Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Alps 2012 Part 1

R2, Willy and I have been looking in to a number of options for next year. The main criteria being:
Not scary downhill stuff
Some form of guiding.
Can fly or drive there.
Can accommodate long weekend or full week.

R2 will be blogging some details on a highly recommended mount bike specific company.

Below is a place I have found that is more of a generic alpine holiday, but they can help us out with the mountain biking. See website:
http://www.meribelskichalets.co.uk/selfcatering.aspx (Maps can be found under their summer activities section)
Chalet Snowbell is the one they recommend has it has a lock-up garage below it.

In 2011 there were lifts open in each of the 3 resorts (Valleys) every day except Saturday. This means that you can access most areas within your chosen 'Base Valley' (Courcheval, Meribel, or Val Thorens) 6 days of the week. Meribel has the most lifts and the largest variety of trails for all abilities out of the 3 Valleys and is hence the best base in my opinion.
On 2 of the 6 days there are lifts open that provide access into the adjoining valley. Once again with Meribel being the in the middle of the 3 valleys it is easy to access either Courcheval or Val Thorens on these "Access Days'.
There are also certain routes that can be taken between the valleys that do not require lifts if you're feeling particularly fit.
To summarise, Meribel is the best "Home Valley' in terms of exploration as well as access to the other valleys on 'Open Days'.
Be aware, there may be more positive changes to the 2011 'lifts-open status' and/or number of dedicated trails by 2012 as Meribel is in the process of increasing it's summer infrastructure. Events such as The National Downhill, Cross-Country, 4X, and Trials Championships are held in mid-July providing entertainment, great atmosphere and a legacy of new and exciting courses/trails.
There is also an organised event where everybody can join for part (or all) of a marshalled circuit (80km) of whole of the 3 Valleys aided by the lift system in the 'Rando Tour' on the opening week of the Summer (1st weekend of July) - Fully supported with free food and wine stops and mechanic stations at regular intervals. It's an amazing day!



Formal - There is a group called FRP (Fast Riding People) that guide specific 'Downhill' groups that started this season. They navigate and advise on technique etc This takes place on the many trails in resort but they have the advantage of placing a minibus and trailer 1000m below the lowest lift station, giving a further 1km of vertical decent options with an 'uplift.

Informal –Lee the chalet host is happy to show us round the trails. Lee rides the local trails on his Nomad, but has introduced his wife to mountain biking this year on a 100-120mm bike (so about our level?)

They have a mini-bus - a LWB 9-seater that can accommodate 6 people and 6 bikes (with 3 of the seats taken out). We can offer a transfer service to/from Geneva (approx 150€ each way for the service whether it's 1 person or 8), as well as potential pick-ups during your stay if you would like to do the additional descents 1km below the lower lifts.

The price per person for a week of catering (6 days out of the 7) would be less than £200 per person. I would have to confirm numbers and what we require. Catering would be for a good continental breakfast of cereals, fruit, yoghurts, pastries etc to start your day, and a 2 course meal with unlimited wine in the evening. We could talk about further options of full English/cooked breakfasts, packed lunches, 3 courses in the evening etc if a catered option is of interest.

Excellent value
Looks clean
Food looks OK and flexible
Bike lockup
They will show us around the trails
Lee sounds genuine
Meribel recommended by MBR

No recommendations (+ve or –ve)
Not a mountain bike specific company.

Let me know if you are interested and once R2 has blogged the other option we will get some email discussions going. There are few things I don’t want in the public domain!


Willy said...

Dave do they have bike wash / some tools available? If we went with this, I would want to know how muich access to uplift we actually had. Guiding important for me - got so much more out of Spain last time as a result.

dozer said...

ademoLee who is running the chalet lives 10 mins down the hill. I spoke to him this morning and he is happy to lend us his stand and tools for the week. There is also a bike shop 2 doors down. I didn't ask about a bike wash, maybe that is becuase I dont use them? :-) Will check, I know in Les Gets there were ones available in the town.