, and a generally excellent quality of life!). When we first moved to Bruson, we lived in the center of the village and next to a jolly, larger-than-life local nam....


June 06, 2016 -

LAKESIDE GROTTOS OF LUGANO

One of our favorite things about Swiss cities in the summertime is the proximity to water. Where else can you swim and recreate in crystal-clear mountain lakes and rivers side-by-side with capital cities and metropolitan regions? When the weather heats up in Cantoni Ticino, it’s time to head to the shady side of the lake for a relaxing lunch at a typical “grotto”. Due to the geography of La....


May 2016

May 23, 2016 -

BÄREN HOTEL ANDERMATT - A FAMILY AFFAIR

Driving into the tiny alpine village of Andermatt, the mountain pass roads quickly turn to cobblestone. You are surrounded by traditional chalets with the typical decorated façades of Central Switzerland, and the Bären Restaurant and boutique mountain inn. The Coldesina family has been welcoming guests at their renowned Ticino establishments for generations; the Bären, their newest and northe....


May 10, 2016 -

VILLA HONEGG & THE BÜRGENSTOCK

The city of Lucerne is wonderful and well worth a visit, but as it is on most traveler’s “must-see” list, there are times it’s nice to escape the crowds at a nearby retreat. Enter the Villa Honegg 5* on the Bürgenstock Mountain, overlooking the Vierwaldstättersee (literally 4 forest-state sea, better known as Lake Lucerne to Anglophones!). The historic hotel built in 1906 underwent a complet....


April 2016

April 04, 2016 -

TETON GRAVITY RESEARCH - VERBIER MTB EPISODE FOR "SINGLETRACK SWITZERLAND"

The second episode in the Singletrack Switzerland series that we co-produced with Teton Gravity Research takes place in Verbier, and serves up the best footage and scenery we have ever seen from our backyard corner of the Alps. With superstar Epic Europe guide Nancy Pellissier leading the crew down her favorite trails, you can't help but want to come and discover why Verbier has gained a ....


March 2016

March 28, 2016 -

SPRING HELISKIING AND SKITOURING UNDER THE MATTERHORN

Mid-March brings us longer sunny days and the occasional sneaky snowstorm, making for stable conditions for some of our favorite big ski descents - whether accessed by ski-lifts, helicopter, skitouring, or a combination of the three! Basing out of Zermatt is the prime location to do this kind of big-line hunting, and the past 3 weeks has given our guests the ideal opportunity to bag some big ....


March 22, 2016 -

PART 1 OF SINGLETRACK SWITZERLAND!

We have been waiting since shooting wrapped in October to share this footage that we produced along with Teton Gravity Research and Moment Pictures. A 3-part web series that Switzerland Tourism, Swiss International Airlines, and BMC Bikes is using to promote mountain biking in Switzerland, in conjunction with Epic Europe and TGR. Part 2 launches April 1 and will feature our favoite ba....


March 08, 2016 -

IT JUST KEEPS COMING

This has been one of the strangest winters we can remember - a dry December, followed by the big dumps of early January, then warm, then another massive round in February, and now march has again kicked off with some huge storms across the Alps. Despite several 2-week droughts and warm spells and even rain to 3000m+, we have said on many occasions that we just had the best powder day in years....


February 2016

February 12, 2016 -

CARNAVAL WITH THE STRAW-MEN OF VAL D'HÉRENS

Dating back to the bronze-age Celtic tribes that inhabited this corner of the Swiss Alps, the traditions of the Carnaval that vary from valley to valley began as a way to word off the eveil spirits that caused deadly avalanches during the long and brutal winters. Today, in the village of Evolène in the Val d'Hérens, the lead up to Fat Tuesday is marked by massive straw-stuffed men, c....


February 05, 2016 -

FEBRUARY STORMS

By now, it's no secret that we had a dry December throughout the Alps, but following the new year's storms that lasted 2 weeks, it seemed that everything was back to normal - until a big thaw took hold and warmed everything up. The truth is, it was probably a good thing, in terms of adding stability to the snowpack at all elevations. And as February arrived, so did winter, making a much-antic....


January 2016

January 05, 2016 -

THE BACKYARD IS FINALLY OPEN. POWDER IN BRUSON!

After one of the driest holiday seasons on record, the snow has finally arrived in the Alps. Lucky for us, the cows groom the slopes all summer long, so we can ski a 1/2 meter of fresh on top of soft grass. With more snow forecast daily for the next 2 weeks, we are ready to start enjoying winter, gliding through soft fields of powder.


January 01, 2016 -

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Epic Europe's 2015 E-Book - A Year in the Life Follow us through 2015 - A year in photos. What we saw, where we went, what we experienced, and what inspires us every day - to discover the unique experiences, characters, and locations that define life in the Alps and beyond.


December 2015

December 23, 2015 -

BLACK ICE IN ST. MORITZ

The Swiss Christmas Idyll usually involves cozy wooden chalets dripping in snow, and skiing on the aforementioned snow until the early sun goes down. Alas when you don’t have any snow to speak of, ice skating on black ice in the Engadin Valley may just be an equally wonderful substitute. @ Lej da Champfèr, Engadin/St. Moritz. "Where the sun shone, everything glittered and sparkled as....


December 01, 2015 -

OFF TO A GREAT START!

After the Alps' longest Indian Summer in many years, winter showed up in a big way last week. With back-to-back weekend snowstorms, the northern side of the main Alpine ridge received up to 1 meter of new snow, just in time for many of our favorite resorts to open the lifts. While Zermatt and Cervinia have had glacier skiing throughout the fall, we were excited to hear that Verbier would ....


November 2015

November 26, 2015 -

EPIC EUROPE NAMED TO CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER SPECIALIST LIST

For the 4th year in a row, Epic Europe has been named to Condé Nast Traveler Magazine's Specialist listing, a prestigious group of 150 of the world's top travel pros. We are honored to be a part of this feature, alongside the best "Experience Makers" around the globe. All of our team should be credited with this designation, the culmination of years of hard work to seek out and create the ult....


October 2015

October 19, 2015 -

MTB FILM SHOOT WITH TGR & SWITZERLAND TOURISM

For the past three weeks, we have been shooting mountain biking with renowned action sports filmmakers Teton Gravity Research and Moment Pictures on some of our favorite trails and locations in the Swiss Alps. A production for a series of webisodes and content for Switzerland Tourism's new mountain bike promotional campaign, the finished product will air beginning next spring, in conjunct....


