Frequently asked questions about your mountain biking holiday....
There are often questions about your holiday. In this section we hope that we can answer a few. If you have others please don't hesitate to get in touch.
1- Why flights to Barcelona?
We ask all clients who require a pickup/ transfer to fly into Barcelona (BCN) airport. If you are self driving or planning to rent a car or coming by train I will cover this later.
We only pickup and transfer from Barcelona (BCN) as it is the closest international hub to us. This means that the majority of clients can get flights from their home departure airport to Barcelona with the minimum of hassle. There are other airports in the vicinity but we cannot organise pickups on a Saturday from multiple airports as this is logistically impossible, so we ask all clients who require a transfer to arrive at Barcelona (BCN).
2- Can I fly in/out on aternative days?
For week long reservations we only offer transfers on a Saturday as for the rest of the week the vehicles are generally in use for daily riding transfers. You are at liberty to arrive and depart from Barcelona before or after the day of your transfer and we will happily pick you up /drop you at an airport hotel (but not a city hotel!) on the Saturday.
We will discuss any Long weekend or Short week group reservations requirements and try to be as accommodating as possible, but this may not always be possible.
3- Alternative transfer methods?
Hire car- You can generally rent cars from any arrival airport to drive up to us. Remember that your car needs to be big enough for you, your luggage and your bikebox. If you are renting in Spain be sure to advise the rental agency that you will be going into France as this may have insurance implications.
Train- You can catch the train direct from the UK to Perpignan where you will need to organise a transfer up the mountain. You can catch the train from Barcelona to Puigcerda, from where you will need to arrange a transfer with us (30mins) as a taxi from here will be a little difficult. From Toulouse you can get the train to La Tour de Carol/ Entveig where again you will need to organise a transfer to us (30mins).
Transfer company- You are free to organise a transfer from any airport direct to us with a transfer company, but be aware that this is not as simple as in other regions and you must inform them you are travelling with bikes.
4- What will the weather be like?
Our region is often referred to as the "Sunniest in France" and not without reason. We can expect over 300 days of sunshine a year, but it can rain! it can also get cold in Spring and Autumn. We suggest that during the week leading up to your trip you check the forecast using the links on our website. This will help you plan your kit packing. If you are still not sure then give us a shout.
Spring and Autumn trips can expect cool mornings then daytime temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees centigrade. Summer trips can expect daytime temperatures in the high 20's or mid 30's.
5- What clothes should I bring?
In general we recommend that you have a few changes of riding shorts and short sleeved tops. A long sleeved top can be useful both in the case of cooler weather or mornings and as a protective layer from the sun if you are prone to sunburn. Again in Spring and Autumn the weather can be cool in the mornings and evenings, so think about something as a warm layer for those times.
Do not forget your waterproof jacket for on the trails, this is a "MUST" bring safety item.
For evenings, non ride wear bring your standard summer casual wear. In Spring / Autumn you can add a jumper or lightweight insulated jacket. Swimmers for the hottub.
We ask clients to bring some indooor footwear to keep the dirt outside. Slippers, flipflops, crocks, whatever floats your boat.
6- What bike kit should I bring?
Riding clothes as above.
Unless we state otherwise your normal trail riding helmet. You must wear your helmet at all times on the bike, it is a requirement of our insurance. A full face helmet is too hot on the climbs and most of the time on the descents as well. For those of you that feel more comfortable in a full face helmet the new generation of helmets with removable chinguards work very well.
We cannot stop you having a crash but padding yourself up as if you are in a bikepark will probably lead to you getting heatstroke, so we recommend that you ride with at least kneepads on the descents (elbowpads can be very usefull too) which you remove for the climbs. Remember you are riding on "natural" trails, so back it off a bit and enjoy the ride.
Glasses will stop dust, branches and other unmentionables getting flicked into your eyes.
Suncream is really useful. In general you willl be riding in a much harsher sunlight than you are used to (a mix of the altitude and the lack of polution), so suncream can stop your holiday being spoilt by a case of sunburn!
For your bike remember to bring spare brake pads and a spare mech hanger as these parts are often unique to your bike and impossible to get at short notice here. Some tubes are essential and even a spare tyre for your wheel size is a good idea.
Make sure your bike has a decent set of toughened sidewall trail tyres. This is not the place to be riding lightweight tyres. We also recommend that you run tubeless as in some areas thorns can ruin your day on tubes.
