MTB Chalet in the Alps, what would be your wishlist?

Home Forum Bike Forum MTB Chalet in the Alps, what would be your wishlist?

Viewing 37 posts - 1 through 37 (of 37 total)
  • MTB Chalet in the Alps, what would be your wishlist?
  • meribelmtb

    Hi guys and gals

    Basically I’m after a bit of help. My wife and I run a small chalet company in Meribel and we’re opening in the summer for hikers and bikers.

    The biking scene is growing here but slowly and the trails are more XC based than DH for the time being but again that is changing too.

    As we’re more used to hurtling down mountains with boards strapped to our feet we know what skiers and boarders want but need some advice about what would make a good place great for MTBers.

    So what would be on your wishlist, large or small, outlandish or otherwise?

    Cheers in advance


    Premier Icon Stoner

    Dont lose the XC stuff!
    IGN bleue with marked up trails and loops to borrow.
    Picnic tables with a view and beer fridge with place on a terrace to fettle.
    fettling stands.
    Swarfega and rags/towels for grimey hands.
    Drying room. Washing machine. With sheilas maid or clothes lines & pegs
    Lockable cage with anchors in for storing bikes – but anchors important to secure within the cage too.
    Beds without footboards (if you’re a midget under 6’2″ you wont know how important this is 😉 )


    Cheers Stoner

    Wouldn’t have thought of the anchors but we’re getting a new floor laid in the boot/bike room so we should be able to sort that.

    Picnic tables and a place to tinker in the offing and we’ve already got a barbie on the patio.

    XC is more our scene that DH I think. Bailing in soft snow will always be more appealing that bailing in gravel and shale I think.


    2nd the works stands and some basic tools. Good cable cuter for example.

    Packed lunch options.


    Get a bike rack for the back of the van so you can ferry people further afield if that’s what they want to do. Don’t ditch the dauphinoise 😉


    All that stoner said… and maybe a track pump or compressor and a tool kit. Somewhere to hose down bikes too. Info about local bike shops, places to get spares. If you are not doing guided trips then some info on local guides, though that’s probably something that people would arrange before they get out there.


    Having stayed at the bearback chalet in whistler, I think they have it pretty good..

    Hottub (not essential but nice)
    Garage is a bike workshop, has workstands, full toolset, small parts to hand (ie outer cable, etc). If you’re flying out this is a godsend
    Hose for a bikewash

    The lunch option is a good one, as, potentially, would be some gear available to hire – say pads, lids, a couple of ‘big’ bikes for a day out (you don’t have to do this yourself, but having a link to a local shop that can help out might be good

    Free wifi

    english telly

    bike dvd collection for chilled evenings

    honesty bar for cold beers


    Mountain biking in the Alps is different to skiing in the Alps. For skiing you can just rock up to the lift on day 1 and take any old piste from the top and have a fairly good time. But that isn’t true of mountain biking, where you do need to have a pretty well-informed plan of specifically which routes you’re going to do. At least I do, I’m a complete anorak about these things. Because half the trails in the Alps are boring fire roads and a quarter are rocky hellfests, and if you get it wrong it’s normally a push for a couple of hours to get back up to where you started. Major drag if you’re only out there for a few days anyway.

    So it helps for someone to be on hand at some point in the week (preferably at the start) who rides and really knows the area, so you can sit down at the kitchen table with a map on evening 1 and decide specifically what you’re going to do.

    Alternatively maybe have a big IGN map covering the entire riding area laminated and pinned up somewhere. Yo umay need more than one IGN map to cover the whole area. Mark up the trails you know to be sweet ones with a highlighter. Also mark up the open lifts and maybe their opening times/dates too.

    How is Meribel for riding? I imagine the Saulire ridge must be quite good (I’m sure I’ve seen photos on here) and I seem to remember hearing there’s good stuff above Courchevel too. Just out of interest.


    Packed lunches are a good idea. Went riding in Spain a while back with pure mountains and at certain points we’d meet up with the van and they’d have a picnic lunch or refreshments laid out. Very civilised. Maybe not quite as necessary in the alps where there are lots of nice cafe’s. Maybe something to mark on the maps with a bit of a guide as to the good ones to arrange a ride around.


    work stands
    covered bike work area if its raining (indoors or out)
    table and chairs set up on a deck or terrace
    some basic spares for sale (powerlinks-inner tube-jockey wheel-bolts)
    some tools (cable cutter – chain whip – allen keys)
    unlimited beer and wine
    some marked up maps if i dont want to go with a guide
    option for packed lunch
    access to a washing machine
    bike wash
    option for airport transfers (good to chat to hosts on the drive)

    thats all i can think of at the mo

    Premier Icon Stoner

    jhw ^ sounds very like me. Hate wasting a day/half-day of a 6 da holiday on rubbish trails because you’ve not been able to get any first hand info on trail types.

