Video: Celebrating 10 Years of Alpine Singletrack at the Trans-Savoie Multi-Day Enduro

Feb 22, 2022 at 1:52
by Trans Savoie  

This summer marks 10 years of the Trans-Savoie Multi-Day Enduro in the French Alps: The perfect excuse to get nostalgic and look back over how we’ve evolved since our pilot event back in 2012, and to take stock about where we are going with the Trans-Savoie in the future.

It’s been emotional!
In reviewing a decade’s-worth of old footage and combining it with some spectacular new high-altitude drone shots to make this new edit, we were reminded of the many highs and lows along the way. But as the next phase of our evolution continues this summer with our new “50/50” format, there’s one thing we’re clear about: Our proudest achievement is not the amount of alpine single-track we’ve discovered in that time per se; its the human element of bringing people together with a common cause in such a beautiful place, in order to see and enjoy it for themselves.

Creating Lasting Memories
Brining a bunch of strangers together for a week of thrills that are shared so intensively with everyone else on the start-list, is a sure-fire way to create new connections, lasting friendships, and vivid memories that stand the test of time. It was heartbreaking to watch through old footage of old participants – all of whom we now consider to be more than just that – knowing that more than one of the smiling faces on tape are sadly no longer with us. We try to remind ourselves daily that the best way we can honour these awesome people, is to get right back out there and not to waste even a minute of the precious time that we do have. With the necessary restrictions on human interaction in recent times, this sentiment has become even more poignant. Perhaps this is why we’ve focussed on the ‘emotional’ side of things, in our 10th-Anniversary video that we’re releasing today.

Remembering Those Who Made it All Possible
Anyone with a craving for outdoors, adventure, and adrenaline (we’d guess that’s most of you reading this) recognises that our ‘best’ memories are often formed when we push ourselves beyond our comfort zone; when we venture beyond the familiar. We also notice that many of our strongest memories are also from our childhood and adolescent years…but why is this, exactly? Bare with us…

Psychologists have theorised why time appears to speed up as you get older. Apparently, this is (in part) because your brain pays more conscious attention to ‘new’ and ‘novel’ experiences; and the more you’ve already done in your life (i.e. the older you are); the less likely you are to find something as ‘novel’, and therefore to pay full attention to it. Under this hypothesis, they recommend the best way to reverse that feeling, is to put yourself way outside of your regular routine and/or comfort zone. Riding flat out, blind, down 22,000m+ (65,000ft+) of all-natural, high-exposure (and at times, high-consequence) single-track in a week, sure is one way of getting your brain’s full attention.

We feel sure that anyone sporting a Trans-Savoie Finisher’s headset-cap retains a stack-load of vivid memories to go with it. It’s those memories and emotions which we genuinely feel still bind us all together, a long time after we return to our regular routines. A big shout out to each and every one of you, if you’re reading this! It may sound obvious, but it can’t be said enough: without staff, volunteers, and especially the participants themselves, none of this would have been possible, and our own memories of the past ten years would likely be a lot more mundane as a result.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better
In the run in to our first full-scale event, many of you wondered exactly what they’d signed up for. What was a 6-day, lift-assisted enduro-rally across the biggest mountains in Europe going to actually involve? An invite-only test-event in 2012 taught us that attempting to double-taping 300km+ of remote walking paths was never going to work out (the moment the first person blows through the tape – or more likely an inquisitive Savoyard cow eats a crucial bit of signage just at the wrong junction – and half of your field end up a VERY long way down the wrong side of a VERY big mountain). Fast-forward to 2022 and the format has evolved to become fairly well defined. There’s now a superb global selection of bucket-list, multi-day-enduro “Trans-XXX” races you probably have on your hit-list. With borders and travel opening up again this year, there’s a lot to look forward to if like us, you are already long overdue a fresh hit of adventure.

