The Riding / Backcountry / Backcountry Day Trips
Our backcountry day trips described below are available to ride during a standard lift accessed trailAddiction holiday. However, we also offer specific Backcountry Weeks during June and September where we stay away from the chairlifts and ride all of the below and much more…
Mountain Refuge Overnighter (aka ‘The Hut Trip’) Read the Press Articles
Sleeping out on a remote mountain top and watching the sun rise from up-on-high will is not an easily-forgotten experience: trailAddiction’s overnight hut trip invariably goes down as one of life’s oustanding memories. Planned around bagging superb backcountry singletrack (when isn’t it?!), this 2-day route involves an overnight stay at a high-altitude mountain refuge consisting of a mixed-sex dormitory room, and with clean bed sheets provided. Imagine a catered alpine-style youth hostel perched on the very top of a mountain, and you’ll get the idea! A hearty evening meal (usually fixed-menu – like it or go hungry!) and continental breakfast are also provided by the refuge staff.
We have a number of hut trip variations and the itinerary generally consists of a morning uplift from our base in Areches, followed by a cross-country-style epic route that passes over into the St-Gervais valley along the lower slopes of the magnificent Mont Blanc itself, then taking a ski lift out of Les Contamines. To access the refuges there’s usually an unavoidable 60-80 minute hike-a-bike at the end of the day. This hard effort is well rewarded by a picturesque location and some of the most stunning views we’ve ever seen as well as a great cosy atmosphere once you arrive.
Day two sees an early start and a jaw-dropping ridgeline ride (not ideal for vertigo sufferers due to a marked feeling of exposure). The route then follows an undulating but downhill-biased trail that cuts through the pastures of the Beaufortain and the astonishing scenery of the Lac de Roseland and Pierra Menta. We always finish with a ripping singletrack descent back to tA HQ in Areches.
Now a trailAddiction classic, the much-revered La Varda is a monstrous 1500m decent of jaw-dropping proportions, eye-popping exposure, and sublime technical singletrack. Incredibly, a 20 minute push is all that’s needed to find the trail head from the top of the Les Arcs lift system. This trail unarguably dispels the myth that the best backcountry singletrack always involves a long climb to get to. Not in our book it doesn’t! View the video…
Want to add an extra dimension? By special arrangement, we’re now proudly offering the La Varda experience with an extra loop up to the Mont Pourri Mountain Refuge, nestled under magnificent glaciers and lying inside the Vanoise National Park itself. Enjoy a hearty meal and overnight stay in the refuge’s dormitory. Then start the next day by sharing a high alpine sunrise with a mountain chamoix and perhaps also the hut’s resident Arctic Fox, knowing you have nothing but truly epic downhill singletrack between you and your next stop – our chalets in Peisey-Nancroix (Les Arcs).
First introduced back in 2006, the acclaimed High Exposure Isere Descent Itinerary is a 60km long, 90% singletrack route descending from the shoulder of Savoie’s highest peak – Grande Sassiere (above Val d’Isere). Along the way we pass through a world of trail variety containing scenery to take your breath away and ancient Savoyard villages such as the Heritage site of Le Monal.
We do use a minibus to gain most of the height, but the 3700 vertical metres of descent enjoyed on this excursion must be partially earned by a total of 1000 metres of unassisted ascent. H.E.I.D.I. is a real high-mountain route in proper backcountry surroundings. With the Vanoise National Park’s most prominent peaks and glaciers just across the valley from the main section of the trail, you just don’t get any more “alpine” than this!
Mont Jovet Enduro
(Ian Jones’s fantastic write up at “It’s Only a Hill”)
There is rarely a rider who pulls up at one of the many terrace bars in Moutiers at end of the Mont Jovet Enduro and isn’t convinced that they have just experienced the single best day of riding possible! A mini-bus shuttle gives us a huge altitude gain at the start of this epic day, however, don’t be fooled you still have a 1 hour 700metre climb to tackle before you reach the summit of Mont Jovet. From the summit we descend on a beautiful ribbon of ridgeline singletrack, before suddenly dropping into the trees where the trail becomes a natural rollercoaster ride of sweeping berms! This is only the start: after 2 hours of continuous descending, with the trail switching from fast as you like swoopy singletrack to technical and tight switchbacks, we finally arrive in the Alpine village of Bozel. From Bozel we take a gradually descending valley trail, which feels just like your local blast through the woods, and drops us out right in the centre of Moutier. It is this variety of riding, topped off with the most incredible scenery which make the Mont Jovet Enduro a firm favourite with our guests! .
*Due to the nature of the hut-trip route, bad weather may cause it to be cancelled last minute, in which case a full refund is offered and an alternative days’ great riding at lower altitudes is arranged.