First Alps Trip – Where to go?

Home Forum Bike Forum First Alps Trip – Where to go?

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 58 total)
  • First Alps Trip – Where to go?
  • oliwb
    Member

    Okay, so me and some mates are planning on doing an Alpine holiday this summer.

    We all used to ride DH locally pretty regularly but have slowly moved away from our 222’s to an alpine 160 and a patriot. We do the trail centres with the odd DH run at Ft. William and anything else we can ride locally that is fun.

    We’re planning on driving out and camping but are having problems picking a destination…..Initial thoughts were Morzine but I’ve heard it gets really busy / brake bumps and maybe we can find something better? Where would be good to suit our sort of riding? Don’t really want full on DH trails all day every day but am not expecting to pedal up a hill anywhere (I can do that at home….). Some I thought of:
    – Morzine
    – Les Gets
    – Les Arcs?

    Anywhere else worth a go? I guess since we’re driving there’s nothing stopping us doing a few days here and there??? Is that a good idea?

    Thanks,
    Oli.

    titusrider
    Member

    Do morzine, yes you get braking bumps, yes the weather can be iffy but with ‘big’ bikes it is pretty epic and a bit of a must do.

    be more inventive next time 🙂

    ps morzine and lesgets are pretty much one and the same. Ive stayed in both and morzine has the slightly better night life but not much in it.

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Freeride Finale ?

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    Morzine is a good place to start. You get access to a huge area with a good lift network. Lots of other things to do as well. It is busier than other places but not exactly crowded. Les gets is part of the same area but at one end so not as central as morzine

    I would say morzine as well. I went to lies arcs first time and if I am honest it was too much, so the next year we tried morzine, it was awesome.

    Going back to lies arcs this year though…..

    nutsnvolks
    Member

    As already stated, morzine is a great location. The braking bumps are harsh on some of the main trails, but there are plenty of off piste runs that are much smoother. Les gets is just up the pleney lift then a short ride downhill and you are then at the lift up to les gets bike park!! Go the other way from morzine and visit chatel bike park, or the many tracks round les linderettes !!! You really will be spoilt for choice in and around morzine, don’t let the braking bumps put you off!

    gsp1984
    Member

    We went to the passportes du soleil area last year and I was a bit disappointed, we had bad weather that probably didn’t help but the trails were a mess with ruts upto your discs and braking bumps that were just to much like hard work with 160mm to be enjoyable. It was also just insanely busy and heavily DH orientated…. Great if you are the next Danny Hart, not great if in reality you dont jump 20ft gaps very often and prefer lakes / peak district fast singletrack. It’s easy to say its not all DH orientates, but unless your local or go guided its not easy to find the nice stuff.

    We are going to Sainte Foy with whiteroomchalets this year which sounds about perfect for me, can’t wait and already excited like a kid lol.

    Ultimately it’s down to what your hoping to get out of it and you riding style.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Morzine had lost most of it’s appeal, crowded, rutted etc.

    I’d suggest a guided trip in the Les Arcs Region (not just the resort as there is much better in the surrounding hills) we used white room and you probably wont be disappointing. Pick a week that includes La Thuile for some DH crashing the rest is sweet trails that can last forever.
    [video]http://vimeo.com/45116906[/video]
    [video]http://vimeo.com/44510421[/video]
    Drop them an e-mail and see what weeks they suggest – fully catered & fully guided

    carlphillips
    Member

    my 1st time last year went to morzine, loved it..I didn’t overly notice any massive braking bumps and we went end of season, had a mate with us who guides there so did some ace off piste stuff but I loved all the main lines too, could ride the pleney all day!!flat out fun! as said up there morzine has great access to all the areas so i’d say go there.

    we did les gets/ chatel/ morgins/ swiss side stuff/ avoriaz (sp?) all within a short space of time, can’t wait to go back out there…

    @mikesmith…that does look like a lot of fun too!!

    oliwb
    Member

    Cheers guys. Sounds like Morzine would be a good bet for us then. Unfortunately the guided thing is just out of the question on grounds of price. With 4 of us piled into a camper van it becomes possible.

    Will go for Morzine this year and see what happens. Looking at the last week of June so hopefully brake bumps won’t be too bad.

