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Stepping Outside the Bubble


With everything Verbier has to offer, it’s no wonder it attracts visitors from all over the world. Whether a regular visitor for years, a permanent or seasonal resident, or on holiday here for the first time, most will agree that Verbier has something for everyone: fantastic skiing, exceptional weather with sun-drenched terraces, contemporary alpine luxury living, and a unique buzz when it comes to après-ski and nightlife.

Sadly however, very few, during their stay here, venture out of the Verbier ‘bubble’ to discover the abundant riches of the immediate region.

Commeire_Winter_Views-5For photographer Sébastien Albert, long-time resident of Val de Bagnes, it was almost inconceivable that people would visit Verbier without exploring the natural beauties of the area. So, together with Activefusion, he developed a range of seasonal photography workshops, with the aim not only to teach participants the ins and outs of photography, but also help them discover the unspoiled beauty of the region surrounding Verbier.
In order to give his workshop participants the best experience possible, Sébastien’s intent was to find the ideal accommodation; one where they could be at one with Nature. To him, Montagne-Alternative was the perfect answer. “When Ludovic Orts, the founder of Montagne Alternative, showed me around the properties, and explained its novel concept, it was an instant ‘coup de cœur’! It was clear to me that this mountain haven of tranquility would be the ideal setting for learning: this is where my workshop participants had to sojourn”.

Montagne Alternative is composed of four barns (granges) and one traditional alpine village house, all meticulously renovated with comfort in mind. Great attention has been given to maintain the authenticity and heritage of the properties, while incorporating sustainable energy solutions. Nestled in the tranquility of the Alpine mountainside at an altitude of 1,450m, and spread throughout the hamlet of Commeire, Montagne Alternative’s properties offer spectacular views of Mont Vélan and the Mont Blanc Massif. Although only a mere 30-minute drive from Verbier, the hustle and bustle of everyday life feels a million miles away!

Emphasis is put on time spent outdoors, putting theory into practice, gaining as much ‘hands-on’ experience as possible.

Thus, the workshops were developed with this dual purpose in mind: helping participants develop their skills at capturing interesting, well-balanced images, while having them discover the natural richness of this region. During the workshops, classroom instruction is kept to a minimum. Emphasis is put on time spent outdoors, putting theory into practice, gaining as much ‘hands-on’ experience as possible. Furthermore, groups limited to six participants ensure individual attention is given to all.

Commeire_Winter_Views-1“The programme’s excursions are essentially a patchwork of all my favorite places, discovered through my countless outings over the years” says Sébastien. “It’s a ‘best of’ the region’s landscapes in sorts, which I’m now delighted to share with photo enthusiasts of all levels. And, as each season has its particularities, all workshops are unique. For example, during the spring workshop, we capture the valleys’ rebirth, and take in the cultural spectacle of the “Combats de Reines”. The winter workshop encompasses ski touring with a guide and an overnight stay in an authentic mountain hut, while, in the summer, we focus on the myriad of wildflowers in the high alpine. And, come autumn, we turn our lenses towards the amazing palette of colors which Mother Nature grants us”.

The workshops include excursions to Val Ferret, the Haut Val de Bagnes nature reserve, Val d’Hérens, and Val d’Hérémence’s ‘Val des Dix’ nature reserve.

Participants also journey to Emosson to catch the last rays of light on the massif of the Mont Blanc, and discover the Gorges du Durnand, a local hidden gem.

“In fact, the outings are so varied and interesting, that the participants’ partners and friends can tag along and have a great time also, without even delving into the wonderful world of photography. For them, the excursion’s goal is purely about relaxing, and resourcing themselves whilst capturing nature’s energy and beauty and enjoying the views. A mini-holiday of sorts.”
Day courses are also offered on a weekly basis throughout the year in Verbier, and customised courses, tailored to the specific needs and requirements of all photo enthusiasts, can be arranged on demand by contacting the photographer.

For detailed course and workshop info, and to make a booking, please contact Sébastien at info@trobophoto.com or visit www.trobophoto.com

Montagne Alternative is open all year round and offers different experience packages and activities for each season. Visit www.montagne-alternative.com for more information.