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Whistler vs. Morzine

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by Damo, May 26, 2008.

  1. Damo Short One Marshmallow

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    Who would win in a fight?





    Just kidding. I'm wanting to hear from everyone who has ridden at both places and what they think of them both.

    Who thinks which is best....




    I'll start: I've never been to Whistler. However, I have lived in Morzine for nearly 7 years now and can vouch honestly for this area.
    With 27 chairlifts open in the summer and so many DH, freeride and XC tracks here, you are spoiled for choice. Seriously, there is a lot of riding. However, to be fair, the video footage of Whistler show better a standard of tracks over there.


    Let's hear it. Keep in mind this is the DH forum. I'm not interested in 30ft hucks to flat and skinnies/teeter-totters.
    I am a racer, as are most of you.
    #1
  2. dan-o Active Member

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    I've ridden both and rate them both as excellent yet different experiences.
    #2
  3. Kevin Active Member

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    I dont think more then 25% of the people who have ridden Portes Du Soleil have ridden the good tracks and have mostly stayed in the Les Gets, Morzine area riding the beat up tracks, so I dont think this is gonna be a fair comparison.

    That said, Ive been to PDS a couple times and I rather drive 8hours in my van then fly to friggin Canada.
    The Portes Du Soleil area is more then good enough for me...
    #3
  4. big-ted Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.

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    I'm lucky enough to have spent large amounts of time (one year plus) local to both.

    Portes du Soleil: I love the fact that you can travel across multiple valleys. It adds to the feeling of getting out and exploring the terrain. That said, the place is COMPLETELY overun with English, most of the trails are very blown out, and the braking bumps verge on ridiculous at times. Lastly, there is a huge lack of genuinely challenging trails for advanced riders.

    Whistler: Having so many trails off of the one lift line is both a virtue and a hindrance. You're far more likely to meet a friend in the lift line to chat to, but you inevitably spend more time in said lift line. Further, there definitely is a wider variety of better built trails to ride. Whistler also has a novel atmosphere about it, due to everything being centred around the resort. There's better nightlife and choice for places to eat, and there's usually a better selection of pretty girls hanging out in town, or riding the park. It suffers from it's own success though. Way too many kids with bandanas, wife-beaters and skinny jeans doing nothing but A-line and boneyard laps over and over again.

    Which do I prefer? Dunno really. Probably Whistler for the amount of decent trails you can ride in a single day.
    #4
  5. Yeti New Member

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    PDS ftw....haven't ridden whistler, but the one time I was in PDS with kevin was overwhelming. I think whistler is more for the dh/fr who just wants to have fun. PDS is more for the dh racer kind of guy who wants to have fun and train the racing skills. Plus PDS is less than 5 hours away from places like finale ligure, livigno, bellwald, and all the kick ass south of switzerland tracks.
    #5
  6. Damo Short One Marshmallow

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    So many true statements....
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  7. big-ted Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.

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    Yeah, there's no riding at all in BC outside of Whistler..... :rolleyes:
    #7
  8. scottishmark Active Member

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    Only if you only ride the official trails. As Kevin said, the majority of PDS riders have never seen the good, challenging trails out there (Your Mum, Yeah Boy and the various other singletrack trails all over Pleney and Chavannes)
    #8
  9. Yeti New Member

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    Just promoting the "local" spots...still, have to go to BC someday.:cheers:
    #9
  10. Kevin Active Member

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    That said, I do believe Whistler kicks PDSs ass when it comes to challenging DH tracks.
    I definitly want to go there some time...
    #10
  11. ronan New Member

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    #11
  12. Eren New Member

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    Whistler is awesome, i try to get 15+ plus days a summer, then the spring and fall trips up there. trails are very fun and although the lift lines get long in mid summer its worth it once you get up top. to garbonzo i mean. its never really crowded up there because most of the terrain is over 75 percent of the riders heads up there. im not bashing anyone, its just nice to get away from the crowds, the views and quietness are amzing and the terrain is quite challeneging in areas. even riding at the park for 4 years now, and knowing every trail backwards and fowards it never really gets boring if you go to the very top because you can get in a nice 15-30 minute run depending how fast your going and if you take any breaks or not. seems to always be sloppy up there too, the slick, wet muddy roots/rocks makes it fun as hell. but at the same time you get the lucky spells of dry weeks up there

    the popular trails, a line for example do get run down, but its nothing ever too bad.

    sticking the diamond and double diamond are always a good bet, challenging and fun.

    my vote for best trails
    crack addict (personal favorite)
    whistler downhill
    schleyer
    joyride
    side track
    dirt merchant
    in deep
    too tight
    d1
    rippin rutabega (spelling?)
    facrobat
    captain safety
    no joke :(
    duff man
    freight train
    goats gully
    original sin
    detroit rock city
    angry pirate
    crabapple hits

    probly even missing a few here or there.

    but theres no shortages of trails, and it never really gets boring. if you can i would say go, but avoid crankworx if you wanna avoid the huge crowds and lines
    #12
  13. big-ted Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.