October 03, 2015 -

FALL MTB IN SIMPLON REGION

Fall is certainly the best time of the year for bike rides! Uncrowded trails and resorts, quiet nature, amazing colors. Add 4 of your best girlfriends and you have the magic recipe for a perfect day on the bike! We usually call “indian summer”, a beginning of fall during which sunny weather is dominating, in reference to a never ending warm summer. At Epic Europe, we could also call ....


September 2015

September 28, 2015 -

SWISS "OFF-SEASON"

Swiss "Off-Season": off–season. off–sea·son \ˈȯf-ˌsē-zən\ : a period of time when travel to a particular place is less popular and prices are usually lower. When we started Epic Europe, we offered 2 products; summer & winter - this was the bread & butter, what people came to Switzerland for - the quintessential hikes through fields of wildflowers and grazing cows, and the ....


September 01, 2015 -

VERBIER TO ZERMATT HAUTE ROUTE MOUNTAINEERING

150 years ago, a major number of Alps highest peaks were climbed for the first time. We refer to this period as the “conquest of the Alps”. This August we have organised a private alpinism trip with 1:1 guide to client ratio for the "haute route" traverse from Verbier to Zermatt, partly hiking and climbing summits along the way. By planning such a trip in the Swiss Alps, eventhough it....


August 2015

August 10, 2015 -

COMBE D'ENFER - THE DEVIL'S BASIN

Combe d'Enfer (literally the Devil's Basin) is a small domaine in the Swiss Rhone Valley, named for its southern exposure and ability to trap the heat and ripen grapes to perfection. On this stormy summer afternoon I was putting the finishing touches on a wine tour I was organizing for a 50th birthday party. My guide was Yvon Roduit, owner of Domaine Rodeline, a passionate self taught winemake....


July 2015

July 06, 2015 -

BEAT THE HEAT UP AT ALTITUDE

For the past couple of weeks, the Alps have been hit by a massive Canicule , or heat wave - the worst since 2003, apparently. Triple-digit temps (F) have been the norm, not cooling down at night, and down in the valleys it is almost intolerable. The only answer is to get up high at altitude and look for a lake to take an icy dip in, or hike to a glacier and get a little bit of nature's air c....


June 2015

June 26, 2015 -

ENGADIN TRAILS - ULTRACKS

It's hard to escape the trail running fever in the Alps; it's everywhere, and growing rapidly. What began as a hike in the woods has evolved into endurance trail running, with courses exceeding 170km and 10,000m of positive altitude change. Every year, the gear gets lighter, tighter and supposedly faster, and then it's hard not to want to join in and pick up the pace. This morning we got ....


May 2015

May 20, 2015 -

SWISS RHINE WINE: MAIENFELD

Living in the Valais region of Switzerland we don't see a lot of wine from other regions of Switzerland - god forbid you bring a nice bottle of Chasselas from the Lavaux to a dinner party, much less something with German written on the label! Which is why I was so pleasantly surprised to sample some local wines on my last visit to Graubunden, near the headwaters of the Rhine. The most well-kn....


May 13, 2015 -

OUR FAVORITE MOUNTAIN IN THE ALPS

There is no question that the Matterhorn is the world's most recognizable peak. This year, Zermatt will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first ascent, and we have commemorated this milestone with a special trip here at Epic Europe, a bespoke Matterhorn Climb package. If that's more than you're looking to do, there are a million less-intense activities for all ages and ....


February 2015

February 27, 2015 -

ITALIAN HELISKIING PARADISE

Secret Heliski: Valgrisenche Italy The small valley in Val D'Aosta, adjacent to the Gran Paradiso National Park and the Isère Valley, France is home to a small heliskiing operation unlike any other in the Alps. Typically heliskiing in the Alps is limited to specific "legal" landing spots, and constantly fought over by the likes of the WWF and randonée skiers. Not in the Valgrisenche, where....


January 2015

January 23, 2015 -

THE MAGIC OF THE ENGADIN

This winter marks the 150th anniversary of winter tourism in St. Moritz and the surrounding Engadin Valley. As the story goes, hotelier Johann Badrutt made a wager with 4 of his British summer guests that they should come visit for Christmas, and if they didn't enjoy the Swiss winter weather, that their stay would be free. They came, and enjoyed it so much they stayed until April. Wh....


January 08, 2015 -

A YEAR IN THE LIFE - 2014

For the past 2 years, we have sent out an E-Book to friends, family, clients, and partners - as a look back at the last year, as a thank-you for great times together, and as a holiday greeting and card from us here at Epic Europe. It is a look at what we saw, where we went, what we did, and what inspired us here in the Alps and beyond. It is all a part of our never-ending search for new e....


December 2014

December 29, 2014 -

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

I won't lie - things were looking pretty bleak around here. Some early December snow had given us just enough snow to get the main pistes open here in Verbier, but the holiday crowds, compounded by the massive influx of ski schools from other snow-bereft resorts like Chamonix, Megève, Gstaad, Crans-Montana, among others, had made the skiing here something you really had to want to make it tol....


December 19, 2014 -

THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE CERVIN

Following an event we hosted for the launch of the new TAG Heuer / Zenith boutique in Zermatt, we took a day to decompress and ski on the italian side of the Matterhorn, in Cervinia, which seemed to be holding the lion's share of snow in this early-season in the Alps. We weren't disappointed. Long, well-prepared pistes made for great carvy boulevards to work out the kinks in our rusty....


December 05, 2014 -

SWISS WINTER FOLKLORE & MYTHICAL CHARACTERS

Living Traditions: The mythical characters of Swiss winters past are emblematic of the stories of harsh winters, isolated valleys, and social inequality. Their history and myths live on today through local folklore societies, traditional festivals and passionate preservation. Join us this winter to experience the stories of the Tschäggätta, Les Empaillés & Wüeschte Kläuse, and many more.....


November 2014

November 24, 2014 -

GREAT EARLY-SEASON SKI CONDITIONS

With Verbier's lifts open every weekend in November, we have been enjoying fantastic early-season skiing. With some bigger storms on the horizon, we're already looking forward to the full opening and some skitouring! Check back here often for the latest weather and snow conditions, news and more. And let it snow!


November 10, 2014 -

LAST RIDE BEFORE WINTER SETS IN?

We took advantage of one of the last indian summer days to go soak up the sun in the Lavaux, riding through the golden vines and catching the reflection off Lac Leman. With snow on the way, it looks like the bikes will be put away and the skis will come out for good.


