Tag Archives: Les Houches

The longest day

1km vertical of singletrack

Summer solstice. The longest day, shortest night and start of the countdown to winter. Also an excuse (if an excuse was ever needed) to both go in to the hills to do stuff and go out on the town.

After some warm up laps around Les Houches (trails all riding nice, bit of rain would be good to give some more grip though) we headed up the Bellevue gondola and climbed round towards the Col du Mont Lachet.

The trail down from the col is fairly exposed in places, but I think it’s pretty fun. Not everyone else, or possibly … [Read full post]

Bikes on a train, and other forms of mechanical uplift.

Today I am mostly liking green

Lifts are open, no more pretending that pedalling uphill is worthy and good.

An opening party was being held at Le Tour with demo bikes, drinks and rumours of new trails, so we headed in the opposite direction to Les Houches.

It seemed a fairly popular choice and it was surprising to see just how much the main DH track wore in over the course of the day.

Not having big bikes in addition to our normal bikes with their mere 160mm of travel, slack angles and huge brakes, Lorne & I rode a few laps of the Prarion front … [Read full post]

Last train to cold*

A balmy summers day ride, if you're from the north east.

Winter’s turned up again in Chamonix, only this time she’s brought her luggage and it looks like she’s staying for a while.

Normally the easiest way to escape her clutches is to head down the road to Saleve, only a quick glance at the website showed they’ve closed until the end of March for works. Valley trails under our own steam it is.

Down the valley and past Vaudagne the geography of the valley changes from the granite boulders and steep coniferous lined slopes around town to mellow slopes with deciduous trees and loamy ground, perfect for the icy conditions.… [Read full post]

Tricot two

Would this view tempt you into finishing lunch and getting back on the bike?

Who said September’s the best month for mountain biking in the alps? I did, and I submit this last week as evidence. Stable weather, cool temps, blue skies and quiet trails. We’ll just ignore the snow of a fortnight ago if that’s ok with you.

Last big day off the Chamonix lifts for the summer, where to go and what to do. Well THE Les Houches classic ride from last summer was the Col de Tricot down to Le Fayet. None of us had repeated it since so we figured, why not?

If I’m honest, the weather was a wee … [Read full post]

Two trails

Picture this

It might be the last week of proper uplift in the valley before the end of summer but it certainly doesn’t feel like the end of the season.

Les Houches is where it’s at right now and after the success of the ride from Nid d’Aigle it seemed a shame not to check out some of the other lines on the map.

The dotted red line that traverses round rather than over Mont Lachat was the first, and whatdaya know, turns out it is a quick easy way round to the Col Mont Lachat. There is one short section with … [Read full post]

This is mountain biking.

If you're going to fall, try to fall right.

You hear “Epic” describing a lot of things about Chamonix. Surrounded by deeds of derring do from alpinist, skiers, parapontists and such then as a lowly mountainbiker you really have to work to earn the title “epic” for a ride. You could try having horrendous weather to battle through, major mechanicals that required ingenuity & creativity to overcome and make it back. Distance, height gain, length of time riding are options for epic. Injuries can count too because after all, epic doesn’t have to mean good.

So why do I think this ride should count as epic? It wasn’t particularly … [Read full post]

Who’s way?

"Who's trail" Not a bad start to the ride.

Five weeks is a loooong time to be off your bike in a Chamonix summer! In the past bikes have given me plenty of broken bones (which did generally heal) and scars (that chicks were disappointingly uninterested in) that have kept me away from sports for longer, but 5 weeks with what is basically a sore thumb has been pretty annoying. Still, thanks to the excellent work of the consultants and surgeons at Chamonix & Annemasse’s hospitals, and the brilliant physio from Neil at Clinique du Sport (what percentage of Chamonix residents go through their doors every year?) I can … [Read full post]

Les Houches, So hot right now…

and loam. The track has REALLY good loam.


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 … [Read full post]

To the ends of the valley

But why be picky when you have trails like this

OK, it can get a bit insular here in Chamonix. The steep valley walls cut off any sight of the outside world and, as long as you’re only paying attention to mountain sports, then everything you want is on your doorstep.  It’s a bit of a change to look out of the valley occasional and be reminded that the outside world exists, but to do it twice in less than a week, madness.

To cut a long intro short, the bike ban’s started, so most natural trails are now out of bounds thanks to Arrête Municipale (n° 124/2004) which prohibits … [Read full post]

This ‘n’ that

After a spring of moaning about the cold and snow, the sun’s come out and it’s got dry and hot. So instead now everyone’s moaning about it being too hot and dry. On the plus side, the +30 degree temps, blazing sunshine and a bit of warm rain has put a fair dent in the snowpack and things are starting to get a bit easier to ride up high.

Conveniently most of the valley’s lifts have opened for the summer season now, which has saved us from having to actually exercise in the heat, instead we can just enjoy a … [Read full post]