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LES GETS (1170m/3,840ft)

The Skinny
Location:
Savoie Region, Alps, France
Elevation (max):
1170m (3840 ft)
Trails: Super fast DH world cup standard race courses
Lifts: Oh Lord Yes
Thread code: Full face lid, DH armour, big full bouncer, or baggy enduro kit for all day epics
Rider: Tim Davies
Why Right in the heart of the Portes du Soleil, Les Gets is a mountain biking mecca. Linked with over 200 km of trails through 12 resorts. Les Gets has two permanent downhill courses and a history of hosting World Cups (Steve Peat won the final round in 2002). You can even ride across the top from Chavannes and hit a super flowing downhill into Morzine with yet more permanent world cup standard downhills. There are so many trails that you can downhill for 2hours with hardly a pedal stroke.
In fact, Les Gets is the spiritual home of European freeriding. For its size it’s an impressive accolade, but that’s the great thing about Les Gets, the village is small but the riding is huge. Whether you come for a week or a weekend you’ll get a taster that’ll leave you wanting more. Even if you spend a whole season out here, you’ll still be finding trails you haven’t ridden before. It’s a friendly place where everyone else is on the same vibe, kick back in the evening at the boomerang bar sink a few cold brews and chat to likeminded souls.

Barbie night at Le Boomerang...so much meat!

What Les Gets has two permanent downhill courses, the best one starts at the top of Mont Chery at 1826metres. This is a long, laugh yaself silly balls out knackering high speed descent.

You need to get two lifts to get the top. First get the gondola (Telecabine du Mont Chery), then turn left and free wheel down to the chair.
The top section is above the tree line and you will find your self picking up crazy cartoon speed through the smooth banked corners, then boosting off tables and small doubles till you start giggling like the insane. It then dips into the woods and there's a wicked step down into a sharp left berm. This bottom section pinballs you through the woods giving you a number of options, then spits you out into yet another steep shoot. Brakes start to smell a bit as it the rotors start turning red and it's one last steep chicane and your back on the road, arms pumped up like popeye and a massive dumb grin plastered across your mug.
Really quick lads have this one in about 6 minutes.
Body Armour recommended!

The other downhill course is on the other side of the valley. You need to take a ride in a mini red cherry gondola up Chavannes. These little red cherrys get damn hot in summer and there's no real ventilation, respect you cherry partner's fresh air and don't let nuthin evil drop.

So this descent isn't technical but it's tons of fun, lots of nice fadeaway hits and high banked chicanes. You can ride this at breakneck speed or just style up the jumps and cruise the corners. Chavannes ends in the biker cross course, which is made out of ball bearing like rocks that slip slide all over the place, the jumps are all doable but it doesn't really flow.

There a bunch of sneaky trails to have all over Les Gets. Keep your eyes peeled on the lift and dive down any wee break in the trees, there are some wicked steep chutes with stream crossings and sharp switchbacks. You'll be spat out at the bottom on the road, never more than 10minutes ride from the lift.

If you head straight on up the fireroad when you get out the cherry lift, you can traverse over toward Morzine and get some brilliant descending down the Avalanche cup downhill course.

Click on image for full Portes Du Soleil Map

Half way down the World Cup downhill course on Mont Chery

Gettin some air on Chavannes

When The lifts open on the last weekend of June for the Free Raid Classic a 75km downhill event which takes place around 12 resorts in the Porte Du Soleil. The lifts stay open until mid September. This gives you a 10 week summer season, which is gradually extending each year. But you can still bike in May and October, there is still some amazing shuttle oriented freeriding to be had.
Where A great place to stay is Le Boomerang Right on the main street you can’t miss it and it’s conveniently located 100m from the Mont Chery gondola. They offer bed and breakfast with optional dinner at a reasonable price and Jean-Michel the Aussie/French owner who loves his freeriding will make you feel really welcome. This is a real moutain bikers digs with kit from all the pros who've stayed there mounted on the walls. The bar is always packed in the evening, often with guests from other hotels. They regularly have live bands playing so it’s worth checking out. At our last visit The 'Rolling Stones' no less. Check out Ride-On, they offer excellent value packages with full workshop support and decent mechanics who know their spannering. They also have a range of wicked DH rigs to hire if you bust yours or fancy something else for the day.

Restaurants: A good option for big groups is Le Schuss on the main street, you can get big pizzas or the ever popular meat fondue to share.

Bars/Clubs: Share a pint with a grisly bear at Bar Canadien, or taste the black stuff downstairs at Pub Irlandaise. The Bush Bar is great for a post ride beer and the owner is a full on extreme athlete, er..gnarly?

If your legs are still up for more punishment you can take them down to the Igloo nightclub and bust some moves on the dancefloor.


Restaurant Le Schuss

The Irish Bar

The Canadian Bar

The Igloo Nightclub
How Fly to Geneva with one of the many low-cost airlines serving this busy Swiss airport. From there it’s an hour's drive. You can hire a car at the airport with Easyrentacar.com (Nice one Stelios).

If you are driving from the UK, then Dover to Calais on the Sea Cat (Hoverspeed) is a good option, around 160 nicka even in July! Its an hour across and then 7.5 hours if you don't hang about. (approximately 540miles). Check out www.theaa.com for excellent directions including toll fees and distances in miles or Km.

www.easyjet.com

www.swissair.com

www.hoverspeed.com