Mountain biking in the snow in the Abondance Valley

Do you want to do something different than skiing or snowboarding for a day during your winter holiday? Go for an adventure by bike! Even during the winter the French Alps is still great for cycling. Mountain biking is pre-eminently a summer sport but it is also being practiced more and more on the slopes between mid-December and March. The tires have deep profiles and powerful hydraulic brake discs, all other aspects of the snow mountain bike are the same as its summer equivalent. Mountain bikers can practice their favorite sport during the winter and the summer.

Downhill MTB in the Alpine snow

In various villages in the area, such as La Chapelle d'Abondance or Les Gets, you can rent mountain bikes suitable for the snow for around € 45, which includes a guide and the necessary equipment. These special bikes are called fatbikes due to their extra thick tires which ensure that you won’t sink into the snow. You can either go cycling in the valley or first go up into the mountain. The bikes fit in the lift and will drop you off at the very top of the mountain. It is advised to go mountain biking under the guidance of a specialized guide who take small groups up and through the mountains. The sport , like many sports, comes with risks but a good guide knows the dangers. You’ll discuss the route together with the guide and will be given the latest directions. Squeeze both handbrakes at the same time when braking and sit on the back of the saddle so that most of the weight is on the rear wheel. The rear wheel will regularly slip away, but the trick is to correct this and carry on.

Good preparation for mountain biking in the Alps

As with any sport, it is also necessary to be well-prepared and for example wear the correct winter sports clothing and protectors. A helmet is mandatory, as are professional shin guards and back protection. The snow certainly acts as a shock absorber in case of a fall but at a speed of 50 km/h or 60 km/h it can still end ugly. It is therefore advised to also wear protection for the shoulders, chest, elbows and knees.

Variants on the mountain bike

Various variants of the snow MTB have emerged such as the electric mountain bike and the ski bike. The ski bike is a regular bike but has skis instead of wheels.

Mountainbike 8 sneeuw Alpen Frankrijk vakantie Portes du Soleil luxe chalet appartement

Tips for mountain biking in the snow

We would like to give you some tips regarding mountain biking on the snow:

  • Make sure your wheels are soft, this gives you the best grip on the snow
  • Try driving through the snow like a razor
  • When making turns or if you are adjusting, do so as much as possible using your hips
  • When riding the bike stay back on the saddle for the best weight distribution
  • Take water or other drinks with you and stay hydrated. Due to the cold it may seem as if you are not thirsty, but your body certainly needs the hydration to compensate all the energy used
  • Be sure to have your phone with you in case of an emergency. Do store it out of the wind and cold and keep your phone close to your body so that its batteries stay at the right temperature, otherwise your phone battery will drain very quickly

Clothing tips

  • Warm clothing
  • Ski goggles
  • Gloves
  • Shoes with studs
  • Back protection
  • Breast protection
  • Shin guards
  • Helmet
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