    Oli.

    ridingscared
    Member

    Morzine/les gets is very Dh orientated IMHO. I thoroughly enjoy it there but there’s no denying the main runs get mangled and are hard going on the hands and arms. I thought Morgins was immense , and the more techy slower (for me anyway) stuff I enjoyed more than the bike park runs, but I’m shite at gap jumps so probably explains it. Hasn’t stopped me going back though, I’d happily spend a week doing that super black under the Super morzine cable car and never go near the main runs (pleney is a blast as well to be fair). But when the weather turns it is miserable, the majority of the runs are lethal and its not nice getting stuck between valleys when the storms roll in.
    Les Arcs is different, only the 1 true DH race run (Cachette) but more techy epic singletrack than you can shake a stick at. Quieter as well, less of a ‘boys on tour ‘ vibe to the nightlife which may or may not suit you. You will benefit from a guide as well.
    But compared to UK riding either destination will be epic experiences , the combination of lift assist , big mountains and super long descents is hard to beat.

    nutsnvolks
    Member

    If your restricted on funds and can’t afford a guide a good option (what we did) is to enter the “passportes du soliel” event. It costs about 45 euros gives you lift pass for entire area for the event day and another day , plus we got a free camelback type bag last year and you get free food and drink including wine beer ect

    Doing the event at the beginning of your stay gives you a great look at what’s on offer in the differant areas, plus it’s a great days riding to!

    nutsnvolks
    Member

    If you do enter the event fromorzine though, be aware tickets sell out fast for the morzine and les gets starting points, and they go on sale on Wednesday I think!!

    gsp1984
    Member

    oliwb – Member
    Will go for Morzine this year and see what happens. Looking at the last week of June so hopefully brake bumps won’t be too bad.

    Oli.

    We went at the end of June and the weather was horrific, and the trails a complete mess. We did the 85km PPdS event and ended up looking like the below, and we looked much worse on other days lol

    The event is ok if you want to see how to get to all 9 of the other resort, but the riding was a bit rubbish, mostly on fire roads, or indeed actual roads, even the DH detours were tame. This is on at the end of June when your wanting to go.

    http://www.passportesdusoleil.com/passportes-2013-edition.html

    Chatel mountain style is probably on at the end on June again which is worth watching, although most of it was cancelled due to weather when we were there 🙁

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    @carlphillips
    Was great fun riding it all, guide + van to do the area justice, well worth a proper guided trip there. (and surprisingly cheap for what you got)
    There is a set of vids from the whole 10 days up there, the thing over the Morzine stuff was the length of the trails some went on for days and the fact that we were nearly alone all the time, never any crowds, queues or hassle from ass hats.

    dantsw13
    Member

    We did Morzine the weekend before PPDS last year, and it was 4 days of blue sky!!

    nutsnvolks
    Member

    We did the week after ppds and did the event on the Sunday, started off great weather but did end up looking like those above, the weather for rest of week really wasn’t all that bad, couple of days when it rained but mostly warm and sunny

    The wet mud makes the trails rather entertaining though!

    ianv
    Member

    For a first trip I would suggest Deux Alp. Better weather guaranteed, open from mid June, trails in better condition. The mondial du vtt is around the time you are going as well and is much better fun than the pds. You can park a van on the river just before vanosc and make the trip even cheaper. No guides needed either.

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    As Titusrider says, Morzine is a great first trip. Don’t need guides, easy for camping, easy to get to. Great place.
    you’re in the Alps it’ll be hit and miss with the weather, we’ve been to Morzine about 8 times, over PDS and later into July and August, there was only 1 yr when we had bad weather otherwise we have had spectacular sunshine.
    In relation to the breaking bumps you’ll often find peopel on the trails digging them out so morning breaking bumps, afternoon all gone!

    If you do want to enter PdS then you need to be online the minute it opens I’m sure one year Morzine as a start was sold out within 30 minutes or something similar. it is a good fun event to do especially as your first foray into the Alps.

    gsp1984
    Member

    There is a set of vids from the whole 10 days up there, the thing over the Morzine stuff was the length of the trails some went on for days and the fact that we were nearly alone all the time, never any crowds, queues or hassle from ass hats.

    I was sat watching your vids on Vimeo last night getting myself all excited again lol

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    cheers, glad they get enjoyed.

    One of the best trips I have done if it wasn’t so far and expensive I’d be there again. At least Rotorura is closer now.

    bland
    Member

    As first trips go, most people go to the Portes du Soleil and you WILL have fun, however after a few years on teh trot you will start to tire of the weather (50/50 chance of sun/heavy prolonged rain). When its nice its lovely, when it isnt it ruins your holiday. That coupled with teh fact the trails are so well rode they have no features left other than braking bumps and the fact you have to queue for lifts grows tiring.

    After repeatedly putting up with this for years you will eventually man up and go out into the deep wild alps and find what you have been missing.

