Much like surfers wanting to catch that perfect wave, us mountain bikers always seem to be hunting out the perfect trail. Does it even exist? Who knows, but earlier this year Dirt’s James McKnight reckoned he had just found the best trail in the Alps (home to arguably some of the finest trails in the world), and that claim led to a whole pile of people writing in reckoning that they knew of even better Alpine tracks. We featured a few of them already, but this morning I got an email from Ali Jamieson, the Boss, Head Trail-Sniffer and eater of all unwanted food at trailAddiction, and the man behind the Trans-Savoie Enduro. He thinks he can outdo all the trails that have gone before, and after running the highly successful Alpine mountain bike holiday company for many years, and putting together the Trans-Savoie, there probably aren’t many people who know more about Alpine trails than he does. So, without further ado, here’s what he has to say on the matter of the best Alpine tracks…
“I should try to stay out of these kind of “best trails” discussions since I’m naturally going to be a little biased. Then again, I have spent the past 15 years pretty much riding all over the world as much as I can, simply to try and find the very best trails that are out there, so I think I’ve got quite a broad overview.”
“And with that in mind, I gotta say that in my personal opinion, I think I can one-up the trails you already posted recently on the site. So, here are my top three, all picked for different reasons…”
If you’re after a truly EPIC big-mountain adventure (or rather, a one-day expedition!), this has to be the one. It’s the Grande Sassiere on the French/Italian border. Not only is it the longest and highest rideable peak in the Alps (thats a fact, not an opinion – it starts at 3750m and ends at 800m), it is also awesome, technical singletrack all the way! There’s not a single bit that can’t be ridden from top to bottom, and it’s bloody awesome too!
The downside? Unfortunately it involves a 1 hour van uplift, then a four hour hike a bike to get into it, which is why we don’t ride it much! In fact I’ve only ever done it once, when we shot this video, but it just so happens that I’ve got a small hardy crew together of ex-guides to go and do it again next Sunday as a kind of end-of-season treat to ourselves. I can’t wait!
2) TECHNICAL, SCENIC & EXPOSED (but still 100% rideable and enjoyable)
This category has to go to the fabled La Varda trail in Les Arcs which is actually accessible by lift, and then only a short 20 minute hike into it. It’s more than worth the effort. PS: If you don’t think it looks all that exposed, skip to 2:55!
3) OUT AND OUT THE LONGEST BEST, AND MOST VARIED FLOW-FEST OF A TRAIL, EVER.
The video doesnt do it justice but you get the idea. Best of all you can ride out of the front door of the refuge (as we did in the video). This is the Mont Jovet ride into the Bozel Valley (between Les Arcs and Courchevel). This was actually a stage in the 2013 Trans-Savoie and even the fastest guys in the world took 25 minutes to get down it! There’s no climbing in it at all, either, so that gives you an idea of just how long it is.
Come on, you’ve got to give it to Ali, that’s a pretty damn fine selection. Reckon you’ve found something to rival those? If so let us know. I think we might have to start to looking outside the Alps in order to try and raise the bar even further.