Hi, I’m Hazel. a 26 year old bike enthusiast from Ireland. I got introduced to mountain biking (MTB) whilst doing my masters in Sports Psychology at Bangor University in Wales. I had only biked a handful of times and I was hooked. Not getting my biking fix back home in Ireland I made the bold decision to buy a van and drive all the way out to Morzine in the French Alps, where I had no job, no house, no friends. This was a pretty brave move even by my standards!
Being part of the MTB club in Bangor, Morzine was all I ever heard about from the guys on our weekend rides. Hearing about their summer holiday plans to spend a few weeks biking and partying in this mountain biking resort got me intrigued. Although it seemed a bit bizarre for me as a beginner to even attempt biking trails in the French Alps, I applied for jobs in both Morzine and the surrounding resorts, only a year after completing my masters. After receiving numerous of job offers from companies in Chamonix, I turned them down. Ludicrous right? Why not take a job I have been offered in Chamonix, an alpine resort just as picturesque and energetic? Why risk driving all the way to Morzine where I had not been offered any jobs? One word: The Mountain biking. From my research I learned that Morzine was a mecca for mountain bikers. I was not only drawn in by the fact that Morzine is part of the extensive area of the Portes du Soleil (PDS) but also the fact that Morzine is home to some of the best trails in the world. More importantly, Morzine stood out to me as a hub for all levels of mountain bikers. As a beginner, it was very important that Morzine had trails that were doable, accessible and moreover, fun. I truly believed that driving all the way from Ireland to Morzine with no house or job would pay off – you won’t know if you don’t go!
It didn’t take me long to get established in Morzine. Only a few nights of sleeping in the van before I got a house to rent for the summer which was soon followed by a job. I felt like it was all coming together. However, it wasn’t until I got my lift pass for the season that I really felt at home here in Morzine. The trails were exceptionally well maintained and graded. It all became vivid as to why Morzine is renowned as a world-famous biking resort. The extensive lift systems that range over the whole PDS are the second largest in the world and the largest in Europe. I felt so fortunate to be in the heart of such an extensive trail network with hundreds of kilometers of world class downhill and enduro trails that stretched over France and into Switzerland. There is something for everyone here, the variety of trails caters for beginner to families to professional riders. I have seen so many families taking their little ones on the green/blue family routes in Les Gets. Additionally, I have seen some of the worlds best downhill bikers who come for both biking events held in the area and for the more extreme downhill trails which I only used to see people do on TV!
Bike Facilities and Infrastructures.
Morzine and the PDS area must be praised for their biking facilities and the infrastructures that have made this place a paradise for mountain bikers. The lift systems are open from the middle of June until September and are specifically adapted for bikes with external racks or hooks allowing your bike to be attached. Not going to lie, for me never being on a bike lift before it was initially a little daunting. Thankfully I wasn’t on my own with this one, I can also speak for my friend here who too started biking that summer. We both initially struggled to lift our heavy downhill bikes onto their back wheels in order to get the front one into the wheel rack -it was difficult for us ladies. This is where Morzine stands out from other biking resorts, the lift operators. Whenever we were seen to be struggling there was always help from one of the lift operators who would either stop the lift for us or run over and help to hook the bike in the rack. Needless to say, they saw us coming! Being a bit more experienced now and having gone to other biking resorts in France, Italy and Switzerland, I have never been helped by anyone to put my bike on a lift. Sometimes at the end of a long day biking your arms give up and it’s physically impossible to lift your downhill bike onto a hook or a rack. I feel like I have been spoiled here in Morzine with the service provided by the lift operators, but maybe its time for some more arm strengthening exercises!
Having come to Morzine knowing no one I can honestly say that there is a great community of mountain bikers around. It can be dangerous going for rides on your own (I have the scars to prove it!..thank goodness for Lindsey’s lavender oil) but in Morzine you are never short of anyone to bike with. Female mountain bikers are being seen more on the trails and most of the time love biking with other females – we all know the lads can have a competitive side to them! Women specific mountain biking groups such as The Dirty Girls Ride who are based in Morzine often organise group rides throughout the summer season. If you are new to biking and would like to find out about the trails in the area, or a more advanced biker and just want other females to ride with and to push your riding then this group may be the one for you.
Being based in Morzine I am very fortunate to be right in the heart of the vast PDS area, a place renowned as a MTB mecca. I am lucky to be able to pick and choose which trails I want to ride and when. If I want to get out on my enduro bike and it’s a beautiful sunny day, then I would head over to the PDS area and make the most of the amazing trails and beautiful Alpine mountain scenery with its lakes and hidden waterfalls. Morzine really does have it all.
On top of all of this, the PDS area has some great events on during the summer months. Kicking off the season from the 20th-24th of June is Crankworx, a world famous event bringing the best riders on the planet to Morzine’s neighbouring town, Les Gets. Following this, the Pass’ Portes du Soleil officially opens the resort from the 29th-1st of July. This event is an opportunity to explore the mountain biking terrain on offer in the PDS area with 80km of marked routes spanning across 9 resort starting points and plenty of pit-stops on-route. Not only this but this year it is all taking place in Morzine town itself with many bike brands showing off their latest kit (with free bike tests!) There is also the French National downhill championships taking place on the 25th to the 28th July… it’s all happening in Morzine.
So, I hope this entices you to think about Morzine as a biking destination, I mean it has me hooked! If you are looking for accommodation, then I would actively encourage you to think about Chalet Morzine. Lindsey and Thierry may not be MTB specialists but they sure do know how to have their chalet set up for mountain bikers. As a biker I think the facilities here at the chalet are fantastic. Thierry has created a huge bike rack, there is secure storage, a wash down area, outdoor hot tub, fantastic terrace and of course a lovely chalet with twin/and or king beds. Just watch Chalet Morzine’s video to get an idea of just how it can cater for bikers – although the chalet and facilities have been improved on since. For any remaining availability this summer you can check out Chalet Morzine’s website here. There is still availability for both Crankworx and the Pass’Portes du Soleil. At just £39 pppn (and no single room supplements on what remaining availability they have left) it is a bargain! For any advice and tips, I am here all summer!
I hope you found my perspective on Morzine mountain biking informative and feel free to ask any questions! Needless to say can’t wait to get my liftpass and get out there this summer. I enjoyed the snowboarding, but the biking is where it’s at for me… ‘Roulez bien’!