November 07, 2014 -

BRING IT ON

The first significant snow of the season - over a meter between Zermatt and Simplon Pass, a little less on either side to the east & west. Frantic fire drill to find and check ski equipment before tomorrow, when lifts start running at a few resorts across the Alps, including our home mountains of Verbier and Zermatt. Here we go, let it snow!


November 05, 2014 -

SWEETGRASS LIGHTSUIT SKIING POV

By now, unless you live under a rock, you have seen the footage from our friends at Sweetgrass Productions, filming insane powder skiing at night with the use of massive colored lights and LED lightsuits. If you wondered what it looked like from the skiers' POV, wonder no more. Enjoy. If for some reason, you do live under a rock, go HERE for the full film.


October 2014

October 10, 2014 -

ALPS WINTER WEATHER FORECAST

The latest long-range snow forecast is out, courtesy of the Muotas Valley Wetterschmöckers, a group of 7 farmers who have an innate connection with nature, and use it to predict the weather. We hope they're right!


October 01, 2014 -

DÉSALPE AND RACLETTE FESTIVAL

One of our favorite events of the year is the celebration of the end of the summer season for the Cheese Cowboys and their prized Hérens cows. For the weeks leading up to the end of September, the sound of bells fills the air, and the herds come down from the high Alpages . It culminates on the last weekend of September, with a parade through the villages and the Fête de Raclette.


September 2014

September 07, 2014 -

THE HIDDEN VALLEY OF VALSOREY

Practically in our backyard, but totally obscured by larger peaks, is the remote hanging valley of Valsorey.


August 2014

August 22, 2014 -

VAL FERRET, ITALY

Just on the other side of the border, but a world away.


August 03, 2014 -

SWISS NATIONAL DAY IN THE SAANENLAND

This year we celebrated the Fête National in the Saanenland - where the Switzerland of fairytales really does exist.


July 2014

July 23, 2014 -

VALLON RÉCHY & VAL D'ANNIVIERS

A 3-day hiking loop through some of the Valais region's least developed valleys.


July 02, 2014 -

TODAY WAS...

One of those days.


June 2014

June 03, 2014 -

HOTEL ZUM STORCHEN & THE "OTHER" ZÜRICH

We recently had the opportunity to visit one of Zürich's oldest hotels, and found another side to this sometimes-stodgy city that we'd never experienced.


May 2014

May 21, 2014 -

HOTEL BELLEVUE & COGNE, GRAN PARADISO

A quick road trip to Italy's Parco Nazionale and the Hotel Bellevue. A true gem in the nearby Valle d'Aosta.


May 08, 2014 -

ZERMATT & THE JAMES BEARD AWARDS

On Monday night, our friend Nick Paumgarten won the prestigious James Beard Award for best food and travel journalism, for the story we produced in Zermatt for Bon Appétit's February 2013 issue. It's an honor to work with such talented people ( Andrew Rowat Photography ), not to mention to introduce the world to some of our favorite restaurateurs.


April 2014

April 10, 2014 -

PRIMAVERA IN ITALIA

A spring day in the life of Epic Europe: south-facing corn snow, fantastic food, and even better company.


March 2014

March 30, 2014 -

LATE-SEASON POWDER IN ZERMATT

It seems that every year, we can count on some of the biggest dumps of the year coming late in the season in Zermatt. This year was no different.


March 11, 2014 -

THE EAGLE'S NEST VILLAGE OF MÜRREN

Perched high above the lauterbrunnen Valley, the village of Mürren is lesser-known than its famous neighbors of Wengen and Grindelwald, but shares the same post-card views of the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mönch. And it has James Bond.


February 2014

February 10, 2014 -

THE LITTLE RESORTS THAT ROCK

One of our favorite ways to beat the mid-term / spring break crowds is to head to some of the many small, "family resorts" scattered throughout our region.


February 01, 2014 -

FÊTE DE SAINT OURS, AOSTA ITALY

For years, we've been meaning to attend this craft fair in the historic Roman, then Savoyard city of Aosta, Italy. As it's been happening for over 1000 years, there has been no hurry.


January 2014

January 15, 2014 -

SNOW SAFETY AND AVALANCHE EDUCATION

There is no doubt that this year in the Swiss Alps, there are critical avalanche conditions, and anyone going to ski off-piste should be prepared, through education and understanding of the snowpack, or ski with an experienced professional guide who can safely navigate these conditions.


December 2013

December 12, 2013 -

BASEL'S CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

In addition their well-renowned art collections and tri-border style and flavors, Basel boasts Switzerland's best Christmas marketplace, and it is the best place to go to get into the spirit.


December 06, 2013 -

SAINT NIKLAUS AND HIS STRANGE FRIEND, KRAMPUS

The different legends of Christmas vary throughout the European Alps, but none are so odd as that of St. Niklaus' day, when he appears with his frightening friend, Krampus.


November 2013

November 15, 2013 -

MOUNTAIN BIKING IN THE CANARIES

Two shorts flights, the first to Madrid and the second to Santa Cruz de La Palma allowed us to add some summer to our summer, discover a new riding place and explore new singeltrails or « caminos ». In less than 6 hours flight, our calves muscles, that were ready for some pre winter rest, are now found to be putting us up volcanic hills in the Canaries. Day 1 We were looking for some du....


November 10, 2013 -

RIAD EL FENN MARRAKECH

We are back in Marrakech for the Pure Life Experiences show yet again, and this time checked into the ultra-cool Riad El Fenn.


October 2013

October 01, 2013 -

MEET EPIC EUROPE'S NEWEST STAFF

We are excited to introduce our newest staff member, Nancy Pellissier. She was born and raised in the Val de Bagnes, near Verbier Switzerland, in a family-run hotel environment. Passionate about skiing since she was a little girl, she competed as an alpine racer until 17 years old. Afterwards, she traded in her speed suit for freeskiing, and competed for 2 years of skiercross and 2 years of ....


September 2013

September 10, 2013 - Chris

ENGADIN - ANOTHER MTB PARADISE

While wrapping up a 2-week hiking trip along the route of the Glacier Express, we found ourselves situated in the perfect location, at the beautiful Hotel Lej da Staz, high above St. Moritz in the Engadin Valley. And an ideal place to explore the MTB potential of this famous valley. We have always loved the skiing in St. Moritz - and the seeming lack of “hype” surrounding the off-piste an....


September 05, 2013 - Chris

CHEESEMAKING WALSER STYLE IN VALS

Sometimes you find the best things when you aren’t even looking. I was recently scouting some hikes for an upcoming trip along the route of the Glacier Express. We were going to spend 3 days in the Valsertal, home of the small village of Vals and the Vals Thermes, famous thermal baths designed by Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor. But before we soaked, we were going to hike a gorgeous loop overl....


