Local Dishes

The French Alps are well known for its food. The local cuisine developed over hundreds of years and is a result of the Alpine surroundings and climate.

Before the arrival of modern roads and the introduction of electricity it was important to produce food that could be stored over winter, as the Alpine winters are long and harsh.

One of the foods that the area is most well known for is cheese. The cows and goats would graze on the mountain meadows all summer before being brought down in October to spend the winter in barns in the valley. Many of the villages still do this and hold an annual Autumn fair when the animals come down from the mountain. The local cheese producers still adhere to traditional methods in many cases to provide a truly authentic product.

The most well known of the local cheeses are as follows

Reblochon

This is the cheese used to make Tartiflette, the dish of onions, potatoes and bacon finished off with the melted cheese. Reblochon is a soft cheese. The name comes from an old French word meaning ìto milk againî, due to the fact that, in previous centuries, the farmers who worked the land would be taxed by the landowner depending on how much milk their herd produced per day. They would therefore only collect a small amount of milk during the day before returning at night to collect the rest which they would use to make their own cheese. The cheese has a wax seal embedded in it which lets the buyer know if it is an artisan cheese or industrially manufactured, depending on the colour of the seal. It is also the only cheese listed on the French stock exchange and is known as ìThe Money Cheeseî.

Abondance

This is the truly local cheese of the Portes Du Soleil, being named after the valley where it is manufactured near Chatel. It is a semi hard raw milk cheese that is aged for a minimum of three months. The cheese first became known outside of the valley when the Sainte Marie DAbondance monastery provided cheese to the papal enclave at Avignon.

Raclette

Raclette is a semi hard cheese that comes in a wheel, and is also the name of the the dish that involves melting the cheese and serving it with charcuterie meats and potatoes. Although traditionally it comes from the nearby Valais region of Switzerland it is also a popular cheese and dish in the French Alps.

Tomme De Savoie

The Savoyard version of the Tomme cheese. It dates back to ancient times and is a mild, semi firm cheese. It is made from the skim milk left behind after the cream is used to make butter and richer cheeses. The flavour of the cheese varies depending on whether or not the cows are fed on summer grass or winter hay.

Meats

As well as the local cheeses, meats are also cured so that they will last through winter. These include the local hams and saucisson, often flavoured with the local cheeses,liqueurs or herbs and spices.

Liqueurs

There are also a number of local liqueurs that the Alps is known for.

Génépi

This is a local aperitif made from Artemisia, an Alpine plant that flavours and colours the drink. The plant grows in the Savoie and Aosta regions, where the drink originated.

Chartreuse

Another green liqueur from the mountains, Chartreuse has been made by Carthusian monks since 1737 following a recipe set down by Francois Annibal D’Estrees and given to the monks in 1605. The alcohol is flavoured with a secret mix of 130 herbs and spices in the Grande Chartreuse Monastery in the Chartreuse mountains near Grenoble. The name “Chartreuse” has also been used to describe the green colour since 1884.

Other

Other local specialities include jams and preserves and honey. The fruits that grow naturally in the surrounding mountains are perfect to be made into jams that can be put in jars and stored for winter.

The local foods can be sampled at the restaurants in town, at the local market or at some of the speciality shops in town and it’s well worth making the effort to try them for a taste of the region and the local history.

Morzine Harley Days

Harley Days is a festival held in Morzine every couple of years, organised by the Harley Owners Group (or HOG) France, a group for the owner of Harley Davidson Motor Bikes which has around thirty different chapters, with members from Normandy in the north to Bayonne in the south. The Harley Days festival is a chance for them to come together and share their passion for all things Harley Davidson, comparing bikes, testing out new bikes and enjoying bike demonstrations and live music. Thousands of owners and fans descend on the town for the event as well as many people from the area who just want to come and enjoy the event.

Harley Davidson

In 1903 William S Harley and his friend Arthur Davidson built their first motorbike in Milwaukee. The bike was not a great success, and struggled to climb hills. They then began working on a second bike that was finished in 1904. In 1905 they began selling their engines through magazines,and in 1906 they built their first factory. The company continued to expand, and during World War One the company sold twenty thousand bikes to the US Military. By 1920 they were the largest Motorcycle manufacturer in the world. They were one of only two American Motorcycle manufacturers to survive The Depression and continued to win lucrative contracts with the US Government during World War Two. The growth carried on in the post war years as Americas economy boomed. In 1983 the company set up the Harley Owners Group as a way to build up brand loyalty and promote events celebrating the lifestyle of Harley Owners.

