We’ve just got back to the UK from the second stage of our Alpine roadtrip. The first part (see the bonkers trail we rode here) of our trip took us to locations in France including Courchevel, Meribel, Annecy, La Clusaz, Aussois and plenty more. We took a motley crew of riders and racers including 2012 World Champ Morgane Charre, Commencal World Cup mechanic Loic Delteil and Scott’s Alex Evans.
Opener: Alex Evans up high in the Swiss meadows. Look out for the feature in Dirt soon. Photo by Andy Lloyd
After the French section we moved into the sunshine of the Swiss canton of Valais/Wallis with a guiding firm by the name of Alpine Trails. 300 days of sunshine in the Visp area they tell us! And we can believe it – check out the vid below to see just how dusty it was when it was pouring with rain in the UK and even a handful of miles away as the bird flies in the French Alps. You’ll be able to read all about our trip in issues #150 and #151 of Dirt…
For now, here’s a collection of Crapagrams to illustrate five things we learnt from the later stages of our roadtrip… Bring on the Alpine summer!
#1: The best handcut Alpine trail of 2014 is in La Clusaz (well, it’s pretty amazing anyway)
We’ve all ridden a fair amount in La Clusaz over the years, but for 2014 they’ve really pulled out all the stops. Loads of fresh new trails, a decent gradient (not so steep that you’re constantly on the brakes, but no pedalling either). There’s a well-hidden trail deep in the woods that has turn-after-turn of berm-smashing goodness. It’s not a huge drive from Morzine and well worth a day if you’re on holiday there.
#2: It’s always dusty in Switzerland (if you’ve got the right guide)
Here’s a quick vid of just another cruisy ride down a Swiss mountain at the end of a long day in the high alpine. Apparently there are 10 or so similar evening runs like this around guiding firm Alpine Trails‘ base in Visp… Do we need to tell you any more or are you already looking on the map?
#3: Scott’s Ben Walker is mountain biking’s mad professor
Scott have a genius in their ranks and that man is American Ben Walker. A Swiss resident married to a Swiss national, Walker is the man behind anything gravity-related in the company’s range of bikes and kit from the last few seasons. He lives and breathes mountains and creativity and never seems to rest – find out all about his sewing machine collection, bike gang Los Planachos, his bonkers house and 2015 fresh ideas in Dirt #150.
#4: Riding in the Alps will never get boring
We were a tiny bit apprehensive before this roadtrip, mainly because we’ve featured the Alps in the mag so much over the years and mountain biking in Europe has expanded to cover more than just summertime resort riding. How could 4,000-metre peaks, gondolas and chairlifts, and endless trails ever get boring though?
#5: Portes du Soleil is finally back in business
OK, the Portes du Soleil (Morzine/Les Gets/Chatel etc.) has never been out of business, but it’s gone off the boil a bit in recent years. Thankfully for 2014 Morzine has a new Pleney lift, Les Gets has fresh trails, and Chatel and Morgins are cracking on with creating even more amazing trails on their hills. It’s going to be a great summer for Alpine riding.
Here’s Les Gets’ latest trail. Can’t wait to ride this one!