The French Alps have some of the best spots for mountain biking anywhere in Europe. The combination of easy and challenging trails means that the area has something to offer for both beginners and experienced riders. In addition to the trails, there is stunning scenery to be enjoyed while riding, making this an ideal place for mountain biking.
A very popular area for mountain biking is Morzine. Located in Haute-Savoie, this area has stunning panoramic views and is considered by some to be the best area for mountain biking in the world. The resort of Les Gets is situated in this area, which hosts several mountain biking events. Morzine is one of the largest biking areas in Europe, with approximately 1000km of trails.
The area of Chamonix is also popular with mountain bikers. There are biking trails which are suitable for all abilities, as well as a downhill run which is exclusively for bikers. There are approximately 20 trails in this area, which pass through villages such as Chamonix Mont-Blanc and Vallorcine. There are lifts and shuttle buses available here, so the trails can be easily accessed.
A relatively undiscovered area for mountain biking is Les Carroz. This location is part of the Grand Massif area, which is a large ski resort. The trails in Les Carroz cover more than 600km in total, with beautiful alpine scenery. This area may be less crowded than the more well known biking destinations, but it is only a short distance from Morzine and Chamonix. For a challenging ride, there is route from Les Carroz to Chamonix, which normally takes 8 days to complete.
Mountain biking events that are held at Les Gets include the Big Mountain Battle. This is a team event which is open to all abilities, with the choice of taking the easy course or the advanced course. Les Gets also hosts La pass’portes du Soleil VTT (vélo tout-terrain), which is a mountain biking trek completed over one day. Further information on the mountain biking events can be found at www.lesgets.com, the official website for the Les Gets resort.
There is an annual VTT event hosted in Les Carroz, usually in July or August. This is a competitive biking event that often attracts more than 2000 riders. The website www.lescarroz.com has further information on the event and how to register.
Chatel, which is located in the Haute-Savoie area, has held biking events such as the downhill European cup and the Chatel Mountain Style contest. The Mountain Style event is currently being developed with a possible change of format being considered. Updates can be found at chatelmountainstyle.com, the official website for the event.
The French Alps are considered to be one of the best areas in the world for mountain biking. New mountain biking routes are being opened each year, due to the increasing popularity of the sport. The lift systems allow bikers to explore a variety of different terrains, with a mixture of downhill and cross country trails. The marked trails are also colour graded according to difficulty.
It is possible to explore the backcountry trails with an experienced guide. This option may be an ideal solution for those who want to explore the trails that are less well known. For those who wish to explore alone, maps and route cards are available.
The vast choice of trails in the French Alps means that there is something to suit all experience levels and abilities.
John is a feature writer working with Alamo car hire in France