Whilst we never set out to create a suffer-fest, the sheer size, quantity and variety of terrain on offer here in Savoie, meant we always expected the Trans-Savoie to become synonymous with an expectation of “Big”. That first year, we probably pushed it a bit too far and tried to cram in just one stage too many each day (feedback such as “if it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you a better person” wasn’t really what we were aiming for!). With each subsequent edition of the Trans-Savoie we’ve have gradually evolved away from out-and-out race format, to a stronger emphasis on “it’s all about the Journey”. Yes, that might just be the most over-used cliché, but in this case, it’s bang on the money. With the new Trans-Savoie “50/50” format, we’ve taken this natural progression to its logical conclusion.

In 2017 we took a year-off to search for a new perspective and to focus on other projects such as our pairs-format series Enduro2. That break ended up as 4 long years without Trans-Savoie whilst we pondered over exactly how we could keep things fresh, interesting and exciting for our future participants…and for ourselves. An unexpected global pandemic in the time, didn’t help. In 2021 we introduced our re-booted Trans-Savoie as “50/50” with minimal fanfare and an ultra-small field of only 25 riders…and the vibe was undoubtedly all-the-better for it! A smaller field meant we could ditch our traditional tent-city / mobile-catering setup for more-than-half of our overnight locations; to take advantage of Alpine lodges, hostels, and mountain restaurants instead.

Re-Inventing Our Multi-Day Format
The new “50/50” format aims to retain 100% of the “high-stakes, high-adrenaline” buzz of previous Trans-Savoie races – but offers more accessibility to passionate amateur riders looking to push their own boundaries but without the extreme pressure of an out-and-out race: Whilst the majority of our 32 stages are timed (with individual results available for each stage), there’s no longer a podium, no rank-order classification, and no cumulative times each day. Yes, you heard right – it’s no longer a race, certainly not in the classic sense. But there’s still ample opportunity for pushing your own limits and cultivating an intense – if informal – rivalry between participants throughout the week. But out-and-out racing is no longer the focus, and we definitely don’t want to encourage any sense of pressure (nor motivation) to take excessive risk or to miss out on simply enjoying the journey, in your tunnel-visioned bid to shave off a few seconds versus your rivals.

In defining our new format, we observed that most of you who started the week “with your race-head at 110%”, had by Day 2 or 3 mellowed out…big time. Competitors became Comrades. ‘Race’ became ‘Expedition’. ‘Getting through each day as quickly as possible’, became ‘Hoping the week would never end’ and ‘Evening Race-Prep’ became making the most of post-ride beers and re-living each day’s highlights with your crew. We’ve always gone above-and-beyond to include only the very best backcountry trails in our itinerary – but these are also often the most remote, exposed and sometimes access-sensitive. Some of our favourites had necessarily been left out due to being unsuitable, unsafe, or just outright inappropriate to double-tape, close off entirely to the public, and to all-out race. In removing the race / competition element (and limiting the participants to a small field of only 50) we’re finally been able to deliver an un-compromised itinerary that really is all and only about simply the best possible trails that we know, linked by a truly world-class network of ski-lift and road-access. Feedback from our pilot ’50/50′ event in 2021 only confirmed to us that we made the right call. )Impromptu Party-trains appearing on some stages, was a welcome sight).

‘The Podium’ is No Longer Our Focus
There’s undoubtedly a hardcore group of Enduro Racers out there who may feel that something has been lost without the formal element of competition and the potential glory that awaits the fastest amongst you. But unlike ten years ago, there are now a stack of alternative multi-day enduro races that will give you just that, no questions asked. Trans-Savoie 50/50 provides an alternative option for those of you who want the same challenge, adventure, camaraderie, high-adrenaline and motivation to push your personal limits that you get from a race – but without the extreme pressure nor necessary compromises of running a formalised, competitive event. Many of you, we suspect, will be reading this and nodding along in approval (or perhaps reluctantly accepting that your days of podium-chasing might be behind you). Indeed, former pro and hardcore-privateer racers still make up a decent proportion of 50/50’s start-list.