Harley Days

The Harley Days festival takes place around Bastille Day – July 14th. The Rue Du Bourg is transformed into a market selling all sorts of Harley Davidson memorabilia as well as various items of clothing and jewellery. Many Harley Davidson bikes are also displayed along the Rue Du Bourg. A number of bike related events also take place including rides and demonstrations. The main evening entertainment takes place in the town square by the Office De Tourisme. A large stage is erected and bands play throughout the evening. Previous bands to perform include Toto and Status Quo. This year’s event runs from July 13th to July 16th and features music from Little Bob, The Original Blues Brothers Band, Vintage Trouble and Trust.

The Portes Du Soleil is open for summer

With the Passportes Du Soleil event running from the twenty third of June to the twenty fifth of June the Portes Du Soleil mountain bike area is officially open for summer.

Les Gets initially opened for four days from the twenty fifth to the twenty eighth of May and then reopened for the following weekend. The Chavannes and Nauchets chairs were opened for these dates.

From the tenth of June Les Gets opened full time, including Mt Chery as well as the Chavannes and Nauchets. In Morzine the Pleney opened as well. These lifts will all be open till the third of September. Super Morzine and Lindarets opened on the fourteenth of June. Chatel was also open from the fourteenth but closed the following week to get ready for the Passeportes event.

From the twenty third the remaining lifts such as the Mossettes and Serrausaix opened to provide access to all the slopes of the Portes Du Soleil, including those over the border in Switzerland around Morgins and Champery.

The Crankworx mountain bike event came to Les Gets from the fourteenth to the eighteenth of June with slopestyle, downhill and pumptrack events attracting some of the finest mountain bikers in the world. The pump track is still open at the bottom of the Chavannes and is free to use. A plastic pump track has also been built in Morzine next to the skate park.

The Passeportes Du Soleil event, which really kicks off the start of summer, features fifteen lifts and eighty kilometres of runs as riders race to get around the whole Portes Du Soleil area in just one day.

The Portes Du Soleil is the largest bike park in Europe and amongst the largest in the world. It spans twelve villages, in France and Switzerland, and has six hundred kilometres of runs and nineteen lifts. There is something for everyone to try, no matter what their ability. There is plenty of enduro, downhill and cross country allowing bikers to explore the area however they like.

Ninety thousand people come to the Portes Du Soleil every summer specifically to ride mountain bikes, with terrain going from rocky mountain tops down through dirt and root filled woodland and finishing by cool mountain streams.

For those who have only visited the area in winter time and skied on the mountains it’s a great way to experience the mountains in a different way.

Spartan Race 2017 in Morzine

At the start of July one of the toughest races in France is held in Morzine, with obstacles throughout the town and on the mountain itself. The Reebok Spartan Race Morzine is one of a series of races that take place worldwide.

History

In 2007 Julian Kopald, Andy Weinberg and Joe De Sena founded Peak Races, which went on to found the Spartan Races. The name comes from Julian Kopald’s pet Llama Spartan. The first race was held in Vermont in 2010. In 2013 Reebok became the principal sponsor of the events and the series was renamed the ‘Reebok Spartan Race Series’. The Spartan is seen not so much as a race as a way of life – a solution to training, eating, thinking and living, with guidelines for training and nutrition.

Spartan Race Morzine

Following the success of the 2016 event (despite the rain), the race is set to return for another year. This year the event will feature three different races as well as a junior event. The events taking place are The Sprint, The Beast and The Super.

The Sprint and The Beast races both take place on the same day. The Sprint race is six kilometres in length and features twenty different obstacles. The Beast race is twenty one kilometres long and features forty obstacles.

On the following day The Super takes place. This race is thirteen kilometres long and features thirty obstacles.

The race is a team event. Teams can have as many competitors as they like but they must have at least four people per team.

It’s also a great event for spectators with large parts of the race taking place in town itself, including a section along the Rue Du Bourg, along the Dérêches and even in the river. The beast features an altitude gain of approximately thirteen hundred metres whilst the super features a gain of around eight hundred metres. Competitors come from all over Europe, with last year’s Beast Race and Super Race both being one by Italian competitor Eugenio Bianchi.