    Endless untouched singletrack, no queues, glorious weather (the further south you head) and Italians

    Seriously think what you want. The PDS is great fun for a first time but at the same time its rubbish. If you are 17 then you will love it, if you are 37 then seriously dont bother.

    Some other places to think about:

    Les Arcs (and Sainte Foy)
    Chamonix Valley
    Alpe Duez and Les Deux Alpes
    Pila and La Thuile
    Vars, Montgenevre etc in the deep south
    And Beaufortain which is mostly undiscovered but really nice

    If you want any tips on road tripping give me a shout

    Oh and take a look here if you are struggling to find what your options are – Yes there really are that many places other than teh PDS to ride in

    zerocool
    Member

    Go for Morzine and stay here if you’re camping Campin Le Pre
    It’s run by a crazy french lady, but it’s a good campsite that’s only about a 10 min ride into Morzine centre and a 5 min ride back at the end of the day. We stay there most years, the showers are hot, it’s fairly quiet and there’s a good bakery just around the corner for fresh bread/pastries every morning.

    People always exaggerate how battered the PDS is, and that’s true of Les Gets and Pleney, but head a little further a field (which is easy as thee are so many lifts and trails) and it’s fine.

    There’s a bit of everything there no matter what skill level you are.

    As said above, it’s pretty easy to get to and great for a first time trip (or repeat visits) and then think about exploring further afield next time.

    Avoid the Passportes weekend unless you’re planning on doing it as you just end up queued behind lots of slow people grumbling about how big the braking bumps are 😉

    And if it rains you’ll still have an ace time because being British you’ll know how to ride in mud and kick some Euro arse, but make sure you wrap up warm because the lifts are freaking cold on a wet day. If you go to the Alpes in June/July there’s a good chance you’ll get some rain as the climate in mountains is a little different to the UK.

    Les 2 Alpes and Alpes D’Huez also make a good trip, especially if you’re driving out as you can flit between the 2 resorts.
    Tom KP

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    There’s a bit of everything there no matter what skill level you are.

    This is so true and it’s what makes Morzine the perfect place to start. Yes, other places have better weather, smoother trails, lets people, etc, but Morzine has a bit of everything and you can do it all without much planning or a guide. You can try stuff out, find out what you like then start planning your next trip.

    oliwb
    Member

    Thanks guys. Morzine it is I think. I know about the weather – we’ve sailed in Lake Garda and you get the daily afternoon thunderstorms passing through. I think the hardest bit is knowing what sort of riding you actually want. As people have intimated Morzine seems the best place to try lots of different things. I know I don’t want full on DH trails but I also don’t want any uphill XC or too much slow techy stuff. I live in Scotland (Aberdeen) so can get that stuff whenever I like! I think we’ll go for Morzine and if the WAG’s ever let us out again maybe we’ll have a bit more experience to try somewhere else / more specific.

    The other concern is that on this particular trip we’ll have a range of experiences / talent with us so a few nice rolling greens and blues is probably a good thing!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    The other concern is that on this particular trip we’ll have a range of experiences / talent with us so a few nice rolling greens and blues is probably a good thing!

    LOL be prepared for the weekend warriors to smash through you on their GoPro run of the mega hard greens on hired bikes 🙂

    Sorry just my negative perspective of the place. The good stuff in all places is off the beaten track and hard to find which is what makes guiding and locals invaluable in these areas. I liked the trails in PDS but not the atmosphere, especially when I was there with the missus, the hard stuff was empty but the easy overcrowded and full of ass hats.

    Out of interest what is your budget per person?

    oliwb
    Member

    Budget is as cheap as possible….at the moment based on 4 of us driving out in the camper van and camping with an awning it’s £250 per person (that’s fuel, eurotunnel fare, lift pass and camping for the week). Dare say the budget will get a hammering for spares / breakages / food / beer but have to convince the wife that it can be a cheap week otherwise she won’t let me go!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    White Room is £550 ish bed dinner breakfast, evening meal, packed lunch, beer and wine (I recall) for all bar 1 night where you have to sort dinner. Couple of lift passes and not much else to buy.

    I was surprised how good value it was having done mates trips before.

    Did a 2 week van trip and got sick of moving round/expensive campsites.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    Budget should be OK. Spares aren’t that bad out there and you have space to take a load with you. If you are happy to sit in the awning drinking supermarket beer you will save quite a bit as beer in a bar is a rather pricey, but that first beer after a days riding is great so maybe worth it 🙂 . We usually stop on the way at Annemasse just before the mountains and do a big shop for booze and bulk food.

