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In the middle of the Alps, lying in the heart of Portes du Soleil close to the Swiss border, there is a secret destination for mountain bike enthusiasts that the rest of the world knows very little about. The Morzine Bike Park is a tourist destination for bike fans who want to follow the mountain trails or go downhill to the edge of the lake. The park consists of more than 600km of trails, marked with signposts at every turn, and 10 downhill trails which are much tougher than the rest of the paths. There are also plenty of lifts to help weary riders make it to the top of the mountain again.
The use of the Morzine bike park has increased enormously over the last 5 years or so, and the officials in the area have worked hard with mountain bike fans to mark out a series of officially graded paths, creating massive trails that can be used by more than just one sort of rider. From the weekend bike rider who wants to enjoy a more leisurely pace, to the keen DH rider pushing his bike to the limits, there are places on the trail for everyone. The park also suits bike riders who want to tackle something a little gentler, including trail riding for the family, or natural trails that seem to go on forever.
Domestic and amateur riders are not the only fans of the area, however, and more and more professional riders are turning to Morzine bike park to keep in shape when the season ends. In fact, part of the season is now spent in Morzine, with rallies and cycling festivals being held during the summer. The professionals come for the fantastic downhill rides, but many of them choose to stay in the area and work with bike riders and fans. Some of them run bike rental firms in the area, and others hire out chalets. Many enthusiasts work in the chalets, hotels and service buildings, riding when they have time and helping tourists when they are working.
For many mountain bike fans, Morzine is an Eden which has not yet been spoiled by excessive tourism from sightseers and skiers. Instead, it is still very much as it was 20 years ago: a haven to dedicated bike riders, but with no significant tourist program. The officials of Morzine hope that mountain bike fans will continue to visit the area, particularly Morzine Bike Park, and keep money coming into the area through that process. Certainly it would be a pity to ruin the splendid views and unspoiled nature with a more significant tourist drive, and one of the reasons that many bike riders do come back, year after year, is the almost perfect beauty of this area.
Visit Morzine bike park: http://www.morzine-mtb.com