One Lift, One Trail

Mar 25, 2015
by DMR Bikes  


CHAMONIX, FRENCH ALPS

WITH DMR BIKES


PHOTOS: DAN MILNER | RIDERS: OLLY WILKINS AND CHRISTIAN FAIRCLOUGH


It’s not often that a trip go’s 100% to plan. Things go wrong and stuff happens beyond your control. One way to get around this is to go into a trip with no plans at all. Just turn up with your fingers crossed. We had been hoping to get out to Chamonix for months and the weather would scupper our every attempt. Turning up this late in the season was really rolling the dice.

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

We knew we were pushing it time wise. With our trip already delayed because of snow I was aware that we were cutting things close to the wire. Not long until every single trail was underneath that wet white stuff that you can’t ride on. Dan Milner was to be our guide and was shooting the photos of the trip. He assured us that the risk could well be worth the reward. That magic-hour light paired with the golden colour of the treeline would make for some amazing late season images.

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

I had never been to Chamonix. Being from the suburbs of London I usually find the mountain towns I’ve visited a little isolated. Chamonix is one of the largest I have been to and it was nice driving through a town similar to the size of that which I live in. I noticed a distinct lack of people out and about and Cham felt like it was ready for the snow after a long and comparatively quiet summer.

With only one lift still open to bikes we were left with few options. Dan lives in Chamonix and is a real life Mountain man. We set off knowing we were in capable, calloused mountain-hands.

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

Coming off the lift there is 900 meters of descending underneath you. With runs heading straight down ahead of us we started our traverse across the mountain.

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

As we got lower down the mountain we broke into the treeline and some really rough, exposed rock sections. A majority of the trails we rode down were really hiking trails. From time to time you had to stop suddenly as the veil was lifted and you realized that the mountain was not necessarily designed with bikes in mind.

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

As well as giving us some spectacular light for shooting photos, this period during the year made for some amazing colours as the trees and foliage prepare for the winter ahead. In our short stay we had no weather issues, but the threat of snow is ever present and apparent.

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

Normally I find I quickly become accustomed to my surroundings and forget quite how amazing the scenery might be. This is much harder with this panoramic view, including Mt. Blanc, ever present. Chamonix presented the most ‘Alpine’ views I’d ever seen…and at all times. It’s almost hard to focus on the trail ahead!

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

The natural trails in Chamonix can be deceivingly rough and physical. What might look like a pleasant piece of flowing singletrack could quickly turn into a minefield of big anti-bike boulders. It’s a lot of fun to follow amongst an avalanche of rocks. Not a groomed bikepark trail in sight!

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

Passing under the lift and reaching the end of the final trail marked the end of an amazing couple of days out in Chamonix. A mixture of lift assisted riding and bike-hiking with Dan gave us a nice sample of what Chamonix had to offer.

Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.
Dan Milner shoots with DMR for the launch of their Alpine Division range. Shot on his doorstep in Chamonix The French Alps.

We both rode Bolt L’s for the duration of the trip. 150mm travel up front and 125mm at the rear. These bikes are super durable and a lot of fun! Both bikes were built up with parts from DMR’s new Alpine Division. A huge thanks to Dan Milner for guiding us, looking after us, and taking some of the most killer images I’ve seen in a long while.

Check out the full Alpine Division here.

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42 Comments

  • + 18
 to any of my fellow countrymen, please don't take offense at my following statement - articles like this make me hate living in a country as flat as Australia.
  • + 11
 I already hate living in San Antonio which is also flat as hell
  • + 11
 fell your pain, all these rad photos of 'proper' mountains. It hurts.
  • + 3
 Absolutely OzMike
  • + 2
 Well yes, but all you have to do is drive a couple hours and you have all the terrain you could want.
  • + 1
 i wish we had properly, properly big hills. Still, the 4th biggest mountain range in the world is an hour's drive from home. You can't complain too much!
  • + 9
 In Washington we have a funny problem. We have mountains which look like this (but not as big) staring us in the face and we are not allowed to ride them. It's a different kind of torturous feeling when I see articles like this.
  • + 3
 @tyler555g still though, I live in Breckenridge, Colorado, and there's no better feeling than beginning and ending a big mountain ride at your doorstep
  • - 1
 don't be sad ... xc bike there for you ^,^
  • + 1
 Michigan, USA.
  • + 1
 I feel ya OzMike.....especially in Western Australia - Worst still I've been to Whistler & NZ and it pains me more!
  • + 1
 I worked in Houston Texas for several years, it was flat as hell. I was lucky and got a job in South Korea, the mountains aren't huge but the riding is so much better than anything I've had before on a regular basis.
  • + 16
 Phone wallpapers sorted for about, oh, 17 years!?
  • + 5
 Welp, looks like it's time for a move.

Good god, what an amazing piece. I love Crakworx and all (and am sad I'm not there), but this is easily the best article of the month. Amazing photos, Dan... Just beautiful. Well done, fellas!
  • + 7
 I thought one lift, one trail was describing snow summit bike park haha but this is a whole other level
  • + 8
 So many POD's here.
  • + 7
 Gorgeous photos!
  • + 1
 Views are definitely of acceptable quality. When does that last lift typically close for bikes? I looked in the Cham site for ID's of lifts open for bikes for summer and its vague. It seems like the lifts close for bike transport the last weekend in August. Can you confirm?
  • + 2
 The lift on the second is close to bike but all the other lift in the valley are open to bike from (around)14 of june til (around) 15 of September.
  • + 2
 And the Brevent lift (which accesses most but not all the pictures above) runs the last week October to 1st week November. Only lifts that don't take bikes are the Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers train and the top section of Grand Montets.
  • + 1
 Thanks @Daddybear and @grum-p . Useful info
  • + 3
 I had to go through this article 1... or 23 times because I kept forgetting to read it, and just looked at the pictures
  • + 3
 Anyone ride a Bolt? What are they like? Always fancied making a full-sus steel frame.
  • + 3
 I've just built a Bolt L up, so far so good, ridden some DH, some enduro style loops and a couple of BMX tracks, It loves it, it just wants to go fast and rail corners. proper playful bike. Mines set up with a 150mm pike, slx brakes, zee cranks and a dropper, I've not found anything I can't ride on it yet!
  • + 3
 It's just that I can not justify the need of a full sus bike, but the Bolt would be on my shortlist together with Swarf Curve. For now, my Alpitude is about as close as you can get on a hardtail.
  • + 3
 To ski Cham would be something, but to bike there now seems even better.
  • + 4
 You welcome anytime! I can see my house on most of those pictures..... If some of you want to discover the chamony valley let me know
  • + 1
 Do you happen to need a roommate?! Or perhaps a yard troll?
  • + 3
 not necessary but if you wanna come and see what it look like you welcome....
  • + 2
 I have ski'd in chamonix and it was awesome and want to shred the slopes on my bike now!
  • + 2
 @Daddybear I was mostly teasing, but thank you for the magnanimous offer! Smile
  • + 1
 Snowboarded and biked there,the biking was much better,would love to go and be guided around stuff i would never find,amazing place to go
  • + 2
 Definitely these are my favorite items. Nothing like going down a high mountain trail.
  • + 1
 Made my day, beautiful pictures as always Dan. And you made my office life soooo damn bored. Props to you mate.
  • + 1
 Amazing is all you can really say!
  • + 1
 welp, lets go @DHcamcam . These photos are amazing.
  • + 1
 Great photos. Love DMR. Still rocking their old sidekick frame
  • + 1
 wow. many poy efforts there.
  • + 1
 So it go's.
  • + 1
 Wow ! need to go to Cham
  • + 0
 One trail, eh?

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