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    you can do Morzine cheap! if you’re camping especially, there is nothing nicer than a fresh baguette with ham and cheese which I clearly wouldn’t eat in the UK but for some reason in France tastes beautuful. yes you can have have pizza’s and beers but that’ what up’s the price. You can then cook some stuff or spend a few nights going out. Just got to factor in your lift pass which is … I don’t know 60-100euros?? (that’s a guess first year we went it was 40 euros I don’t think it’ll be that anymore!).

    It’s a great place for a first time, ignore all the negative comments you’ll have a blinding time with mates.

    Oh and if you’re driving take spares it IS expensive to get stuff from local bike shops as it’s a captive market.

    Steve77
    Member

    If you’re taking a van and camping you could easily try out a few different places – e.g. if you’re in Morzine it’s an hour drive to Chamonix and then only another hour onto Verbier. I’d much rather do that than spend a whole week doing the same trails in one place

    wl
    Member

    http://www.bikeverbier.com Tons and tons of glowing reports and reviews of this company on here. The riding alone is good enough reason to book, then add great guides and hosts, fantastic accommodation, delicious grub and plenty of it etc etc. Oh, and a super-smooth and finely-tuned operation guaranteed to maximise your trail time. Pretty much all of my best riding memories are from numerous stays with these folk. Absolutely knock-out holidays easily worth every penny.

    Edit – ooops, just noticed you don’t pedal. Shame, you’ve got the right bikes and you’ll miss out big time. Abroad’s no different to home – the best trails take a little getting to.

    Premier Icon tmb467
    Subscriber

    Chamonix wasnt that good last year – not all lifts open to bikes, and the bike park closed. Rumour has it that the mayor wants to limit it to walkers

    however, if you get to Chamonix, just go through the tunnel to italy and have a play there instead (especially if yu have the car)

    nutsnvolks
    Member

    You will find beer is 5 euro a pint if you go to bars! Spares for the bike arnt as bad as people make out! They are probably on par with over here but they are obviously more expensive than buying from chain reaction or the like!! 3 of us went in my t5 van last year, it cost about £300 for fuel £140 for motorway tolls and we stayed in a chalet over there, the cost of that wasn’t bad as it was all payed for by the time we left so didn’t come out if our “cash spends” money

    There are loads and loads of bike shops in morzine and lea gets so the prices are realistic. After 1 day of riding I decided my elixir brakes were not adequate and decided to treat myself. Managed to get a fro t and rear set of formula the ones for €240 so I didn’t think that was that bad really.

    Initially we were going to camp but cos of the women coming it was settled on a chalet, WHEN I next go it will be a chalet again, after a hard and muddy days riding I’m not sure I would be a fan of trying to get cleaned up whilst camping, having said that, if that was the only option due to funds, then I’d jump at the chance!!!!

    I am very jealous, wish I was going this year again but just had first child and there is no way I will get a pass for this year, next year however, I will definitely be going!!

    zerocool
    Member

    Wait until there’s a Tesco Clubcard points Channel Tunnel special offer and buy them then they work out amazingly cheap. It’s quick and I’ll never be using the ferry again.

    oliwb
    Member

    Good tip….will look out for that with Tesco. Tunnel isn’t extortionate at full price (£87 each way).

    It’s not that we don’t pedal – more that the whole point in going there is to not pedal….I can ride up lots of hills at home (I can’t sit on my arse and be whisked up lots here – unfortunately!). I guess the novelty will wear off but probably not on the first trip!

    oliwb
    Member

    What the best campsite for Morzine / Les Gets? Seen two online. One half-way down a DH run on Les Gets side and one a mile or two out of Morzine. Any others I should be aware of??

    Munqe-chick
    Member

    If not tunnel offer get ferry at odd times and it’s peanuts think we got return journey for £60!! split that X ways and it’s super cheap.

    The Les Gets one Les Grange au Frene is fantastic as you have a house attached it it with decent showers, the bread man deliver fresh croissants early doors and you can cook in the kitchen use the living room if you wish (or weather is rubbish). howveer if you miss the Mont Chery lift it’s a bit of a ball ache of a road ride up the hill! don’t do wahat Mr MC did one year and load the camelbaks with beer only to be quite ill later that night 😉 can’t comment on the Morzine campsites have no idea where they are. Morzine is slightly more central as you acn head to LEs Gets or the other way to Chatel and into Switzlerand.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    The Morzine site in the river valley is a good location. Easy to get to town and downhill from almost everywhere. Means you can finish in Lindarets or Les Gets with the last lift and still roll home

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 58 total)

The topic ‘First Alps Trip – Where to go?’ is closed to new replies.