MTB: These French bike parks where to ride early in the season

While most bike parks open in June, the dates can vary depending on the location and attitude of the spots. While we wait for the lifts to open again this summer, here are five resorts to ride as early in the season as possible.

French resorts are hoping to make up for a very complicated winter during which most of them never opened their lifts. To achieve this, they are counting on summer sports activities and especially downhill mountain biking for which the lifts should be open again in a few weeks (fingers crossed...). If all the ski areas are traditionally open every day of the week in July and August, some resorts allow you to ride earlier and to multiply the descents.

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Traditionally, the Haut-Doubs resort is one of the first to open in France. Located at an altitude of 1,000 metres, the snow cover is less than in the Alps or the Pyrenees and the shapers (those who build and maintain the slopes) can therefore prepare the area earlier. In the Jura resort (which hosted the world championships in 1993), 25 km of downhill mountain bike trails await you. Two black, two red, two blue and one green runs with a negative difference in height of 420m. Above all, Métabief offers the Bike'All (green) and Atlas (blue) tracks to help you discover the discipline more easily and on which experienced riders can enjoy themselves as much as beginners. This year, Métabief was supposed to open the unique Morond chairlift on the weekend of the 8th of May, but it will have to wait for the authorization of the public authorities to put its wheels on the Franc-Comtois tracks.

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Evo Bike Park 

Located in Digne-les-Bains in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, this bike park has the advantage of being open all year round thanks to the absence of snow (even if there can sometimes be a thin layer of snow at certain times, which forces the spot to be closed temporarily). Contrary to the classic bike parks, this area works thanks to shuttles, these trucks equipped with bike trailers that run from 9:30am to 6pm. If the difference in altitude is small (240 meters of D+ for tracks ranging from three to five minutes), the Evo Bike Park is known for the quality and fluidity of its tracks. The spot is popular with experienced riders. But among the seven tracks offered, a blue one (Dirty Wave) also allows less experienced riders to have fun.

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Singletracks Bike Park 

The Singletracks Bike Park works on the same principle as the Evo Bike Park. Truck shuttles allow to go up the 300 meters of difference in altitude and to enjoy the 16 DH and enduro tracks that this spot located in Jonchère Saint-Maurice near Limoges offers. The opportunity for those who are not close to the Alps and the Pyrenees to ride in good conditions. In the heart of the Monts D'Ambazac, the Singletracks Bike Park is also open all year round. The day pass is 27 euros (to be booked online) or 12 euros if you come for an enduro (but you will have to pedal).

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Les Gets

The Portes du Soleil is a huge area for mountain biking, with several bike parks, the most famous of which are Châtel, Morzine, Avoriaz, Champéry-Morgins and Les Gets. It's the last one that interests us here with an opening planned for the end of May for the Chavannes and Nauchets Express chairlifts ("The opening dates may be modified according to the evolution of the situation and governmental announcements" is obviously specified on the website). The Les Gets bike park has 128 km of marked trails with 19 ski lifts and will be open continuously until 5th September. At 29 euros for a pass (season pass at 280 euros), you can enjoy a total of 600 km of tracks in the whole Portes du Soleil area. This means you won't have to ski the same runs over and over again.

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Pic du Jer 

It is in Lourdes in the Pyrenees that the Pic du Jer offers an atypical spot, accessible with a hundred-year-old funicular that takes you to an altitude of 1,000 metres. Up there, the view is superb over Lourdes, Tarbes, Pau, the Argelès Gazost valley and the Pyrenean peaks. For mountain biking, it is possible to ride on five different tracks, including two built last year (a blue DH and a black enduro). 450 meters of difference in altitude, a 20 euros day pass and an opening eight months a year make the Pic du Jer a popular spot for riders. Three World Cup events were held there between 2015 and 2017, and Lourdes will once again welcome the world's best riders in 2022 for the opening stage of the World Cup.

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