Swiss, Italian, and French Alps
I just got back from Fluidride’s 2018 Alps trip where we rode the Swiss Italian, and French alps. Coming from the PNW I always find myself comparing destination trails to what I have in my backyard back home. You want awkward and rowdy: North Shore, Long shuttle-able diverse downhill: Tres Hombres, Legit freeride and fortitude challenging rock rolls: Squamish, skill park progression for all levels 30min from Seattle: Duthie Hill. The list goes on and on, the PNW has it all! I didn’t expect in the alps to offer the same thing but all crammed in one area at incredible scale and grandeur.
Aosta Valley is on the other side of Mont Blanc, about an hour drive via the Mont Blanc tunnel from our basecamp in Chamonix. Aosta offered the variety I described above, but offered it all in one condensed 30mi radius. Aosta genuinely offers you everything: partially hidden long loamy, hand cut, organic, enduro runs or classic fast rocky DH runs, and all sorts of lift-assisted trails. It is easy to make a day out of riding when there are so many random hostels and restaurants along the mountain. Its like finding the best coffee you’ve had and healthy food with beautiful seating in the middle of Tiger mountain.
Chutes so narrow you can lean onto the tree to set up a endo turn or frenchie turn :)
My favorite DH trail was the IXS European Cup DH course. My favorite primitive loamy trail was brand new and hidden so I have no clue how to get back to it without our guide Timmy. The most memorable among our 12 person crew I believe was “Freeride Pila” as it was described by the locals. Freeride (I’m surprised there is a wiki) doesn’t mean the same thing as in the US and Canada. In Italy it described a trail that has junctions where you can split off and find different trail characteristics but that remerges later on, free to choose your journey.
An impressive group of riders. Waiting for the shuttle home.