If there were a mountain-bike heaven, you could find it deep in the French Alps between Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc, on the slopes surrounding the 1,000-year-old village of Morzine. Here 12 ski resorts link 23 mountain bike friendly lifts, more than 400 miles of marked mountain bike trails, 50 downhill tracks, and five bike parks.
“Morzine is a pretty rad place,” says Jill Kintner, who suggests it for any mountain biker’s life list. “I was really impressed with the variety and how many different resorts all link up. Anyone can ride here and have a good time.” From Morzine, catch the lift for World Cup-worthy downhill courses flanked by alpine wildflowers or set off right from town for rolling cross-country rides, shaded by the steep slopes of the Alps.
At Portes du Soleil, the consortium of connected ski resorts, a mountain-bike lift ticket costs 21 euros per day or less for multiple days. Morzine MCF Synergie Mountain Bike School offers skills clinics and bike rentals.
Next: See Jill Kintner's Dream Trip: Mountain Bike New Zealand
Few mountain bikers match Jill Kintner’s impressive collection of hardware: She has won three consecutive UCI 4X championships—mountain cross—world titles in 2005, 2006, and 2007 and four U.S. national 4X champions; and snagged a bronze in BMX at the 2008 Olympic Games. Now, she’s setting her sights on a new discipline: downhill. In her first year, 2010, she came home as—what else?—the national champ.