Trans-Savoie 50/50 isn’t only a nod to our equilibrium between race and fun. Its also our very enthusiastic endorsement and welcome of e-bikes into the event – with 50% of the entries reserved for our e-assisted buddies. The course has been especially crafted to run e-bikes and regular bikes shoulder-to-shoulder and the 2021 edition proved very clearly that with enough logistical planning, there’s no reason to segregate e-bikes and regular bikes as if we were two completely separate breeds. We see e-bikes as just additional, eco-friendly method of up-lifting, and a great way to access ever-further into the backcountry. Since Trans-Savoie has always been heavily biased towards shuttle and ski-lift liaisons (ratio of uplifts to human effort on the climbs is typically at least 4-to-1), we’d see it as especially hypocritical to exclude electrically-assisted riders from the party, or to call them out for not having ‘earned their turns’, whatever that even means. That said, weekend-warriors beware: Trans-Savoie is absolutely not a walk-in-the-bike-park, and self-sufficiency with at least a pinch of general mountain awareness is essential to completing your adventure with a smile on your face. This ethos means we don’t allow battery swaps-out once you’re out on the hill each day – so you’re either running in ECO/TRAIL mode, OR carrying a second battery in your backpack (the latter is permitted but not recommended!).

Essential Info:
20st to 27th August 2022
Savoie, French Alps (Departs – Bourg St. Maurice, nearest Airport – Geneva)
6-day Enduro Adventure
22,000m+ descent, 6,000m ascent (on top of shuttles and ski lifts).
Limited to 50 Entries: 25 E-Bike / 25 Regular Bike
Strong Focus on Adventure and Camaraderie, rather than Racing.
50% Dormitory-style accommodation, 50% camp-based.
All food, shuttles & lifts, medical support etc included in entry price.

Cost to Enter:
€1495 all-inclusive per rider.
Covid cancellation insured, including full refund in event of travel restrictions or quarantine measures (See cancelation policy for full info).

Volunteer opportunities are available for on-bike mountain support crew.

How to Register for Trans-Savoie in 2022
20 entries are still available for this year’s Trans-Savoie 50/50.
If you’re keen on the adventure but would prefer the lower-pace of a guided tour, Guided-Tour Options are also available on a limited basis (June-September).
Head over to [L=]Trans-Savoie’s Website[/L] for more info or follow our social media (@transsavoie).

E-Bike Travel Concerns
We understand that international travel with a bike, can be challenging…perhaps even more difficult with the safety requirements for E-bikes and their Lithium Batteries. Fortunately, we have a solution for that too! Our partner Ship to Cycle can arrange to deliver your bike direct to our event HQ, and arrange for it to be collected and returned home to you at the end of the race. This works for both normal bikes and e-bikes, meaning you only need to think about getting yourself to the start line and leave the bike-transport-logistics to the professionals.


  • 18 1
 Jesus that was so eerie hearing my friend Brian speak at the start of that video. He rode the first TS race, came back raving about it, entered the second but sadly passed away a few months before from a heart attack while out riding. Thanks for posting this TS team - feeling a bit emotional right now but it was so good hearing him again. He loved it out there.
  • 5 0
 I remember txting Brian (Messiah) during the race watching videos / race reports, he was gushing about how awesome it was. Made me really emotionally happy to hear his beaming + enthusiastic voice at the start.

Beautiful memories brought back to me, thanks Trans Savoie folks.
  • 3 0
 Yes, us too. A tragic loss of such amazingly high-spirited, warm, positive, inspiring man. RIP Brian Goldsworthy.
  • 6 0
 I've done a few of the Trans style races and the one this is the one. The trails are some of the best. Actually scrap that they are the best, in the way that multiple ancient walking tracks and trails are linked together to provide 20min plus grin-fests that leave you feeling high for days. On top of that fellow riders/racers have become lifelong friends and we all share that common TS bond. A very special week on two wheels.
  • 9 3
 10 years of trashing trails and half-arsed ‘maintenance’ efforts. Thank F they’re off to Meribel now to give the LA trails a rest.
  • 2 1
 This! I'd love to do one of these type of events but after seeing the way event organizers abuse the trails in my area, I'd hate to contribute to the destruction. Trans-Cascadia looks promising.
  • 2 0
 Sorry, I'm out of the loop here, what are the LA trails? I'm assuming it's some sort of region? But I completely agree with this sentiment, I went on a holiday about a week after the Trans-Madeira came through the region, and the trails were completely wrecked.
  • 1 2
 @Jaib06 : hohohohohoohohohoohoh

