Posts Tagged ‘mountain biking’


As extreme sports and extreme vacations go – Chatel has it all

June 16, 2009

Instead of talking about one extreme sport today, I am going to wax lyrical on an area which supplies just about everything you could possibly want to do on an active summer holiday (we’ve already covered this region for the winter season) – Chatel in the Haute Alpes.

In the whitewater sports they offer canoeing (two-strong team), canyoning (jumping, sliding, daredevil abseiling), hydrospeed or whitewater bodysurfing (a slippery, fast, exhilarating experience), rafting (a 7km ride down the Dranse) and kayaking.

Then there’s bobluging… a 650m descent with 7 bends, an average speed of 7m/sec – definitely a fun-filled thrilling descent. There’s a chairlift to get you back up to the top. The bobluge is open from 28th June to 31st August – weather permitting, and closed over the lunch hour.

And then of course there’s the ubiquitous mountain biking.

The Portes du Soleil has around 650 km of marked mountain bike trails and seemingly endless single track to explore. Using the 24+ lifts that are adapted to carry bikes in the summer,  you have access, from Chatel,  to almost every resort in the Portes Du Soleil including Morzine, Les Gets and the Swiss resorts of Morgins, Champery and Les Crosset – this really is prime mountain biking country and  ideal for mountain biking holidays.

ffredt gives us an idea of what the mountain biking is like:

There are also many downhill mountain biking tracks. Châtel bike park is situated at Pré-la-joux and accessible by Pierre-Longue and Rochassons chair lifts, it consists of 13 trails of all levels of difficulty (including 12 downhill courses) and one “Cross park”.

The 27th and 28th June will see the  PassPortes MTB event celebrating its 6th birthday. More than 20,000 people have now participated in this 80km circuit. The event takes place at an altitude of between 1000 and 2250m and covers resorts in France and in Switzerland discovering the Portes du Soleil area and its fabulous landscapes.

You can check out the link here if you’re interested in taking part yourself:

There’s a second competition on the 3rd, 4th and 6th July called the Chatel Mountain Style contest.  Professional and amateur riders will compete over the 3 days on the 300 metre long “Face” course. 22 Pro Riders from all over the world have already entred the competition.


There is also a good range of climbing routes available in the area.

Plaine Dranse is an excellent place to learn with more than 26 routes, but its the Essert waterfall which will suit our readers I think. You can abseil and canyon at this 250m landmark, with two semi-wet and wet routes and six 30-50m descents. Plus the Pas de Morgins which offers 50 climbing routes of 10m-40m and with a difficulty level of 3 – 7.

Of course there are artificial climbing walls too…

And then there’s the Fantasticable…

This is for the thrill seekers, the  adrenaline junkies of this world. Dizzying speeds and astonishing heights in a ride that is unique in the Alps. Safely harnessed you can fly over the Plaine Dranse hamlet at nearly 100kph, 240m up. The length of the first run is 1,200m and the second one is 1,325 and participants must be no less than 35kg and no more than 120kg.

Watch TheBukakeMaster experience the Fantasticable. I love the superman music and the euphoric laughter!

And, of course, paragliding where you can go for a first tandem flight with a professional.

As adventure holidays go, or an extreme vacation for that matter, what more could you possibly want? Discos?  Well of course they have that too: Le Sloopy, to name but one, and to add to the fun they have theme nights throughout the season…

Desert Winds Adventure Race this weekend, Moab next…

May 1, 2009

Desert Wind 24 – the hardcore adventure race which is run in a weekend is scheduled for this weekend (2nd/3rd May) in and around  Lake Mead National Recreation Area – within an hour or so of Las Vegas, Nevada.

14 teams are already entered for this extreme form of weekend entertainment, and it promises to be a fantastic race with Mountain Biking, Trekking/Running, Swimming and perhaps one other surprise discipline.

We’ve talked about Adventure Racing before, but you might be interested to know how and why the sport was originally invented.

It began when a French journalist, Gerard Fusil, whilst covering the Whitbread round-the-world yacht race, thought: “why not have an overland race that requires as much  commitment and fortitude…?” and so adventure racing was born.

He started the renowned ‘Raid Gauloises’ , otherwise known as the ‘Raid of the Ancient French Warriors’ and the first ‘Raid’ was in 1989.

So what’s it all about then?

Adventure racing is all about crossing natural terrain by muscle and wit. Traditionally it is a team sport although occasionally solo’s are allowed. The disciplines involved normally include trekking, running, mountain biking and paddling kayaks or canoes, but they can also include sailing, white water rafting, big open ocean crossings, swimming, jungle travel, desert crossing, horse riding, camel riding, elephant riding, glacier travel, skiing, snow shoeing, skydiving, inline skating, rappelling, rope ascending – the list is endless.

Therefore, the adventure race athlete needs to be open minded, smart, tough, determined, and a team player. Need we say it… an adventurer!

Almost always, adventure racing requires the use of map and compass. Like adventure explorers of the past, the AR team must be able to navigate – a GPS is almost never allowed.

