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Morzine, based in the Portes Du Soleil in the Northern French Alps, is now one of the most popular MTB destinations in the world and we’re not surprised… This vast area has something for everyone from cross country to downhill, not forgetting the MTB Pass’portes du Soleil! This unavoidable yet spectacular event at the end of June is attended by thousands of enthusiasts and you can ride the whole 80km circuit or smaller sections depending on how fit you’re feeling. The Portes du Soleil also hosts both the French and the Swiss national competitions; the Chatel Mountainstyle competition displays the world’s best freeriding talent and the Champery World Cup downhill tests even the most accomplished of riders.
As busy in summer as it is in winter, Morzine is a real haven for mountain bikers as it is for skiers and snowboarders in the winter. Variety is the spice of life and with 650km of way marked trails, 4 bike parks, 10 permanent downhill trails and 24 lifts open to bikers, we’re sure that a week spent in Morzine would be one to remember.
Though the fool-proof plan, of course, is to make sure you have adequate mountain biking insurance before you go.
The most convenient airport is Geneva, situated approximately 100km (1hr 15 mins) away, followed by Chambery (1.5hrs), Lyon (2.5hrs) and Grenoble (3hrs). All of these are serviced by the majority of major airlines (Swiss Air, BA, Easy Jet, Thomson etc). Geneva is an efficient airport and it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to get through arrivals and collect your luggage.
Flights are likely to be cheap but do not forget to add the cost of taking your bike – this is usually about £50, but if overweight you’re likely to be charged extra. It is also important to think about the cost of the transfer from airport to resort before just choosing the cheapest flight, as this could set you back upwards of €250, even if you think your flight is a bargain. There are many companies that can arrange a transfer for you, including Ski Lifts, Action Transfers, Morzine Lets and Skiidy Gonzales and you should be looking to pay around €3 each way.
BE WARNED: ATMs within Geneva airport will give you Swiss Francs, not Euros!
Advantages of car travel include bringing more home comforts than a standard baggage allowance would permit, and enjoying flexibility when in resort. It enables you to take day trips, visit other resorts, or drive out of town to do weekly shops which can save you a small fortune since supermarket prices in resort are often highly inflated.
If you live in the south, the best option is driving to Dover and taking a ferry to Calais. They run hourly and can cost from as little as £17. The Eurotunnel cost is upwards of £70 and from the French side, it will take you about 8 hours to get to Morzine. The best route is to head for Reims then Dijon, not Paris. Fuel cost (one way) is approximately €100 in a decent diesel car.
BE WARNED: French law declares that all cars must have a high visibility vest and a warning triangle in them – purchasing them before your trip is a lot cheaper than paying the fine! You will also need to have insurance that covers you for more than the usual 90 days.
Relatively cost effective and easier than you think (particularly if you live in southern England). If you choose to travel overnight, you can also have two extra days in resort. Luggage charges don’t exist and there’s also great scenery on the way. The Eurostar from London to Paris takes 2hrs 20 mins and costs from £39. From here, you then take the high-speed TGV-Lyria from Paris to Morzine. This takes 3 hours and costs from £21. The alternative option is taking an early evening Eurostar train into Paris, followed by the Corail Lunea sleeper train which has couchette beds.
Use the Snowcarbon Journey Planner to view recommended journey times for dates during the season and journey information.
Local Tour Operators offer active MTB programmes which offer a range of riding levels from beginners to skilled riders. Most companies will offer guiding around the biking trails, from cross country routes to single track trails – all with a fantastic scenic backdrop. If the routes are technical, smaller groups may be required.
Many companies now offer tailor made options specific to MTB holidays. Ride Morzine is a specialist chalet company with a handful of catered chalets in central Morzine. 44South also have a large chalet available, offering flexible catering.
Morzine is all about bikes and bikers, so no matter what you’re looking for, you won’t struggle to hire a bike.
Torico Bikes: situated in central Morzine and have a selection of top-quality bikes ranging from Enduros ready to tackle cross-country tracks, to DH bikes perfect for downhill thrillseekers. An English owned company with English staff.
Twinner: Offer bike equipment for hire, whether for performance or leisure, as well as a range of accessories suitable for the whole family. The staff here speak good English (though their website is in French).
Drug Sport Vital: This cycle store offers technical advice, maintenance, repairs and accessories as well as bike hire.
Information about lift pass prices for specific lifts, half day, week, and Portes du Soleil prices can be found on their website.