Last piste, first trail, Les Gets 2016

We’ve been watching the snow retreat up the mountains and I’ve been really fancying the idea of boarding and biking in one day. As we chewed over the plan, we decided that boarding and biking in one descent from top to bottom would be fun and figured we could make a video while we’re at it. It’ll probably be my last shred on a snowboard until next winter and my first downhill bike trail of the year: ‘Last piste, first trail’.


Yesterday was the best opportunity we’ve had to get this done. Up until now, when the weather’s been good, we’ve been busy. We’re away next week and the snow’s disappearing fast, so time was of the essence. A big shiny sunshine was winking at us from Wednesday morning in the middle of an otherwise average forecast. The kids are only at school for three hours on Wednesday mornings so we didn’t have long to get ourselves organised, up there and down again before pick up.

We dropped the kids at school and nipped home to load the van with bikes, board and kit, then set off. The forecast was bang on and it was a peach of a day. We drove through town and turned up to climb the road to Chavannes, a small hamlet at the top of the telecabine in Les Gets and where a lot of the beginner slopes and kids’ areas are. We unloaded the van and set off pedaling up the trails towards the top of the Chavannes chairlift and on to the top of the Nauchets Express lift beyond.

Last piste, first trail. The ride up from Chavannes
The ride up to the top of the Nauchets Express from Chavannes

We really needed to push it to be back at school for 12 and if it looked like we were getting short of time, we’d need to knock it on the head and set-off back down. We puffed our way to the top, chained the bikes up behind Les Lhottys restaurant and set off walking the snowy trail to Ranfolly. I hiked the last bit to the top leaving Nina lower down to film and after a quick glance at the view I booted up, strapped in and rode back down towards her. It felt great to be back on the board but the snow at the top was super thick and sticky. I quickly realised that I needed to point it straight downhill to keep the speed but still only just kept moving as I reached the flat bit near Nina. Hardly the spectacular fly-by I was hoping for…

Last piste, first trail. Top of the Ranfoilly lift. Footprints up, board track down.
Top of the Ranfolly lift. Footprints up, board track down (the 3rd set of prints you can see are animal – chamois, perhaps.?).

The board picked up speed over the next two crests and I got a nice bit of speed towards the bottom, a few small turns and a bit of a buzz. Short but sweet! I unstrapped and set off walking along the road back to Les Lhottys and the Col du Ranfolly. In the winter, we never realised this road existed but evidently, it does. It climbs up from Morzine over the Nyon plateau, over the Col du Ranfolly, into Les Gets’ Ranfolly bowl then up and over towards the Giffre valley. It’s still closed to traffic at the moment and we’re not 100% sure (we haven’t been able to find a detailed road map of the route yet) but we think this might be the route the Tour De France will take before descending into Morzine for the end of the penultimate stage. It’s easily accessible from Les Gets’ lifts and with a mountain restaurant/bar on hand, it could be a great place for us to spectate. If you do know the route, please let us know.

mountain biking and snowboarding kit. Last piste, first trail.
Biking and boarding kit being used on the same day!

I met Nina back at Les Lhottys and we unlocked the bikes and I handed over board carrying duty. Nina would set off back down the tracks to the van and I was going to try out one of the blue downhill trails then descend all the way back to town. I picked a ‘blue’ as it’s been a while and a few turns in I hit a snag. Snow! Everywhere. I turned around, pushed back up, cut across the rough to another trail and got back on it. It was good fun descending on the bike again through some berms and bumps and as I got going, some of the rust started to wear off. I’m looking forward to these trails drying out properly and investing some time riding them in a few weeks. Incidentally, the lifts are open this weekend, 28th/29th May (just for the weekend).

Mountain bike trails, Les Gets 2016
One of the many trails of Bike Park Les Gets.

I came out the end of the trail, passed the bottom of the Nauchets Express lift and blasted along the track back to town. Sweet! Back on the tarmac I pulled up to wait for Nina, covered from head to toe in mud. I’d forgotten about that bit…

Nina turned up with the van and we arrived at school with 5 minutes to spare. Last piste, first trail: mission accomplished!