If you’re considering a holiday which involves cycling in the Alps, here’s a bit of news from our trip this year which people might like to hear.
In Val D’Isere and Tignes, a number of ski lifts are open during French summer holidays and for mountain bikers and walkers, they are FREE. Yes, free. Not only that – but there are hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of mountain bike trails, and many massive “bike parks” with loads and loads of downhill runs. They are all graded and the green and blue trails are generally OK if you’re not a total downhill nut – which is kind of us!
Believe it or not, a number of other ski resort areas also offer free shuttle buses for mountain bikes during French summer hols too – there’s a lot on-line but obviously as they’re now preparing for Winter 2015, not as easy to research. But – if you search for “remontees/ navettes VTT gratuites – Alpes” – you will find plenty of information on the internet. Various parts of Les Deux Alps, Alp D’Huez, Ls Saises and others also ofer great biking.
As well as free ski lifts up to 2500 + m – Val D’Isere also offers 2 Via Ferratas (protected climbs, “Iron Way” in Italian – you can usually hire the equipment locally) – both of which are pretty spectacular routes. And – there are several Cols you can undertake – and a “circuit des villages” from St Maurice. Plus fantastic walking – and wildlife such as marmots and Chamois goats. Biking is restricted to the bike park and prohibited in the Vanoise national park – but as there are so many kilometres of trails that’s not really an issue! You can of course hire bikes locally, plus full body armour, and there are bike washes free too.
Oh – and you can also hire electric mountain bikes or motocross bikes. And over the Col D’Isere, Bonneval Sur L’Arc is a spectacular less touristy valley, also offering a Via Ferrata.
Plenty of accommodation to rent – plus a campsite at the top of the town and an “aire” for Campervans/ mobile homes at the bottom of the town. You can fly into any airport from Geneva to Grenoble and get bus to St Maurice or drive.
Jamie on cross country descent to Tignes