Post by Mary on October 19, 2017
Last week Jamie and I took advantage of Granny and Grandpa’s visit and headed off for 3 days of mountain biking around Beaufort. Beaufort is a pretty, traditional Savoie village, renowned for it’s cheese of the same name. It’s in a beautiful location nestled in a wooded valley and surrounded by mountains. Jamie and I had heard great things about the biking trails in the area so under the sunny skies of our seemingly endless Alpine Indian summer, we set off to explore.
The first day we stopped en route at Les Saisies, which sits high above the Beaufort valley with amazing views of the Mont Blanc Massif. There’s a great looking bike park here with 3 lifts running in the summer months and lots of different route options. There’s also a good mix of Enduro and XC loops. We warmed up with a 20 km loop staying up high to get the lay of the land. An initial double track climb gained enough height for the next 10km or so to be mostly fun rolling singletrack on varied terrain. At the end of the ride we climbed to the high point “Mont Bisane” and then followed an excellent Enduro route right down into Beaufort 1200m below. Great singletrack on dirt with long rooty sections and some pretty tight switchbacks lower down. Jamie rode back up the road for the van whilst I checked-in to the hotel 🙂
Hotel Le Grand Mont http://www.hotelbeaufort.com is not the most modern of accommodations but it is clean and comfortable and what it lacks in style it certainly makes up for in tasty and plentiful food. Great value and perfect location in the centre of the village. Not too far from the cheese vending machine either 😉
The second day we decided to go for a big , scenic xc loop around the famous Lac de Roselend. The route would take us along a section of the Tour du Beaufortain, which we wanted to sample and provide some really big stunning views. We started and finished at the Col du Pre, which we are reliably informed will feature in the Tour de France in 2018. There was a bit of tarmac peddling at first to get round one side of the lake and up towards another Tour de France feature, the Cormet de Roselend. Tarmac isn’t our favourite surface but the views really did distract us completely from the absence of dirt beneath our wheels. What a stunning location! We turned off onto a dirt track before reaching the Cormet and began a long but steady and 100% rideable climb up to a high point just above 2000m at “Le Grand Berger”. The descent was a mixture of single and double track, always with those breathtaking views. Before returning to the Col we took the option of an extra climb up to a ridge to gain what looked to be some more singletrack descent. In the end it probably wasn’t worth the extra effort but sometimes you just don’t know until you try. We should have stayed up on the ridge to return to the Col but that’s the benefit of hindsight. We refuelled that night with a delicious Beaufort cheese fondue, which seemed like the appropriate choice!
On our third and final day we explored some of the trails above Beaufort at Areches. In the summer there are 2 lifts running here and an uplift service but we didn’t have the benefit of such luxuries so we used leg power to get to the top of a couple of excellent enduro routes. All singletrack in the trees with lots of switchbacks and some lovely flowing sections. There is also a bike bus in the summer that enables you to do some big 2000m descents right down into Albertville and return by bus. We didn’t really feel like a 2000m road climb so those trails we left for another day!
Overall it was a cracking 3 days of exploring. We really liked the area and the town of Beaufort. We’re now looking at how we can make a new trip incorporating some of these trails. Maybe as part of a point-to-point or a double centre-based trip. We’ll keep you posted but in the meantime if you want to try a few days riding over in Beaufort, we’d be very happy to take you 🙂