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    Well, it's been a while since I rode PDS, but I'd hazard to guess I rode most of the so-called "secret" stuff of the time, at least on the Swiss side and around Morzine. Maybe not so much around Les Gets. Still, I'd put Whistler a fair bit ahead in terms of challenging DH race-style trails. If you want trails that are challenging just to clean, let alone ride fast (ala Russ' backyard etc) then take a drive a few miles outside of Whistler and go nuts. I struggle to believe that anywhere on Earth could hold a candle to BC for such trails.

    Actually, Damo, you and I may have met. Were you and your buddy (Jason?) at the Wiriehorn round of the IXS cup a few years ago? You had your Scaphoid in a cast and got DQ'd for not wearing body armour or something? I was the English guy on a red DHR...
    #13
  14. jonKranked Press Button, Receive Stupid

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    My opinion: I hate you for having so much lift access.
    #14
  15. Damo Short One Marshmallow

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    Haha... yep, that was me. They let me qualify for some reason (14th) in just raceshorts and a top (no armor whatsoever), but not race. Boy they were ****ty about it though! My kneepads were stolen from outside the van and I couldn't fit my upper armor over my cast.


    I kinda get the impression that although the PDS (Portes du Soleil) is huge, there are more 'proper' DH tracks in Whistler.
    #15
  16. Motoking16 New Member

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    Does suck for No Joke...

    But you forgot Crank it Up, its a super easy trail, but if you hit it late, when no one is around, you can absolutely pin every bit of the trail. Especially the new section in the woods. Solid berms, with jumps that don't slow you down...sic!

    Oh, and monkey hands too
    #16
  17. Eren New Member

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    crank it up is the roughest trail in the mountain braking bump, no braking caves galore.

    but hey, thats because many people skid down the trail.

    but yes the new addition is fun. rode the mountain for the first time this season last wednesday when i was in seattle on holiday
    #17
  18. big-ted Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.

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    [sigh]

    See, this upsets me. Crank it up just isn't downhill mountain biking IMO. It's a wide open freeway with no technical difficulty whatsoever. Yes, you can pin it, just like you can the likes of A-line and Dirt Merchant, but doing so requires very little in terms of technical skill. The original poster made it clear he was interested in the pros and cons of each venue with respect to DH race-style trails. I appreciate everyone has a personal taste but, really, I would find a race course like crank it up incredibly dull and boring.
    #18
  19. klunky Active Member

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    If you think Morzine does not have trails that are very challenging you are not riding all the trails.
    #19
  20. CBJ Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget just outside Whistler there are TONS of other trails besides the resort. I been to Whistler and BC many times but only once to PDS in 2002 - very different place that and each great riding.
    #20
  21. Damo Short One Marshmallow

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    Trust me. I've ridden all the trails. Built many of them too.

    I build a few singletrack DH tracks. We are forced to do so due to the un-technical nature of the sanctioned tracks. If you want difficult, build it yourself.

    However, fun as these 'private' tracks may be, they aren't race courses.

    Don't get me wrong, there are tech trails here (just look at the ridiculousness of Montriond's French Cup track). The Swiss DH is heading in the right direction, but kinda falls short on my book. Ben (BuckoW on here) builds some great courses. He had a hand in the Champery WC and is working on a new one nearby which I cannot wait to ride.

    I think PDS's problem is the lack of sanctioned trails. Yes, there are a lot of them, but they get built in the typical French manner - keeping families in mind. They are a blast to ride wide-open (Pleney is a good example), but not much to advance your technical riding.

    A great thing about this region is how central it is to Europe. There are many fantastic small ski resorts with summer chairlifts nearby. There are races every weekend within a couple of hours. You have the insanely massive riding of Chamonix (think hour long technical descents) just over an hour away. Italy is a 2 hour drive, Switzerland is a half hour's bike away. This is a country that truly loves cycling and cyclists.

    I love this area, but would love to come over the lake and try out Canada's offerings (and down south too, I'm sure USA has some killer courses).
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
    #21
  22. sethimus Active Member

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    not in Whistler anymore :/
    pds = region, whistler single mountain

    you should compair are bikepark in sweden, also a single mountain bike park with lots of trails. imho the biggest bike park in europe...
    #22
  23. Sverre New Member

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    So true! I've been riding the PDS area for the last 5 summers, and there is some narly trails there if you go outside the crowd in Morzine and Les Gets. You've all seen Champery, but that's an extreme... As for others I can recomend the Ann Caroline track, the Swiss cup course, the dh track in Morgins is really sick, The Canyon (Barrel) and a lot more. Go there and you'll be blown away by it's wastness.
    My tip: Buy a trail map once you get there and study it well.
    #23
  24. DaveW Space Monkey

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    To put this in some sort of perspective for me Damo, how would you compare them to say Deliverance, Vertigo or Trickle falls up Makara? :)
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
    #24
  25. Damo Short One Marshmallow