You do not have to be the best athlete. Your team does not have to be a team of the best athletes. However, you must be a team that likes working together, is willing to try new things, and never, ever gives up.

And it is important to remember that winning the race is not the main criteria – just completing the race is considered a ‘win’. As Theodore Roosevelt said:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

I am showing, here, a video from gravityplay , of the Adventure Xtreme Race in Moab – the next AR race in this region will be on 9th May. It is desert-type topography which is similar to (but not the same as) the Desert Winds Lake Mead region. However, it is a great video on what adventure racing is all about…

So remember, this weekend it’s:

The Desert Winds 24 – The Hardcore 24 Hour Adventure Race
What: Mountain Biking, Trekking/Running, Swimming
Where: Lake Mead, Nevada and Arizona
The Desert Winds 12 – A 12 Hour (+ or -) Adventure Race

What: This race coincides with and is the first leg of the 24.



The Moab timetable is as follows:

Adventure Race Calendar

Do you need some inspiration choosing your extreme holiday this year?

April 18, 2009

… if so, please follow this link:


The inaugural New World Tour de Wakatipu on April 11, 2009

March 7, 2009

Southern Traverse is organising another extreme event in New Zealand – this one a mountain bike race which is set in the Wakatipu Basin that links the two rivers and two lakes using some of the new tracks developed by the Wakatipu Trails Trust.

The race will be 45kms long and has been organised in response to the ever increasing demand for biking events, both serious and recreational, in the region.

New World Tour de Wakatipu

It is expected that there will be intense competition at the front of the field as athletes race to finish the event in a time of around 2.5 – 3hrs, while the recreational athletes will  finish in about 5hrs.

Competitors will Start in the Millbrook area and will finish at Chard farm winery with barbeque and band. Please click on this map to see the full route.

There will be several divisions to choose from:

  • Recreational: for racers who wish to have a good fun ride. 36kms total
  • Sport: For racers who wish a longer challenge, and a decent ride. 45kms
  • Elite & Pro Teams : for the fast and furious, 45kms total. For the Pro teams, 3 riders per team, all riders must enter and complete the individual section. All 3 riders times will be added to determine the winners of this category. Pro teams must ride the same colours

Age groups will be split up as follows:

  • Junior 15 – 19yrs …………
  • Open 20 – 39yrs …………
  • Veteran 40 – 49yrs ……….
  • Master 50 – 59yrs ………..
  • Master + 60+yrs…………

And age refers to AGE ON RACE DAY !

$65 per person
$45 Junior (19 years and under)

For all entries $5 go to Cure Kids.

27th March 2009 or when full … SO HURRY.

For further information please Email:


Mountain biking at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

February 18, 2009

Yesterday we were talking about a downhill ski race scheduled for January 25th, 2010 at Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, but whilst investigating the area we came across all this great information on the mountain biking trails there and thought we should pass  some of it on to you as, as you probably know, mountain biking fits happily into our catagory of  ‘extreme sport’.


Kranjska Gora – scenic isn’t it…

We bring you a video from nosymetry which gives an idea of the superb site and scenery that can also be enjoyed, if you have time, whilst descending the hill at extreme speed…

There is a fun bike park at Kranjska Gora and the tracks will suit all kinds of bikers from experts, who are looking for the challenge of  big height differences and difficult ascents and descents, to the bike lovers who want an enjoyable day out with time enough to drink  in the stunning surroundings.

This year the existing track has been modified and updated and more than 40 artificially made obstacles have been added. Some of the old obstacles have been changed in order to ensure both a safer ride and a safer landing. Facilities have been put in place to allow the less experienced riders to learn the basic skills they will need to fully enjoy the freeride trails.

All obstacles have been made with different levels of difficulty, so that every biker has a choice. A new track will run through the woods on the “north shore” while the old track has been completed with some new elements. The freeride track should be enormously popular with all MTB riders.


The trails around the alpine village will also host the 2009 DH European Championships. The  race will take place from the 12th – 14th June, 2009.  Both the European Mountain Bike Downhill Championships for Junior and Expert catagories and the Masters Catagory Championships will be held.

The “Downhill Vitranc”, a title given to the men’s Alpine Ski World Cup race, is shared with the mountain bike downhill race. There will be two main catagories to the mountain bike race.

  • The ‘Masters’ riders will race the bottom two thirds of the course which is about 2km with a 300m vertical drop. The racing time will take between 2.5 and 3 minutes.
  • The Junior and Experts, on the other hand, will start at the new top part of the course which is steep and technical. It will be mostly in the woods which will offer many challenges – roots and rocks being just a few of them! The lower part, which is frequently used in national races, will be slightly changed for the Championships but will remain fast and flowing. Long stretches are on open ski slopes, shorter sections in the woods and a some of it on gravel jeep trails.

So, if you’re wondering where to go, perhaps somewhere a little unusual, this year for a wild and wonderful mountain biking experience, why don’t you think…. Slovenia? Maybe Hayes1955 can help you make up your mind:


Banff Mountain Film Festival

November 19, 2008

The Banff Mountain Film Festival has hit the road – if you want to catch it in your area check out the lists below.

