trip to Champery in the Portes Du Soeil region. Stunning
and some top trails in the sun. By Mark Freeman
dates that were suitable for all four of us
was difficult, which is why we ended up arranging our trip to Champery
Portes Du Soleil in mid-June; one week after the 2007 UCI World Cup and
week before the opening of all of the summer lifts for Passportes Du
problem, I had done my research whilst skiing out
there that winter and whilst I knew that a lot of the chair lifts and
other towns in the region were closed, the main Cable Car, or
in Champery was open, and that there were plenty of routes down the
from the top. We were driving and so there was always the option to
drive to Morzine
or Les Gets and possibly explore further afield – maybe visit
Verbier or Bex or
Rochers de Nayes near Montreux. We weren’t too afraid of
pedalling up a couple
of mountains if needed!
departure arrived and we loaded up Matt’s Blue Bus
with four lots of bikes, spares and clothes for the week. Worries that
be taking too much and overloading the bus were unfounded.
drive down wasn’t too bad as far as
a 9 hour drive from Cherbourg
goes. We chose Cherbourg
as our nearest ferry
was Poole, half an
hour’s drive from where we
live. So the most convenient ferry port in the UK
for us happened to arrive in just about the furthest French port from
the Alps! We
elected to travel and eat on the hoof. Literally
stopping only to fill up the van with fuel and buy food.
We were greeted on the first morning by
beautiful blue skies, snow capped peaks and warm temperatures. The view
mountain Cols that make up the border between France
as we walked off the Telepherique was fantastic.
to take a route in one of the
guides from the Tourist Information, we were back down to the village
for the next lift back up within an hour. This first descent was a
disappointing. Although the descent was over 700 metres it was mainly
track gravel roads. Pretty sanitised and not much different to fire
this point we got chatting to some locals, and realised we were going
to have to hunt out the good stuff. We were advised to try the climb up
De Cou, then follow the ridge overlooked by the Dents Blanche back to
A 40 minute push under mid afternoon sun reaped its rewards with a
along a narrow, scary track on a ridge before descending a tricky trail
tight switchbacks to Barme. Once past Barme the trail turned into a
and rocky double track descent that brought us back to Champery.
day the sun still shone and we drove the hour and a quarter to Morzine.
We parked and bought a lift pass for the Morzine / Les Gets region. We
got chatting to a large Irish chap wearing body armour, riding an out
and out DH bike. He eyed us up and down and said in a full Irish lilt,
‘you’ll be looking for XC trails then’
at our ‘All Mountain’ bikes. Then he told us we
the Pleney DH a bit ‘out of our league’.
cut a long story short he ended up in Thonon
hospital for an MRI scan to rule out any neck injury. Fortunately he
broken his neck. Unfortunately it was a serious whiplash injury that
curtail his riding for the rest of the week. Because of this we also >
This was like a red rag to a bull. “It’s not what
you ride it’s how you ride it…”
Unfortunately not soon after on the Chaux Fleury downhill in Les Gets I
managed to pringle my front rim beyond repair. In a mad panic I found a
shop that would replace the rim and rebuild my wheel by the end of the
day, at UK local bike shop prices. So I found a bar in the village and
whilst drinking a beer waiting for my wheel to get fixed I got a call
to tell me one of our guys, Mark L, had managed to ride straight into
some mud at very high speed and go over the bars landing on his head.
Text! the whole feature in text only form.
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