Verbier, 1936 Bagnes, Switzerland
Hard-core Mountain Biking in VerbierThe charming Swiss village of Verbier is a breeding ground for fearless, thrill-seeking mountain bikers. Be warned, though: Even a rockstar mountain biker from Colorado or Utah will feel like he needs training wheels when he tackles these mountains. In town, local bike shops outfit cyclists with bikes and Transformer-like protective gear. A gondola whisks cyclists to the top of the mountain where they can tackle trails of varying degrees of difficulty in La Tzoumaz Bikepark.
Less death-defying trails wind around the mountain past quirky sculptures such as a giant penguin and a huge skeleton of a wooly mammoth. Apparently, a mountain-biking battle wound is an essential Swiss souvenir. I took home a double-fractured finger after launching over my handlebars (A note: Men who get injured apparently get stitched up by a hot Swiss nurse. I got a scholarly Swiss doctor, but I also didn’t get a bill).
For something a bit more low-key, rent an electric mountain bike and cruise around town past the fancy hotels (Verbier W opened in 2014) and charming homes. Just a touch of pressure on the pedal makes you feel like Lance Armstrong ascending the hills.