I stayed with a group of friends (all good skiers) for a long weekend at the end of Feb 2012. We stayed in a hotel, which was comfortable and we enjoyed it very much (I have reviewed in the appropriate place). However I feel obliged to comment on the Nendaz lift system specifically and more widely on the 4 Valleys lift system.
I have been skiing for 20 years and skied with a group of guys who have been skiing as long or longer. The lift system in Nendaz took me back to the bad old days where lifts were slow, ill conceived and just very out dated.
The 4 valleys ski terrain is some of the best ski terrain you will find anywhere in the world in my opinion. We didn't have the best snow, but it was ok. With fresh snow the possibilities are incredible. The place is entirely let down by the appalling lift system and infrastructure that surrounds it.
Let me explain in more detail. N.B. If you want very limited skiing and are happy to stay in the Nendaz area itself then you will probably be fine. However this is an example of our experience trying to ski all that the 4 valleys had to offer:
- Gondola to the top of the Nendaz area (only lift out of town and a significant but not ridiculous queue).
- Long button lift to the cable car link - 10-15 minute queue
- Cable car to the top of the link down in to Siviez - 10-15 minute queue
- Start skiing down in to Siviez for the links to Verbier/the rest of the 4 valleys.
Time skiing at that point - maybe 5-10 minutes
Time from getting in the queue in Nendaz - about an hour and 20 minutes!!!
"Let's get the bus to Siviez so we can avoid the crazy lifts"
- Wait 10 minutes for the bus
- Sit on the bus for 15/20 minutes before it leaves
- 20 minutes to Siviez packed in like rush hour on the Northern Line (London underground for those that don't know).
Rinse and repeat - except that as the bus only runs every 30 minutes you have a choice - get on the bus early, get a seat and wait for 15-20 minutes for it to leave OR squeeze on the bus late, stand squashed in a corner with very little to hold on to, dripping with sweat, like everyone else around you.
The 4 valleys has more drag lifts (buttons and T-bars) than any resort I have visited in the last 15 years. It has some of the oldest slowest 2/3 man chairs I ever remember taking, it has some of the most stupid lifts - i.e. lifts that had they gone 50 metres higher you wouldn't have to walk to get to a run.
IF the lift prices reflected the quality of the lift system you wouldn't mind BUT they are up there with some of the most expensive in Europe (think Chamonix etc). If you pay this amount of money you expect some of it to be reinvested in the lift system and supporting infrastructure - sadly this is not the case. Somwehere there is a guy counting his money and laughing at you.
Awesome terrain. Abysmal lift system.
Would I go back?:
I would go back for the terrain but I would not stay in Nendaz (Haute-Nendaz) until the connection to the rest of the area has been significantly improved. Nendaz itself is fine with some nice restaurants and bars but that is only part of a ski holiday.