Preparation for the summer, behind-the-scenes

© Les Menuires

17 June at 10am

The mountains are getting greener by the day, the flowers are in bloom and have covered the Alpine pastures in an array of colours... We can safely say that the summer is on its way. While Mother Nature is preparing the terrain for us, the Vallée des Belleville is also hard at work.

You may not be aware of this but a whole host of people are working hard behind the scenes to prepare the activities, MTB trails and hiking trails. We need to prepare for the summer, just like the winter. We met with Baptiste Kay, one of the 3 Bike Patrol officers in the Valley.

Hi Baptiste, can you tell us about what you’re doing at the moment and describe Ludizone for us?

“I’m getting everything ready for this summer’s brand-new addition, the Ludizone. It is a mountain biking area, suitable for all levels of ability, with tracks of varying difficulty (green, blue, red, black) in the La Croisette sector. There will be a rock garden and this is where several tracks will depart from.”

There’s something for everyone here, ranging from a balance bike track for the little ones, to some challenging bends for expert riders. This is the ultimate place to come and get some MTB practice in.

“If riders can easily cope with the red track in the Ludizone, it means they have the ability to ride along a longer red track higher up in the mountains. This is the ideal place to test your abilities, and improve your technique as you move on from the green track to the blue one as soon as you feel confident enough.”

How does the Vallée des Belleville prepare for the summer?

Every spring, from May onwards, we inspect all the MTB tracks to make sure they’re in good condition. We remove stones, branches and tree roots that could cause accidents. This huge job is made all the more challenging due to the snow, rain and wind. We also set up all the signs along the tracks, especially adapted for bikes. 550 signs are put in place in total, for mountain bikes and also for walkers.

From the beginning of May to the end of June, a team of a dozen people go along the 260 kilometres of tracks, equipped with spades and picks, to make sure they’re ready for riders. This team works around the clock, behind-the-scenes, so that visitors and locals can use these tracks.

The Bike Patrol officers and the Bureau des Guides are in charge of keeping the Valley’s tracks and footpaths in good condition.

Can you tell us about what you do with the Bike Patrol?

During the summer season, there are three of us working every day to maintain the tracks, after storms for example or any other events that could affect the quality of the tracks. We usually work on the tracks in the morning and then in the afternoons we patrol the area (surveillance, looking out for potential dangers and advising people on which tracks to take).

We also help people in the event of accidents. We assist the fire brigade any way we can and we remove the bikes from the area. But there are very few accidents when you consider the number of riders here.

Thanks Baptiste, we’ll see you on the MTB tracks this summer 😎

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