The Portes Du Soleil offers a huge area for mountain biking and is historically one of the leading locations for the sport in Europe, if not the world. It is also the largest mountain biking area in the whole of Europe, and one of the largest in the world. The area crosses the border from France to Switzerland and takes riders from mountain peaks through forests to Alpine streams. To celebrate the opening of the full area every year the Pass’Portes Du Soleil is held at the end of June. The event is one of the biggest in the European mountain biking calendar and for many it marks the real beginning of the summer season. This year will mark the fourteenth edition of the event and it will run on the twenty third, twenty fourth and twenty fifth of June. The Pass’Portes Du Soleil is an event that takes riders across the border and back again, spanning eighty kilometres of runs and fifteen different lifts. The course features six thousand metres of total descent and one thousand metres of ascent.
The Pass’Portes Du Soleil features nine different resorts: Avoriaz, Chatel, Les Gets, Morzine and Montriond in France and Champery, Morgins, Torgon and Les Crosets in Switzerland. The course has been changed this year to provide a greater emphasis on the lesser known tracks of Switzerland. The course takes one day to complete and riders have the option of completing it on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday. There are eight area spread around the area offering free refreshments to all registered riders to help keep them going during the long day. These include local specialities such as saucisson and some of the famous local cheeses. There are also different entertainments, such as live music, when passing through the different villages on the route. It is a full on day of riding to complete the course, and riders end the day tired but with a real sense of achievement.
One resort is selected each year to host a bike show. This year it is the turn of Les Gets. The show includes exhibits by different bike manufacturers, free bike tests featuring the latest models, activities and a prize draw with prizes provided by the sponsors.
For a real challenge and a chance to see all that the Portes Du Soleil has to offer cyclists in summer the Portes Du Soleil is a great event to participate in.