The Swiss village of Verbier used to be a favoured stamping ground of the Sloane Ranger brigade, led by a gent called Paddy McNally and his friend Sarah Ferguson. They would party at a dive called The Farm Club, where the spirits sell at 200SF a bottle and the music is on a 10-year time lag.

Now, however, the oiks have taken over – praise be.

Verbier has become Europe's premier venue for extreme winter sports competitions. Last week's Verbier Ride event consisted of skier- and boardercross races (as in motocross, several skiers or snowboarders at once race down an undulating course with jumps), and "big mountain freeride" competitions.

It featured top British skiers and boarders, as well as homegrown talent. Even more impressive is the Red Bull Extreme contest (23-24 March), the toughest snowboard event in Europe. Top riders from around the world tackle the Bec des Rosses mountain, in places as steep as 55 degrees.

Events such as these (and the attendant parties) have helped Verbier attract a more youthful and adventurous clientele. They find a cool scene in bars such as Croc No Name, and the club Taratata, which attracts some of Europe's top DJs.

Daytime can be pretty "core" too. Warren Smith's Ski Academy is based in Verbier, using its difficult terrain to teach people how to ride all conditions, stray into the snowboarder's domains of half-pipe and fun park, jump off rocks and land backwards (www.warren smith-skisynergy.com).

Meanwhile, the posh snow bunnies are looking for a new place to overpay for their gin.

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