Dates & Prices Summer 2013:
15th - 22nd June - £545
22nd - 29th June - £545*
31st Aug - 7th September- £545*
7th - 14th September - £545
14th - 21st September - £545
* This week should also have some chairlift options open
(See prices page for up-to-date availability)
The summer chairlift season in the Alps is remarkably short. For barely 6 weeks in many resorts there is the chance to use the ski lifts to climb effortlessly and clock up more vertical in a day than many ride in a year. When the lifts stop however, all that lush singletrack doesn't get packed up until the summer rolls round again. Many of the trails we ride can be accessed without any need for the chairs. So for a few weeks either side of the chairlift season, we're offering you the chance to ride the Tarentaise valley backcountry. This includes many of our favourite trails and some of the most stunning, unspoiled scenery in the Alps. A bit of climbing will be required, but less than you might think - maybe about 500m vertical or an hour of climbing per day. The program for each week will vary according to the weather and trail conditions and the group's preference. For summer 2012, we've invested in our very-own 9-seat Landrover Defender. This will cut-down on the amount of climbing on some days and will open-up some new trail options which have been too remote to consider in the past. A typical backcountry week might include:
DAY 1 - Sainte
Most of the sublime local singletrack that we ride all summer long can be accessed using a combination of our own van and some help from a little pedal power. We'll ride classic trails like The Thin Red Line, Whisky & Rye and The Beer Run. Landrover uplift will now mean this day is completely climb-free!
DAY 2 - Sunny-side
We'll start right from the chalet door in Sainte Foy, riding superb forest singletrack like The Anthill Mob and Oh No! More Lemmings! before dropping down to La Masure to pick up the rocky, technical challenge of Ace of Spades. We'll grab lunch in Viclaire then load back into the van and climb up towards La Rosiere to ride the Trail of 1,000,000 switchbacks, then cross over to finish on the incredible flow of Veni, Vidi, Vici. If anyone has any energy left, we can squeeze in a van shuttle to ride Helter Skelter or another lap of Veni, Vidi, Vici. Because you'll want to.
DAY 3 - Mont
Mont Jovet is a bulky, grassy peak near the end of the valley which reaches almost 2,700m. With a large refuge just a couple of hundred vertical metres below the summit, it's possible to drive to within a few pedal strokes of the summit. The flanks of the mountain running down into the Bozel valley are laced with snaking singletrack, running from high alpine meadows down into tight forest switchbacks. This huge ride extends out on singletrack all the way to Brides les Bains and on down to Moutiers.
DAY 4 - Tarentaise Valley Descent
The Col.In. is one of our most remote and wild days out. We start by driving to the 2,770m Col de l'Iseran, the highest road col in the Alps. From there, a superb singletrack descent down the GR5 walking route takes us down to Val d'Isere. We load up again and shuttle up to a remote car park on the north side of the valley. From here, some classic cross-country mountain biking takes us all the way back to Sainte Foy. The route has everything. Tough technical climbs. Open meadow singletrack. Rock slabs. Tight forest trails. Escaping the remote wilderness trail, we climb steadily back up to the 18th centry village of Le Monal. From there, we have the chance to finish down classic Sainte Foy singletrack trail Whisky & Rye. The van will be waiting for us at the bottom to shuttle back to the chalet for some very well-deserved cake. We've refined this over the years and now incorporate all sorts of sneaky extra singletrack sections and can tune the amount of climbing and the technical difficulty to suit the group.
DAY 5 - Bourg Saint Maurice Shuttles
Even without the chairlifts running, wide swathes of tarmac let us climb up into the Les Arcs ski domain and up to many small villages on the opposite side of the valley. Any number of road-side drop-off points let us pick up many classic Les Arcs singletrack trails running down through the Malgovert forest back to Bourg Saint Maurice or less well-known, remote trails outside of the resort. We'll ride superb tight, steep trails all day and we'll do as many laps as you can handle.