Le VTT et les Vaches…


Whilst bikes seem to be getting discouraged in some areas of the valley, they’re looking more and more welcome up at Le Tour.  There’s some sort of link in the alps where the more suitable the terrain is for cows, the more bikes are welcomed.  After all, Morzine is known locally as the mountain for the cows.

As the trains aren’t running from Vallorcine this summer (more information here: http://www.thechamonixbikebook.com/news/2012-the-year-there-wasnt-a-train/ if you’ve not already heard)we had to wait for the Vallorcine gondola to finally open at the start of July before the full potential of Le Tour could be enjoyed (well, unless you’ve got the legs for cycling all the way back round).

Back bowls Le TourVallorcine DH

To complement the fun but short DH track under the Charamillon gondola, work is almost finished on a new track from the top of the Autannes chairlift.  Compagnie du Mont Blanc seem to be investing a fair bit of money on the track, with a large excavator being used to construct some large features and new bridges being built. The track is already getting ridden, despite being closed for construction (“Ferme” means “good riding” right?) and looks to be bedding in well, as for how well it actually rides, we’ll see.

More Vallorcine DH

Over on the other side of the hill, the Vallorcine DH track is open and has had some much needed maintenance. It’s now riding incredibly well, with good course markings out for anyone who’s not hit it before, unlike most of last year… This track is one of the best around, and almost good enough reason to own a big bike just to hit it. Don’t worry though, it’s still negotiable on a hardtail, just don’t expect to feel too fresh by the finish.

Locals have been busy building on the lower section. It’s not an official part of the track, but it’s definitely more fun than the fireroad to finish off the run back to the gondola, just watch out for some of the gaps!

Descending to Catogne

The rest of the area serves up some of the best natural trails in the Chamonix valley, with tracks criss-crossing between Switzerland and France. A new info board was in the process of being erected at the Refuge de Col du Balme which designated the classic descent into Trient as a walkers trail, and the excellent Les Jeurs run to Chatelard as a bike trail. (If you’re not sure about these trails, and can’t work it out from the IGN map3630 OT, then these and more are in the new Chamonix Bike Guide http://www.thechamonixbikebook.com/the-book/ ). There didn’t seem to be any indication of how obligatory these designations were, I can’t see walkers being any happier about losing the Les Jeurs path than bikers about being banned from the Trient run, so I guess we just have to wait and see what develops.

The Trient run currently has a wee diversion above the village for forestry work, however the diversion trail is of good quality and the descent is still up there as one of the best enduro style runs about.

Climb from Col du BalmeThe Rock'it

Finally, just to prove that we don’t need bikes worth more than cars to have fun, following an entertaining mornings climbing in the Aiguille Rouge, we descended on the Elfe Secret track at Flegere with a motley selection of pub bikes and decade old mountain bikes, complete with our climbing gear. It wasn’t the fastest the track’s ever been ridden, and certainly not the most competently, but there was way more laughter than you hear from many storm troopers on 8” play bikes.

Colin & Ally

One Trackback

  • By Chamonix Bike Blog - Top Ten on 3rd August 2016 at 23:14

    […] Vallorcine DH track Totally unmaintained, unloved, unknown and awesome. One of the best DH race tracks I’ve ridden. The bigger features have fallen into disrepair a bit of late but the lower half is raw as, and all the better for it. Unmaintained is not quite true either as there’s been some good work done on it this year. And I love it so that kinda knocks the rest of the opening line too. […]