Last chance to ride ___________

Winter's a coming.

Normally “where shall we ride today?” is a tricky question, but for the last week it’s been a bit easier to get an answer.”We’ll ride wherever the lifts are about to close”. So that’s Brevent, Flegere and Le Tour, in that order.

An alternative answer has also been “I’m not going out in that, it’s snowing”. Which is true, winter made its first appearance of the autumn resulting in a fair bit of snow down to 1700m or so and some purty looking north faces once the clouds finally lifted. It didn’t do the biking communities enthusiasm to ride any good though.

Brevent couloir and some hill behind Spencer

For now autumn is back in control so there’s been some great riding under crisp blue skies on quiet trails. Except perhaps the official bike trails at Le Tour which, as one of the only well know places left in this end of the alps with uplift, have been hoaching with bikes.

Brevent & Flegere were the first to close this week, so last weekend was a tech-fest of rocks and roots and steep switchbacks. It also turned into a bit of a puncture-fest. Lorne & Spence managing 5 between them. Tubeless, DH inner tubes, normal inner tubes, it didn’t seem to matter, the puncture gods were out and they wanted some sacrifices.

There’s not much more I can say about the front face Brevent and Flegere trails, I think they’re great, not everyone agrees. I did try exploring a bit more at Flegere in the hope of finding that mystical lost trail that no one has ridden before and can become an instant classic that no walker wants to wander up. Instead I found some great bits of trail interspaced with cliffs and mud shoots, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Apparently.

Having a wee explore in BC/Flegere

With those closed, focus shifted to Le Tour. The Vallorcine lift closed at the start of the month and the train still isn’t running between Argentiere and Vallorcine (next year, probably) so big laps off the back into Switzerland were out.

Robbie getting distracted by the view

Instead we’ve been exploring the variations on the Posettes trails and those off the Autannes chairlift as well as hitting a few laps of the actual bike trails. The new variation on the upper green trail is (was) O.K. but it ain’t Whistler, the lower DH track remains (remained) cracking.

Posettes trail. Good to ride, great to photograph

The riding off the back at Le Tour and off the Posettes is so good I’ve never really explored the trails on the front face. Lorne, Robbie & I did our best to redress that omission by systematically ticking off every ribbon of single track we could find.

Heading up to the find of the day

New trail of the day probably goes to the climb and traverse from the top of the chair to the Albert Premier refuge trail and the descent of it back to the mid station. The traverse across looks like it should be a sweaty climb, yet you coast along barely pedalling. Just how all climbs should be! The descent is nothing too technical, but meanders nicely across the hill and over the top of the Vormaine couloirs with grand views down the valley.

Heading down past the Vormaine couloirs

All the other trails are worth doing as a distraction, but beware of drainage bars and cows.

Le Tour has more than it's fair share of Chamonix's quota of flowy singletrack

So there it goes, another summer riding the lifts almost over. Next week, we shall mostly be riding…..Les Houches.

Jumping into the next season

  • Chamonix Bike Blog

    Mountain bike blog for Chamonix and the Western Alps

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