Dirtgirls hit the slopes


We think a yearly dose of mountain air is essential to keep our lungs and legs working to full their potential and, after a few days at the dirtgirls camp, we are still on fire. We joined the dirtgirls for three exquisite days of riding, zigzagging the French-Swiss border, whilst enjoying the stunning views and good company.


If you don’t know about dirtgirls, it’s a gem of a mountain bike holiday for women riders who want to explore the Portes du Soleil region of the French-Swiss Alps, whilst learning how to ride better and faster. It’s a huge area, encompassing 12 resorts with lift access, bike parks, dozens of DH runs and endless miles of XC trails just ripe for improving your skills.


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A bit chilly at the top of the descent into Morgin on day 1



Short coaching sessions are built into the day long rides.  Fully qualified French guide and mountain bike instructor Jo has a fabulous way of imparting his knowledge and experience, with almost instant results. Skills sessions include railing berms, switchbacks and drop-offs, manuals and hopping over rocks and obstacles, cornering at speed and pumping bumps amongst others. Basically, by the end of the holiday you’ll know how to tackle those descents that looked unridable at the beginning of the week.



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Elisabeth leads out the singletrack into Morgin



During the first of our three days riding with the dirtgirls, we were exploring the XC trails and headed out to Avoriaz, Les Croset, Morgin, Champoussin and back to Morzine, where the chalet’s based. It was an all day ride, with a stop for lunch in Morgin just over the Swiss border - a small mountain village with ridiculously cute wooden houses, including love hearts on the window shutters. As we rode into town the church bells chimed an Eidelweiss tune, seriously, it was like being on the Heidi film set. We scoffed down our tasty packed lunch (which comes included in the holiday package) and headed back towards France on the chairlift. A rocky trail lead us to Lac Vert, one of our favourite rides from previous years riding here, and then into the pretty valley of Les Linderets, for a sharp climb up to the café on the ridge. What better place to stop for a coffee and slab of cake, to stock up on calories for the ride home? Well we actually mean the ride to the bar in Morzine first. It would be rude not to visit the biker’s bar in town and it seems that unless it’s raining, a stop for a small beer (or several) is compulsory!



Day two was a free day, that is a non-guided day on the mountains, or if you’d been on the dirtgirls camp since the Saturday, you might have wanted a rest, or to try some other mountain delight, or the chalet’s sauna? Instead, we headed out to Les Get to play on the old DH tracks and test the new blue and red runs by way of practicing the tips from Jo’s coaching sessions.



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Coaching in Chatel



Our final day was an epic, we headed out with Jo along the ridge to Joux Vert and down into Les Linderets valley and over to Chatel, it was switchback heaven, with dozens of tight twisty sections and corners. Each one begging you to leave the brakes off and to rail the berms, even the pockets of mud didn’t spoil the fun and rather added to the slide excitement, thanks to our new found skills. Natalie left her backpack at the top of the Panaramique trail, so we had to grab the lift back up to practice some more berms; there were no complaints about riding down again!



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We ate lunch beside the lake and bike park in Chatel, watching boys winging it over gap jumps and lapped up some sunshine. We rode home the long way, via the lake in Montriond, down the shaded river trail and back into Morzine to the scolding sunshine. Our only complaint was that we had to head home and leave the dirtgirls to finish off their week’s riding - still at least we had one more gourmet evening meal to savour!



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Dirtgirls 2010 ran from 14th to 21st August and is in its fifth year, Sara Burdon of Flow Mtb runs the camp for women riders and she certainly knows what we like. The camp is sponsored by www.minx-girl.com, purveyors of superior women’s biking apparel and Minx sent along a goody back for each of the ladies!


If you want to bring your fella, you’ll be pleased to hear that Flow Mtb offer holidays with optional guiding and coaching based in either their fully catered chalet or their B&B chalet. Both have facilities for bike storage, a well equipped workshop and are run by fellow bikers, who know exactly what you need to make your trip outstanding. We can’t rate them highly enough!


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