- Our Chalet is located at the base of beautiful Chamonix Valley in France and has astounding views of Mt Blanc.
- We fly into and out of Geneva (GVA) Switzerland.
- Riding takes place in France, Switzerland and Italy. We ride in Aosta Valley, Port du Soleil, Bex Switzerland, and of course do lots of rides in Chamonix Valley.
- All rides are within 90 minutes of the chalet by van. Most are within 40 minutes.
- We do mostly enduro style descending each day, with very little climbing on most days (Trip 3 being the exception). We also spend a couple days in local bike parks to round things out.
- Airport Pickup and Drop off via Cham-Van.com. 2 Pick up (on first Saturday) and 2 drop off times (last Sunday) offered at no charge. Custom times available at a reasonable prices.
- Daily ride Transport in luxury vans with bike trailers. Two separate van groups per day allow us to split riders according to ability and trail tastes.
- Daily ride leading from local pros.
- Exceptional food. Both Breakfast and dinner are supplied.
- Fruit and other ride snacks are included to keep you fueled.
- Wine and beer are included at no extra charge with dinner.
- Local knowledge. Want to take a hike? Go paragliding? Want to shop for a few gifts for friends? Our pros will help you see the valley in a way you can’t imagine and go out of their way to show you the best possible time.
How good a rider do I need to be? How fit do I need to be?
Riders should be advanced intermediate or above and have good basic fitness. Trip one will have a less technical component, so intermediate riders are welcome. We'll also have an advanced crew heading out each day during that trip. Even though we are mostly descending, the days are long and physical. In addition to bringing good skills and fitness, riders should bring a good attitude. The Alps can be humbling. We recommend taking classes or a Whistler Trip with Fluidride in preparation for the trip unless you are already a very strong rider. ALL riders will be screened to be sure they are ready to take on the riding in the valley.
How hard is the riding?
The trails in the valley are generally quite technical and vary from tough ‘Blue Square’ runs to double black diamonds. In Europe the trails are rated blue, red (US black) and black (US double black). During most trips we descend 60,000-90,000 vertical feet in the week with less than 2,000 feet of climbing in that time. Riders should be able to ride blue runs easily and get through black diamond trails in a reasonable fashion. If you are from Seattle, a good example is that you should be comfortable on Off the Grid at Tiger Mountain to be in the less advanced group and if you want to be in the more advanced group, you should be comfortable with trails such as Predator. Questions about your ability and if you are prepared? Contact Simon. Fluidride reserves the right to refund money after payment to those not ready for Chamonix Valley riding.
How does the trip I choose affect the type of riding we do?
Bike parks tend to be open daily until early September at which point many close mid-week. Bike parks have man made trails, which are generally easier than the valley’s technical trails. There are still plenty of the big classic Gondolas open as well as trains and trams to keep the pedaling reasonable. Some hiking trails (which tend to be technical) are closed to bikes until September due to hiker volume. This means that for 2017, Trip One, is a bit less technical and physical than Trip Three. Trip Two is a mix of the two. All this said, there are LOTS of hiking trails open to riders in August and some bike parks remain open in September. Trip Three will have the most pedaling. While we will still mostly descend, expect up to 2,000 feet of climbing on a day or two.
What is the best bike for me?
Riders can choose between bringing a long travel trail bike or a downhill bike for the first two trips, and long travel trail bike for the third trip. We typically put less experienced/skilled riders on DH bikes when we can for safety and to allow them to ride sections they might otherwise walk. We ALL walk some sections! We do require to riders set bikes up with tubeless, 2-ply cased tires for the trip. There are lots of rocks in the valley – and roots of course too. Having heavy tires really improves the control you will have on rough ground while reducing tire related mechanicals. We recommend 150mm or more travel for all but the most skilled riders. This tire selection is required for trip 3 as well as the first two.
What should I bring?
- A well-tuned bike – long travel trail, or DH bike depending on ability and trip.
- Dual ply tires with tubeless set up.
- Layered clothing for changing conditions – expect to ride in 50-100 degree weather
- Full Faced Helmet. Riders in Trip Three should bring a short helmet as well.
- Electrical outlet adapter for your computer and phone. A simple two prong European style adapter fits most outlets best. The big clunky ones simply aren’t compatible with the round style outlets in the house.
