Summer in Tarentaise Valley
The Tarentaise Valley is, unsurprisingly, a valley created by the Isère River in the heart of the French Alps. Famous for its fantastic ski resorts, the Tarentaise Valley is immensely popular in the winter months, also known as the Three Valleys, the winning combination of Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens.
Yet, the Tarentaise has value beyond its thick snow and thrilling slopes, evident as plans to interlink the sites and create the largest ski area in the world were curtailed, with the creation of the Vanoise National Park. Ahead of financial gain, international renown and winter sporting potential, there was something in the Tarentaise which deserved preservation. Something that can only be found in the summer, when the valley transforms from the well-known cul-de-sac which ends at Val-de-Isère into a rich, fertile, open pass, stretching on to Maurienne Valley.
The Tarentaise Valley is rapidly becoming famous for its summer outdoor sports potential. Skiers and snowboarders who can't wait for the summer to end get their fix on the Grand Motte glacier in Tignes, a high altitude alpine spot with summer skiing. Most visitors, however, find themselves distracted by the other activities on offer. The generous Alpine mountains, so loved in the winter months, offer a extremely wide and varied range of hikes, with incredible views, rare and beautiful wild flowers, birds and other wildlife. The Tarentise is not a national park for nothing.
In July and August, the ski lifts are open to walkers, so if your older, younger or just tired, you can still reach the magnificent Alpine peaks. Once there, you might choose to paraglide back down, as many places in the Tarentaise offer paragliding experiences, give lessons and rent out the equipment. To cool down after the serious adrenalin rush, there are several lakes and pools in the area, as well, of course, as the rushing Isère River. You might yourself deep in fresh, clear water every day, cooling down after paint balling or rock climbing, slipping out whilst kayaking or rafting or trying out a new method of whilst fishing.
One of the biggest attractions of the Tarentaise is the fantastic mountain biking in the area. The needs of mountain bikers and skiers often meet - high, steep slopes to gather speed and exciting terrain to keep it interesting. After the snow has melted, locals keep their helmet on and the downhill spirit high, merely switching their skis and poles for a mountain bike or a VTT (all terrain bike). The thick forests in the Tarentaise Valley are riddled with single track trails, mostly built by hand years ago to allow people and animals to pass from the winter byres to the summer grazing pastures. Built with extreme care, as lives and livelihoods depended upon them, the tracks are perfect: neither too steep, nor too flat with excellent drainage (rarely muddy). The surface is either rocky, rooty and technical (aka fun) or smooth pine needles with ample grip. If you don't fancy the climb up, there's ski lifts or 4X4's waiting to take you. And, before you scoff, the climb up is, on average, 1 300 m. In UK terms, that' s the equivalent of cycling from the beach in Fort William to the summit of Ben Nevis. Fortunately, you'll be riding down the thrilling 1 300 metre trails, with a ski lift or a 4X4 waiting to take you back up.
If you're up for plummeting down the tremendous mountain bike routes of the Tarentaise Valley, then you'll be more than up for the mountain bike safari!
Based in the heart of the Tarentaise Valley, this is a fully catered mountain bike holiday with all your requirements taken care of. A Mountain Bike Safari gives you all the benefits of mountain biking in the Tarentaise Valley with none of the drawbacks:
Stiff muscles? Your fabulous, modern chalet, which sleeps up to 15, has an outdoor hot-tub and muscle-relaxing steam room. (link to chalet walkthrough video available on the chalet page.)
Running out of steam? Your chalet is fully-catered (for 6 nights per week). You'll have a hearty breakfast on the mountain facing terrace in the morning sun (weather permitting), to set you up for a full-on, high-octane day of mountain biking. You'll get a tasty packed lunch to take on the trails everyday. You'll also come home to a scrumptious 3-course evening meal including a BBQ on the terrace.
Getting from A to B? Minibus shuttles and bike carriage supplied where required. Transfers to and from Geneva airport with a bike trailer available if required at low cost.
Knowing where on earth B is and why you would want to go there? Fully qualified local expert guiding (English speaking of course) included in the price.
Broken down? Professional local support for mountain bike spares and repairs.
And all the things you didn't know you needed:
• WIFI, IPOD, DVD collection and Sky Freeview TV.
• Secure garage adjacent to the mountain chalet.
• Power wash for the mountain bike cleaning. .
• Enthusiastic, competent chalet hosts taking care of your catering and chalet cleaning requirements for all mountain bike holidays.
Mountain Bike Safari's run each week from the 6th July to the 24th August and you get simple, guided access to the bike trails of the Tarentaise Valley as well as fantastic fully-catered accommodation for just £595. Unsurprisingly, these weeks get booked up fast. If there's any spaces left you'll find them at http://www.mountainbikesafari.co.uk.
Check out the accommodation: Chalet Chocard
For availability, prices, bookings & more check out their site: www.mountainbikesafari.co.uk