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Morzine, Jul 12, what to expect?

GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
edited September 2012 in Holidays
Hi

I'm heading off to Morzine for the first 2 weeks of Jul for some MTB action, staying in a self-catering chalet.

In the UK I usually ride XC and spend a lot of time at Dalby as well as occasional breaks to Coed-Y-Brenin. The lift system will be open so I'm planning to get a lift pass for the 2 weeks. I'm competent on all Red routes and enjoy Black too. My wife is a good Red standard (yep, she's coming too!). We're driving down from Calais with a night stop on the way there and back.

Any advice or tips on Morzine, The Alps, MTBing in France etc would be much appreciated. For example, what's the riding like, are there any decent bike shops, will the lift system ruin my bike, is 4 inches of travel sufficient (Giant Anthem X2) etc?

Cheers in advance

GiantMike

Posts

  • b45herb45her Posts: 147
    most of the trails are and even dh tracks are ridable by most intermmediate riders , be prepared for the xc routes though because some of them are brutal.

    4" travel should be fine a little more would be ideal though ,as for bike shops theres one every 15 feet in morzine and les gets and most of them are very helpfull .
    ribble sportive for the black stuff

    Canyon Strive AL 8.0 for the brown and green stuff.
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    Great, thanks.
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    Hello :D

    I've ridden in the Alps a couple of times (last year in Morzine) - you'll have a great time! Are you planning on sticking to xc routes or enjoying the dh routes too? I found Morzine to be quite dh orientated to be honest, all good fun but I would take it very easy on 100mm travel and start on the easier dh slopes first. Admittedly it was peeing down with rain when I was there last (which made it 'interesting' :? ), but some of the dh trails can seem like quite a jump from your standard trail centre descent. I certainly felt under-biked bouncing down slippery dh trails in thick mud on 140mm travel at times.....!

    Also, although i'm sure the weather will be lovely for you, take some warm stuff too - it started snowing when I was half way up one of the chair lifts last year! Best to be prepared for anything :lol:

    Have a fab time :D
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at http://www.justgiving.com/cc2cc
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    Hi Notax, thanks for the reply.

    I'm mainly XC-focussed but I'll have a go at the DH too. Planning to chairlift it across to Les Gets and the other areas (the whole lift system will be open by then) to find some decent riding.

    Luckily we're driving down so I'll take everything I won and tons of spares, although the thing that breaks will be the one thing I haven't taken, obviously.
  • Shameless plug... my trip to Morzine last summer.

    http://www.pinkbike.com/video/255548/

    Check it out and leave a comment on the video :D
  • MajskiMajski Posts: 443
    Hi Mike,

    Been meaning to reply to this for a while but not had chance. This year i'll be heading out to Morzine (20th July) for my 5th trip so I can probably give you a bit of info about the area.

    I tend to ride more DH orientated stuff, but to be honest the miles and miles of singletrack i've ridden out in the Alps tend to blur between DH and XC anyway. The first thing you are likely to notice is that the tracks over there are usually steeper than your normal trail centres here. This is, however, not to say that they are any more difficult, it's just a different style of riding that takes a bit to get used to. Normally by the 2nd or 3rd day people are over that issue. (talking from experiences of taking plenty of first timers over there)

    I wouldn't worry yourself too much about what is XC or what is DH - it's all riding and it's all good, it's just some has uphills and some doesn't! There are some fantastic sections of XC trail that i've hiked uphill to get to with a DH bike just because the downs are so fun to ride - but in general on XC or DH the majority of your riding will be pointing downwards - thats the wonders of having a lift system.

    The lifts cover a huge area starting over at Les Gets on the one side then spreading over to Champery and to Pre La Joux. I would say that the riding around Les Gets generally provides the best to warm up on with some more gentle slopes and a couple of fantastic blue and green runs. After that Morzine and Lindarettes are probably your next locations with things starting to get a little more tricky the further afield you head. Bear in mind a red run in Switzerland (Morgins / Champery / Croset) will be much harder than a red run in Les Gets.

