Alpine bike parks open in Winter

It's warm and dry in the Alps. Leave your skis at home, conditions are perfect for mountain biking!

Post by Mary on February 20, 2024

I feel like I say this every year but our Alpine winters are definitely getting shorter and milder. This winter season feels like the mildest yet. Since the end of January, Jamie and I have been out riding our mountain bikes more than we’ve skied. The smaller resorts at lower altitudes are opening their Alpine bike parks and summer luges. All slopes below 1100 are closed for skiing but their trails are in perfect condition for mountain biking.

Mary and Jamie above Verchaix, Ride the Alps

Normally we would be riding our fat bikes from December through to February but the last time we went out on the fatties was early January. For the first time since we got the fat bikes 9 years ago, we have ridden our mountain bikes more than our fatties in the winter months. Jamie is guiding a couple on fat bikes this week. They are going to have to go up to 1800m to find some snow they can ride on.

Mary at the Cirque du Fer a Cheval, Ride the Alps

Last weekend we heard that the village of Habere-Poche was one of the Alpine bike parks that would be opening. Jamie and I headed over there with our son Cameron and his friend Charlie to give it a go. Habere-Poche sits at an altitude of 924m and the top of it’s bike park is at 1164m. There were patches of snow dotted around but the bike park and surrounding trails were completely clear. All low altitude ski resorts are going to have to diversify quickly if they want to survive in our warming climate. It was great to see Habere-Poche taking the initiative.

Cameron sending it at Habere-Poche, Ride the Alps

We were surprised by the number of mountain bikers that turned up to ride the Park. By mid-afternoon the queue for the lift was taking a long time to clear. Jamie did an uplift in the van with the boys to get a quicker run in. I prefer more natural trails so I went off to ride an xc loop and explore some more of the local area. Given the obvious popularity of the bike park, it would be good if the lift operators could add some more bike hooks onto the chairlifts so that the queues don’t get too long.

It wasn’t just locals flocking to the bike park. We bumped into people from Chamonix who had driven over an hour to ride a few laps. Jamie and the boys were in very good company as the Canadian red Bull pro-rider Finn Iles showed up to get some practice in along with French downhill champion, Romain Paulhan. It goes to show that there is a market for Alpine bike parks in winter, including among some of the best mountain bike racers in the world. Let’s hope other resorts are taking note and show the same willingness to diversify as Habere-Poche.

Finn Iles racing at Val di Sole,

With many trails snow-free and already in riding condition, this is the year for an early season mountain biking trip to the Alps. We will undoubtedly get some more cold weather before Spring officially arrives. Although now March is almost upon us, it is unlikely that temperatures will stay cold for long. If you’re keen for an early season mountain bike adventure, drop us a line. We still have plenty of availability for the summer months, especially July. If you have a group and a trip in mind, please do get in touch.

Chamonix to Zermatt, Ride the Alps