Entry costs between forty nine and ninety euros and is open till the end of June. It will still be possible to enter on the day of the race, depending on the availability of places.

Pass’Portes Du Soleil 2017

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.

Crankworx 2017 in Les Gets

The Portes Du Soleil is a world famous mountain biking destination with terrain that offers something for all abilities and disciplines. As such it is an ideal place to host one of the stops on the Crankworx tour.

What Is Crankworx?

The Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival began in Whistler, Canada, in 2004. It has since grown to include a New Zealand event at Rotorua and a European event, which was initially held in Les Deux Alpes but has since moved to Les Gets. This year a second European date has been added in Innsbruck, Austria, shortly after the Les Gets event. Crankworx features a variety of events on the mountain as well as live music events in town during the evening. The Les Gets event takes place in mid June – This year it runs from June 14th to June 18th.

Events

Crankworx attracts some of the biggest names in mountain biking to compete in a number of different events.

The Official European Whip Off Championships – Taking place on one of the jumps built at the bottom of the Chavannes lift the whip off championships is the opening event of Crankworx and rewards the man and woman who can perform the most impressive whip on the jump.

Dual Speed And Style: This event mixes freestyle and dual slalom events. As well as trying to get to the bottom of the course in the fastest possible time, riders are also rewarded with seconds off their time for the most stylish run.

Mini Bikes Challenge: This fun event features racing on bikes that are no larger than twenty inches.

Pump Track Challenge: The Pump Track Challenge takes place at the bottom of the slopes in Les Gets on a specially built track. Two riders race around the track. With only one pedal stroke allowed, riders must use the terrain to ìpumpî their way to victory.

E-Possible Climb: The E-Possible Climb highlights the growing popularity of E-Bikes. Competitors race to get up the course using their electric bikes.

Slopestyle: The big event that draws the largest audiences, Slopestyle is also the only event broadcast by Redbull. A course is purpose built at the bottom of Chavannes with a large drop followed by a succession of jumps and wall rides with the largest jump saved for last. From the spectatorsí point of view this is the most spectacular event to watch.

Downhill: A traditional downhill mountain bike race taking place on the Mt Chery side of Les Gets, which has previously hosted the mountain Bike World Championships in 2004. World cup racers give it their all on a specially built track.

Air DH: The Air DH event is a downhill race that takes place on the Dans LíGaz black run on Mt Chery.

VIP Ride With Loic Bruni: Only open to twenty lucky riders, this event offers the opportunity to ride with the Mountain Bike World Champion.

Light On MTB: A non riding event that showcases some of the best mountain biking films of the previous year.

Cheese Rolling: A new event that celebrates the cheese making history of Les Gets, competitors chase a wheel of cheese down a slope.

Concerts: On the Friday and Saturday there will be live music in town.

Summer events in Morzine

June

17th-18th, Paris-Nice Cycling

23rd-25th, Pass’Portes du soleil MTB

 

July

1st-2nd, Spartan Race

7th-9th, Bik’Elec show

13th-16th, Morzine Harley Days

August

1st-4th, MTB race for youngsters

12th, Hauts Forts running race

25th-27th, Haute Route des Alpes

31st-2nd, Mont-Blanc Morzine car race

End of the season in Morzine

The winter season is coming to an end. Here are some info on what’s happening.

The Pleney will be closing on April the 9th.

The “course des champions”, a ski race for the local kids, has been cancelled due to the lack of snow in Nyon.

Avoriaz is discounting the ski passes for the end of the season:

  • from april 9th, 6 days is 148€ (adults) or 112€ (children)
  • from april 10th, a day pass is 30€
  • for Easter weekend (April 15, 16, 17), 3-days pass is 80€

 

Summer 2017 openings

The opening dates for this summer 2017 are :

– Portes du Soleil, from June 23rd till September 3rd

– Morzine Pléney, from June 10th till September 3rd

Avoriaz closing date

Avoriaz will close on April 22nd evening.

The Prodain 3S as well as the Lac-Intrêts chairlift will be open on April 23rd only to those participating or watching the Trophée des Hauts Forts.