Getting cold feet

Snow = Cold feet

It certainly ain’t summer any more, but there are still lifts turning and the trails aren’t (always) covered in snow, so there’s still riding getting done.

Lorne on one of the less well known Brevent trails

Folk have mostly been taking advantage of the Brevent lift being open for two weeks. However with the snow line going up and down from somewhere near the top of the lift at 2000m to just above town, the trails around Servoz and down to Le Fayet have also been getting hit, especially since a group of local riders have started work on an excellent new freeride trail near Lac Vert. The mix of rain and snow has put an end to the wonderful dry trails of the last few months, but away from the rockier trails (such as, err, Brevent) the dirt is pretty grippy and the mud washes off! This hasn’t stopped local riders looking further afield to find dust, with groups heading off to Aosta for van shuttle riding and others even off to Morocco.

Jan on Plan des Chablettes

I’ve had a few runs on Brevent since the last update, including checking out Sentier des Gardes which, as Oliver said, is now much improved with only about 5 trees still down and once again worth the effort. There was also first tracks in a few inches of snow on Le Charlanon and watching the scariest crash of the season when Lorne went over the edge on Plan des Chablettes and ragdolled down the hill for 25 meters…

Freshies!!!

With the local meteo forecasting as much as 50cm of snow at 2500m overnight and frequent snow showers during Sunday, Jan, Robbie & I headed up Brevent for what we figured would be the last time today. First lap we dropped down the 4×4 track into the main Brevent couloir and discovered that the rocks were pretty slippy and a river was running down large sections of the track. Not wanting to finish the season with injury, we walked a couple of sections that are normally ridden. Before long we were at the junction choosing whether to ride Sentier des Gardes or Plan des Chablettes when, mid photograph, we heard a jet plane pass overhead. Only, it didn’t sound quite right and looking up towards ENSA couloir saw a plume of rising dust. At first it looked like a small snow avalanche, however as the sound of falling rocks got louder, we decided to scarper fast into the safety of the trees on Plan des Chablettes. Looking back we could see and hear rocks bouncing down the main funnel line over the path to Sentier des Gardes and towards town. A rude reminder that in Chamonix, even the biking has objective danger!

EEK!

The rest of the trail went without incident, though also a bit slippier than usual which kept speeds down a bit till we got back to the lift station. With the PGHM helicopter now circling the Brevent couloir we decided to give that a miss and went up for a lap of Le Charlanon instead. The initial technical singletrack traverse looked fairly clear of snow, but we still decided that it would be a better idea to descend on the 4×4 tracks towards Col Cornu and then push (or ride in Jan’s case) back up to the start of the descent.

Jan also skis fast

This route was livened up by some off piste excursions off the 4×4 track and into the snow, culminating in a megavalanche stylee blat straight down the hill, ensuring fun, swearing and baltic feet & shins for all.

Fast and flowing

Once onto the trail the snow had pretty much melted away and it seemed as good a track as any to end the summers uplift before the winter. If you’ve not ridden it, make the effort next year, it’s a great ride.

Urban start....Robbie on Le Charlanon

Eventually we ended up in Le Praz at the old north shore trails behind the Rabbit on the Roof workshop. The north shore’s been dismantled but the dirt jumps still remain which gave a last bit of variety to the day, though I doubt any of us will be entering crankworx at L2A next year.

If you go down to the woods today

So, an eventful but good day to finish the big descents on for the season, hopefully with more to do lower down. We’ll see.

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