Jai u is conFuSeD. you got it all wroooooong
  • 4 4
 Trans-Savoie isn't the only company to operate in Les Arcs fish-monkey. How about you take a look inside your own MBF clique rather than scapegoating just one all the time. Its becoming really pathetic.
You know full well there are dozens and dozens of other companies that operate in and around Les Arcs, not just TS.

@Jaib06 Freeride Madeira run the Trans-Madeira and they build and maintain ALL of the trails by hand... Do you really expect them to be able to maintain it all in less than a week.

@allrides You could contribute in other ways... its not hard. Unless all you want to do is whine about it...
  • 1 4
 @Jonesey23: hohohohohoohoh waaat u want m8 hohoohohohooh
  • 3 0
 @Jonesey23: Not all of them, a lot are built by locals, I know Madeira pretty well and for sure Freeride is absolutely amazing, just commenting on how the small Trans-xxx races do tend to rip stuff up.
  • 1 1
 @Jaib06: They are the locals
  • 1 0
 @Jonesey23: Oh of course, I'm in no way spiting Freeride Madeira here, just to say that they're not the only guys riding up in those glorious mountains.
  • 6 1
 @Jonesey23: The point is none of them race hundreds of people down them. It's blatantly obvious the damage caused by the race and not by small group guides just riding trails with their weekly groups. It's just so obvious on the raced trails and not ones the rest of us ride. I don't know why you'd want to support something that trashes so much of the mountain but each to their own.

@Jaib06 - LA is Les Arcs
  • 1 1
 @fish-monkey: So Trans-Savoie (which is 1 day in Les Arcs) and Enduro2 (which is 2 ½) are the only mtb events that ever take place there. Stop lying. All I've seen the local MBF do is point fingers in one direction... there is never anything actually constructive.

I'm couldn't be happier that Enduro2 is going to Meribel this year. There is a resort that knows how to do things and actually support the sport (not just a few local guides)
  • 3 1
 @Jonesey23: Name one other than the ski to bike which only uses the 8 which is clearly not the same as the out of bike park trails those races ruin. How can you expect constructive when your organisation is so destructive?

I've already stated I'm glad it's off to Meribel. Good luck to them. Feel free never to come back.
  • 1 1
 @fish-monkey: How many mtb lift passes were sold in LA last summer?
How many were sold for Enduro 2 and the TS.
When you find that out tell everyone again that it was the sole cause of all the trail damage there.
  • 1 0
 @Jonesey23: As if the majority of lift pass buyers get much beyond the official trails! Trails have been ruined by racing down them and it’s obvious for those of us that know other trails nearby that haven’t been raced.
  • 1 0
 @fish-monkey: Where are you getting your stats from. How could you possibly know what trails 'the majority" ride?
Again how may mtb lift passes where sold last summer? You seem to have access to a lot of information, so surely you can find out something that simple.
Without posting actual fact you're just another couch rider having a rant.

The "bike park" in LA is one of the worst I've ever ridden. Poorly designed,poorly built and even more poorly maintained.
I can say form first hand experience, even the non-raced trails are in poor condition... I suppose that's TS's fault too.
  • 3 0
 @fish-monkey: Clearly, every extra set of tyres down any trail is going to cause some incremental level of erosion, and we fully acknowledge that. We do our very best to mitigate this through year-round maintenance efforts and hundreds of hours of discussions with local councils and other advocate groups about managing local concerns, trail-politics etc. But in reality, long term trail erosion in this region is also strongly influenced by other factors (such as storm damage, agriculture, forestry). There's a much deeper discussion needed here what we (as in all mountain bikers) can do to mitigate that whilst retaining access to these amazing trails.