August 2013

August 28, 2013 -

W HOTEL VERBIER

The biggest buzz in the Alps this upcoming winter is right here in our backyard, with the most anticipated 5-star hotel in Switzerland - The W Verbier. Epic Europe has been working closely with the W Verbier all summer to create exclusive itineraries, special events, corporate retreats and conferences in the heart of the Alps. This partnership brings together a level of customer s....


August 20, 2013 -

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER - THE WORLD ON SALE

Back in June, when we visited the Zenith Watch manufacture in Le Locle, we couldn’t reveal the true reason for our tour, but we are glad to explain now what was behind this new partnership. The latest issue of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine has hit the newsstands, and it is their 2nd annual “World on Sale” issue - with 22 of the best trips in the world, as selected by their editors, and Epic E....


July 2013

July 17, 2013 - Chris

CORPORATE INCENTIVES - INTRODUCTION TO THE ALPS

Our greatest satisfaction here at Epic Europe comes from introducing people to the Alps that we love, and it is especially gratifying when you are able to bring people outside of their normal environment and discover new experiences that they never thought they would be able to do, nor get such a thrill from. For the month of July, we had a corporate incentive group, a different team each....


July 02, 2013 - Chris

HIGH ALPINE FLY-FISHING

In my former life as a fly-fishing guide, I would spend well over 150 days a year on the water in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. But since moving to the Alps 5 years ago, my trout-hunting has suffered. With different regulation of fishing waters here in Switzerland (put-and-take rather than catch-and-release), and a day’s license costing 30chf, it isn’t often worth the effort, comparatively. On....


June 2013

June 18, 2013 -

THE CHOCOLATE MATTERHORN

If you have ever visited a Swiss bakery - bäckerei, boulangerie, patisserie - you are well-versed in the variety of products. The Swiss specialize in whole grain bread, far from the traditional French Baguette, and some boulangeries will produce upwards of 30 different varieties of bread per day. In addition to the breads, there is always a mouth-watering array of sweets; chocolate mousse cak....


June 05, 2013 -

ZENITH WATCH MANUFACTURE

We were recently invited to the UNESCO World Heritage village of Le Locle, in Canton Neuchatel, for a very exclusive visit to one of Switzerland’s oldest watch manufacturers. Zenith Watches, started by Georges Favre Jaquot in 1865, was the first company to fabricate all of the movements and entire watch assembly under one roof. And after nearly a century of painstakingly meticulous work....


May 2013

May 16, 2013 -

BOL D'OR

Imagine more than 500 sailboats of all shapes and sizes lined up across the narrowest point of Lake Geneva. They are circling around, the tense skippers shouting ‘Tribord! Tribord! Laissez de la place! Priorité!”, as everyone jockeys to be as close to the starting line, but not over it when the gun fires. And when it does, everyone springs to action; sight and sound are transformed as the ....


May 01, 2013 -

GLACIER WINE OF VAL D'ANNIVIERS

"A Nation without tradition is a dead Nation” Tasting wine that has been standing for 125 years is probably not your average afternoon apéro. Tucked away in the steep valley of the Val d’Anniviers, Grimentz is a rustic village of postcard-perfect chalets, alluring granaries, and generations-old traditions. Traditions like the trans-humance - the nomadic lifestyle of alpine herders that the....


April 2013

April 22, 2013 - Chris

COMBATS DES REINES

In early Spring, the cheese cowboys emerge from their barns, and bring with them their prized cows to take part in a traditional event dating back to the 1920’s - the “Combats des Reines”. Last week we went over to the arena in Orsières, along with 3500 other spectators, to watch the cows of the ‘Hérens’ or ‘Eringer’ race do what they do best: fight to be queen. Armed with a plate of raclette....


April 10, 2013 -

THEY SAY IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

I’m extremely lucky to have had the time to travel across countries and continents on a bicycle. Chasing horizon after horizon, for hundreds of kilometers, to get to places I hardly knew existed. I would often ask myself, “Where next, what next,?” and, “What am I missing?” I was surprised to find that the moments of pure joy were created from all the little things. What really matt....


April 09, 2013 -

A PERFECT DAY

A last-minute booking for a weekend ski trip from a new client this late in the season can sometimes be hit-or-miss - unless the location is Zermatt, the clients are strong skiers, and the weather is heli-possible. If all of those factors line up, the opportunity for a life-changing day is nearly guaranteed. And so it went on Saturday; after a day spent on both the Italian side of t....


March 2013

March 13, 2013 -

OUR MAN IN ZERMATT

One of our biggest challenges at Epic Europe is convincing the first time client to hire a UIAGM / IGFMGA mountain guide. A lot of our North American clientele doesn’t understand the different risks associated with skiing in the Alps; the massive resorts with secure ski “pistes” are a far cry from what lies just beyond the rope – including avalanche danger, crevasses and major exposure. And....


March 06, 2013 -

SWISS HELICOPTER RESCUE

"You should stay at home and play tiddlywinks” ... is what my grandfather would tell me after I’d show off my latest grazed elbow or cut knee - a trophy in my eyes. The fact is that I have itchy feet, and I need to be outside to feel the elements. Life tastes better after a day in the mountains, backcountry skiing down virgin lines. But that said, things can go wrong. Conditions can change....


February 2013

February 20, 2013 -

BREAKING TRAIL

Way back when, I was learning the basics of ski touring (randonnée skiing as they say over here) - not that it was so long ago, but it just wasn’t yet such a popular sport - I had switched to telemark skiing, mainly for the fact that you could use the same skis for climbing up as skiing down. The super-light and efficient Dynafit system wasn’t widely available, and let’s be honest, Fritsch....


February 06, 2013 -

WHAT EPIC MEANS TO US

In response to all of the backlash regarding the overuse of the word “Epic”, we have decided to expand upon the meaning of our brand name, Epic Europe. Despite the abuse of the word “Epic”, the Alps of Europe still can indeed be considered as such. Our focus is on telling the authentic (ouch, another overused, but still most relevant term here) story of the European Alps. The adventures we....


January 2013

January 21, 2013 - Chris

CHÂTEAU D’OEX AND BALLOON FESTIVAL

W atching the Alps unfurl slowly in front of you can truly be experienced from a hot air balloon. One of the prime areas to do this is the picturesque village of Château d'Oex, where the explorer Mike Horn lives, and from where Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones departed on their 40'805 km circumnavigation of the world in 1999. Upon arrival, you would expect to see the balloon up and ready t....


