Thinking of going to the Alps for the first time this summer but want to try and avoid blowing too much cash. Going self-catered in an apartment in Les Arcs / Bourg looks ideal but all of the local outfits offering catered chalets emphasise how important it is to have a guide to see the best of the trails. Does anyone have any experience with riding there without a guide and if so how did you find it?
the Alps on a budget
Try and hook up with other riders- maybe a day with a guide.
Any pointers on a decent guide also appreciated
Try Trail Addiction.
Morzine is great for what you want. There are plenty of cheap chalets and the riding is fantastic and its easy to find good stuff without a guide. Well marked trails and good maps if you want to explore.
Having been to les arcs a few times riding I do really agree that a guide is essential to find the best trails. The good stuff is all footpaths, walkers trails etc (all legal to ride in france) and takes some finding.
If you're happy to get the ign map (os equivalent) do a load of finding trails, map reading and find some duds/paths that don't exist then solo is ok. Some people would like the exploring feel of this but it'd drive me nuts.
I'd agree with trail addiction for a guide there or maybe go somewhere else in the alps where guiding is less important? The Portes du soleil region (morzine etc) is a lot easier to find the trails in (most on the official maps) and there are so many brit riders there it's easy to find people to show you stuff.
what is your budget? Considering that trail addiction costs include chalet, breakfast lunch n dinner and free guiding they are pretty good value for £469 for a week.
But if that doesnt suit you then i guess the cheapest way is to drive out there (unless you are lucky enough to get a bargain cheap flight in summer which inlcudes plus bike carriage) then self cater and eat/drink really frugally and then just look for the trails yourself.
Its not a huge area so you will find many of the trails.
I went there three years ago with trailaddiction and after 3 days of guided riding was able to navigate my way around on the guides day off on the wednesday. A simple map is available that helps. Depends on what your nav skills are like where you presently ride. I find mine are quite good in the uk and so transferred to france but if you havent a clue normally then you may struggle.
Doing a week in Les Arcs for 300 each including car hire/travel for 4 of us.
Good trails are dead easy to find and for the cash you save you can get a guide for the day if you feel you're missing out..
Morzine, June/July for a fortnight this summer is;
Accomodation self catering £175
Lift pass £100
There's a pretty decent map trail map on mtb techniques here. It's in a big A2 sized pdf file so you can zoom in or print it to a number of smaller A4 sheets for laminating.
Obviously the local companies will know more trails but there's definitely enough there to keep you going for at least a week without much duplication. I'll add more to it next time I go.
Chalet 100.0 (each betwixt 3 or 4) ((try ownersdirect.co.uk or simliar)
Lift pass 60.00(4 days)
beer 30.00 (bottles from supermarche)
car parking in UK 40.00
car hire (for transfer and shopping etc) 70.00 - cheaper than a transfer and handy when you are there ie for ferrying beer and food from the supermarket.
( no change out of 500 quid.)
I don't think you could do it for less. Go t Les gets. Its maybe a bit cheaper than Morzine and you can ride to the lifts easily in 10 minutes max.
can you do a weekend in the alps or is just not worth it?
I think you will get a better deal with pleisure.co.uk They are in Courchevel at 1550 mtrs, Dave will quite happily show you around the area and how to make the best use of the free bus. You will be staying in a hotel and it is catered. The food is always amazing and theres a bar on site. Accom £250 p/w with 3 meals + vino for 6 days
Trans £50 from Geneva
Ins £25 From Snocard.
You will then just need your flight to Geneva or other and a few beer tokens. There will be no queing on lifts, the trails are mostly natural trails typically mountainous, some fantastic singletrack, you have to ride the Meribel Ridge, veiws are breath taking and the 40 minute decent into Meribel is unrivalled imo. Yeah Courchevel is exspensive but you don't need to spend anything there as it's all in house. Did I mention the lively bar. Thier website is quite understated. imo
Are lifts passes really £100 for the week?
Not really after anything too hardcore so figured Morzine wasn't really worth the premium but will definitely check it out a bit more. The trails in Les Arcs sounded a bit more suitable and I reckon for a week the basics can get covered for less than £300. Thanks all for the pointers
clipper, I am one of the local outfits so obviously I'm biased!
Genuinely, you get a lot more out of the Les Arcs / Tarentaise area with a guide. As above, the marked trails on the Les Arcs map are pretty limited, all the best riding is on unmarked trails.
On top of that, we (and Trail Addiction & Bike Village) do a lot of ferrying riders around in our own transport to take advantage of other trails outside the ski resorts.
With all that said, if you're on a budget, you'll have a good time riding the marked stuff, DH, Bike Park etc. for a couple of days and then if you can read a map you're sure to find some decent trails too (although, having spent a few years in the area now, I can very much confirm that you'll end up pushing back up out of some tree/cliff/nettle nightmares too).