    You can use this map to find out what the hell i'm on about
    http://www.portesdusoleil.com/images/up ... _v5_hd.pdf

    I would really suggest warming up on some of the trails back and forth from Morzine - Les Gets and some of the stuff around Les Gets bike park for your first day. When you get your tickets in Morzine there are 2 main lifts you can get from there - one on either side of the valley. The Pleney lift takes you up to the top of one hill that then provides runs back to Morzine, a run to Les Gets and some XC / DH options, whereas the other lift Super Morzine takes you over to Avoriaz / Lindarettes and from there onto Pre La Joux and Switzerland.

    I'm heading over there this year with a chap from work who's only experience of riding is Welsh trail centre black runs. He's done all the stuff at CyB and Llandegla as well as a few others. I'm not sure if this will be useful to you but as he's a little nervous of what to expect i've planned this as a first day for him. Starting in morzine the route is shown on this map - i've added some detailed descriptions for you below to help you out if you decide to take any of these routes - a lot of sections are also potentially missable if you are short on time. It could also be split over 2 days with the first day spent in Les Gets and the 2nd day heading over to Mosette. (note on the map Red is lifts - Blue is riding)
    Day1.jpg


    1 Take the Pleney lift up.

    2 Out of the top lift station turn right, follow the gravel fire road and you'll see signs for Les Gets. The fire road descends for a short while then bends to the left. From here you'll see some singletrack heading right into the woods with a sign for 'Retour Les Gets' Follow this. This is an XC / singletrack route that takes to you Les Gets and rejoins the bottom of the red DH run. Once you rejoin the DH trail (you'll know when you see house sized berms) follow the trail through the mini jump park the fire road. From here you can either follow the trail straight down which leads you down the Les Gets 4x track (fairly steep in parts) or you can follow the trail then turn left at the first tabletop which will take you down some easy singletrack avoiding the 4X. Either way you end up at the Chavannes chairlift in Les Gets.

    3 Head up Chavannes chairlift which lets you get a good look at the red DH track which runs directly below the lift. Once you get off the lift and start to roll down the hill (away from the trail you saw heading up) follow the signs for the green trail which is the first bit of singletrack you see heading right. Eventually you'll reach a fire road (the 2nd one I think) where you'll see another lift to your left. This is the Nauchettes lift and services the Les Gets bike park. Head over that way.

    4 Take the Nauchettes lift up and (if time) do the blue DH trail that is signed from the top of the lift. You'll see the multiple lines running under the lift so you'll have a good idea if you want to do it. Once you get off the lift to your left you'll see the Chavannes lift that you took earlier. By now you'll start to get a good idea of how well connected this area is.

    5 If you opted for the Blue run on Naucettes then take the lift back up and head left for the Chavannes lift (top). If you didn't take the blue run just head left straight to Chavannes. From here you can ride the Red DH trail which starts directly to the right of the lift as you're looking at it, or if you don't fancy it (you will have seen most of it from the lift earlier) you can take the green that you did before, only this time instead of turning left to the lift you turn right on the fireroad (2nd one again) and follow this back to the mini jump park you passed earlier. From here it's the same options - 4X track or singletrack to the bottom of Chavannes.

    6 and 7 are an optional extra. If you have time head to the other cablecar lift (Mt Chery) you can see on the opposite side of the valley, head up and from the lift at the top head to your right and follow the green arrows back down. I'd avoid the black option for a couple of days as it gets pretty steep in the bottom field.

    8 To get from Les Gets to Morzine you just have to roll down the road. If you are at the bottom of Chavannes looking into town head right, or from the bottom of Mt Chery looking into town head left. From here follow the signs for Morzine then after you cross the roundabout (1st exit) into morzine you can either continue straight forward to get back to the pleney lift or take a left (signposted) to the Super Morzine lift.

    9 Take the Super Morzine cabin lift and from there you'll see a charlift near the exit, take the chairlift (Zorre) which brings you to the ridge above Morzine.

