Around about this time every year, we start to take hundreds of calls and emails from people asking us whether our Home and bike insurance policies and Travel insurance policies will cover them for a mountain biking trip to the Alps, before we respond with a resounding “Yes!” Nine times out of ten, the person on the other end of the phone is going to be making their way to the European cycling mecca, Morzine. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 15 years and not heard of Morzine, then read on as we explore the top 5 best reasons to visit this iconic destination.
For those at the back, let’s get up to speed.
Nestled in the lush greenery of the French Alps and just a stones throw from Geneva Airport, every red-blooded human with a love for life off-road has dreamt about visiting Morzine since the first time they rode proper trails. With Le Pleney downhill track birthing lift-assisted mountain biking in Europe in 1999, there’s good reason Morzine is always the topic of conversation when discussing a European mountain biking holiday.
Although 2022 has given the world a plethora of bad news and misery, the good news is that travel is back on the cards and the resorts are welcoming us back with open arms. We have asked MTB holiday specialists, Mountain Bike Morzine, to give us their rundown on the top 5 reasons as to why you should make your dreams come true and visit Morzine.
1-The worlds BIGGEST lift network
Morzine is nestled in the centre of the Ports du Soleil’s expansive lift network which span across France and Switzerland, connected neatly by epic trails. This makes it an idyllic location to base yourself for your MTB holiday. Such is the size of the lift network (no less than 24 bike-friendly lifts) that even veterans of the area are still discovering new trails to ride. All of this is available from the purchase of one lift pass! Such is the size of the area and the efficiency of the lift system, that shredding over 100km of downhill in one day isn’t unheard of.
2- Trail variety
OK, so not everybody is going to have the effortless skill of Brendan Fairclough or want to launch to the moon like Kaos Seagrave, but that’s ok! The Portes du Soleil bike park has options a-plenty. Green runs for the family, technical and fast flowy single track for the intermediates and the frankly raucous Pleney singles if you’ve got your brave hat on. Truth be told, most riders stay within the confines of the bike park, but for the more adventurous there are lots of single-track trails carved into the tree lines too. Getting through these trails does usually require pedalling. so probably not ideal for anyone riding a DH bike. This is where the enduro and E-bikes really shine. Navigating through the bike park is easy enough but we always recommend studying and taking a map with you before you ride.
The 2022 season is promising to be a whopper. Here is what’s happening:
June 24th-26th Passportes du Soleil
The Passportes du Soleil is a mountain bike festival which is held across the whole bike area from the 24th-26th June and signifies the opening of the entire bike park. The event offers 1000’s of riders the chance to take on some of the best trails over an 80km circuit.
2nd-3rd July-Spartan Morzine
Morzine will host one of Europe’s toughest endurance races-The Spartan. It promises multiple routes of varying difficulty and distance in an effort to punish even the hardest athletes.
11th July-TDF Stage 10 departs Morzine
For the 21st time since 1975, Morzine will host the Tour de France. For this year’s edition, the riders will take a day off in Morzine before picking up the route again. It’s usually a great opportunity to see some of the big hitters as they go for a gentle recovery ride and often sit down for a coffee in the local cafes.
14th-17th July-Harley Days festival
If Harley Davidson motorbikes are your thing then it’s well worth being in town to see this. A spectacle of all things Harley, with a festival, music, parties, street displays and of course, lots of leather.
6th August-Fete du Lac
An hour-long firework display was held across the beloved lake Montriond. The festival was first held in 1860 to honour Napoleon III and has run ever since. The festival is free with plenty of food and drink stands in attendance.
24th-28th August UCI World Cup Downhill Championships in Les Gets
The world’s best riders descend (no pun intended) on the valley to race one of the best tracks on the circuit. The racing is fast, the crowds are loud and it’s an ideal opportunity to see the best of the best tearing up the tracks. Expect heroics, dust and chainsaws!
4- It’s not just about bike riding!
If you don’t fancy spending all of your time on the trails then there is so much more on offer. Amongst the usual bars, there is also a vibrant nightlife scene and shops to visit.
Lots of people make use of the open-air swimming pool in the centre of town. There is also Stand up paddle boarding, white water rafting, Kayaking, an inflatable assault course on the lake in Les Gets, and, if you’re really adventurous, canyoning through the Nyon gorge.
If you’d prefer tostay dry then there are simply endless hiking options with a diverse range of flat and high-altitude options. Be sure to always pack adequately and take a hiking map from the tourist office. Some of the best hikes out of Morzine include Col de Cou (an old world war II smuggling route to the Swiss border), Tete de Bostan and Pointe de Ressachaux.
There is also the ever-beautiful Lac de Montriond which is a stunning alpine lake in Morzine. It offers crystal clear waters ideal for swimming, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Ideal for those days when you just want some R&R!
5-Ease of travel
With the worst of Covid-19 hopefully behind us now, travel to Morzine this summer should be as easy as it’s ever been. The regulations for travel in and out of France are constantly changing for the better and we expect to see a reduction in the restrictions as we move towards the warmer weather and an increase in vaccinated travellers.
Morzine is easily accessible by road or by air and both are great options. If flying is your preferred method of transport then the closest airport is Geneva International which is just over an hour away from Morzine. Most airlines offer bike transport and we can organise bike-friendly airport transfers for you making flying a super simple option. If you’re travelling from the UK and you prefer to drive then the Eurotunnel or the multiple ferry operators offer quick and easy access across the channel. The drive from Calais to Morzine takes around 8 hours and is a toll road for most of the way making for a nice easy drive.
Mountain biking abroad is a high-risk activity, and you should make sure you are properly covered in case of an accident or medical emergency. The vast majority of hospitals in the Alps are private, and so not covered by EHIC/GHIC cards. Unlike the UK, mountain rescue will also land you with a hefty bill. When purchasing a travel insurance policy you should make sure that it explicitly covered downhill mountain biking, and that the routes you are going to be riding aren’t excluded. Pedal Cover provides mountain bike holiday travel insurance, designed specifically for shredding Morzine. Get an online quote for your next trip.