Mountain biking is growing in popularity and there are many Alpine and Pyrenees ski resorts that transform into awesome summer playgrounds once the snow has melted. Morzine is part of the Portes du Soleil area and it attracts avid mountain bikers from all over the globe. Thousands of kilometres of gnarly trails and amazing downhill make this one of my favourite destinations to take my bike.
Introducing Morzine and The Surrounding Area
Getting Around the Mountain
The best thing about this resort is that the lifts are open from mid June until mid September so you can avoid the school holidays if you don’t want to share the routes. Lifts are well maintained and are adapted, with special hooks and racks, to accommodate bikes. This means that you don’t waste any time hiking up the really steep inclines in order to enjoy them.
I would always recommend buying a Portes de Soleil lift pass as it gives you so much more scope with regards terrain.
Introducing The Trails in Morzine
There are endless trails (and lots of lifts that offer excellent access) in this area and whether you get your kicks from downhilling or park riding, you won’t be disappointed. Cross country loops wind their way through the mountain terrain, while the singletrack routes that roll down the Pleney side of the valley are more challenging and demand more technical skills. On the Super Morzine side of the valley, the trails are rockier but equally inspiring. The DA Trail is a red that is full of roots, is nice and tight, and requires lots of technical skill. I can highly recommend it. The black runs on this side are even tougher, with Hattock boasting some awesome gap jumps.
Once you get out there, you will realise why loads of pros call Morzine their home during the summer months. The training is so good and the mountain bike shops in resort have top of the range equipment, experienced mechanics and professional guides too.
The altitudes around Morzine range from 1000m to 2500m, so you can appreciate where the diversity in the terrain comes from. Rocky, technical trails dominate the higher altitudes, while there is some fabulous tree-lined riding lower down.
The other main resorts in the Portes du Soleil area are Champery, Les Gets, Avoriaz, Chatel and Super Chatel, with Avoriaz boasting the French National downhill track and a wicked pump track right in the middle of the resort. If testing your freeride skills floats you boat, then try out the free airbag in the Linderets bowl. You can head into the Linderets bowl from Avoriaz via tracks of different grades. The Coupe de France is a black run and the jumps, drops, roots and rocks will test even the most competent rider.
Les Gets is the place to go if busting your moves in the park is what you enjoy doing. The Kona Bike Park is well suited to intermediate and advanced riders. As Les Gets is lower down, you’ll also find lots of technically demanding tree-lined routes and some great jump tracks and skills areas.
Chatel is my personal favourite when I want a real adrenaline boost, as it offers up a ton of challenging trails. The bike park is full of drop zones, northshore, pump tracks and technical riding. In fact, this park is said to have some of the toughest and scariest jumps in the region.
On days when I just want to get all over the mountain, but still be challenged, I head to Super Chatel, great for the more experienced rider. Trails are much quieter too, which is a real bonus.
How to Get There
Geneva is the closet airport to Morzine and is well served by many airlines flying daily from the UK. Several of the carriers, such as easyJet, are well versed in transporting bikes so, as long as you have packed yours well, you have nothing to worry about. You just have to remember to pay for your bike when you make your booking. The flight from London takes little over an hour and, as the onward transfer to Morzine only takes an hour and a half, you can be having breakfast at home and lunch out on the mountain.
Shuttle Direct offers a competitively priced transfer service from Geneva airport, and the team of experienced drivers are very familiar with packing bikes and transporting them safely. You can just sit back, relax, and look forward to getting out there and riding some trails. Choose a private vehicle and your transfer will cost around £156, but go with a shared service and for as little as £32 one way you can enjoy a seamless, stress free transfer to Morzine.
Alternatively, if you have travelled by train, via Paris and into Cluses, Shuttle Direct can be on hand to collect you from the station and take you the rest of the way to your hotel.
Where to Stay:
Rude Lodge – As with most hotels in this resort, bikers are welcomed, but I particularly like this spot because of its vicinity to the TC Super Morzine and the Pléney Ski Lifts. The free Wi-Fi is an added bonus and you can’t argue with the hearty breakfasts and ample dinners. There is even a nightclub belonging to this hotel, so if you fancy letting your hair down, you can! Bike storage and a power washer are such great facilities at Rude Lodge, and make it one of my top choices of accommodation.
Chalet Philibert – A great little Alpine style hotel, Chalet Philibert has a fitness centre, sauna and hot tub, as well as a pool, which make it a top pick on my list. What could be better than chilling out in a hot tub after a long day on the tracks? Rooms all have free Wi-Fi, great for staying in touch with everyone back at home, and there are TVs in the rooms too. Try and get a room with a balcony and you will be rewarded with fabulous views and the prefect spot to relax and wind down after your day. Laundry facilities are an added bonus, as is bike storage. Breakfasts are large and provide a great start to any day on the mountain.
Beauregard – Right in the town, Beauregard is a functional hotel with free Wi-Fi and a great restaurant. There is a bar here too and a TV lounge in case you want to catch up on some of the summer sport. I love the heated swimming pool, perfect for a relaxing swim after a long exhilarating day. Bikes can be securely stored in the bike storage and there is a hose for washing down at the end of the day (the bike, not you!), and even a dry room so you can rinse your clothes through and have them ready for the morning.
About Shuttle Direct:
Travelling with your bike can be a worry but, once you are off the flight, you can count on our team at Shuttle Direct to transport you and your cargo direct to your final destination. Recognised as the number one transfer company in Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct provide private and shared transfers that are enhanced by a reliable, professional and hassle-free service; and all for a fixed price too.