Instead of talking about one extreme sport today, I am going to wax lyrical on an area which supplies just about everything you could possibly want to do on an active summer holiday (we’ve already covered this region for the winter season) – Chatel in the Haute Alpes.
In the whitewater sports they offer canoeing (two-strong team), canyoning (jumping, sliding, daredevil abseiling), hydrospeed or whitewater bodysurfing (a slippery, fast, exhilarating experience), rafting (a 7km ride down the Dranse) and kayaking.
Then there’s bobluging… a 650m descent with 7 bends, an average speed of 7m/sec – definitely a fun-filled thrilling descent. There’s a chairlift to get you back up to the top. The bobluge is open from 28th June to 31st August – weather permitting, and closed over the lunch hour.
And then of course there’s the ubiquitous mountain biking.
The Portes du Soleil has around 650 km of marked mountain bike trails and seemingly endless single track to explore. Using the 24+ lifts that are adapted to carry bikes in the summer, you have access, from Chatel, to almost every resort in the Portes Du Soleil including Morzine, Les Gets and the Swiss resorts of Morgins, Champery and Les Crosset – this really is prime mountain biking country and ideal for mountain biking holidays.
ffredt gives us an idea of what the mountain biking is like:
There are also many downhill mountain biking tracks. Châtel bike park is situated at Pré-la-joux and accessible by Pierre-Longue and Rochassons chair lifts, it consists of 13 trails of all levels of difficulty (including 12 downhill courses) and one “Cross park”.
The 27th and 28th June will see the PassPortes MTB event celebrating its 6th birthday. More than 20,000 people have now participated in this 80km circuit. The event takes place at an altitude of between 1000 and 2250m and covers resorts in France and in Switzerland discovering the Portes du Soleil area and its fabulous landscapes.
There’s a second competition on the 3rd, 4th and 6th July called the Chatel Mountain Style contest. Professional and amateur riders will compete over the 3 days on the 300 metre long “Face” course. 22 Pro Riders from all over the world have already entred the competition.
There is also a good range of climbing routes available in the area.
Plaine Dranse is an excellent place to learn with more than 26 routes, but its the Essert waterfall which will suit our readers I think. You can abseil and canyon at this 250m landmark, with two semi-wet and wet routes and six 30-50m descents. Plus the Pas de Morgins which offers 50 climbing routes of 10m-40m and with a difficulty level of 3 – 7.
Of course there are artificial climbing walls too…
And then there’s the Fantasticable…
This is for the thrill seekers, the adrenaline junkies of this world. Dizzying speeds and astonishing heights in a ride that is unique in the Alps. Safely harnessed you can fly over the Plaine Dranse hamlet at nearly 100kph, 240m up. The length of the first run is 1,200m and the second one is 1,325 and participants must be no less than 35kg and no more than 120kg.
Watch TheBukakeMaster experience the Fantasticable. I love the superman music and the euphoric laughter!
And, of course, paragliding where you can go for a first tandem flight with a professional.