    10 From the lift head along the fireroad that goes straight on (slightly to your right). You'll go past a lift that's not being used, slightly down a slope then the track splits to one going up or another going right, here take the right again. This is all signposted with Passportes Du Soleil signs. Eventually this will bring you out onto a road. This road is the road from Avoriaz to Morzine. If you carry straight on it'll take you to Avoriaz town, or if you want to go back to Morzine you turn right and roll all the way back to town.

    11 Once you join the piece of road I mentioned above you head left for 100 yards or so, and you'll notice another road heading back on yourself to your left. Just adjacent to this juntion you'll see some singletrack descending off the side of the road. This is a fantastic little XC run that takes you down to Lindarettes or Mossette. Follow this trail along and shortly after a small uphill section you'll see another trail heading off to your left, You can take this option which leads you to the Lindarettes Express lift shown as 12 on the map. Or if you skip this and continue along the XC route it'll take you directly to the bottom of the Mosette lift (14 on the map) and skip out one lift and trail to save time.

    12 Assuming you turned left of the XC trail and ended up in the bottom of the valley with all the lifts and cafe's this is Les Lindarettes (as far as riding terms is concerned, the actual town of Lindarets is just out of view at this point). Here you'll see 2 chairlifts. The one you want is the Lindarets express which heads back up the hill you jsut came down towards Avoriaz. The other lift is called Cheaux Fleurie (spelt wrong I think) and this gives you access to Chatel Bike Park in Pre La Joux as well as some XC trails that head over to Chatel Town.

    13 From the top of Lindarets express turn left onto the fire road, follow this all the way until you see the blue trail and join this. About 2/3 the way down you'll come to a big clearing where you should see the XC trail joining. Follow the signs towards Mosette / Switzerland and you'll come to another Chairlift which IIRC is by a big waterfall. Be warned that this lift is very long and it goes up to over 2000m so can be cold. If its wet and rainy and you don't have the right clothing then leave it out because you'll regret going up there!

    14 However, if the weather is ok, or you have warm waterproof clothes on then jump on the lift and enjoy the rest and the views. When you reach the top you're at Point Du Mosette which is right on the France / Switzerland boarder. From here you can take the Swiss Cup track down to Les Croset (not today though), the XC to Morgins or head back down the fire road to Lindarets. From this point you can get back to Morzine even if the lifts are closed. If you go any further afield then it'll be hard to get back should the lifts close.

    15 From Point De Mossette take the fireroad that heads right as you face towards the Swiss Side. Follow this round to the right and you'll go past the start of the Swiss Cup course. This will show you what the 'Swiss Red Runs' I told you about are like. Follow this fire road Signposted Les Lindarettes and you will eventually come back to the area with all the cafes by the Lindarettes Lift.

    16 Continue past the cafes / car park with the Lindarets Express lift on your left and you'll come to Lindarets Village. Be prepared for all the goats milling around, and from here follow the road left and the signs for Montriond / Morzine.

    17 After a good roll down some beautifully scenic roads you'll come to a great lake to stop at. This is Lac Montriond and is just a mile or so outside of Montriond Town.

    18 From the Lake continue to Montriond town then head left following the signs for Morzine - it's a gentle rideable climb for a mile or so back into Morzine.


    I hope this helps, the idea of this route is that it gives people their bearings around the area, though at any point you are never relying on a lift to get back to Morzine. If you decide you've had enough you can always roll back into town with no issue and pretty much always on a road if need be too. It's great for a beginners day out and doesn't take too long especially if you skip a few optional sections (Mt Chery, the extra blue runs etc).

    I'm not sure what other info I can give that's useful. A lot of common sense comes into play. Always carry water, food, phone, pump, patches, spare inner tube, waterproof etc. If you are going to head further afield to Swiss side i'd say take a credit card, if you get into bother with the weather and the lifts shut then you can get a B+B and stay over somewhere (i've never known this actually happen to anyone though). In terms of trails - pretty much all the waymarked trails in Les Gets and Morzine are rideable for a lot of abilities, however if you do decide to take some of the unmarked offshoots be warned that they can be pretty difficult - albeit some are very fun too!

