Hiking, mountaineering and skiing have always been the most popular sports activities in Courmayeur. In recent years, however, the ranks of those who choose Courmayeur to unleash their passion for cycling have grown considerably. The morphology of the territory and the climatic situation create ideal conditions both for classic road cycling and, above all, for mountain biking.
Cycling in Courmayeur and surroundingsMountain valleys are generally not ideal for cycling due to the frequent climbs and the effort these require. Courmayeur and its district are characterized by a great variety of roads that allow itineraries of any length and difficulty. Some of them have rather steep uphill sections, but many run almost flat. This is the case, for example, of the roads that run through Val Veny and Val Ferret. Compatibly with personal preferences, it is possible to define some routes of short or medium length, of great technical and landscape satisfaction. One of the most typical routes is the Courmayeur-Val Ferret-Courmayeur tour, which starts from the Courmayeur square, reaches Arnouva, in Val Ferret, and back, for a total of almost 30 km. A little longer is the Courmayeur-Morgex-La Salle-Courmayeur tour, of about 31 km. A classic is also the Courmayeur-Aosta-Courmayeur tour, of about 70 km. These itineraries can be extended by associating others in the Aosta Valley. For example, going down to Pré-Saint-Didier, you can go up the entire valley of La Thuile to Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo. Or you can experience the atmosphere of great sporting exploits by descending towards Morgex and trying the famous climb to Colle San Carlo, stage of various editions of the Giro d’Italia.
Mountain biking in CourmayeurThe territory of Courmayeur, with its side valleys, is wonderfully suited for mountain biking. Flat paths, well-marked sloping sections, coastal crossings, rough ramps, create a variety that is able to satisfy any need. The almost flat valley floors of Val Veny and, above all, of Val Ferret allow for an infinite number of solutions within the reach of beginners. Very popular are, for example, the Zerotta-Visaille circuit in Val Veny, as well as the Planpincieux-Arnouva circuit in Val Ferret. And then there are the more challenging routes. They face climbs and descents of varying difficulty, along the vast network of trails in the area. They reach the mountain huts and mountain pastures on the side in front of the Mont Blanc chain. Sometimes they even go up to the highest passes (Col du Grand Ferret, Col de la Seigne, Col Chavannes). Very popular are the itineraries that run along the paths of the Tour du Mont Blanc, well marked and not particularly difficult. A real pleasure is pedaling on the paths that make up the famous “balconate”. For example, the itinerary that connects the Bonatti Refuge to the Bertone Refuge at high altitude. Or, the one that climbs from Lake Combal to Arp Vieille and runs at to the Maison Vieille Refuge. From taking a one-morning ride to choosing to go around for several days, staying overnight in a refuge, the step is considerable. But not impossible. And in fact, there are many who undertake multi-day mountain bike tours. Courmayeur offers several. The most prestigious, needless to say, is the Tour du Mont Blanc, which runs the route of the famous hiking tour. Another less long but equally satisfying tour is the Tour of the Refuges, which takes place in the Courmayeur area and, to a small extent, in La Thuile. Downhill and freeride enthusiasts can take advantage of the recently inaugurated Bike Park in La Thuile. Among the many possible entertainments, we also remember the so-called “eli-bike”, the helicopter flight to the top of a mountain and descent by bike with the help of a guide.
Mountain bike associations and coursesThe suitability of Courmayeur and its valleys for the use of mountain bikes is now an fact. Consequently, a great fervor of initiatives has arisen. In recent years, associations of enthusiasts, mountain bike schools and various types of organizations have been created to serve enthusiasts and beginners. Among the most active we can mention Mont Blanc Aventure and Bike And Mountain. Both offer lessons on mountain bikes, guided tours and multi-day tours with overnight stays in mountain huts. Mont Blanc Aventure is also the promoter of “Safety Bike”, a project that aims to raise awareness on the issue of safety on mountain bikes. The Valle d’Aosta Bike Club was created to meet the expectations of bicycle enthusiasts. Among the various initiatives it has drawn up a list of so-called “bike hotels”, hotels equipped to accommodate cyclists and allow them to carry out maintenance operations on the equipment. There are two in the Courmayeur area, including the Hotel Aigle.
Purchase and rental of the equipmentAs with skiing and mountaineering, lack of equipment is the least of the problems for mountain biking. In Courmayeur and Planpinciex (in Val Ferret), you can rent everything: bikes, clothing, helmets. The rental points can also provide information to book mountain bike lessons or even guides for challenging itineraries.
Like with other sports activities, the location of the Hotel Aigle is ideal for the use of bicycles. Road cycling enthusiasts can leave for Val Veny and Val Ferret just outside the hotel. Otherwise, they can go downstream and follow longer routes, towards Morgex, Aosta, La Thuile, or Colle San Carlo. Mountain bike enthusiasts are spoiled for choice. Leaving the hotel, they can reach the beginning of Val Veny and Val Ferret, where a myriad of alternatives await them. Routes towards the valley floor. Ascents to the refuges. Mixed sections, partly pedaling and partly pushing, in the wonderful side valleys, or even up to the hills at high altitude. Mountain bikes is not, however, exclusive to fans. In fact, from Hotel Aigle there are also simple routes within the reach of those who use it little or who have never tried it. The attention that at Hotel Aigle we dedicate to the passion for cycling is testified by various things. The standard we guarantee in this field has earned us in the past the qualification of “bike hotel”, a special title awarded by the Valle d’Aosta Bike Club. For customers who have their own bike we provide a special room where to store it. Inside you can find the equipment for maintenance and emergency repairs. And in case you do not have your own vehicle, we can suggest you many places to rent it.
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