The Film Festival covers all mountain issues – from mountaineering to rock and ice climbing, ski-ing, snowboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, paragliding, BASEjumping, and this year broadening its horizons a little more to include wildlife and environmental issues.

The World Tour will continue for nearly a year to 305 cities and 20 countries covering territory across Canada, the USA, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and the South Pacific.

Whether you are a serious mountain adventurer or merely an armchair one you will find something to inspire, fascinate and enthrall you.

“If there’s a trend, I’d say there’s a little less hucking-off-a-cliff-type stuff and maybe a tendency to focus more on the environment this year,” said Mountain Gear’s Phil Bridger, who coordinates the Spokane stop for the tour. “But I tell you, the films are fantastic. People are out there in some sketchy situations.”

Bridger’s top picks are Journey to the Center,” named the festival’s Best Film on Mountain Sports and which features thrillseekers plunging into the largest natural hole in the planet; “If You’re Not Falling,” named the best short mountain film, tells a whole story of desire, failure and triumph in eight minutes and “Seasons” – a 24-minute film all about mountain bikers and how they stay competitively alert for a sport that has no off-season.

‘Journey to the Centre’ is about exploring an immensely deep hole in China – big enough and deep enough for base jumpers to have a bit of fun in. “This film conveyed what it is really like to participate in an extreme sport, and the real emotions of athletes, without exaggerating,” said Christian Trommsdorff, one of the film festival judges. “It’s not just a film about an ego trip.”

‘If You’re Not Falling’ shows Canadian rock climber, Sonnie Trotter, in Scotland taking on the “hardest rock climb in the world.” “He works a horrendous 5.14 route and instead of top roping and taking little falls as he works it out, he does everything from the ground up,” Bridgers said.

Trotter’s comment to that? “Well, if you’re not falling, you’re not trying,”

2008 Film Award Winners

The 2008 awards were announced at the Best of the Festival Screening on November 9.

Grand Prize The Last Nomads

Alpine Club of Canada Award for Best Film on Climbing Committed 2: Grit Kids

Best Film on Mountain Culture Tracking the White Reindeer

Best Film on Mountain Environment The Meadow

Best Feature-length Mountain Film Stranded — I’ve Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains…

Best Film on Mountain Sports Journey to the Center

Best Short Mountain Film If You’re Not Falling

Special Jury Awards

Saving Luna,


Psyche: Patagonian Winter

People’s Choice Award

Red Gold


British Columbia
New Brunswick
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia


New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia


…I am afraid the international locations have not yet been updated – I shall keep an eye on them and post them as soon as they have!


Extreme Sport weekend in New Zealand

November 18, 2008

Wow … what scenery. What terrain to run an extreme race through.

Southern Traverses’ Macpac 24 Hour weekend got off to a flying start on Friday night at midnight at the Greenstone, with a 14km trek to Lake Rere and Mt Bastard. There was a full moon and clear, calm conditions.

Two of the teams were out of the bush by 6.00 a.m. and had started the 10km paddle from Greenstone to Kinloch by 6.00am.

A 21km mountain bike stage took competitors from Kinloch to Paradise and this was followed by a 9km trek in Paradise Conservation Park alongside the Dart River which proved to be tough going.

Once having reached the Dart River the competitors paddled across to gain access to an 11km trek on Sugarloaf.

“It was incredibly windy by this time but the temperature remained in the 20’s, says Hunt, “so it wasn’t unpleasant racing, just a bit tougher coping with the wind.”

A final paddle followed the Dart River for 7kms to finish at Paradise with a 2km run to the finish line where champagne awaited the winners.

Aurum Survey represented by New Zealand orienteering representative Bruce McLeod and top multisporter Phil Wood, won the race as predicted. They completed it in 19 hours 42 minutes.
“Their combined orienteering and multisport skills definitely made them the strongest team on paper and they lived up to expectations,” says Hunt.

But the exciting event was the placing, on the podium, of an Under-23 team,, a team made up of Dougal Allan, Mike Walker, Mattie Graham and Emmah Ussher, who finished the race in 22hrs and 21 secs, finishing runner-up to the experienced and talented two man Aurum Survey Queenstown team.

“They were chuffed to finish a Southern Traverse course and with the sort of talent they and the other Under 23 competitors are displaying New Zealand adventure racing is in good hands,” says Hunt. “ beat some other very experienced teams and these are the athletes who will carry on the tradition of the sport. At the World Adventure Racing Championships in Brazil in October the New Zealand team Orion not only won the event but seven out of the top twelve racers competing were Kiwis, numbers which speak for themselves.”

The eight hour adventure challenge introduced for the first time this year began at the Greenstone with a rough paddle on Lake Wakatipu at 8.00am on Saturday.

“There were a few capsizes but the Wakatipu Coastguard did an excellent job getting everyone back in the race again,” says Hunt.

The eight hour race involved paddling, trekking and biking and was won by Mike Kelly from Queenstown in 4hours 09 mins ahead of Aaron Scott of Christchurch in 4 hours 22mins.