Want to ride your bike in the biggest Moun...

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

Want to ride your bike in the biggest Mountain Biking area in the world?


Vince Muir and I (Duane Bosch) are planning to put together a trip for South African Downhillers and All Mountain riders to ride in the Portes Du Soleil Mountain Biking area in July of 2014. We are looking for a maximum of 20 passionate Mountain Bikers to join us for a trip in 2014. We are planning on going early in July. The provisional departure date is 6th July 2014. That will be in School and University holidays. This gives us the best chance of good weather and fresh trails.

While there is some amazing XC riding in the area we are aiming this trip more towards the DH and AM riders. People that want to get lots and lots of free vertical and then use that to get a fat smile on their face riding super-fast and fun trails in the Alps.

If you ride a carbon 29er hard tail and consider a jeep track with a middle mannetjie is technical then this trip is probably not for you.

The Portes Du Soleil (PDS) includes the towns of Morzine, Les Gets, Chatel, Morgins and Champery. It covers 2 countries. France and Switzerland. Has 24 ski lifts. 650km of marked trails. The riding will simply blow your mind. There is NOTHING in South Africa that comes remotely close.

It is quite simply the biggest Mountain Biking area on the planet.

Matt Hofmeyer Zore lift 2012


The Cost

We are putting this trip together so that guys can leverage off of our knowledge of the area. By the time we go again in 2014 Vince and I will have done 3 trips each. We want you to maximize your riding time with the least stress and effort. Everything will be organized for you. All you have to do is show up and enjoy the best riding of your life. No cooking. No washing dishes. No hassling with airport transfers and the like. The cost will be around R22000.00. That’s significantly less than what and entry for the Cape Epic costs. For that you’ll get the following

· Flights

· Airport shuttles between Geneva and Morzine

· Semi Catered Accommodation (Breakfast & Dinner is included) For lunch you’ll be out on the trails.

· Lift passes for 24 ski lifts

· Access to 5 dedicated bike parks

· Guided riding

· 2 weeks of riding on some of the best trails on the planet

Mark Hopkins Les Gets 2011



The price quoted above is an estimate. It might change a bit but not significantly.

There are also certain costs which we cannot include in the price quoted above.

· Insurance. You MUST have adequate medical and evacuation insurance

· Visa. If you have a South African passport you will need a Shenghen Visa

· Spending money. If you budget on R300 a day for spending money that should be much more than enough. Especially as you won’t be buying groceries. You might also want to buy a kit. While the bike shops aren’t cheap they have loads of variety that we simply don’t get here.

· Bike Repairs. You need to have your bike serviced and in perfect working order before we go. A weeks riding over there is like a year here. And bike shop repairs are expensive.

Wanna ride this trail? Crosets 2011

Somewhere in Switzerland.jpg

The Region

We will be basing ourselves in Morzine. Morzine is in the epicenter of the Portes du Soleil (PDS). The PDS covers 2 countries, 24 ski lifts, 12 mountains, 650 km of marked track. Morzine is a beautiful little French village roughly the size of Greyton. Adjacent to Morzine are Les Gets and Avoriaz. It’s certainly the biggest town in the region and has the best nightlife and most restaurants. Other towns in the regions include Les Gets, Morgins, Montriond, Avoriaz and Chatel. We will be flying into Geneva and then get a shuttle from there roughly 70km into Morzine.

The Tour de France has passed through the region on numerous occasions and the Col de Joux Plane tops out between Morzine and Les Gets. In 2000 the Joux Plane featured in an epic battle between Lance Armstrong and the late Marco Pantani. Pantani and Armstrong both cracked on the climb and Marco Pantani withdrew from the race the following day. Avoriaz also hosted a TDF stage finish in 2010.

The Riding

It’s actually very hard to describe just how good the riding is over there. Take the best bits of trail you’ve ridden here. Stitch them all together and that will be the first track you ride on the first day. There is riding for all tastes and abilities. Want huge road gaps and hucks? Check! Want 30 perfectly sculpted berms on one trail? Check. Want kilometers of stunning ridge riding? Check!

I always use a surfing analogy to describe it. It’s like they took Jeffries Bay, Kirra, All of the breaks in Indonesia and the North shore of Hawaii and put them all in the same place. It’s always offshore. And once you are finished with a ride there’s a nice friendly guy who drags you back out into the lineup.

In 2012 I took my Cateye over just to get a feel for how much riding you get through over there. On the sunny days I was averaging 70km a day of riding. Admittedly some of that was commuting. But as an example, to do 70km of DH at Tokai in a day you’d have to do 35 runs.