January 16, 2013 -

HOME.

Julie Griffin just joined Epic Europe. This is her first contribution to Epicurus Life. Over the last year, I've had more new experiences than I could have ever imagined. Riding a bike from Thailand to Switzerland is a good way to cheat and get a lot done, because it's like cramming three years of living into one. And yet, I couldn't stop thinking about what I wanted to do when I g....


December 2012

December 08, 2012 -

WHAT A START

After a disappointing dry November, December has come on strong, dumping almost 2.5m of snow in just a week. Storms lined up in the North Atlantic just keep pounding the Alps, and resorts have been playing catch-up, trying to control the pistes and secure the resort for the throngs of skiers who are stoked for these incredible early-season conditions. Naturally, we have been taking advant....


November 2012

November 20, 2012 -

BACK TO PURE

We just returned from another inspiring trip to Marrakech, Morocco, for the 5th annual PURE Life Experiences travel trade show and conference. This was our second time as exhibitors, and we cannot say enough about how great an opportunity this show is. Over 400 of the world’s top experiential adventure travel operators (yes, that includes us!), and over 500 of the premiere private travel de....


November 13, 2012 -

CONDÉ NAST TOP TRAVEL SPECIALIST

We’re in Marrakech attending the PURE Life Experiences travel show & conference, so things are quite busy at the moment with 20 meetings a day with the world’s premiere travel agents and designers. But as a result of the connections we made last year, and Epic Europe’s dedication to discovering the best of the Alps, Jack Shaw was just named Switzerland Travel Expert by Condé Nast Tra....


October 2012

October 30, 2012 -

PIEMONTE AND SALON DEL GUSTO

Fall in Piedmont, Italy is all about the harvest and regional specialties. World-famous wine varietals like Barbera, Barolo, and Barbaresco are grown in the hills surrounding Alba and Asti, and even tiny vineyards have gained international acclaim in recent years. Alba is also home to the annual Fiere del Tartufo, or white truffle festival, which is a foodie’s dream come true. And every 2 ye....


October 22, 2012 -

HEINZ JULEN'S ZERMATT

A winter holiday in the village of Zermatt conjures up images of old wooden chalets, rich fabrics and cozy nooks filled with alpine antiques. The history of hospitality in Zermatt runs deep, and with so many classic Belle Epoque hotels and renowned restaurants, it is hard to make a mark. Enter Heinz Julen - local artist, designer, architect, and hotelier who has set the standard for alpine ....


October 13, 2012 -

TICINO TEAM-BUILDING

Mid-October is the ideal time to make one more trip up into the mountains, and catch the last bit of good weather before the snow begins to fall. We hosted the EU marketing team from our partners at The North Face last week in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, in Southern Switzerland, for a team-building retreat in the Valle Levantina. The colors were popping, and the crew of 30 hike....


September 2012

September 29, 2012 -

VENDANGE IN DOMAINE DE FULLY

Down in the Rhône Valley, things really get hopping around this time of year - the agricultural epicenter of Switzerland really kicks into high gear in the fall, as the orchards and vineyards are ursting with activity. For the past 5 years, we have been lucky to get in on the action, helping a friend with 1500 square meters of Gamay vines to harvest his grapes. On the south-facing rive droite....


September 24, 2012 -

RACLETTE FESTIVAL AND FALL DÉSALPE

The end of September in our home, the Val de Bagnes, means one thing - the celebration of the Désalpes, or descent of the cows from the high-alpine meadows, and the Raclette cheese that they are famous for. In fact, Bagnes is called the “Capitale de Raclette”, and to see the streets of Le Châble lined with dozens of purveyors and to smell the wafts of melting fromage, you would never argue ot....


September 22, 2012 -

FALL IN ZERMATT

When the nights get a slight chill, but the days are still crisp and clear, there is no better time to head to the birthplace of Alpine tourism in the Alps, the historic village of Zermatt. Fresh snow on the glaciers and peaks, the larch trees beginning to turn a golden hue, and impossibly-blue skies make for great hiking conditions. And a wide assortment of the famous on-mountain resta....


August 2012

August 31, 2012 -

EUROBIKE 2012

The annual gathering of global bike brands, kooky Tiawanese niche manufacturers, dorks in compression-leggings, fixie hipsters with vintage caps and ironic mustaches, energy drink-sponsored tween dirt-jumpers, and European bike shop owners. A chance to look at everything that's going to be cool next year, and a lot that's not. Didi Senft, El Diablo of Tour de France fam....


August 02, 2012 -

SWISS FÊTE NATIONAL

August 1st is the day that the people of Switzerland celebrates being Swiss - fiercely independent and at the same time neutral - not exactly European, but more so than anything else...and we celebrate along with them, by enjoying the uniquely and unabashedly Swiss Alps, in all their glory. Breakfast pancakes with the first blueberries and raspberries of the summer to start off the morning....


July 2012

July 19, 2012 -

CABANE D'ORNY

One of the most unique parts of a hiking or ski trip in the Alps is a visit to a mountain hut or cabin. The extensive system of cozy refuges built at high altitude is generally a welcome surprise for our American guests. In Switzerland alone, there are 152 huts managed by the Swiss Alpine Club-SAC ( www.sac-cas.ch/en/huts/ ), plus many more privately managed huts. One of the most s....


July 10, 2012 -

ROCHERS DE NAYE MTB AND MONTREUX JAZZ 2012

The first 2 weeks of July have become our favorite of the summer, with the warm temps, swimmable lakes to finish our bike rides, and the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival taking place right at the base of one of Switzerland’s best cog-rtail train-accessed mountain bike zones, the Rochers de Naye. Yet again, we’d scored tickets to see the old and new legends of New Orleans funk....


July 03, 2012 -

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS - VALAIS SEGMENT

The boys at Anthill Films have upped the ante yet again with artistic and creative action sports cinematography, and with their latest release “Strength in Numbers” being filmed here in Valais Switzerland, you’ll get no better look at the riding here in our backyard. With the “godfather of freeride” Wade Simmons joining Matt Hunter and Verbier local Ludo May on the best trails in our re....


June 2012

June 17, 2012 -

CHAMONIX MTB

This weekend marked the opening of the bike trails in neighboring Chamonix-Mont Blanc, so we took the 45-minute drive over to check out the work they have been doing for the past few years. In a word, amazing. Not a ton of different trails to choose from, but the €20 lift pass gets you access at Vallorcine, Le Tour, Flegères, and Les Houches. With bermy trails in Vallorcine and....


