Ride the Alps – Adventure by Fatbike
Earlier this year we linked in with Mary & Jamie, owner operators at Ride the Alps, near Morzine in France. We share a common love in all things fatbiking related especially snow, no surprises there really…
So Mary, tell us a little more about yourselves;
How is it that you guys came to be working in the Alps doing what you do?
- We moved out to the Alps in 2003. There are personal reasons behind our move out here but in professional terms Jamie was ready to make the move from being a guide employed by other companies to setting up his own company. His cousins had a chalet in Morzine and he had made a few trips out here to ride so he knew the wider area and was really impressed with the trail network. I got a posting to Geneva with my job at the time, we moved out here full time and Ride the Alps was born. We are now based in Morillon in the beautiful Haute Giffre valley where the trails are not so well used as they are in the more popular Alpine resorts.
What did you do in a previous life?
- Jamie started off his adult life as a professional mountain bike racer – he was one of the members of the first British mountain bike team. He then focused on adventurous travel and adventure racing. He started his guiding career over 25 years ago. I worked for 10 years for a non-government organization in the area of international development. I have recently returned to this sector, whilst continuing to run the business side of Ride the Alps. You can find out more about us here
- Because they looked like so much fun! And because we wanted to develop a winter season for our business. Our summer season always fills up very quickly and it’s a super-busy time for us. Our winters are relatively quiet. Jamie does some snow shoe guiding and igloo building but we were looking for something he could develop a real passion for in the winter and we came across fat bikes.
Do you ride any other types of bikes? When and why?
- Absolutely! We love all things bike-related. During the summer season (May to mid-October) we ride our trail bikes. Jamie rides an Orange Alpine 160 and I ride an Orange Five. A lot of our summer trips are point-to-point high mountain routes with a lot of technical riding. You can find out all about our trips here.
So tell us more about your tours/packages and what you offer? What age groups?
- From fit and able teenagers to old-timers. So long as you have the fitness and skills to ride you’re very welcome on any of our trips.
Is it more for individuals, groups of friends, hard-core cyclists or families?
- We can tailor some of our trips to suit the needs and abilities of our guests. For other trips you need to be an experienced and technically accomplished mountain biker. We do a couple of family trips each season. Almost all of our trips are with private groups of friends or families. For fat biking trips we can take novices and expert mountain bikers. There are trails to suit all levels. Jamie guides people down powder runs, up to mountain refuges but also along the scenic river valley trail.
Do you guys offer airport transfers?
- Yes, we work with a local airport transfer company & can help to arrange this.
When is the best time to visit?
- For fat biking any time from December to April. Snow conditions vary throughout the winter season but the best conditions are usually in January, February and early March. We can always find somewhere to ride on the fat bikes. One of the great things about them is that we don’t need perfect snow to be able to ride. For trail biking it’s May to mid-October.
Do you have to buy a ski pass to go fatbiking?
- No. In fact in our area the fat bikes aren’t allowed on the lifts. We are not strictly allowed to ride on the pistes but often a piste will be closed because the snow isn’t good enough for skiing but it’s perfect for fat biking and then we can take an uplift and have a fast blast down! You can also sometimes do this at the very end or the very start of the day when there are no skiers around. Otherwise we use hiking trails, which are permissible for bikes.
What fatbikes do you have on your fleet, can people bring their own?
- We have Specialized “Fat boys” and Jamie guides on an On One “Fatty”. Yes, you can bring your own fatty. You can also rent e-fatbikes if you want to take the effort out of the ride!
Do you offer servicing or have a workshop in-case anything goes wrong with someone’s bike?
- Yes, absolutely.
What else is there to do in the area where you’re based?
- So much fun stuff to do in our valley!
- In the summer: Trail running, hiking, rafting, kayaking, paragliding, lake swimming, climbing, via ferrata and more!
- In the winter: Skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, ice skating, igloo building, snowshoeing, husky dog sledding, ski joering etc. If you want a less active stay there are mountain spas, beautiful towns and villages to visit and boutique shopping on offer.
There you have it folks, if you’re a regular visitor to the French Alps and you’re looking to spice up your trip, defo consider booking a fatbike trip with Jamie, our fatbike voucher might even be a great stocking filler in a just over a week’s time.
We are cooking up some plans for a small Fatbike Adventures delegation to visit the Jamie and Mary at Ride the Alps in early 2019, some of the following dates might be a winner for yourself and a few mates:
1st – 3rd March 2019 / 22nd – 24th March 2019 / 5th – 7th April 2019
The prices are reasonable but vary depending on the: number of people in your gang (4-6 is best). Pricing is set to include airport transfers, B&B accommodation, fatbike hire & 2 days of guiding.
You will of course need to sort your own flights to Geneva, but fear not Aer Lingus fly direct from Dublin once a day and flights are also well priced.
Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Check out our interview with Mary & Ride the Alps we did earlier in the summer here.