As the summer sun shows its face and the snow melts away, a beautiful green landscape is unveiled under the mountains of Morzine. Thousands of kilometres of cross-country trails and downhill terrain, set against stunning mountain scenery make for the perfect destination for mountain bikers, who flock from all over the world to enjoy Morzine’s world-class cycling conditions.
Morzine has been considered the height of Alpine mountain biking for many years now, and it’s no great surprise when you see how much there is to offer. Its highly developed network of trails give a wide variety of rides for all abilities and preferences. Families can enjoy the gentle cross country paths that meander to and fro over the Franco-Swiss border, whilst the more adventurous cyclist can get to grips with the north shore tracks and steeper terrain. For the true adrenalin junky, there are the hair-raising rides at Les Crosets and Champery, strictly for expert level riders.
The summer cycling season in Morzine kicks off with the Pass’portes du Soleil, one of the most well-known events in the mountain biking community. The Pass’portes du Soleil allows you to ride the full 80km circuit, or stick to smaller portions to suit your fitness level. The Portes du Soleil region also plays host to both the French and Swiss national competitions and the Champery World Cup, which sees highly accomplished riders tackle the tough downhill tracks. The world’s best freeriders head to town for the Chatel Mountainstyle competition, held over one weekend during the season, whilst the incredible Avoriaz roofstyle competition allows professional and local riders to show off their tricks right off the rooftops of Avoriaz.
Summer in Morzine can get very hot indeed, so it’s vital that you come well-prepared. Here are just a few essentials you may wish to have ready for each ride:
- Sun cream – Between the heat of the summer sun and the thin air at high altitude, you are more prone to sunburn riding high in the mountains.
- Basic Repair Kit – Standard for any ride you do, your biking in Morzine is no different. Don’t end up having to cut your day short: always pack a repair kit.
- Phone – Both for safety and convenience, having your mobile on you is just common sense.
- Windbreaker – Don’t let the warmth of the valley fool you: once you start that climb, the weather can change rapidly.
- Water – With all that heat and all that riding, you’re going to need to keep hydrated. Equip your bike with two bottle cages, take the biggest bottles you can manage, and consider electrolyte drinks to keep your body working at its best all day long.
- Snacks – High energy protein bars are always good to have on you, especially if you’re planning a full day on the bike.
- Money – Whether just for that welcome beer at lunchtime, or in case of emergencies, don’t get caught out without a few Euros to hand.
It’s pretty likely that you’ll find yourself incurring a standard charge for transporting your bike by plane. You may be luckier if your fly British Airways, as this and their code share partner Swiss Airlines both allow free bike transport so long as they meet with the airline’s free baggage allowance and are packed in a hard shell container. Make sure you study your airline’s terms and conditions before you travel, as you don’t want to end up with an unexpected fee eating into your holiday money.
Once you’ve got your bike over to Morzine, however, it’s all plain sailing (or should that be ‘plain riding’?). You’re going to have a cycling holiday to remember, in some of the most beautiful surroundings imaginable.