    In terms of the holiday in general - eating lunch out in the valleys is expensive. A crepe and a can of coke in somewhere like Lindarettes will put you back a tenner so I always take food with me. There's plenty of nice places to eat and drink in Morzine and Les Gets. Bar Le Robinson is a must do for its famous Mutzig Lager - but be careful not to have too many or you won't want to ride the next day - it's pretty strong. L'etale is a very good place to eat in Morzine (it's right by the bottom of Pleney) and the Irish Bar in Les Gets is absolutly bloody fantastic. Colin who runs the bar brews his own beer there - the Avalanche is especially good, and you can sit there for a while after the lifts shut as it's only a short roll down the road to Morzine.

    Lastly - if you need to know anything out there or want any help just ask anyone. I've always found people to be really friendly and helpful and it can really improve your holiday if you talk to people so you can explore a bit more rather than just staying local because you're worried about getting lost.

    I've stuck a copule of pics from over there below for you to have a look at. Sorry it was a bit long but I hope it helped.

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    IMG_0981.jpg
    SNV82641.jpg
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    P1020966.jpg
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    ChavannesLift-LesGets.jpg
  • fyldesmurffyldesmurf Posts: 412
    wow!! what a reply! :) very useful for me too, going as a first timer in early august, so thanks :D I do have a question though if you don't mind... Is it possible to buy just a pass for the Les Gets/ Morzine area, or do you have to go full whack for a Passportes lift pass?
  • aguesty1aguesty1 Posts: 97
    Fantastic response, I'm certainly printing that out, it's my first trip out to Les Gets on Sunday!!! :D
  • MajskiMajski Posts: 443
    Ha, no problem guys glad I could be of use! I know its a bit daunting the first time you go but carry a map and dont be afraid to ask for help! Regarding lift passes its just one pass that covers the whole PDS, you cant just get a localised one. Some of the best riding to be had is away from Morzine / Les Gets anyway!
  • fyldesmurffyldesmurf Posts: 412
    Haha well that makes things a lot simpler then, thanks
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    Great reply Majski. I'm just printing it out to read on the way there!
  • I've just come back from Morzine / Les Gets, we spent most of last week riding there. It was our first trip there and I am absolutely blown away with the place, what a fantastic experience.

    Most of us ride hardtails over here so we hired (brand new) GT Furys and took on all the DH trails. We pretty much had a go of them all, from green up to black, what a buzz.

    The only thing I'd add to Majski's reply is on point 8 if you don't fancy a road ride back from Les Gets to Morzine then there is a red route at the top of the Chavannes lift that takes you around the mountain to the bottom of the Le Pleney lift in Morzine.

    A shameless plug from me, here's a link to some GoPro footage of our trip last week: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1A6F2A2868425E2E

    One last point - ride within your limits! One of our lads came back with three broken bones and a detached tendon in his right foot after trying some jumps on a red DH. So far it has cost him approx. £240 in medical expenses and bike repairs, and he hasn't had the bill for the ambulance yet! :shock:
    It's all good fun until someone loses a censored .

    2010 Orange Crush
  • MajskiMajski Posts: 443
    Yep good point about the XC back to Morzine, that's a great little run! To get onto it roll into the main Red DH run under the lift then about 100 yrds in follow the singletrack going to the right. This takes you over to Morzine and gets nice and tech in places.

    Little tip for you, when you first leave the Red DH you'll roll for a bit, then go up a slight bank with a jump. Shortly afterwards you'll get to the first berms, a left then a right. If you go over the top of the right berm (2nd one) you'll see some singletrack heading down. That's 'Jurrassic Park' and it's a belting little trail. Not steep just really rooty and fun. It'll spit you out onto a road and you can either turn left and rejoin Chavannes red, or carry on forward to find (if you can find it these days) the Golf Course run which is good laughs too.

