Les Houches, So hot right now…


Jus' chillin' in the sun

You might have noticed a bit of a love/hate relationship between residents of the Chamonix valley and the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc. When it involves bikes and the trails for them, then it’s often not their fault, CdMB is just the entity with a name that can be blamed for the myriad land owners barring access for tracks and other interested parties wanting to sell more of their “VTT interdit” signs.

Other times, they could probably try harder.

Well, today CdMB is in my good books. And why is that? Well readers, it’s because the long awaited replacement bike trails from Prarion have started to open. And they’re great!

Lorne on the initial shale section

Currently it’s just the blue run, and even that still has a few sections that are being worked on, however you can see the harder detours have had work put into them and based on how well the blue trail flows, I’m confident they’ll work too.

Smashing berms

The trail’s not particularly well signposted from the top of Prarion. Actually, it’s not signposted at all really. There’s a vauge VTT/Pietons shared path sign pointing you onto the downhill trending 4×4 track. Follow this, through the tunnel and on for a another few hundred meters and there’s the start.

Angus about 300m after crashing and fracturing his scaphoid. The track's so good he just kept going.

From here it’s lots and lots of nice berms, rollers, tabletops, doubles, roots and loam. Lots and lots of loam. This does meant that if it’s wet it’ll be pretty muddy, and the track will probably cut up a fair bit, but for now its dusty, loose, fast fun.

More berms. The track has really good berms!

You have to stay on your toes, there are some awkward ditches that need a quick manual to save your forks and some of the corners are sharper than you expect, but the berms catch you well. It only takes a couple of laps to learn the quirks.

and loam. The track has REALLY good loam.

The track certainly isn’t a secret and was getting hit by a lot of riders, probably as many as I’ve seen on one hill in Chamonix. This makes it sociable, yet because the Prarion lift takes 2 bike in each gondola, the laps were still pretty quick.

If pictures aren’t enough, then there’ll be some video footage soon from Chamonix Bike Rental.

You don't want to over-shoot this one...