7- What type of bike is ideal?
You will be most comfortable riding a typical trail/enduro bike. That means a fully suspended bike in the 140mm to 170mm travel range depending on your wheelsize. We strongly recommend the use of a dropper seatpost as this dramatically increases your safety in the mountains due to the ability to raise and drop your saddle where nescessary without stopping.
8- How fit do I need to be?
All of our holidays are demanding! This is not cycling for softies.... The fitter you are the more you will enjoy your trip. The weather, altitude and trails can accentuate your fatigue, so we strongly suggest that you prepare yourself for your trip. You will be riding for at least 5 days and on some trips 6 days without a day off. You need to be comfortable doing this.
For each trip there is a description of the trip and trails. We once had some clients suggest that a 30km day was going to be only half a day!! They didn't want to do anything extra that evening.... Do not underestimate the terrain.
9- How good a rider do I need to be?
As a famous coach once said to me "Anyone can pedal but it takes skill to RIDE". This is mountainbiking, in real mountains and not in a groomed park area. To get the most out of your trip you should be comfortable riding on natural singletrack, in a natural environment. If you only ride in areas that are manmade (trail centers or bikepark) you will struggle here, so get out and practice and you will enjoy your holiday much more.
You also need to know your limits. There is no shame in not riding a small piece of trail as you do not feel comfortable doing it. If we have the time we can help you in these situations, but if we are on the move and time is short knowing your limits can stop you having an accident somewhere where you really didn't want one.
Altitude Adventure is based in the ski station of St Pierre dels Forcats (altitude 1550m), just across the valley from Font Romeu, in the Neiges Catalanes ski area, one of France’s well-kept secrets. With over 300km of pistes, 8 snowparks, a variety of off-piste to suite all abilities and 288km of cross country skiing this area has everything you need for a great ski holiday.
We provide comfortable and spacious accommodation for a classic chalet style holiday in the French Pyrenees. With a lack of large hotels and commercial tour operators the area is superb for those looking for a different style of ski holiday. Outside of French school holidays the whole area is amazingly quiet giving fantastic un-crowded skiing.
The Neiges Catalanes lift pass covers all the 9 resorts in the Cerdagne and Capcir valleys, or individual resort lift passes can be purchased daily. Equipment hire can be arranged locally.
Home resort to the “Mouli” the 4 person chair is only 300m away. Between the villages of St Pierre dels Forcats and Eyne rises the Cambre D’Aze mountain. This area holds piste skiing that (although not the biggest) is widely regarded as the best in the area. The area has 25 pistes with 2 blacks, 7 reds, 4 blues and 12 greens. Off-piste is mainly in the trees and requires a reasonable level of competence. See their website.
Font Romeu, Pyrenees 2000
Font Romeu is the most famous town in this area. Bright lights, big city it isn’t, but it retains more charm than your average alpine resort whilst providing all the amenities that you need. The ski area is linked to the resort of Pyrenees 2000 and gives meaning to the phrase “intermediates playground” with 8 blacks, 8 reds, 9 blues, 9 greens and a snowpark. See their website.
This is a great ski area with plenty to keep all standards of skiers and boarders interested. The station features good shopping and amenities in the village whilst the pistes are well developed and cared for. There are 2 blacks, 16 reds, 5 blues, 6 greens and a huge snow park. The off -piste in the trees is challenging whilst never being far from a piste. See their website.
A really nice little station a couple of minutes above the village giving good intermediate skiing and boarding, with fantastic off-piste in the trees on the upper section. Formigueres features 1 black, 6 reds, 8 blues, 4 greens and a small snowpark. See their website.
At the head of the Capcir valley above the village of Rieutort sits this station. See their website.
A small station with a couple of pistes and a snow park. On the opposite side of the road is the small airport which is one of the sites for snow-kiting. See their website.
The furthest station from us covered by the area pass, Porte is on the French side of the pass to Pass De La Casa in Andorra. A good variety of pistes are on offer in a spectacular setting at the head of the valley. It offers 3 blacks, 4 reds, 5 blues, 5 greens and a good size snow park. See their website.
Spain and Andorra
Not included in the Neiges Catalanes pass are the Spanish resorts of La Molina and Massella and the Andoran resorts in the Pass De La Casa area but which are all in day trip distance (with a small fuel charge) if you run out of things to do!!