    The other absolute must do of Chavannes red is Canyon, you'll see the signs pointing too it when you cross one of the roads on the main run. I think it's the 2nd road and you follow the black arrow pointing right, then you'll see another arrow sending you left off the road into the woods. Follow this for a great technical bit of singletrack. If you don't want to do big nasty jumps though stick in the gully (you'll see what I mean) and you just pinball your way down it off everything. Nasty in the wet though!
  • Just thought of something else.

    If you're riding at Les Gets and you get hungry then I recommend the little snack bar in town just at the bottom of the Chavannes lift. The 'bike patrol' burger is very, very nice :wink:
    It's all good fun until someone loses a censored .

    2010 Orange Crush
  • UH DHUH DH Posts: 4,160
    Just thought of something else.

    If you're riding at Les Gets and you get hungry then I recommend the little snack bar in town just at the bottom of the Chavannes lift. The 'bike patrol' burger is very, very nice :wink:

    Snack Attack?

    It closed a couple of years ago. Unless something else has popped up there.
    Check out my site - http://www.trail-dog.co.uk
    It's good for you.
  • I can't remember what it was called, but it was definitely open because we ate there every day!

    It's opposite that Canadian bar and next door to a bike shop.
    It's all good fun until someone loses a censored .

    2010 Orange Crush
  • UH DHUH DH Posts: 4,160
    Yeah, that's Snack Attack.

    We were there last fortnight of the season, and it had gone. They were extending Delavey Sports over where it used to be.
    Check out my site - http://www.trail-dog.co.uk
    It's good for you.
  • MajskiMajski Posts: 443
    Yeah snack attack has gone. The american was stuff of legends there. Snack Le 412 is good though, and Mel's in Morzine does bangin' curly fries
  • Whatever it is called, it's this one!

    (you can see the bottom Chavannes lift station in the top right of the photo)

    457729_10151874196445118_1592106372_o.jpg
    It's all good fun until someone loses a censored .

    2010 Orange Crush
  • WobbleheadWobblehead Posts: 264
    Hi Guys

    Looking at pics, everyone is wearing full face helmets, is that compulsary for the area, planning on mainly xc trails and easyish single track.

    Thanks
  • MajskiMajski Posts: 443
    Nope there's plenty of XC to be had that you don't 'need' a full face for. Just there's a hell of a lot of downhill and some of the singletrack is pretty full on too. Due to the lift system you don't need to worry about trying to pedal up massive hills in a full facer so that's why a lot of people wear them even on the singletrack stuff.

    I'd be perfectly happy riding there in a decent trail lid though, something like a fox flux that covers a bit more area would be great.
  • targa27targa27 Posts: 3
    Just wanted to say thanks to majski for the detailed guide!
    printed it off and used it like a bible for my first visit last week!!
  • MickTupMickTup Posts: 159
    fasterthanaspeedingbullet
    Where did you hire the bike from and any suggestions on places to stay?
  • We hired brand new GT Furys from Alpine Sports Warehouse (www.alpinesportswarehouse.com). From memory it worked out at approx £65 a day. Very friendly people and were fair when we broke a rear mech, only charging trade for the new part.

    We stayed with Riders Refuge (www.ridersrefuge.co.uk/summer/) at their Chalet Eterle. Again, the hospitality was top notch and would definitely recommend them.
    It's all good fun until someone loses a censored .

    2010 Orange Crush
  • MickTupMickTup Posts: 159
    Thanks for the help
  • chalet eterle?
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • I am looking at heading to Morzine next summer and this was a really helpful thread but do any of you have any advice on good budget s/c apartments/chalets over there.
    There's four of us heading out, 2 couples with 2 toddlers, so the guys will be riding whilst the girls relax, i was looking at maybe staying in Avoriaz and lifting over as it seems more family friendly.
    Any help would be most appreciated.

    Thanks again.
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