Dedicated XC trails in Chamonix are few, and most paths are reserved for hiking and too technical for cross-country riding. Except for the valley floor where some excellent riding can be found on the Petit Balcon, paradise is found at Le Tour. Like most places in the valley, you can chairlift it up but for the harcore cross country rider, what comes down must go up… and a 40km loop through Switzerland and back to France is one of the most challenging rides in the valley.
Start from the village of Argentiere and make your way to Le Tour via Le Planet; the gentle climb up is the perfect warm up for the grueling ascent that awaits you. From Le Tour, start climbing under the gondola and take the hiker’s trail up, and keep going to the top of Col de Balme. Be proud, you’ve just climbed 12 kilometers and gained over 1000 m of elevation!
Now the fun begins 🙂 Head down to the village of Trient via Catogne and if this is your first time down, be prepared to stop often to enjoy the scenery – it’s breathtaking! Once you get back into the trees, make sure not to miss the 20 switchbacks down to Pleuty! Insane! The switchbacks begin some 50 meters to the right – not to be attempted with V-Brakes!! When you get to Trient, take the main road back towards Finhaut but turn left and go up through Les Jeurs, where the final 10 km climb back to Les Posettes begins. The climb back up is easier than the previous ascent up to Col de Balme, and once you reach le Col des Posettes, head towards l’Aiguille des Posettes but make a left back down towards Le Tour instead…
Email me if you survive 🙂