Morzine in the French Alps has long been the summer destination of choice for Brits on their mountain biking holidays, something that doesn’t look like changing any time soon.
The allure of high peaks, dozens of functioning chairlifts and gondolas and a healthy after-ride pub scene seems to be irresistible for so many travellers. For some of those folk the draw has been so strong they haven’t even been able to leave and have settled in the town, which now has a 50/50 foreign/French permanent population.
Alex Evans is one of those people, he has lived and breathed the mountain life for over five years and enjoys the fresh air and intricate valleys of the Portes du Soleil area more than perhaps anyone else. Now working for the Chatel Bike Park building and repairing trails, Alex truly lives the mountain lifestyle.
The summer season is a short one in Morzine, with July and August being the main months for business. In early September the lifts close and town returns to its out-of-season state of solitude and tranquillity. Locals deem this the best time of year to ride trail bikes, with crisp, cool air, generally favourable weather and often a dusting of snow on the peaks.
In this episode of Bike Magic Trail Guide TV, Alex and friend Loic Delteil ride one of the trails that manages to evade the rigours of a summer of bike traffic due to its inaccessibility and lack of chairlift. The trail begins with a precarious-at-times hike across rocks as it traverses the mountain, a steep drop to the right.
After considerable effort the ride proper begins, with flowing, fast open meadow sections that eventually enter the tiny hamlet before dropping into the forest for a loamy, technical and fast finish to what most consider one of the better off-season rides in the area.
Cruising into town at the end of this ride, locals stop off at Chez Roger's (one of the few businesses open) for a coffee and a chat about the latest trails ridden. The pace is slow in the autumn months, in a good way of course.
Filmed by Mark Huskisson of Reset Films.