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​Following on from avery successful 5 weeks on the Coaches Camp in Whistler BC,Peak Leaders graduate John Inman went to check out the riding scene in the Alps, and see what European slopes had to offer. He started his trip by meeting up with fellow graduates, George and Steffen, in the French Ski and MTB town of Morzine.


After getting straight off the plane from Vancouver, there was just enough time to get home and pick up some fresh gear before it was time to head to the airport again. This time to one of the largest cities in Switzerland, Geneva. A great place to start any alpine road trip, because of its proximity our first destinationMorzine and its neighbourLes Gets!

A buzzing ski and MTB town located in the Haute Savoie region of the French alps, Morzine is an old mining town that has become well known as a base to start riding in the French Alps. There are loads of places to stay that cater for MTBers in the summer and plenty of local cuisine to get stuck into (Tartiflette is a must try).

It also makes up one of the bike parks in the 'Portes Du Soleil'. This is a region of 12 linked resorts, combining 21 lifts and over 650km of MTB trails, that spans part of the French and Swiss alps. A 7 day pass costs only €110, so you do get a lot mileage for your dollar. There are two lifts directly accessible from the village that serve the trails of the valley, 'SuperMorzine' and 'Le Pleney'.

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Heading up SuperMorzine.

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You're not short of views anywhere in the Portes Du Soleil.

We first headed up 'SuperMorzine', which crosses the suspension bridge across to Avoriaz side and makes up the more flow trails in the valley. From the top of the 'Zore' chairlift, you can head down 'Tutti Frutti' packed with fast switchbacks or 'Cap Canaveral' with more rollers and bigger tables. Branching off these you can also get more technical riding, like the incessant root fest of 'Racine Carré'.

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Endless berms on 'Tutti Frutti'!

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Sending 'Cap Canaveral'.

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Across on the Pleney side, things more technical. Starting fast and open out on the piste, once you dive into the woods there are roots, steep corners and drops. Although there are only 2 official trails on the map, there are a whole host of local tracks worth exploring that can offer anything from deep ruts to loamy roots and more natural riding.

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A brand new Gondola opened last year.

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Berm blasting underneath the gondola.

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Pull ups on Pleney.

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After smashing laps, there are plenty of places to refuel.

Having had a solid first day hitting as many trails as possible in Morzine, we headed over to Les Gets. From the top of Pleney, you can traverse (mostly downhill) across into Les Gets bike park. Having been home to both the World Cup and World Champs, there is a strong pedigree for riding here. Packing 19 trails with 3 lifts, there are loads of trails to get stuck into, mixing both fast and flow trails to wide technical runs that test your line choice ability.

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'La Roue Libre' with Mont Chery in the background.

Via the Chavannes Express you can follow the flowy 'La Roue Libre' or the gully and root filled 'Le Canyon' that both feed into the old 4X track to the bottom. Further up the valley the 'Nauchets' chairlift leads to more flowy blues and reds with an abundance of switchbacks if you want to practice your cornering! As with Morzine, there are plenty of unofficial local trails to explore once you are done in the park.

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Coming straight from BC, it's hard not to make comparisons.. the European contender for the 'Black Tusk'?

On the other side of the valley is Mont Chery. Although only having 2 tracks, these are contenders for the hardest trails in the Les Gets area. One to definitely have a look at is the 'Gets Airline', hosting some massive drops, step ups and doubles!

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Mountains for days.

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Mont Blanc hiding in the clouds.

Its not all gravity riding here though, there are loads of XC trails to find and an 80km enduro route that circuits the Portes Du Soleil, so definitely a place to come back with a trail bike! If you fancy a day off the bike there is plenty to do; you can head to Lac Montriond to cool off, go white water rafting, get a lap in on the luge, head up climbing or get in a game of disc golf.

DCIM 100GOPRO GOPR0065.
Lac Montriond is only a 10 minute drive from the village.

After two days riding as many tracks as possible and recovering from jet lag, we got packed up to head over to our next stops, Chatel bike park and Lenzerheide!

John Inman
Ski, Snowboard & Mountain Bike Instructor Courses & Camps
www.peakleaders.com | Tel: +44 (0) 1337 860 079
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