The trails are all graded by color. The easiest trails are graded blue. Then green, red and the hardest trails are black trails. So there’s very little chance of you ending up on a trail that is beyond your comfort level.

You’ll be most comfortable on a bike with 160mm+ of suspension travel.

Les Gets high speed berm 2012

The Spots

Pleney. Right there. Loads of fun. The main line is 3.5km lift to lift. In that 3.5km you drop 600m in elevation. There are multiple tracks with multiple offshoots. There are lots of secret trails too which are every bit as steep as Champery.

Super Morzine/Zore. This is the other side of Morzine. It’s Rooty and fast. The main focus of trail building in the Morzine valley is on the Super Morzine/Zore side. In 2012 they had added 2 new trails to the Zore (top) half of the mountain and made an existing illegal track on the Super Morzine section legal. The track down Super Morzine is suuuuper steep but now you can ride from the top of the mountain to the bottom. I’m guessing it’s about 8km top to bottom.

Les Gets. Chavannes. The main red line is 4km long lift to lift and super-fast and fun. There’s also a black track called Canyon. Canyon is actually multiple tracks that are all in the same general area. You could spend 2 days riding Canyon and not hit the same line twice.

Les Gets. Jump Park. 5 tracks loads of fun. There’s some scary stuff on the black trails. It’s also where the famous Les Gets spiral Northshore is.

Les Gets. Mont Cherie. The 2004 Worlds track. Fast and steep. There’s also a nice fun green line and multiple secret tracks if you keep your eyes open.

Chatel. It’s 7km of DH from top to bottom and riding for all tastes. Chatel is probably the best bike park in Europe. There’s everything from Northshore and super smooth fun trails like Serpentine and Blues & Rock right up to Air Voltage and the Chatel Mountain Style course. Yes you can ride it if you want. The great thing about Chatel is the lips on all the jumps are marked with flags. A green flag means you can roll the jump. A red flag means gap.

Top tip: Keep your eyes open for a star. In 2011 Bearclaw and Brandon Semenuk stood behind us in the lift queue and in 2012 we spotted Fabien Barel on the trails.

Morgins. Not a single braking bump. Ben Walker lives in Morgins. Enough said. It’s a bit of a trek to get there and back but totally worth it. Only 5 tracks but they are amazing. They also have alternate lines everywhere to keep it entertaining. The tracks are quite steep and impeccably maintained. The only problem with Morgins is that the trail builders are color blind. The blue track at Morgins would be a red track anywhere else.

Crosets. 3 tracks that are super fun and fast. Well maintained with very few braking bumps.

Champery. Well. You’ve seen the videos. It’s steep. Even by Alps standards. Average gradient 38%.

Lindarettes. The valley lies between Morzine & Chatel. It’s worth spending a bit of time here. It’s un-crowded and has the most “proper” downhill in the area. Rooty, rocky.

The Guides

Vince and I have both done 3 trips to the Alps. We’re both passionate Downhillers. And passionate about riding Mountain Bikes in the Mountains. We can think of no better place to do that than the Alps.

Vince is a go huge kind of rider and I’m a go round kind of rider so we’ve got both ends of the spectrum covered. We are intimately familiar with the best riding spots in the PDS and will have you on the best tracks with minimum time wastage.

Vince will be looking to hit the biggest jump he possibly can. I’ll be looking to go as fast as I dare on the wide open tracks.

Your guides. Duane on the left Vince on the right. Morgins 2011
_Morgins Duane & Vince.jpg

What else is there to do?

The main focus of the trip will be the riding. But there are other activities for the down days.

Toboggan. There’s a Toboggan in Chatel and Morzine
Devil Karts. In Chatel they have gravity powered go karts. You race on a dirt track down the hill
Water Park. In Avoriaz they have an indoor water park with climbing walls and a water halfpipe
Fantasticable. In Chatel there’s a zipline that goes across the valley. TWICE. It looks mad and is always on the to do list but we’ve just never gotten round to doing it.

You guys can do that stuff. I’m going riding.

Perfect berm Les Gets 2012

I’m under 18

No problem. Vince’s son Matt is 11 and he’s coming along this year. We’ll take good care of you and make sure you are safe. You do need to be aware of your own limits. It’s the Alps. The trails are steep and fast. It’s as dangerous as you want it to be. Your parents will need to sign an indemnity form promising not to sue Vince and myself if you do hurt yourself.

