Mountain Bike – Auris en Oisans/ Alpe d’Huez

Auris-en-Oisans MTB trail mapNestled 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.

MTB AurisWhile 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.

MTB Alpe d’Huez and Sarenne Valley

 

The Chamonix Bike Book – Mountain & Road Bike Routes around the Chamonix Valley

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Bike Lodging – Chamonix

Back country mountain bike trails in Les Deux Alpe

ImageLes Deux Alpes is fast emerging as a world class destination for downhill mountain biking. Other resorts such as those in Les Portes duSoleil boast expansive areas covering hundreds of kilometers, but few resorts have quite the length of lung busting bone shaking and calf burning runs that can be found in Les Deux Alpes. None more so that the Mountain of hell trail which is raced in early July in a rodeo style mass start event from the top of the Glacier at around 3300 meters all the way down to Vensoc at 800meters.

However Les Deux Alpes is not just about full-face helmets and body armor. With a little local knowledge there are a number of deserted single track trails which drop off the back of the resort in all directions.

From the top of the Vallée Blanch chairlift, all of the official trails head back towards the resort. However after a 5 minute ride up to the top of the ridge it is possible to drop off the back of the resort with views down towards the Romanch valley and Bourg d’Oisans. The first part of the track is a little technical and steep, but this soon levels off slightly into flowy alpine switchback. This eventually drops onto another hiking trail by a small shelter and water trough. At this point take a right and avoiding any livestock, enjoy fast single track through the pastures towards a small alpine restaurant. From here you can pick up signs which bring you back to the Mont du Lans chairlift (part of the Les Deux Alpes system). Alternatively head onto the village of Ponetail and a lovely forested trail which spits you out on the main road between Le Bourg d’Oisans and Les Deux Alpes. Here it is as short ride on the road down to the turning to Venosc., where you can either take this road all the way back to the Venosc gondola or, after a few kilometers, peel off to the right towards Le Sarrat and pick up the valley trail which leads all the way along the river back to the gondola.

ImageAnother interesting backcountry ride starts from the mid station of the Jiandri Express gondola where you pick up a trail towards La Fee. This was once an official track, but was no longer on the piste map in the 2013 season. However there is still a walking track which leads down to La Fee restaurant. From here it is possible to turn left onto what is the winter ski piste back to Thuit Crêtes chairlift. However if you follow a less trodden switchback around to the right down to a small stone building you will find an often over grown track heading off further down the mountain. Early in this trail you will find quite an exposed section of technical slick rock. Its one of those sections that is quite intimidating, but if sessioned a little can be achieved by good riders. After crossing a small river, the trail climbs a little and then traverses the mountain with some exposed sections on the left. Once through this the trail become particularly fun through high alpine meadows and then down through switchback section in the forest. The trail ends in the hamlet of Cuculet from where it is a relatively easy ride back to the chairlift in Mont de Lans.

ImageFor a more challenging trail it is possible to ride up from the mid station of the Jiandri Express to the top of the Toura chairlift (unfortunately closed in the summer). From the top of the chairlift you climb just a little further to the ridge, from where there is a little know trail which leads down towards St Chistophe and eventually Plan du Lac before taking the road back to the gondola in Vensoc.

As is often the case with this sort of back country trail finding, it is easy to lose your way, so taking a local guide is advisable. Here at Bike Lodgeing, we can help you find a guide as well as suitable accommodation in Les Deux Alpes.