    I do a lot of riding by map and VTT route around france and half the time you’re on a fireroad or tarmac “black” route rather than the sweet singletrack one seeks. All my IGN bleue maps are covered in highlighters indicating where the good stuff Ive ridden is. For example all my maps around Luchon are marked up following a week with AQR there.

    A session with maps early on to transfer the good stuff so you can be the master of your own routes is very good.


    Onsite Bar with cheap booze
    BBQ for your night off
    Table tennis
    Pickup\drop off from the airport
    Tea\Cake after a day’s riding
    Free wine with evening meal


    brown sauce! but i always take my own 😳


    Bike wash would be top of my list closely followed by a BBQ and picnic tables.

    A good collection of tools will be really helpful so people don’t have to take there own and one or two workstands. A trackpump would also be good.


    +1 for airport transfers as we have had a few nightmares at Geneva over the last few years (like being charged £120 for dropping the hire car back at the Swiss side when it was hired from the French side).

    A supply of basic spares such as cables / chains / tubes / tyres / nut ‘n’ bolts would be useful. A few disc brake pads maybe for the more common types of brake.

    Access to a good bike mechanic who can also do suspension repairs would have saved me a lot of hassle on our last trip also!



    A spare bike to lend out just in case?

    Oh and big meals at night!


    Hmm wonder who PJT201 is.

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far guys, plenty of food for thought.

    The trail maps stuff is something that we’ll be sorting out preseason and in conjunction with one of the local MTB schools/guiding companies here. During the winter we’re keen to help with planning routes, recommending different runs and routes to people and we’ll definately be doing that in the summer too

    We’ve got cold beer and BBQs covered and a VW transporter for airport runs too.

    JHW in all honesty we’re going on second hand info about the trails as we’ve not been out here during the summer yet. Everyone we talk to says that the riding is varied and to suit all tastes. There is a mean run from the top of the Saulire down to Brides Les Bains that they run a race down on the opening week of the season. 20km course with a 2000m vertical drop. Winning time last season was 24 mins. Insane.

    The 3 Valleys have been a bit slow on the uptake for biking but they are catching up. Courcheval has been quicker than Meribel but a lot of independent operators out here (us included) are working to change that.


    @toons Afternoon tea a speciality here and wine and beer with dinner is included.

    @pastcaring We’ve got brown sauce and English tea bags…

    @prettymucheveryone Edinburgh bike co op do a comprehensive looking bike tool kit is it up to much?

    @konaboy2275 French pharmacies don’t mess about when it comes to painkillers so you’ll be all good there. Not many people leave our table wanting more food either….


    As is ever the case the basics are what matters.

    Good showers – several of them ideally.
    Good beds without footboards (So annoying when they have)
    Hearty food/drink in large quantities perhaps a lunch option
    A decent sound system and entertainment
    Stuff for maintaining bikes and “some” spares you’re not running a bike shop after all
    Secure storage
    Transport for shuttling bikes and people.


    We were in Meribel in ’84 I think. In 5 days it put down 10 foot of snow and none of the lifts were open so I was put in ski 😀 school whilst my folks sat in the hotel bar! Last day we had a perfect clear blue sky but couldn’t ski due to avalanche warnings. Would love to go back some time and see what the skiing is like… 😀


    For airport transfers get a trailer for the bike bags.

    Premier Icon Stoner

    Stuff for maintaining bikes and “some” spares you’re not running a bike shop after all

    WD40, GT85, rags, handful of popular brake pad sets (you should be able to get some very good deals from disco or ssc etc) box of gear inners, box of gear outers, green and red finishline oil. Box of mixed zip ties. Tool kit poss like edinburgh – not familiar with it myself.

    You should be able to get some job lots of the consumables (oils, pads, cables) and possibly sell them on for a small margin if you want.