With regret, I understand why its tempting to scapegoat events as the root-of-all evil, but to be frank, this is probably MTB Xenophobia and highly counterproductive. I'd suggest that any MTBer pointing the finger of blame at others (whilst continuing to ride the very same trails themselves and/or commercialising them through guided tours), is not going to be the way to finding a long-term sustainable solution. I'd be happy to continue that discussion with you offline and hope to work with you and others to come to an aligned view of what really needs to be done here - please PM me.

Regarding your specific point - since 2017 The Trans-Savoie 50/50 has never had more than 50 riders per year along this route (and the route itself changes every year, too). Furthermore, Since 2021, Trans-Savoie is no longer an out-and-out race.

In contrast, the Les Arcs lift system area (One day on the Six-Day Trans-Savoie itinerary) counted 440,000 MTB uplifts in one summer season alone (2020). The French Enduro Cup is coming to Les Arcs this summer which sees hundreds of riders sessioning trails in practise, as well as race day itself.

Anyone reading this can hopefully draw their own conclusions.
  • 1 0
 @Jonesey23: Without ever responding directly to my points, 'conversation' with you is pointless.

@TransSavoie: Those trails you've used in Les Arcs for racing are far more damaged than others you've not. The correlation is undeniable and trying to make out that others who use the trails cause oh so much damage and that the weather trashes a lot of trails is to ignore the singletrack that's not been ruined. I disagree that you've done your very best as clearly a lot more could be done to fix trails that got a lot of cut lines down them and other damage caused by riding flat out blind in (at times) terrible weather conditions no one would normally be riding the mountain in.

I await with trepidation the French Enduro Cup. Let's see if they're allowed to trash the trails with impunity too. Clearly an 'etat des lieux' would be a good idea before and after events but there seems to be little appetite for that on either side.
  • 2 0
 @fish-monkey: Sadly like so many others you seem to be confusing correlation of cause and effect. You are upset about trail erosion (as we all are) and you just want someone to blame for it rather than actually thinking about the more difficult task of finding a real solution.

We fully accept that *some* of the trails we have raced in the past have shown wear / degradation, cut lines, etc over a period of several years. In the same period - in part due to our general promotion of the area to MTBers from outside the region through our events - the general trail traffic each year has increased by many multiples. Thankfully it is still quite low overall, but the trend is only going to go upwards in future.

The erosion you've seen does NOT in any way indicate automatically that our events are the primary cause of it!

Talking of "etat des lieux" (trail inspection immediately pre- and post- race) indeed we DO do this and this is why Im confident in the above.

So long as you are also riding these trails, which I assume you are, but expecting other people to do all the maintenance for you (eg event organisers) then we'll be in an endless loop of eroded trails and no-one taking proper responsibility for them.

For the record I believe the only proper way to solve this issue is to work together and agree a communal fund for paid, professional trail maintenance based on a pay-per-use basis (for example, attached as an additional sales tax on lift ticket sales). We have been strongly advocating for this for years and offered (in writing) on several occasions to contribute 5-figures (from our event ticket sales) to get it off the ground, but until the whole community accepts the reality and wants to work together on a solution, its never going to happen.

I'll say again, 50 riders per year down a single trail (with the Trans-Savoie) is quite clearly not the ONLY cause of erosion, especially on trails which are lift accessible throughout the season. I feel like a broken record here.
  • 1 1
 @TransSavoie: Ah, cool, so you have nothing to do with Enduro 2 then?!

I don't expect to not do maintenance and go on most of the days organised around here. You're continuing insistence it's not your responsibility for the trashed trails around here is the reason very few riders around here want to have anything to do with your very limited efforts to maintain anything.

