Holidays from Heaven for the MTB family

The Seber family getting ready to hit the trails
Julie Rand's picture

Holidays from Heaven for the MTB family

What do you need for the perfect family cycling holiday? Ruby Seber finds out how to keep teenagers happy too.

Last summer, I went on a cycling holiday in the French Alps with my family. The resort we went to was called Les Gets and it was within easy access of Morzine resort too. There are lots of resorts and they are easy to get to by plane and then a coach journey up the mountain- slightly scarily fast driving along windy steep roads but it’s worth it when you get to the top!

We stayed in a lovely hotel, called Hotel Christiania, that wasn’t very expensive. The staff were all English speaking and everyone else staying there were from the UK. It was a great place to meet new people and there was a kids club where your kids can go to make friends and have fun while you relax by the pool. It was right next to the bottom of a chair lift which meant super fast access to the top of the trails. We were on an all-inclusive package holiday with Alpine Elements so we also got to do white water rafting which was a lot of fun. All-inclusive deals are perfect for when you get back from a great day's riding to find your dinner has been cooked for you. Our hotel also provided tea and cakes at teatime for a quick snack before hitting the trails again. Also, we got a cooked breakfast everyday which was perfect for lots of energy for the busy day ahead. The pool was perfect for a cool off after a hot day of riding. Luckily for us it was almost too hot!

The trails were a great mix of downhill and cross country with lots of different grades to suit different abilities (green= very easy, blue= easy, red= hard and black= very hard and there are orange trails which are very difficult). This made it brilliant for our family because my parents could go off on hard cross country rides whilst my brother and I could do the downhill- me generally doing the greens and blues (and maybe a bit of red if I was feeling brave) and him doing the reds and blacks. However, this is only really suitable for a family with children over 15 as we could go off on our own. For families of younger children, I definitely suggest sticking to the green and possibly blue cross country routes because for the downhill, even the green trails which are supposed to be very easy, are quite difficult, even for quite experienced riders.

It was the best holiday of my life! Louie, aged 17

The chair lifts are specially adapted from the winter ski season to the summer mountain biking season. Each chair is fitted with a metal frame that your bike will fit into, however, it can be quite hard for children and some teenagers to lift up your bike onto the back wheel and hook it onto the back of the chair lift in front but there are always a couple of people on hand that will willingly help anyone that needs it. At the top, you get off and the people there will have taken your bike off the chair in front and put it into the bike parking but you will need to promptly retrieve it before the spaces are needed for the next bikes coming off.

From the top, there are lots of different routes taking you either down the mountain, off to another chair lift to go up higher or to other resorts such as Morzine and Avoriaz.

The trails are all very fun with lots of technical parts, great singletrack and swooping berms. There are jumps on some of the trails but there is always a chicken run to go round them if you don't want to do the jump (which I normally did).

There are also bike parks with jumps and a pump track in most resorts, which are adapted fr
om the snow parks in the winter. These are very fun if you are experienced enough on a bike but I would not recommend them for any novices or beginners. However, the smaller jumps can be rolled over but if you’re feeling brave you can get a little bit of air if you go a bit faster, I had a go and got a bit of air!

In our hotel there were bike hire facilities which were free, unless you wanted a higher spec bike which you can hire for the day or for 3 days or sometimes longer. If your hotel doesn’t have this facility there are lots of bike hire shops in the town where you can also hire protective equipment (helmets, full face helmets and full body armour). However, full face helmets and full body armour are only really necessary on the harder trails. If you are planning on bringing your own bikes, all hotels have safe locked garages to keep them in, used to keep ski/snow board equipment in in the winter.  There are also road bikes if you prefer to keep to tarmac.

Family     French Alps     downhill
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