June 11, 2012 -

TOUR DE SUISSE

Well, it wasn’t as fast as Alberto Contador did it in 2009, but the Peleton once again climbed the Verbier switchbacks to finish a major stage race, this time in the Tour de Suisse. On a less-than-perfect day (in pouring rain), Franck Schleck suffered a crushing defeat in the final 100m from Rui Costa, after a ride from Italy, up and over the Simplon Pass, down the Rhône Valley, and fin....


June 09, 2012 -

VEVEY MARCHÉ - SUMMER'S FIRST BOUNTY

I was a little upset when David Lebovitz beat me to the blog on the Vevey market - it has always been one of my favorites, and I thought it would be outside the realm of the former Chez Panisse pastry chef-turned-Parisian food blogger ( www.davidlebovitz.com/2011/04/the-vevey-market/ ). Oh well, at least it has validated that the markets in our region of Switzerland are some of the best in....


June 06, 2012 -

SPRING ESCAPE TO BURGUNDY, FRANCE

With the damp spring in the Valais, Epic Europe made a break for the hot and dry climate of the Burgundy region of France. Just 4 hours away by the car, Southern Burgundy feels worlds away - the pace of life, the different French styles and cuisine. This is what we love about living in the Alps; in an afternoon’s drive in any direction, you can be in the heart of Piedmont, Italy, wander....


May 2012

May 17, 2012 -

OUR NEW FAVORITE BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN THE ALPS

For years, we’d heard about Les Neiges D’Antan, a funky mountain hotel with a legendary restaurant, located just below Cervinia, Italy, in the hamlet of Cret de Perreres. A favorite of our Zermatt mountain guides, we finally wound up there for a long spring lunch after some incredible corn skiing on the Italian side of the Matterhorn. Proprietor Ludovico Bich comes from a long ....


May 07, 2012 -

RITES OF SPRING IN THE VALAIS

Late spring in the Valais is punctuated by finally hearing the sounds of cowbells again, which have hung silent all winter. One of the best local events is the annual “Combats de Reines”, an age-old tradition that determines the queen of the herd of Hérens dairy, cattle from which the region’s famous raclette and fondue cheeses come. These non-violent cow-fights are more of a comm....


April 2012

April 25, 2012 -

ZERMATT & CERVINIA WITH BON APPÉTIT

Our last ski trip of the season was a pretty cushy job - we guided renowned travel photographer Andrew Rowat to the best restaurants in Zermatt and Cervinia for a feature article that will be published in February 2013’s Bon Appétit Magazine. Drawing on our network of chefs and restaurauteurs in these two legendary ski resorts, we hit all of the best spots, learned the secret....


April 09, 2012 -

EASTER HELISKIING ON THE PETIT COMBIN

A surprise late-April storm left over 50cms of powder up at the high altitudes on the night of Easter Sunday. And come Monday morning, we were some of the lucky few that were able to reap the rewards! Was this going to be the last powder day of the season? I sure hope not....


March 2012

March 31, 2012 -

BACK TO ZERMATT - THE ICON OF THE ALPS

What’s not to love about spring skiing in Zermatt? Long, sunny days on the glaciers, a constant view of the iconic Matterhorn, and the best slopeside restaurants in the world, where you revel in the glow of another phenomenal powder run with a civilized late lunch. Then a last run down to the village that every ski resort in the world is trying to be.


March 20, 2012 -

50 YEARS OF SKIING IN BRUSON

This past weekend was the 50th anniversary of skiing at our favorite mom-and-pop ski resort, Bruson Switzerland. Only fitting that this would be highlighted by 40cms of fresh snow, not to mention a “fête de patrimoine” with accordion bands and free raclette and wine, held in the alpage cow-barns just on the side of the slopes. Spirits were high among the locals who have been ripping up ....


March 13, 2012 -

TIMELINE - GLACIER EXPRESS

We finally get to see the footage from our Glacier Express trip that we took last month with The North Face and Timeline Films. Check out the amazing train-angles cameraman Guido Perrini caught with his array of GoPro cameras, as well as some of the powder we managed to find in the middle of the season’s only 3-week drought. With Xavier de le Rue, Guilia Monego, Johan Jonsson, Janette ....


February 2012

February 28, 2012 -

A PERFECT DAY ON THE AIGUILLE DU MIDI

Just as the month-long cold snap finally broke, we got a dusting of fresh snow and a stunning bluebird day, so we jumped in the van and headed to Chamonix for the day with some old friends from Jackson Hole, and mountain guide Liz Smart. The “normal” Vallée Blanche route off the Aiguille du Midi tram is an experience that every skier will remember for the rest of their lives - from ....


January 2012

January 31, 2012 -

IT JUST KEEPS PILING UP

It has snowed for the past 6 weeks, consistently delivering some of the best powder days we can remember for years. With two specific storms that dropped between 2 and 3 METERS each, chalets are buried, trees have snapped under the weight, and runs to the valley floor are in as deep as they were in the Winter of ’99. Here is a shot from our backyard, a 4pm tree run back to our ....


January 13, 2012 -

SWITZERLAND'S SUPER BOWL

The Lauberhorn Downhill in Wengen is the grandaddy of them all, at least to Swiss ski racers. The longest course on the World Cup circuit, racers start in the shadow of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, and finish in the idyllic, car-free village of Wengen. Trains take you up to Kleine Scheidegg, and if you’re lucky, you’ll rub elbows with the racers themselves as they make their way up t....


January 11, 2012 -

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? NEVER!

You know it’s a good winter when the storms have been given names. We just got blasted by “Tempête Andrea”, who dropped 2+ meters of snow, then blasted us with close to 200 kph winds, snapping entire forests like matchsticks. Ski lifts were closed, while helicopters dangled logs from a cable to knock snow from trees that were leaning on the lift cables. Needless to say, the skiing is v....


December 2011

December 24, 2011 -

HERE COMES THE SNOW

In the past 2 weeks, we have gone from “zero to hero” here in the western Alps. The storms that began on the 13th dumped meters of powder, followed by high winds, then changed to wet and heavy snow...a volatile recipe for the snowpack to be sure. Mandatory closures of some roads, and even evacuations in the “zone rouge” above the village of Verbier for the first time since the winter of....


December 10, 2011 -

ONE LAST DAY OF MOUNTAIN BIKING?

With a long, late fall season that has left our mountains completely dry of snow and limited man-made runs at resorts to ski on, we are still on the bikes at the moment, squeezing in what we always hope will be our last mountain bike ride until spring. But with the fall colors at a peak and temperatures disturbingly mild, it’s not a bad option. Cautious optimism shows some storms ....


