If your kids love their MTB, why not take the opportunity if you are on holiday in France to try some epic trails in the Alps?
Many resorts keep some of their cable cars and chairlifts running throughout the Summer holidays, not only for the large number of walkers (using separate tracks) but also for the MTB (known as Velo Tout Terrain or VTT in France) riders to use the purpose built XC and Downhill routes.
Whilst they use the same colour coding system to grade difficulty of the routes: Green, Blue, Red & Black (easy to expert) – in our experience, we found the routes to be more technical in the Alps for the corresponding colour in the UK. With little ones, definitely start with Green! We found the Green trails to be more like somewhere between our Blue & Red in the UK.
The chairlift staff were fantastic looking after the boys, assisting with loading their bikes – which the kids at 6 and 8 years old would not be capable of doing on their own, due to the height of the bike brackets on the back of the chairlifts.
Les 2 Alpes is basically split into 2 separate mountain sides – Vallee Blanche and Le Diable. We recommend sticking to Vallee Blanche if you have little ones. Our boys may be young, but are already quite experienced, so they did complete the Le Diable Green route too, but despite its description as ‘Suitable for Beginners’ it is definitely NOT suitable for beginners!
We saw at least a dozen or more 6 year old riders enjoying themselves on Vallee Blanche that day. Near the top of this mountain side they have built a skills track in the clouds, which the kids loved. There are also several locations in the town which offer coaching sessions for kids and adults, in groups or 1-2-1.
Taking your own bikes saves costs. However, you can still hire bikes for both adults and kids from approx 10 bike hire shops within the town. Most, it not all had very small, 20” wheeled full-suspension bikes suitable for kids approx 6 years and up. Priced at around £45 for a full day. Full downhill adult bikes can be hired for around £65 for the day.
All hire bikes include a helmet. All the hire shops we spoke to will also provide full body armour in kids sizes for a fee, well worth it. Essentially, you don’t have to take anything to France, they can provide everything.
If you have your own bikes (its sensible to have at least front suspension, even on the Green trails) then the only cost will be the Chairlift pass. Adults currently cost £21 for a full day, with kids under 13 at £17. So about the same cost as a typical museum/park visit, only they won’t be bored after 2 hours and want to leave!
Obviously, this is the Alps, so it won’t be for the Vertigo sufferers out there. Weather can also change quite quickly, especially in the late afternoon/evening – so its wise to take additional jackets/clothing in a rucksack for everyone.
Its a great place, well worth a visit. Just a few miles down the road from the iconic Alpe d’Huez, so its superb for road rides too. If you are really brave, there is still skiing in August on the Glacier above the town, even when its 35 degrees!
After 3300m of descending in 34km, these two boys were spent, but desperate to do it again the next day!
So what sort of kit do your kids need to safely tackle MTB trails with confidence? CLICK HERE…