Here come the girls! Ella and Shawna (9 and 7yrs) show how it should be done in the trees. (published 24th Nov 2009)
This is our flagship trip. Only the best of the best from this immense region make it onto this trip!!! Spectacular trails, incredible scenery....
To get the most out of our trips we recommend that a good standard of mountain biking skills in natural rocky singletrack terrain is needed. An ability to comfortably ride red and black Welsh and Scottish trail centre trails is good, but we are riding natural singletrack! You should be comfortable riding all day for multiple days to get the most out of your trip. This trip is not for inexperienced riders.
We recommend that riders wear knee pads as a minimum on the descents as the trails are rocky! other protection is at the riders discretion.
Backcountry Tour of the Pyrenees Orientales
Are you looking to ride some of the best singletrack on the planet?
The Pyrenees Orientales were recently described as "Massively underrated as an MTB destination" and in the opinion of the US Editor of Singletracks magazine Greg Heil "Better than the Alps" where he was blown away by the quantity of "high quality singletrack". High praise indeed! Danny Milner from MBR magazine stated after his visit, that a trip here was like "a journey through the world’s best singletrack" and based this opinion on the variety of types of trail brought about by the changes in rock type and vegetation as we move from alpine, to sub alpine, to mediterranean scrub areas available to us.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you might say and why is that? Well the answer lies in the history of the region which has a tradition going all the way back to prehistoric times as being traversed in all directions by its population for many reasons which has led to a trail network of incredible proportions. This plus a long history of subsistence farming and smallholdings or hamlets dotted all over the valley sides gives us a mix of natural mountain trails and manmade cobbled packhorse type trails to choose from.
On top of the quality of trails the region has had very little modernisation or large modern industrialisation to change its feel of really stepping back in time.
With all of this in mind we have been scouring a larger area than we would normally ride in a trip based solely at our boutique hotel "The Mouli del Riu" to bring you the opportunity to taste the best that the region can offer in a week of uplift assisted riding. We say uplift assisted because, rest assured, to access the most spectacular trails you will still have to put some effort in. But this trip is really about getting to grips with those long mind blowing singletracks.....
Our home base is on the French side of the border in Saint Pierre dels Forcats, but on this trip we will spend time in both Spanish and French Catalonia as the Pyrenees Orientales make up the dividing line between the two countries. This gives us the opportunity to explore not only trails in two countries, but also two different cultures during our weeks riding. With excellent cuisine and wine featuring highly in the lifestyle on both sides of the border we eat and drink like kings of old as a reward for each days efforts.
If you like your riding to be a mix of "steep and techie" and "fast and flowing" all on natural trails then this trip is for you!
Saturday- Arrival in Barcelona. Airport pickup and transfer to "The Mouli del Riu" roughly 2hrs drive to St Pierre dels Forcats. Bike build up. Welcome dinner at "The Mouli".
Sunday- Warm up day! A nice climb to get your legs moving followed by 9km of singletrack downhill from the Valley of Planes to St Thomas les Bains (1300m drop). After a late lunch by the hot springs we shuttle up for another 1000m of descent before the van picks us up to head home.
Monday- Heading out! A shuttle up to 2200m gets us to the start point for the climb. Another 500m of uphill gets us to our start point at 2700m. We cross the border and head down into Spain, 1500m in the first descent.
And on it goes like this..... On this trip there is no rest day! We keep it coming until you beg us to stop.....
On average we will ride around 12500m of descent during the week with around 4000m of climbing. All on natural singletrack!!! To put that in perspective it would be like riding down Mt Everest one and a half times! ;)
For avalable dates please check the top of the page. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch.
We look forward to showing you around a very special region....
Jeremy Wright gets an insider guide from Altitude Adventure to the little known Neiges Catalanes in the French Pyrenees... " The real beauty was in having such knowledgeable hosts. Whether pounding down the longest off-piste route in the Pyrenees at the Espace Cambre D'Aze, relaxing with a flask of hot chocolate and rum in natural hot springs, or searching for wolf tracks as we snowshoed behind the hotel, we always felt we were being let into a special, secret world."
"Unlocking a secret world" by The Daily Express
Mouli del Riu, 66210, St Pierre dels Forcats, France.