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    Sorry Dave, those tracks were after my time... They were just starting to build on Makara when I was leaving.
    #25
  26. Whoops New Member

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    Having not ridden in wellytown I can't compare either, but if you've ridden the Rotorua nats course... multiply speed, length and steepness by 2 or 3.
    #26
  27. scottishmark Active Member

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    Sorry dude but i think you missed the point Klunky and I were trying to make - the best trails aren't on any trail map! The ones you mention are the very mainstream ones that everyone knows
    #27
  28. klunky Active Member

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    exactly. Gollum and run of the mill etc. are ace fun and not a braking bump in sight
    #28
  29. buckoW Active Member

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    Everyone from Whistler that comes to ride with me on the Swiss side of the PDS and sees the nuggets, say that Whistler is no match but then again I try hard to show them the best kept secrets. I like the no lift line aspect as well and beers are way to expensive in Canada, eh?

    P.S. Claudio Calori is going to rework sections on the WC DH track in Champery and Chatel has big plans for this summer with lots of machine time and a 7 man trail crew. The Avoriaz guys are going to step it up as well so it looks PDS will soon take the lead if it is not already there.
    #29
  30. Kevin Active Member

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    Tell m to make the tracks more German...
    Todtnau, Bad Wildbad, Bischofsmais, Illmenau etc. Those are the kind of full on DH tracks people would like to see in the PDS area.
    #30
  31. Whoops New Member

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    drool.

    Must. Win. Lotto.
    #31
  32. superistic New Member

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    Don't forget Winterberg!!!

    That place is genius...
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  33. -C- Member

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    Interesting ref Champery, we will be taking the trip over there again this year, have to try & remember the way to the start from the Telecabin!

    You may know the answer to this, but does the Champery Walkers Trail start from the Telecabin as well?
    #33
  34. Kevin Active Member

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    The dh is fun for beginners but everything but challenging.
    The rest of the park is for kids and huckers...
    #34
  35. superistic New Member

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    Yeah, I was talking mostly in reference to the build quality of the freeride trails there, so hucking, yeah...
    #35
  36. Kevin Active Member

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    Quality is awsome, but this thread is about DH race tracks ;)
    Winterberg kind of lacks in that departement...
    #36
  37. superistic New Member

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    You are right, but one big difference between Whister and PDS, beside the obvious difference in size and locale, is that Whistler is a lot more freeride orientated than PDS. In fact that is why I'll take Whistler FTW, because there is a greater diversity of trails and more opportunity to progress as a rider.
    PDS has vert and big mountain lines and scenery, but the DH trails all kind of seemed cut of the same cloth. Just kind of steep and greasy. There are gems for sure and some freeride trails I found were quite good, but they were also scattered. But it is such a huge place with so much there so still a strong #2.

    Right on about Todtnau, and Bad Wildbad BTW
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
    #37
  38. buckoW Active Member

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    My brother and I are trail builders and have the last name Walker but there isn't a trail with that name. I think you are talking about Chevreil which is off of the telepherique or the FR trail in Morgins that I built 5 yrs ago and we have been working on it ever since.

    If you PM me I can give you my phone number and when you are here can show you some trails.

    Ben
    #38
  39. -C- Member

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    Hi Ben,

    I think the trail name is Drum 'n' Bass, I know it runs down the same hill as the Champery WC track, I think it may have been a hikers trail up & down the mountain. Its like one giant rock garden all the way if you know it?

    We stumbled on it purely by chance.

    I'll drop you a PM though, always good to hook up with people when out there who can show us some of the less mainstream fun stuff :D
    #39
  40. big-ted Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.

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    No way. I guess it depends on your definition of freeride, but the fact that, unless you're content to ride the same trail repeatedly, you have to spend so much time riding between trails in PDS, whilst being one of the reasons I love it, also means you get far fewer actual DH runs in a single day.

    Kevin and Scottish Mark, I'm curious. Have you ever actually ridden anywhere outside Europe? I don't want to turn this into an e-penis slinging match, but in my experience there's a whole bunch of brits who go out to PDS, ride all the trails, and immediately assume it to be the best place ever. As I've said, I lived a little way around the valley from Champery for over a year. Whilst I haven't ridden PDS for four years now, I'd like to think I rode the majority of lesser known trails the area had to offer at the time. Certainly, I spent a LOT of time riding the backcountry stuff around Morgins, Chatel and Champery, and inevitably rode must stuff under the Plenney lift. Admittedly, there was probably some stuff around Les Gets I never saw as I didn't care for the crowds.

    I've now lived in BC for two years, and I can honestly say that Whistler can offer more in terms of flat out challenging DH trails, as well as less time wasted riding between trails. There's less in terms of exploring to be done which, as I said in my original post, is one of the great strengths of PDS, but the area outside of Whistler can provide that in abundance if you don't mind a bit of hiking/shuttling.

    Don't get me wrong, there are some aspects of PDS I miss, but I'm just trying to base my assesment on the original poster's criteria.
    #40