Nestled in a sunny position at altitude, the tiny mountain resort of Auris en Oisans is a hidden mountain bike gem, located between the relative giants of Les Deux Alpes and Alpe d’Huez. Technically part of the Alpe d’Huez ski lift system this small area sits alone during the summer months, but is easily linkable by bike with some thought and good navigational skills.
Technically the resort is regarded as a beginner or family mountain bike resort, with cheap lift tickets, around €10 for the day, with just one chairlift and only four mountain bike trails. However these trails don’t see anywhere near the traffic as the neighbouring resorts of Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes, so remain in great condition even towards the end of the season in late August.
What the chairlift does provide is access to a vast back country of deserted hidden trails to explore. Linking toAlpe d’Huez can be achieved by hitting one of the regions greatest little secret trails, via the Sarenne valley leading to the gondola in Huez village. Auris can be reached in the other direction via the Col de Cluy, either via a favorite cross country trail passing by the Alpe d’Huez Altiport, or even from the start of the Mega Avalanche at the Pic Blanc.
While riding with Alex Bickers, a UK mountain bike guide and owner of a local bike chalet, he was keen to spoil me with all sorts of deserted hidden trails, including one he refers to as the 21 bends of Auris, referring to the world famous 21 bends road cycling route to Alpe d’Huez . With a history of riding in Porte du Soleil and Chamonix back ground he was clearly delighted to now be living and working in an area where he pretty much has the mountain for himself and for his guests. With great knowledge of the area he is able to point, or guide you in the right direction to get the best from the region.
With a 9 seat minibus planned for the start of the 2015 season, he will also be able to offer uplifts to get to or be picked up from some of those more remote locations, as well as transfers over to neighboring resorts. Best of all, a hot tub is due to be installed for the beginning of the 2014/15 winter season.