Landscape Magazine

PORTE DU SOLEIL - MORZINE

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GREAT BASE FOR THE PORTES DU SOLEIL

 
Morzine lies fairly central in the Portes du Soleil area in between Les Gets and Chatel the two big bike parks. Morzine has two sides, the pleney and on the other side is the super Morzine both with a fast  closed lift. At the top of the super Morzine there is another 2 person open lift you have to take to the top. There is not a large number of trails but the trails that are there are good. My visit was during very wet weather so things might be different there in the dry. If you are there in a wet it really is worth investing in mud tyres, you will have much more grip and a lot more fun.
 

Facilities

 
The main two lifts from the valley are very fast and efficient. The bottle neck on a busy day is the second lift you need to take to get to the top of the super Morzine side. The bike wash stations are not always at the very bottom of the lift so you will have to pay attention to them when you are driving around before you go for your wash off after the final run.
The ticket sales person might not always be the nicest person but it’s the people working on the lift who really know the area and are willing to help. On the pleney side there was a nice guy who gave us a map of the area and pointed us to the black pleney run as a good warmup. The map of the entire area is supposed to be free and easy to get a hold of but since we got that one map we didn’t find any more at any of the tourist centres or lifts. Maybe they hadn’t produced enough or something.
 

Trails Pleney

 
The Green Family is very nice to ride in the wet. The trail is simple with corners with a slight banking and no difficult jumps. This allows you to really practice your cornering in the wet. I think in the dry this track might be a bit boring but definitely good for beginners.
The Turn down starts off a little boring heading down a jeep track but once you’re on the actual trail it is fun with fairly tight corners and enough trees you have to navigate around. The last part of the trail goes over a jeep track again but this one is more fun as it’s wider with more options to take and race your buddies.
La Noire de Morzine is the best track in Morzine. It is a high speed black run but all the jumps are built so they can be taken by any level. There is a steep chute which will scare some but they can easily go around it.
We didn’t find the La Noire du stade, I believe it may be closed and we didn’t see the start of the roots anywhere either.
Trails Super Morzine:
At the top of the super Morzine there is a big red trail called Da Trail, this trail has big berms and big jumps. It is a fun trail with good flow.
From the top of the super Morzine tele cabine there is a black trail going down called Chiglio, this one is difficult. In the wet this trail was almost impossible to get down. There are big holes all over the place which your wheel gets stuck in, It is very difficult to get up to pace. There is also quite some off camber areas. I think this trail can be very fun when dry but in the wet I had more fun racing down the asphalt road(don’t forget to turn right into Morzine).
Transfer routes:
Morzine-Les Gets is a simple transfer route but it almost only goes down and has some fun sections in it, you simply whiz between the trees on your way to another bike park. At the end you take a bit of the 4X track and the jump park of Les Gets.
Les Gets-Morzine is a must. In the beginning of the track its nice and fast with good berms, after that you will need to pedal a bit and start wondering what you are doing here. Then again no pain no gain because after this pedal you will arrive at the beginning of a trail which goes through a stream. This part is just fantastic, you navigate your way down a stream covered in loose rocks and little drops here and there. After this it’s a high speed road ride to the last part of the turn down.
Morzine-Avoriaz was disappointing it looks flat but all in all you descend and then have to climb quite a bit again. The same is true when heading from Avoriaz back to Morzine. It is just the cost of building a trail to get from A to B.
 

Location

 
The Portes du Soleil is a very large area which you can explore with a single lift card. Using around 20 lifts you can travel the entire area.  Morzine itself has all the facilities you need a decent sized supermarket in the valley, many bike shops and restaurants with decently priced meals. Our favourite was Le Tyrolien 237 route de la plagne which serves all kind of food but the pizzas are fantastic. Nearly all places will sell good sandwiches or burgers for lunch. We were in Morzine during the football world cup and found the best place to watch was the Dixie bar.
Summary
Morzine is a great place to stay and it is easy to get from here to Les Gets or Chatel. The trail choice is limited but all the trails they do have are very good. The lifts are fast and efficient and there appears to be an active trail crew taking care of the trails. There are also less braking bumps here compared to the rest of the Portes du Soleil.

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