    Premier Icon Rusty Mac


    This was posted up in another thread this morning. If you do not already have work stands this combo offer from Merlin could be just what you are looking for


    the free beer and wine thing should be at all times, or if not free very cheep

    its not about getting mashed its more about if i come down off the hill and want to spend 60 mins washing and preping my bike in the sun for the next day i want to be able to put my hand in the fridge and grab a cold beer while doing so, not just a meal times

    if its free then just stubbies of some local supermarket brew would do doesnt have to be big brand name

    +1 for entertainment somthing like a WII or some biking dvds, just somthing to do while relaxing if its wet outside after riding

    good quality pillows i always find hotel / holiday ones to be a bit flat and uncomfy


    I’m going to go against the grain here and say don’t bother with tools, spares and stands.

    Stuff will go missing or get broken. Then what? The next group come in with expectations that can’t be met. Not to mention the potential liabilities when people mis-use the tools.

    Security. That’s a different matter. I would certainly ensure that there are sufficient anchoring points (a 15mm dia steel hoop cast into the ground is sufficient) for people to lock their bikes too – using their locks. Also ensure the room they’re lockied in is secure – good locks and quality door.

    Premier Icon jameso

    no, DO bother with tools etc, it’s a must. you can’t fly with all that stuff and bikes need daily prep over there. cables, tubes and rear mech stocks would be so useful from time to time too – well appreciated if you pass on at cost-covering prices. i wouldn’t stay somewhere with no basic workshop area, it’s part of the basics pack along with kit wash/drying and a bike wash.

    luxury pack contents are well covered above. forget the hot tub unless evrything else is covered already ) if you have tech support and great trails, plus good food in large quantities and a comfy bed, the rest isn’t that important for a week or 2 riding trip.

    Premier Icon jameso

    actually, good belgian beer or a whisky menu would top it off but i’m getting distracted from the important business really..

    Premier Icon Straightliner

    Happy with all of the suggestions above including the removal of all footboards on beds, but one thing that will apply to winter and summer usage – some decent pillows. I have no idea why, but it seems to be some sort of French standard to provide just one pillow with all the rise of a small paperback. Most people don’t sleep like that at home, and shoving bathrobes/towels/jackets underneath isn’t perfect.

    Premier Icon Onzadog

    Security has always been the bug bear for me on previous trips. Why do people think thieves don’t work while they’re on holiday. A locked basement room isn’t enough if other guests leave the door wide open to make it easy for them to get in. I’d like to see some locks on site that I can borrow as lugging my hefty lock would eat all my luggage allowance, lock and a fixed point to lock them to.

    I’m not fussed about spares as I always take my own. I work stand would be good and maybe a few basic tools but no need to go silly with them.

    Food is a very serious issue that really put a downer on our last trip. The company we went with broke the Alpine Law by not serving cake in the summer! Why to snow sports get cake and cyclits don’t? Portion size is critical as well. Most mountain bikers I know have healthy appitites. Doesn’t have to be expensive. Just let them fill up on pasta, bread, potatoes and the like.

    Routes, for me, I’d say sell your selves on the XC thing (lift assisted trail riding). Lots of places in the Alps are DH focused so it would really set you apart. Route guiding or info is useful as well. Local knowledge is priceless. Give me a shout if you need someone to come over and do some research for you!


    Jees some people dont want much for free do they!

    Things I can think of:

    Clean and comfortable.

    Info on what to do when NOT biking.

    Outside area to sit and relax in comfort in the sun and shade.

    No free booze, why should I pay for other people to drink? However do supply local stuff cheaper than you could pay in local supermarket + supply of cold drinks, honesty box works well.

    Some where to wash bikes, fettle bikes. Personally cant see why you need workstands never ever needed one and if your going on holiday bike should be in good working condition.

    Good secure bike storage (not just in the ski room) ie needs anchors for locking to in ski room. Secure areas to lock the bikes outside the chalet when just back from a ride.

    I wouldnt provide tools they are likely to go walk about etc, and as above what happens when some one damages their bike using your tools? Send them to the LBS. I think its essential that you have a Local Bike Shop (maybe guests get 10% discount on repairs etc?)

    Clothes washing facilities

    Maps of area.

    For you to think about… what will you do when people come back in covered in mud with filthy bikes? I’m sure you will not want the walking through your nice clean chalet to their bedroom to get changed? Might have to offer a couple of changing booths in the boot room where people can change and provide plastic bags for chucking dirty wet gear in?

    Same reason for having secure locked areas outside the chalet you dont want dirty wet bikes in your boot room.


    My wish list?

    Chairlifts all day….

    Chalet girls all night… 😀


    Tyres to buy when people blow up their fire xc’s 😛


    Workstands and good workshop tools including a compressor and lubes. If I go on a biking holiday I love to have the time tinkering after a ride with a beer before eating. Helping friends with broken bits etc is all part of a biking holiday. Saying ‘bikes should be in order before you go’ is daft. Day after day in the Alps can be very hard on a bike, I went through 5 bikes in 1 week once, ended up borrowing the guides DH bike 😳

    Only other thing you need is beer.

