SkiBike Tour 2014-15 - Morillon Revisisted

Posted: Monday, 23 March 2015 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

Today was my first day back in the skibike saddle after a week off; my legs were once again working as well as can be expected, but my shoulder was still twinging from a recent crash and I suspect it will continue to do so for some time to come. The rain and general gloom that greeted me upon my arrival at Geneva airport yesterday morning departed and the forecast bluebird day arrived in its wake.

This week could be a busy one, with a number of rides occurring back to back. After much deliberation (and blissful snoring too), whilst contemplating  where to go today, I finally settled on Morillon. In the past Morillon had been little more than a convenient gateway into the Grand Massif domain, but my visit today was to be a little different. I have recently investigated some property for sale here and wanted to know how this village would fare as the new skibike blog base camp, especially with a skibike friendly resort right on my door step?

Upon arrival at Morillon, I immediately felt that end of the season vibe, there were no queues for lift passes, I rocked up, handed over my money and boarded the gondola. There was no hassle from the lift operators, so it's good to know that Morillon remains just as skibike friendly as it has always been.
I headed up the Sairon chairlift and straight back down for a quick assessment of the state of the snow, which was not bad, it was just past 10 am and already a thaw was established with the snow turning soft and buttery.

I then made my way to neighbouring Les Carroz, I love the tree lined runs, but even the blue runs have some steeper sections and their shaded nature means that icy conditions can persist for much of the day. A missed change of edges lead to a sudden burst of unexpected speed, which served well to remind me of this fact.

The Les Molliets sector was my next destination, a familiar run that I could almost do with my eyes shut, it was a gem and a delight to ride, so I indulged myself with a few circuits. I also made a quick visit to Samoens via the entertaining and by then, very slushy Dahu piste.

Samoens - a quick visit via a slushy Dahu piste

I wanted to head over to Grand Vans and the border with Flaine for a change of scene, so made a bee line for the Vernant chairlift, but found my path blocked by a polite, but apologetic liftie who explained that skibikes are now forbidden throughout Flaine's chairlift system.
This had never been a problem before on this side of the Flaine/Less Carroz divide and I was a little taken aback to come across such a negative attitude, it was like turning the clock back five years to the genesis of this blog.

Time was running out, so I made my way slowly back towards Morillon at the close of day. Morillon have installed snow canons on the run down to the village; the results are excellent and there was a worn, but rideable surface all the way down. Given that it is the end of March and the village is well below 1000m is nothing short of magical in my opinion.

In conclusion, if you had never visited Morillon before, how would it shape up as a skibike friendly resort?
I had a great day, but it might be a bit tame for some, most of the runs are relatively easy and wide too, they will flatter your technique and make you look good. There is some off-piste with a generally benign nature, fun for playing on with little risk.
Morillon is a bit too small to be considered as a destination in it's own right; you really need to go into the neighbouring areas of; Les Carroz and Samoens to realise the potential. But I would happily bring a novice rider here as a safe place to learn and have some fun whilst they were at it.

Above Morillon - I would happily bring a novice rider here

On a negative note, it is a crying shame that Flaine has turned from being just skibike sceptical to outright anti skibike. I don't know the cause for the change in attitude, but if disabled sit-ski riders were treated with this level of discrimination, there would be an outrage. If the area came back on side, it would open up the skibiking potential even further.