Mountain biking in Samoëns
Blog written by Arno
Are you considering a mountain bike holiday in the French Alps, close to Geneva? Then Samoëns is the right choice for you. In between Chamonix and Morzine, Samoëns and the Grand Massif offer endless options for enduro riding. You will find all kind of natural trails, from techy and rooty to flowy and fast!
Read on, if you would like to know what the mountain biking in Samoëns is like:
Mountain biking in le Grand Massif
In the summer months (July and August) you will find 6 ski lifts running in le Grand Massif, enabling you to ride around the whole ski area. Samoëns is steep, technical and pretty challenging, so ideal for experienced enduro riders. Les Carroz has a nice bikepark, attracting downhill riders of different levels, while Morillon has some pretty gentle trails to offer.
Using the ski lifts, you can easily link these 3 villages. One of my favorite tours is the 'Tour du Grand Massif'; an all-mountain ride linking up Samoëns, Flaine, les Carroz and Morillon. It leads you over 4x4 paths and singletracks, accessible with 1 or 2 skilifts in the summer or no lifts when the summer season has come to an end. There is also an enduro version of this tour, taking the gondola in Flaine up to 2500m and riding 1800m back down to the valley floor of Sixt and Samoëns. You will be rewarded with amazing views of the Mont Blanc range, awesome alpine (but pretty hidden) single tracks and a chance to spot wild life like marmottes, ibex, chamois or even the bearded vulture with it's 275cm wingspan!
Click here for the digital map
Mountain biking in Samoëns
Samoëns is not for the faint hearted and has some pretty challenging trails to offer! So you'd better bring a big bike with at least 150mm suspension. All the runs (starting from 1600) have at least 900m height difference, so make sure you've got some breaking power. You will find 1 blue run, 3 reds, several black tracks and some 'secret' freeride trails. When it's dry, the bleu and reds are pretty accessible, but everything gets tough when things get 'slippery when wet'. In 2015 Samoëns was hosting the Enduro World Series; which was a challenging episode, even for the worlds best enduro mountain bikers.
The GME telecabine brings you 900m up in 8 minutes to Samoëns 1600. 4 days a week you can take up the Chariande Express for another 500m of altitude. This lift helps you to easily access Flaine and Les Carroz. Unfortunately the trails between the summit of le Tete de Saix and Samoëns 1600 are not particularly interesting at the moment. There are rumours that an easily green trail will be built thanks to the new Club Med centre, starting from Samoëns 1600...
The best (and most challenging) runs in Samoëns are hard to find. They are hidden in the forests and poorly or not marked at all. A local guide could be the solution to find these hidden gems!
Best bike choice on the Samoëns trails: enduro-downhill
Mountain biking in Morillon
This part of the Grand Massif is offering mainly green and blue ski runs in the winter. This means that the mountains are pretty gentle and so are the trails. The riding is cool in Morillon but the ski lift system is not great. The telecabine is not running from the valley, so you have to ride up, or link this area up by starting from Samoëns. The 2 (consecutive) chairlifts running from Morillon 1100 (les Esserts) are slow, so you can make the most of this time to plan your rides. From the top at the Igloo restaurant you will find a really fun blue trail, which actually could be marked as a red. There are a few easy and pretty wide blue runs, a red trail and a long and awesome black trail with about 700m descent.
Best bike choice on the Morillon trails: allmountain-trail
Mountain biking in les Carroz
While Samoëns and Morillon are more enduro focussed, Les Carroz is attracting the big bikes. The telecabine takes you from 1140m to 1760m in only 6 minutes. Here you will find a nicely shaped green trail, 2 blues, a red, a black run and even a double black run. The trails have a pretty natural (more enduro kind of) feeling and offer shores, berms, jumps, tables and everything you'd like to ride on a downhill bike. The green 'Woody woodbiker' trail is a great (long!) run for beginners and ridable with all kind off mountain bikes.
Click to check the map of les Carroz bikepark
Best bike choice on the trails of les Carroz: enduro-downhill
1800m downhill ride by les Cascades
There are no biketrails to be found in Flaine, but we are crossing this ski village when riding the allmountain or enduro tour du Grand Massif. The telecabine of Flaine drops you at les Grandes Platieres at nearly 2500m. Your are now on the biggest karst area of the Alps and it's hard to imagine that you can ski here in the winter! After enjoying the view of Mont Blanc you have a choice of two runs for your ride down. One is a real backcountry (unmarked) route into the Vallée des Sales and the other (marked) run is following the winter 'Cascades' piste to arrive in Sixt after 1800m downhill!
Sixt fer a Cheval is a beautifull authentic alpine village to discover on a cross country tour through the valley, but does not have any open lifts open in summer. There are some good single tracks to be found, but you might need a mountain bike guide to find them...
The best singletracks in Samoëns
Allthough the skilift accessed trails of Samoëns are amazing, the non lift-assisted might be even better! To reach them you have to take an uplift or pedal up to the Joux Plane, to find the summit of la Bourgoise at 1770m. From here there are 2 amazing strails starting (one marked, one not marked), both with more than 1000 vertical meters descent, all the way back down to the village.
After living in Samoëns for more than 10 years, I only recently discovered an awesome enduro tour starting from the Joux Plane, linking up with Morzine and riding back to Samoëns. As you can imagine, this one is a guide's secret, so you better book a local Samoëns mountain bike guide to find this beauty...!
After riding all the good stuff in and around Samoëns, you will find some great riding within 1 hour drive from Samoëns. What do you think of les Portes du Soleil with hundreds of man-made downhill tracks, la Clusaz with it's awesome natural enduro trails or the Chamonix valley with techy trails and stunning views of the glaciers? If you can't choose where to go, AlpAdventures is offering the Best of the Haute Savoie mountain bike trip using a comfy chalet as basecamp, or the Trans74 a hut to hut enduro adventure, linking up the best mountain bike spots of the Haute Savoie.
Mountain bike rental in Samoëns
We can recommand you 2 shops for you mountain bike rental in Samoëns. One is the shop Xtreme Glisses at the bottom of the GME telecabine. The other one is Mountain Spirit in the centre of town, who are offering up-lifts as well. Both shops are renting the right bikes for the kind of trails you will find in Samoëns and offer bike repairs.
Mountain bike guide in Samoëns
If you want to find and ride all these amazing trails in and around Samoëns, it might be a good idea to book a local mountain bike guide. AlpAdventures Arno is keen to take you up and around for full day rides in Samoëns, le Grand Massif, les Portes du Soleil and all the other amazing bike spots in the Haute Savoie.
Give him a call at 0033642318177 or sent an email to email@example.com
Mountain bike holidays in Samoëns
AlpAdventures is organising various mountain bike holidays from their basecamp in Samoëns. You can apply for a tailor made mountain bike trip for you and your bike mates or you can one of the fixed trips on an individual base.
Check the Adventures page for more info about the different trips AlpAdventures could offer you