I can't imagine why you think you shouldn't just spend those 5 figures on trail maintenance yourself and then you would actually have something good to boast about and could portray the rest of the biking community in a bad light were the trails you use to be in so much better condition than anything else on the mountain which would clearly be the case were you to spend that much! Why do you need to wait for something to be organised when you already really want it to happen?!
  • 2 0
 @fish-monkey: This is sadly turning into a circular argument. We acknowledge and take full responsibility for trail damage - not only what we feel we are accountable for, but just in general - few stand to lose more from "trashed trails" in the long run, than us, after all. But I stand by my views as already stated as to what the solution needs to be.

The topic is, honestly, insanely more complicated and political than you might assume - you will probably not take this at face value but FYI we actually DID directly offer to spend 5+ figures on trail maintenance specifically in your area only last season, and when there was no real traction from authorities, we made concrete plans just to get into and do it / spend the money independently. At the very last moment we received an official decree from "on high" at the regional council forbidding us (or indeed, anyone else on our behalf) to intervene directly. I actually understand and respect their view on this too. That's not to say we didn't achieve some decent maintenance efforts regardless, in the end, but not to the level we had hoped for, and hoped to contribute directly.

Finally, you mention Enduro2 and I agree that this is rather a different topic - 350 riders (against the clock) is a significant number compared to the maximum 50 riders (not against the clock) of Trans-Savoie 50/50. You'll be pleased to hear that we already took the decision back in 2021 to pull out of Les Arcs Enduro2 for the indefinite future since it became clear that a sustainable, semi-commercial trail-maintenance project at the resort was not near to being in place (one involving all parties, as proposed earlier in this thread). Hence in our view whilst far from being "trashed", at this stage a tipping point has been reached (in terms of an increasing volume of riders each summer in this area) and it was time to move on to a superb new location where we are more optimistic will be taking a more pro-active and integrated approach to maintenance, events, and promoting MTB tourism in general in their area.

To be clear to anyone else reading, Trans-Savoie 50/50 2022, being a very different type of event, doesn't use any of these same trails in question (as the Enduro2 Les Arcs event once did).
  • 2 0
 I have participated in 2021. What an awesome week it was! Being a 25-rider "race" really transformed the event into one big adventure with like-minded riders, but without any race pressure and it was all the better for it. Highly recommend!
  • 6 1
 Trans-Savoie.. my biggest wish
  • 4 1
 Are GPS files public? Is it possible to download gpx tracks?
Looks absolutely stunning Smile
  • 2 2
 Thumbs up to the TrailAddiction guys (Ali & Ash), they where mine and my mates first introduction to Alps riding back when they first started with the Goat Shed, and we went year after year Smile
Shame the French local authorities shut them down for a while but thumbs up for pursuing this and coming back strong Smile
  • 4 1
 Trans Savoie are real Savoie
  • 1 0
 How does one summarize 22,000m of adventure in the Alps into one top cap? Now theres something I wanna see!
  • 1 11
flag assbap69 (Feb 23, 2022 at 0:50) (Below Threshold)
 hohohohoohohoh just make a design on paint and then to make it into a topcap hohohohoho business idea
  • 3 0
 Santa, is that you? lol
  • 2 0
 Well I know what I'm going to be thinking about the rest of today!
  • 1 1
 Does anyone have a full list of trails on TrailForks or compiled itinerary of this? The views are awesome... pretty much my dream single track \ bikepacking come true
  • 1 0
 That looks amazing! Now I want to get back into multi-day adventure racing...
  • 1 0
 Lookout for the Patou after that fort
  • 1 0
 What’s a Patou? Will
It hurt me? Do I need inserts?
  • 1 0
 @jorukfundan: big sheep dog that lives in the mountains with its flock. Our guide gave it a very wide berth!
  • 1 0
 @26AD: Oh yea those dogs are big. And they run fast. And they take their job very seriously!
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