If you are under 18 there will be NO DRINKING. Negotiations will not be entered into.

I want to be a Pro

If you want to test yourself as a rider there aren’t many better places in the world. There’s a good reason many World Cup pro’s base themselves in Morzine for the summer. Simply managing a full run down the Pleney main line is hard going. The tracks are long. And rough. And steep. There are also a number of tracks close by that have been used for professional races. These are some of the tracks used previously in Pro races.

· The 2004 Les Gets World Champs track.

· The French National tracks in Lindarettes Valley

· The IXS Swiss track in Morgins

· The IXS track in Chatel (It’s DAMN steep)

· And last but by no means least the Champery Worlds track. Yes it’s open. You can go ride it. Question is. Do you want to?

Lindarettes 2012. That track is long. And steep. Chatel is on the other side of the hill waiting to welcome you


I’m Amped what now?

Email me and we’ll get the ball rolling. We need to book tickets before the end of December to make it financially viable so get saving now! Remember. We have a maximum of 20 spots open.


Edited by Omega Man, 30 May 2013 - 02:51 .

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

Sorry. The old version of this went walkabout.

36 sleeps until 11 of us head off for MTB Heaven.

Abes_mtb's Photo Abes_mtb 30 May 2013

Your hardtail comment has broken my heart and dreams. :unsure: :drool:

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

Your hardtail comment has broken my heart and dreams. :unsure: :drool:

hahaha. You can ride a hard tail there. Just make sure you have all of your dental work well sorted before you go.

patches's Photo patches 30 May 2013

Been there. Done that. Got the "I Love Morzine" T-shirt :D

Man, I can't wait until our return to PDS next year.

This isn't a "once-in-a-lifetime" traip... cos you'll make sure you go back!

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

Been there. Done that. Got the "I Love Morzine" T-shirt :D

Man, I can't wait until our return to PDS next year.

This isn't a "once-in-a-lifetime" traip... cos you'll make sure you go back!


Can't go once I'm afraid. Next year is gonna be next level good tho. Got 3 ridiculously good accommodation options lined up. One is literally ON Pleney. you can ride your bike into the hotel lobby from the trails. They might not like it but you can.

I have to get a Mutzig made me do it T this year.
Edited by Omega Man, 30 May 2013 - 07:49 .

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

If you happen upon this place just keep walking.

Super_mil's Photo Super_mil 30 May 2013

If you happen upon this place just keep walking.

Yeah, the owners are a grumpy bunch! Make sure you at least attempt to order in French.

1x The Mutzig made me do it! - Check
1 x 250ml Mutzig glass from Bar Robinson - Check

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

1 x 250ml Mutzig glass from Bar Robinson - Check

DEMI'S DON'T COUNT! Faker. You gonna have to go back and earn that shirt.

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

Roman following Vince into Chatel. 2011. Vince is a camera slut of note.
Edited by Omega Man, 30 May 2013 - 06:45 .

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

This is the trail map of the PDS. The squigly blue, green, red and black lines are the official DH trails.

The orange line is the route for the Passportes du Soleil Race. It's always rideable. It's about 80km.

The dotted lines are xc routes

And the straight black lines are Ski lifts. I think I have a new definition of insanity. Someone who knows about this but chooses to do the epic instead.
portes-du-soleil-mountain-biking-map 30.gif

Myles Mayhew's Photo Myles Mayhew 30 May 2013

Jees dude, i so need to get there. I know i said 2014, but I've started saving for 2015. For 2 vakansies. So my OH will be at peace...

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

Jees dude, i so need to get there. I know i said 2014, but I've started saving for 2015. For 2 vakansies. So my OH will be at peace...

Well the good news is the trail network grows every year so it gets better every year.

Myles Mayhew's Photo Myles Mayhew 30 May 2013

Also means i have 2 years to learn how not to suck

Guest_Omega Man_* 30 May 2013

Also means i have 2 years to learn how not to suck

The beauty of the place is your skill level has NO relation to your enjoyment level. There are trails for all levels that will thrill and exite you. And scare the living bejesus out of you too. but everything is so well built that if you do crash you won't impale yourself on anything. And if you do crash it will 100% be your fault.

Wanna hit a berm at 60 and know that you gonna make the corner?
Edited by Omega Man, 30 May 2013 - 08:30 .

Myles Mayhew's Photo Myles Mayhew 30 May 2013

Lol. Dude, i know. But knowing me, id take something i'm not ready to do and do a Richard...