We'll be offering day guiding if/when we have free space this summer. I'll be properly French-qualified so will be totally legit!
Feel free to drop me an email if you want some trail advice. I'm not going to give too much away, but I'll give you some pointers!
If you are going to Les Arcs definitly hook up with a guide. The best trails are those that have been researched and trialled over the years. For the best singletrack natural trials another vote for TrailAddiction here. The guides are phenomenal and there entire package is great value for money. I would suggest that if you want a guide for a day to contact them early as when we have stayed with them they get booked up quickley.
Have fun all the same, whether staying fully catered or on a budget you'll have fun.
If you're looking at Les Arcs, I'm guessing that it's tech trails you're after rather than mahoosive waymarked downhill runs. If so, Morzine/Les Gets are not your best bet because, although there are good trails to be had (like the Gulley, which is still a massive favourite of mine), the waymarked riding is dominated by the the DH courses. It's also a bit of a British outpost where the queues for lifts are smaller than the queues for the burger bar
I'm thinking Les Arcs will be cool if we have a guide for a couple of days to get a feel for the area. Stevomcd - cheers for the offer, i'll drop you a line in a few months to see what can be arranged.
Get down to the valley camping are much cheaper and most buses will take bikes in summer.
forget about ski lift pedal your bike up so you can ride some real trail, not some DH non sense. Learn to read a map, or hook on french forum to find locals to help you and ride with you. Don't shop at supermarket, you will find farmers market to be cheaper and better quality.
That will save you a few pounds
Better riding in Chamonix IMO, less riders and out if you go in June or September then you have the place to yourselves. Plenty of info on the web, chamonix MTB book and follow an IGN map. Lots of cheap apartments to rent as well.
morzine/PdS has as much XC stuff as gnarly DH stuff, is very well signed and mapped so you dont need a guide, and if you really want to ghetto it theres a fab campsite in Les Gets (le grange ou frene or similar). Its dirt cheap, and when I used it had free hot showers, free washing machines, free drying room and use of a kitchen/diner for cooking and sitting/chilling.
its above Les Gets on the Mt Chery side so you need to either catch the last uplift and ride offroad down to it, or slog up a bit of a road climb, but its far more pleasant than the more accessible campsite in morzine.
we're staying in Vallandry which is a bit cheaper but still right by a lift to Les Arcs also it is a little way down the mountain so the last run is always singletrack in the woods.
Paying around 500 quid for a chalet, 110 for flights (shit times but cheaper) hiring an estate car is around 100 each.
So about 300 quid - I reckon after extras, food, passes, we will be in for around 450 each for the week. Guided chalet trip is still possible but it is a fair bit more money however I do agree that a guide is a good idea. I don't know if they will giude people who aren't staying with them? Me I like exploring and I know my way around the place quite well.
Also Les Arc, Vallandy, Peisey area is dead dead quiet. No Queues!
In the past I have done the alps more or less self guided and had a great time.
Went out on my first ever guided alpine trip last year with trailaddiction and had an even greater time, we did some awesome trails, waaaay better than I expected.
It all depends how you value your holidays, some people go regularly and dont mind getting a bit lost or missing a piece of trail, others only have one hol a year or less and want to make that week count so dont mind paying for a guide to get the best riding.
some peop,le seem to have different definition of budget!
Flights - negative, drive with a full car lets save the planet!
Chalet - wtf? camp you wusses
Lift pass - liftpass? need i say more?
Guides - learn to read a map- carrying is good for the soul!
Insurance - nah dont crash*
Bit if food and beer and your done.
I reckon couple hundred quid for a week ought to do you.
* Im not advocating this one.
Stevomcd from the White Room is ace. If you go earlier in the season (before the lifts open) you get uplifted ion their van with days in different parts of the valley. Plus pre-uplift season is uber cheap. Last year we had the week before the lifts opened so the weather was good and the higher level stuff was rideable, all meals, all we could drink and a great guide for less than £500. I think the chalet was around £350 and the flight with BA (bike goes free) was about £110.
I'd very much recommend them. http://www.whiteroomchalet.com/sumintro.htm
I'll also vouch for Stevomcd and the White Room. We're going back this summer. Their bunk bed deals might get into your budget. If I was going alone or with only guys I would definitely go for their bunks option.
I've been looking at going out to Les Arcs this summer (I posted the Morzine or Les Arcs? thread) and have just been offered a great deal with http://www.themountainbikechalet.com . They said they're offering singletrackworld members £50 off the price. So £349 for some guiding, all food, great chalet, bike storage/workshop up in Peisey. I'm booked up, can't ruddy wait.
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