Saleve, because pedalling uphill is hard work.

If you can't get an action shot due to the light, stick with a silhouette

Earning your turns, pedalling up the hill, is great for achieving a smug feeling of self-righteousness and superiority, but it’s way easier to take a lift. Looking for an easy life we headed west to Saleve and its year round uplift.

It’s a popular choice for out of season riding (though it’s been closed for 6 months for refurbishment) so if you want more info, here’s what happened last time we went.

You don't NEED a Dh rig for Saleve, but it is a lot of fun

The 10 uplift ticket is still 43euro, still valid for a year, still shareable amongst you all, but now gets scanned by a smart phone. The photo’s are still rubbish too, but you try shooting fast moving objects in a forest on an overcast day, with a wee camera and no flash gun before you complain.

There was the odd bit of good light, fortunately Lorne was in the right place at the right time

The weather’s been a bit damp recently and Saleve has a reputation for not drying quickly but even so we were a bit surprised at just how slick the trails were on our first lap. The wind and heat of the day helped dry things out a bit and as the day went on things got a bit tackier, but you were still never far from a sideways moment.

Spence about to get sideways

If you’ve not ridded at Saleve before then you won’t know how much of a maze the trails are. We were basing line choice at each junction on which way we were sliding at the time, so by random the first couple of laps were on the longer tracks over towards Monnetier and their pedal back uphill to the last bit of trail towards the lift station. Great for Lorne & I, less good for Spence and his new DH bike.

Lower sections of the hill are more gravelly, so drain better....and ride faster.

The shorter more direct lines were more slick, though were seeing most traffic from the locals (all of whom seemed to have mud tires on, almost like they knew what conditions would be….). Fortunately mud is pretty forgiving to fall on, so it was more entertaining than terrifying.

Mud might be ok to bail onto, but razor wire is added incentive to stay upright

With the reputation for being muddy you’d hope that there was a hose for cleaning off bikes at the station, but it turns out you’re not allowed to use the hose that’s there. Old toothbrushes are a very inefficient way to dry clean a bike.

There’s still more than a month to go until most resorts open for the summer season, so it might be time to find the old spike tyres in the shed and invest in a power wash.

Toothbrushes, no substitute for a hose.

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    Mountain bike blog for Chamonix and the Western Alps

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