- Speaking of phones, consider a SIM card for European travel or add to your plan to prevent surprises on your bill
- A spare set of brake pads for your bike are also a great idea and won't take up much space
What Kind of food is served? How are allergies/preferences handled?
We serve up lots of healthy food at each meal and happily cook for vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free riders. You will be asked prior to the trip about any special requests you have or sensitivities to food. Need somethings special from the store? Just put it on the list and we’ll pick it up on our next trip to town.
Typical Breakfast offering: Coffee, Yogurt, fruit, cereal, eggs, cheese, bread, gluten free bread, croissants, fried potatoes.
Typical Dinner: We cook up some French classics in addition to straight up healthy meals you might be more familiar with - there will always be more food than you can eat, which means midnight leftovers in the fridge. You will get plenty of power packed foods no matter your dietary restrictions. Desserts are served after meals. Complimentary wine (aka French water) is served with dinner as well. Something you want but don’t see? Other than Mexican food and peanut butter, we can grab it for you at the store. Just put it on the list!
What are the additional costs?
- Air Fare – Typically around $1200
- Bike Transport or Rental ($200-$300 for transport)
- Lunch each day ($10-15)
- Dinner on our off day – typically Wednesday
- Daily Uplift service by chair, train, tram, trolley ($25 average)
What if I want to bring a non-rider with me?
Totally fine! Non riders save $500 off normal cost of the trip and are welcome to join us in the van. There are stunning hikes at every location. The house is also well suited for amazing yoga practices etc., or just catching up on email.
Do I need to rent a car?
No, but we do recommend riders sharing a couple of cars between the group. It’s nice to be able to pop into town should you want to etc. Once we get a full roster, we introduce riders to one other and let them group up from there. If you don’t want to have access to a car, you will be totally fine without one. We do the shopping and all the ride transport for you.
Large French Chalet with amazing Mt Blanc views, Wi-Fi, laundry, bike storage, bike work station and bike wash. 3 floors with 5 bedrooms downstairs and 3 bedrooms on the third floor. The main level is for chilling anytime day or night. Guests have access to the kitchen, living room and dining room 24/7. We have comfy chairs on the deck, an outdoor dining table, large dining room table for the group and plenty of everything one would expect in a home. Details such as multiple pairs of binoculars for viewing climbers summiting Mt Blanc are a nice plus. Two stages of the Tour de France came past the house in 2016. You can see all the painted names and messages of motivation as you drive up.
The house address is 298 Route des Tacounets, 74170 Saint Gervais les Bains, France.
Never been to Europe?
It can be stressful to experience a new country, but rest assured we’ll make it about as easy as possible. You will be taken care of from the moment you arrive. The French are very friendly in the countryside. Many of the locals joke that there are Parisians and then there are the French. We have always been treated with respect during our trips.
What’s a normal day like?
The day starts with breakfast at 7:30. Our ride leaders show up around 8 to load the trailers. We depart at 8:30am each day. We are typically home around 7pm, which makes having dinner on the table an amazing thing. The rides are big, so we don’t do many half days, although there are sometimes options to do a part of the day only.
Are there days off the bike?
We take Wednesday off each week. This means 3 days of riding then a day off, followed by 3 more full days on the bike. It’s a lot of riding. Want to ride every day? That’s an option – some riders group up in a rental car and head to a local bike park or trail we’ve already ridden to burn some laps. The trip feels very long in terms of riding. Everyone is pretty knackered by the last day.
Download Google Translate. It’s an amazing tool for communication as well as for reading foreign languages. Simply point your phone at text in any language and you will see it in English. (Amazing and a little eerie!) This helps from everything from doing laundry to reading road signs to knowing what’s in the food you are buying in the store or off a menu. It’s also a great tool for learning some French.
The fine print:
Cancellation Policy: Deposit is non-refundable after December 1, 2016. You may sell your own spot to another rider if we aren’t able to ourselves. Of course we’ll help you out if we have a wait list.
We HIGHLY recommend trip insurance which can be purchased here.
You should purchase the "Travel Select" plan which will reimburse you for the full trip costs should you need to cancel due to injury or illness.