November 2011

November 14, 2011 -

OFF-SEASON TRAVELS - MOROCCO & PURE LIFE EXPERIENCES

We recently were invitees to an exclusive travel show and conference in Marrakech, Morocco, called PURE Life Experiences . Honored to join the premiere experiential adventure travel operators around the globe, we heard from luminaries like Chris Blackwell (founder of Island Records) and Serge Dive, former founder of the ILTM. There is no question that the new direction of travel is gea....


October 2011

October 25, 2011 -

RIDING THROUGH HISTORY

Late fall in the Alps can mean frantically splitting firewood and organizing the ski gear in mid-October for an early-season ski-tour, or just as easily give you a few last weeks of perfect Indian summer weather before the snow begins in earnest. Luckily for us, this year has been the latter, and allowed us to get a few last big rides and hikes in while the leaves are changing, the shad....


October 04, 2011 -

DÉSALPE

I have to admit, I have always loved the end of summer and change of seasons in the mountains; one day you’re swimming in the lakes and basking in the glow of the late summer sunlight, and then two days later, the trees are turning color, the high mountains get their first dusting of snow, and you are dreaming of powder skiing. In the small valleys of the Alps, this transition of season....


September 2011

September 22, 2011 -

SURPRISE VALLEYS OF BINNTAL & VAL D'HÉRENS

While the Swiss topo maps are legendary for their accuracy and are invaluable to us from a skiing, hiking, and biking standpoint, sometimes you can still be amazed by what you find right under your nose. Every once in a while, we’ll be searching for that next great undiscovered trail, mountain bike ride, or ski run, and you look a little harder at the map, and find something magical that p....


August 2011

August 22, 2011 -

HUT-TO-HUT HIKING

Summer is finally here in the Alps; 35+ degrees in the valley, and everyone is headed for the mountains for a cool breeze or a dip in an alpine lake. There are only a few weeks a year when it gets this hot, so we take advantage of these short heat waves by staying outdoors, high in the alpine, for as long as we can. In the Verbier – St. Bernard region there are countless hut-to....


August 03, 2011 -

MAUVOISIN TO AOSTA

After what seemed like weeks of rain, we knew that Saturday was going to be a cracker, and a big mission was in order. Having scoped the Col de Durand 2 weeks before when we rode to the Cabane Chanrion, I knew that with a little effort (600m vertical pushing the bikes up the trail), we could reap the reward of 45km downhill, much of it on smooth Italian singletrack, all the way to pizzas a....


July 2011

July 26, 2011 -

ZERMATT HIKING & HOSPITALITY

I guess it is how things go, but after a very dry winter in the Alps, it has been raining most of the summer. It makes for incredibly green mountains and happy gardens, but sometimes it is hard to motivate for a full day outside. A change of location always helps with the motivation, especially when that place is Zermatt. Hiking in Zermatt, you are never far from a mountain hut ....


July 21, 2011 -

HAUT VAL DE BAGNES

I have recently dubbed this ride the anti-trade show; after 3 days of the German Outdoor show, we needed a thorough cleansing of the mind, body, and soul. The Haut Val de Bagnes (the head of the “Verbier” Valley) is a home to the 2nd largest nature conservation park, and one of the biggest dams in Switzerland. Is that an oxymoron? While it may be a land of contradictions with miles of tunnel....


July 12, 2011 -

CULINARY COURSE AT MONTECASTELLI, TOSCANA

We are very excited to offer a very special trip this fall in Tuscany, Italy. In conjunction with my sister, Chef Liza Shaw and Villa Montecastello: a Tuscan Harvest Culinary Course / Cycling trip that will deliver the best food, wine, and riding of the region. Based at Villa Montecastello, a stunning 11th-century restored hilltop villa and biodynamic farm overlooking the Elsa Ri....


July 08, 2011 -

MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL

It was an absolutely perfect day, from the morning spent riding mountain bikes high above Lac Leman, to the picnic along the lake shore, to the evening of New Orleans Jazz and funk in Miles Davis Hall at the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival. 1700 meters above the lake is the summit of the Chemin de Fer Montreux -Glion - Rochers-de-Naye, a cog railway that dates from 1892. A popular tou....


July 05, 2011 -

CHÂTEL MOUNTAIN STYLE

This weekend, we headed over to the Portes du Soleil region, in the Chablais Alps, for some of Europe’s best lift-served mountain biking. An added bonus, the Châtel Mountain Style, the premiere Freeride Event in the Alps was going on - and it didn’t disappoint, as the best riders in the world put on a show that we’ve never witnessed the likes of - check out the video to the right to see what ....


June 2011

June 13, 2011 -

THE BRAZILIAN

Mid-June, and early-summer rains have left the high alpine a luscious verdant green and the trails are tacky and perfect. We took a mixed crew of friends and clients for one of the premiere descents in the Valais Alps - or anywhere for that matter - the “Brazilian”. Almost 2000m of vertical drop, from the alpine meadows (pictured to the right), into perfect loamy pine forest, to deciduous....


May 2011

May 30, 2011 -

KILLER DEALS ON ALL-MOUNTAIN BIKES!

To make room for our new rides, we’re getting rid of 3 fantastic bikes - ideal for the trails of the Alps. All Rocky Mountain Bikes, handmade in Canada, and top-of-the-line spec. These are a fantastic deal for anyone looking for a new addition to their quiver! - 2 Slayer SXC 70’s, 160mm f/r travel, 14 kilos and great condition - one size L (18”) and one size M (16.5”). 2700chf. ....


April 2011

April 20, 2011 -

TOUR OF A LIFETIME

We are very honored to have been recognized by National Geographic Traveler Magazine in their May 2011 issue - our Rhône Valley Fall Harvest MTB trip has been named as one of their “50 Tours of a Lifetime”. Combining the incredible singletrack of Switzerland’s Valais region, the perfect temperatures and riding conditions of the fall, and special vineyard tours and wine tastings....


April 11, 2011 -

SPRING IN ZERMATT

In what has so far been one of the worst snow years in the Alps on record; we headed to Zermatt where the spring skiing never ceases to surprise me. Driving from Cully, on Lac Leman where we had seen Maceo Parker at the Jazz fest the night before, it felt more like summer than ski season, with barely a snowcapped peak in sight, and the flowers in full bloom. 2 hours later, we were hauling....


