SkiBike Tour 2013-14 - Courchevel

Posted: Saturday, 15 March 2014 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , , ,

There was precious little time to hang around this morning and enjoy the wonderful and unique vistas of the three valleys from Feissons sur Salins where you can clearly see; La Tania, Meribel and parts of Val Thorens in a spectacular panorama.

Unique vistas of the three valleys from Feissons sur Salins

I made the vertiginous drive back to Meribel Mottaret in order to rendezvous with Thierry Avrillon, who lives in the ski resort of Saint Jean de Sixt; but for some much needed variety, has driven up from the Aravis area to sample the delights of the three valleys with me.
After some initial confusion, we eventually managed to find each other at what has to be the only free parking in the domain, assembled our kit and headed off in the direction of Courchevel to get in some easy morning runs.

Yesterday, my salopettes went into melt down mode, this is the second pair made by Columbia to do this, so I might have to try a different brand next season. Wearing just a pair of Adidas shell suit bottoms felt much the same as nothing at all. Ironically today looked like it was going to be the first day so far where the sun was going to remain shrouded in cloud.

By the altiport we met what can only be described as the local SnowScoot gang. If some skibikers look like Black Sabbath rejects, the SnowScoot gang look more like Van Halen at the height of the nineties hair metal Spandex era.
Professor Bioluc a.k.a. Mr Purple, is clad from head to foot in the colour and his ride, a quad scoot, is the same hue. His companions have gone for day-glow orange ensembles; looking like a break out attempt from Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.
But these guys (and gal) certainly redefine the term "ride it like you've stolen it" and appear totally fearless regardless of the grade of run or quality of surface. It's great to have a real challenge keeping up and it's a shame that Serge Mermillod from Firem VS had to duck out on today's ride, he might have got a run for his money.

These guys (and gal) redefine the term "ride it like you've stolen it"

Taking a short break, gave me the opportunity to try the Quattro Scoot, it could be described as a Quad Bike on skis, as it is mounted on four small skis. The handlebars angle the front skis and your foot position adjusts the rears.
It is wonderfully easy to ride, no instructions are required, a bit like a Segway you just get on and go. In some ways it is almost too easy, originally conceived as a stable camera platform to make videos of the other SnowScoot riders, I can see immense potential as a training tool for a non-skier or anyone with physical or mental limitations. There's no reason why it couldn't be used as a mountain utility vehicle for anyone needing to carry materials around the snow. Given the very high quality of finish I was surprised to find out that these aren't pre-production prototypes, but just for personal use.

Professor Bioluc and the gang

Towards the end of the afternoon Thiery and I needed to head back towards Meribel and down to our evening accommodation at La Lechere. This unusual spa development, nestled in the mountains was originally build as part of the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992. The press and media centre has since been re-purposed as a wellness centre; as we tucked into a great value €22 all you can eat buffet menu it certainly made me feel a whole lot better.