    And local cheese.

    Premier Icon Doh1Nut

    I dont know how you book your chalet over the winter, I suspect you often block book the whole place which means a group with similar attitudes.
    I gather that MTB bookings are more groups of three and four rather than ten
    When I saw split groups the main friction between groups was often the TV that caused it.
    I would not get British TV – I don’t watch Corrie or Eastenders at home and certainly dont want it in my chalet.

    Other than that “workstand” can be a loop of rope from the garage roof.
    Basic tools could be left out and better tools signed out for hire/loan.

    If I was going to provide route advice, I’d want to have ridden the routes myself and know exactly what was involved as I wouldn’t want to be partially responsible for a group going off and bonking on the wrong side of a mountain. To that end, it might be worth considering getting GPS traces of all the routes. It would be ace if the living room wall had a large map of the area, with each section of trail graded and described, detailed route descriptions, with profiles etc. The use of Memory Map type software to plan routes would be very useful in being able to plan routes for your guests and being able to hire a GPS to HELP with navigation might be a bonus. The main help would be in being able to see how much of the route and how much climbing you have left to go.

    Bail out options on routes too.


    Premier Icon NZCol

    I spent a week with BikeVillage and they pretty much had it nailed in my personal opinion.
    Great food
    Great trails known like back of hand
    Rubbish banter
    Fridge of beer, unlimited wine
    Tartiflette need I say more
    Tools, compressor, storage
    Only missing a pool really ! I like a pool.

    Premier Icon markgraylish

    An absolute bare minimum would be a secure storage area. Don’t even think of going into business without it! Skiers think nothing of leaving expensive skis outside their lunch spot but mtb’ers are rightfully paranoid about leaving their bikes unattended/un-secured. 🙁

    Next in priority would be at least one hose with reasonable water pressure. That’s as much for your benefit as the guests!

    If you’re not providing a guiding service, good route info is a must

    As regards tools, that would be nice. If you can only provide some tools, make sure they are the heavy/bulky ones guests aren’t likely to bring out themselves.

    And another vote for no footboards on beds! (I’m a mere 6’4″) :mrgreen:


    I’m going to go against the grain here and say don’t bother with tools, spares and stands.

    Stuff will go missing or get broken. Then what? The next group come in with expectations that can’t be met. Not to mention the potential liabilities when people mis-use the tools.

    We’ve provided a fully equipped Pedros workshop for the last 4 years now. Sure we’ve had a bunch of allen keys broken when guests have stood on them to undo something they really shouldnt.. oh well.. lifetime warranty on all those tools so no big deal.
    we have 6 Pedros workstands too. Even just for tweaking gears or cleaning your bike they are invaluable. In Whistler stuff gets broken so people dont want to be working on a bike laying on the ground.

    As far as I can tell, we’ve lost zero tools. We replace track pumps and they break inside 2 weeks.

    As far as thieves working while on holiday.. theres a huge potential for loss as we have had lots of our personal spares in our worksop over teh years.

    Worst thing thats gone missing was an XTR shifter set from a race ike build kit. Aside from that the most bizarre was teh ratchet mechanism off some Mavic shoes. Aside from that, if anything else has gone, its probably stuff that was a bit ‘meh’ anyway.

    So, the benefit we’ve had of providing a help yourself workshop environment has far outweighed the huge benefit to 99.9% of our guests vs the 0.1% who’ve not appreciated what we offer and have walked off with stuff.

    What are the potential liabilities of providing tools? You’re not doing the work for them. And of course you have liability insurance right!

    Biggest thing that we don’t have that I’d like is a wet/mud room attached to a laundry facility so that people don’t have to walk through the chalet covered in mud/grit to get changed out of wet stuff.
    We drop $500 at the end of the season on carpet cleaning as a result. A mud/wet room would really help.

    Increased security on our bike storage is on the cards this year and the above suggestion of individual anchors is a very good one!

    Basically if you’re selling an accommodation product to bikers.. you HAVE to be geared up for everything that a biker will want to do while staying with you! Or they’ll stay at the next place that does have the stuff they need.

    Good luck with the venture!

Viewing 37 posts - 1 through 37 (of 37 total)

The topic ‘MTB Chalet in the Alps, what would be your wishlist?’ is closed to new replies.