Advice to a customer about mountain biking in Les Deux Alpes and Alpe d’Huez

Mountain bike Alpe d'Huez
Riding our favourite back county above Vaujany on the Alpe d’Huez mountain bike trails.

I just wrote this email to a client looking for accommodation in either Alpe d’Huez or Les Deux Alpes and the advice seem relevant enough to post.

Hi (client), if I can offer some local knowledge. Les Deux Alpes is mostly about the downhill. Pads, full face helmets, doing laps of super fast DH tracks with berms, jumps and plenty of north shore. I’m a keen mountain biker and now in my early 40’s tend to go for the minimal protection, lift assisted (during the season), natural flowy or technical single track, back country and all mountain riding. Despite living closer to Les Deux Alpes, I spend the majority of my time over in Alpe d’Huez. Plus if you want to do some crazy downhill, you can always take on the Mega Avalanche course.

Les Deux Alpes has a much livelier night scene than Alpe d’Huez. There’s more roadies over in Alpe d’Huez preferring to polish their bikes, then head out for a beer. That said, with the Tour de France coming through that week there will be plenty going on.
If I could pick up a chalet and put it anywhere, it would be in Vaujany, which is linked to the Alpe d’Huez mountain bike lift system. Aside from the fantastic skiing in the winter and very sunny location, this little town has a hand full of bars, enough to enjoy a post ride beer and is at the end of a couple of my favourite MTB trails.
I have heard back from the owner at the Vaujany catered chalet there and he can offer you 7 nights for €540 or the 8 for €620 per person.  18th – 26th July 2015
Please let me know if you have any questions, or need any advice.

La Tarentaise – Road Biking and Mountain biking

Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise-mapLa Tarentaise region of the French Alpes offers an extraordinary location for both Mountain biking and Road cycling. Access by plane from Lyon or Geneva and by train and motorway right to the heart of the valley make this an extremely simple area to get to with your bikes. The region runs along the Isere river valley and comprises of a number of huge mountain resorts made famous for skiing in the winter and a couple of large valley towns.

Road Cycling – The region is also a popular for road cyclists, with classic routes such as the Col de l’Iseran (2764m), the highest paved road in the Alps, Col du Petit Saint Bernard (2188) and the Cormet de Roseland (1968m). In addition, spread along the valley are a number of well maintained resort access climbs to explore. The valley floor and balcony roads provide the perfect recovery day rides, to explore a number of beautiful villages and hamlets throughout the area.

6056620769_0c6bc4b7bd_oIdeal for families wanting to get their first taste of cycling in the Alps, located on the 12km stretch between Bourg St. Maurice and Aime is a flat paved piece of road dedicated to cyclists, rollerblades and pushchairs.

As well as bike related sports, the region offers hundreds of other activities to keep families, children happy for the duration of your holiday. Open air swimming pools, rafting, paragliding, summer luge, summer skiing (Tignes), hiking, swimming lakes and of course skiing throughout the winter.

999583_10151644169277911_919742052_nMountain Bike – With a large concentration of high altitude resorts, with modern lift systems most are embracing the explosion in popularity of all forms of mountain biking. Many resorts have now adapted their lift system to encourage mountain bikers with bike parks and mountain bike only trails crisscross the region.

Vast networks of interlinking resorts such as the Trois Vallee and the Paradiski offer massive amounts of varied terrain and trails to explore. Links from the valley such as the Arc en Ciel from Bourg Saint Maurice and the Moutier Meribel gondola extend the riding possibilities below the skiable level through the single track forests on the lowers slops leading to the valley.

Tignes/Val d’Isere located at the end of there valley has focused much of its attention on developing a huge selection of manmade downhill tracks with loads of interesting, jumps north shore and huge berm sections. As with most places in the Alpes single track is everywhere, but often shared with walkers, so attention must be taken during busy periods. The area is service by 5 chairlift and gondola as well as uplift services from satellite villages, all of which are FREE during the summer.

Saint Foy Tarentaise is for those who love natural, flowy, breaks off single track. Similar to the winter, this resort, with just a handful of chairlifts is ideal for those who love to head back country with a full backpack and a map.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 16.24.33Les Arcs is home to some of the best cross country, single track and downhill trails in France. With an altitude drop of over 2000 meters and trails all the way into Bourg St. Maurice, the area promises trails for all level and style of rider.

La Plagne – The altitude range is from 2739m down to 690m. Recent development have seen huge advances for mountain biking in the highest parts of the domain, through the village sites, right down into the valley and along the banks of the Isère river. The area and altitude range accessible from both the summer lift system as well as free busses provides a vast area for mountain bikers to explore.

Other popular resorts in the region include Courchavel, Meribel and Val Thorens (Les Trois Vallee) and La Rosier

Guide to road cycling in the Tarentaise – Thanks to www.Saintefoy-Tarentains.com

Download Tignes/Val d’Isere MTB trail map – Thanks to http://public.tignes.net

Download Saint-Foy-Tarentaise MTB trail map – Thanks to www.saintefoy-tarentaise.com

Download Les Arcs Mountain Bike Trail map – Thanks to www.lesarc.com

Download La Plagne Mountain Bike Trail map – Thanks to www.la-plagne.com

Download Meribel/Les 3 Vallees Mountain Bike Trail map – Thanks to www.mountain-summer.meribel.net

Charity Mountain Bike Ride – Alpe d’Huez September 2015

Alpe d'HuezBikelodging and Will Corder are in the early stages organising a small charity bike event in early September 2015. Plans are to design a route which not only uses the famous 21 hairpin bends of Alpe d’Huez (set to be used once again in this years Tour de France) but to return to the valley by one of Alpe d’Huez’s many marked mountain bike trails, possibly the lower sections of the the Mega Avalanche.

21 years ago my father Colin Corder died suddenly from a heart related incident. To mark this sad milestone it seems appropriate to raise money for the British heart foundation by combining the road climb up the 21 hairpins of Alpe d’Huez with a challenging decent to the valley.

The climb from Alpe d'Huez
The climb from Alpe d’Huez

Currently the event is open to friends and clients of Will Corder and Bike Lodging. But if the idea goes viral, we might open it up to the general public.

A suggested route starts in Venosc near Les Deux Alpes and takes the valley trails to Le Bourg d’Oisans, where we take the road up the 21 hairpins of Alpe d’Huez. From here we climb further on the access roads to the mid station of the DMC gondola. At this point we will decide whether to descend to Allemont via

Cross country trails around Lac Besson
Cross country trails around Lac Besson

either the cross country trail pass Lac Besson, and down to Vaujany, or double back and take the lower section of the Mega Avalanche course. Once back in the valley at Allemont it will be a long slog back up the valley to Venosc with a possible round trip of 75km.

View this route on plotaroute.com

Best wishes, Will