March 2011

March 11, 2011 -

LÖTSCHENTAL CARNIVAL

Mardi Gras, or Carnival in Europe, is taken very seriously here. In many regions, it makes our Halloween look like amateur hour (San Francisco aside). Last weekend, one of our favorite spring traditions took place in the remote Lötschental Valley, just north of the Rhône. A centuries-old pagan custom, village men gear up in the scariest costumes imaginable, and run wild through the streets. T....


March 03, 2011 -

SIMPLON PASS SKITOURING & TEAM-BUILDING

This past week, Epic Europe stepped back in time, and took over a 17th century fortress with a corporate group of 30 guests. “Der Alte Spital”, on top of the Simplon Pass, is not your typical mountain hut. Some suggested it was the new location for a sequel to The Shining, but I prefer to think of it as our own mountain top ski-in ski-out castle, complete with warm showers, and if you were lu....


February 2011

February 07, 2011 -

ÉTIVAZ & GRUYÈRE CHEESE TOUR

Following the Piedmontese escape, it was time to taste some renowned cheeses closer to home, in Switzerland. After just finishing the newly published Slowfood book “Swiss Cheese”, with our neighbor and award-winning cheese cowboy Eddie Baillifard on the cover, it was time to explore some new cheeses. We headed to Canton Fribourg and Vaud, an area known for it’s impossibly green hills and m....


January 2011

January 24, 2011 -

PIEDMONT IN WINTER

Only now that the snow has returned to the Alps am I allowed to speak of this: for much of the month of January - (the last big powder dump was around New Year’s), I have been more interested in cheese and wine than skiing. Because - let’s be honest - the weather does not dictate these hobbies, and sometimes they can console you, and make you forget the fact that the skiing just wasn’t very g....


January 18, 2011 -

LAUBERHORN WORLD CUP DOWNHILL

Ever since I first saw Robert Redford’s Downhill Racer, Wengen’s legendary World Cup downhill, the Lauberhorn, has been ingrained in my ski psyche. Starting in the shadow of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, it is the longest, and most demanding course in the world. As a journalist, I had the opportunity to get on-course several times years ago - probably the most scared I have ever been on....


December 2010

December 23, 2010 -

GENEPI - PART 2

Genepi- Finally! 3 months ago, we mixed alpine herbs with 100% grain alcohol, and then forgot about it, leaving it in a dark cave. Since this was a group experiment, it took a while to find an appropriate time to finish the liqueur. Appropriately, this happened a few nights ago, after a fondue and many bottles of wine, while getting into the Christmas spirit. From now on, ....


December 10, 2010 -

WEATHER IN THE ALPS

We have had some funky weather here in the Southwest corner of Switzerland these past couple of weeks. What began as a bona-fide dump, blanketing the entire country with anywhere from 20-100cms (8-40” for those of you in the States), paralyzing cities like Geneva and Lausanne for several days, changed to rain that fell up to 2500m (again, 8200’), severely transforming our powder into ju....


November 2010

November 05, 2010 -

SKI FITNESS - YOGA

Week 3 - I never knew I was the “yoga type”... Or so I thought. This past spring while struggling with the complex difficulties of doing business in a foreign country, I started doing yoga, to reduce stress and relax. What I found was much greater; a full body workout that energizes and awakens my mind & body, and is now a daily ritual that protects me from stress and injuri....


October 2010

October 13, 2010 -

SKI FITNESS

Ski Fitness - something I always “mean” to do Week 1: Some basic training exercises Early September is when I start to think about the coming ski season. I set some goals, I envision myself riding my road bike well into November, with warm gear, gloves, and neoprene booty covers. And then, all of a sudden it’s mid-October, and I realize I have slacked off, and I don’t have all of the expe....


September 2010

September 17, 2010 -

MAKING GENEPI

Not quite the Green Fairy, but it grows in my backyard... My obsession began at a tiny mountain hut, while skiing in Cervinia, on the Italian side of the Matterhorn. We had just finished lunch, and were concerned about missing the last lift back to Zermatt. The owner, dressed in vintage day-glo fleece and a paper chef’s hat (at 3000meters) eased our concerns by offering us a ride on ....


September 10, 2010 -

2011 BIKE TRENDS

We made a quick dash over the border to Friedrichshafen, Germany last week for the EuroBike trade show, the annual manufacturers’ showcase of everything shiny and new for 2011. We’re stoked to say that we’ve renewed our partnership with Rocky Mountain Bikes , whose new lineup is practically tailor-made for the riding we do here in the Alps. Their new all-mountain multi-tool, the Slayer 70,....


August 2010

August 31, 2010 -

NO PAIN, NO GAIN? YOU DECIDE.

The Grand Raid Cristalp, Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and the Patrouille des Glaciers. These names mean nothing to the average North American, but for some reason are household words for most European mountain bikers, trail-runners, and skiers. If you need a little background: the Grand Raid, held two weekends ago, is a crushing marathon mountain bike race that starts in Verbier and ends in ....


August 10, 2010 -

SUMMER HIKING & FORAGING

Mid August in the Alps, and the absolute perfect time for recreating in the mountains. The summer rains have kept the subalpine an emerald green while the high peaks are often coated with new snow; a spectacular contrast. At EPIC EUROPE, we’ve been getting out on mountain bikes, road bikes, and on foot; the latter slows us down to a pace where we can take notice of the alpine flora and fau....


July 2010

July 26, 2010 -

BASQUE COAST & LANDES

We just got back from an amazing trip to the Atlantic Coast of France and Spain, Landes, Gascogne, and the Pyrenees, doing some research for an upcoming EPIC EUROPE Côte Basque adventure. Great surfing and cycling, incredible seafood, duck and foie gras, and of course the fabulous reds of Bordeaux and rosé of Spain, combined with bullfights, the potential for visits to the Guggenheim in....


July 09, 2010 -

ZERMATT MTB JOY

Just got back from a couple of days in Zermatt, riding endless singletracks and white-knuckle DH tracks, having beers on decks with a view like this, and generally enjoying everything that mountain biking in the Swiss Alps is all about. It’s a bit crowded with hikers and sight-seers on the trails and lifts during the heat of the summer, but you can always find some deserted areas if you kn....


July 05, 2010 -

THE ALPS WERE MADE FOR BIKES

Don't get me wrong, ski season is what brought me to Switzerland, and to the Alps a dozen years ago, and why I fell in love with these mountains. But on a mountain bike, you can cover just as much, if not more ground in a day, winding up in the most authentic little farm villages where life has hardly changed for 50 years, and a cold beer awaits you in every little café or mountain restaurant....