SkiBike Tour 2010-11 - La Bapteme De Feu

Posted: Monday, 27 December 2010 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: ,

We left Geneva later than planned around 8:30am with the intention of skiing and skibiking around Flaine which is part of the extensive Grand Massif domain.

The main part of the journey was uneventful and followed the A40 "Autoroute Blanche" till the town of Cluses. At this point we joined a small departmental road and began a steady climb to Araches. The amount of snow and ice on the road began to increase till the tarmac was no longer visible. My budget "Matador" brand tyres began to spin and fail to make any traction. I thought that with careful technique I might make it up the hill, but the thought of the hairpin descent later in the day; with wheels locked and sliding made me reluctant to push my luck any further.

Retreating back to Cluses we headed to the Supermarket, unfortunately, my Ford Fiesta Encore economy car had such a small size of tyre and wheel combination that neither supermarket stocked them. They recommend I try the nearby branch of "Feu Vert" (Green Traffic Light) which is much like Halfords in the UK.

The correct size was sourced in moments and it was time to head back up hill.
Between the three brains in our expedition party we analysed the instructions, fitted the chains and were able to carry on to Le Carroz and finally Flaine. It was an amazing improvement, if a somewhat agricultural experience with a lot of noise and vibration through the car.

Arriving far too late to ski, I went to seek a definitive answer/confirmation from the lift companies office regarding access to the uplift system. Initially there were some conflicting messages from various parties, then a trip to mountain rescue provided the key...An A3 size sheet containing the details of every lift in the domain and the type of user allowed on board.

Wisely I asked politely if I could keep a copy, then should anyone question me there would be no arguments.

I looked at the many hire shops, none offered skibikes in any form, picking the coolest looking one that hired off-road Segways, I went in. Sadly they had tried SnowScoots last year but there were too many accidents and they sold them off at the end of season.
Feeling disappointed I spotted a man on a SnowScoot and asked for his opinion, "no problems for me" he said "this is mine, I go where I like".

I returned to Geneva, a 2 hours drive from the centre of Flaine, determined to return in the
morning and give it a go.

On the road to Flaine - getting snow chains fitted