Cycling is a way of life in the Alps and the Rhone-Alps are synonymous with Le Tour de France and Critérium du Dauphiné, the precursor to Le Tour itself. There are many famous climbs within striking distance of Chalet Les Glycines including Col de Joux Plane (Morzine) and Col de la Joux Verte (Montriond) and Col de la Ramaz (Taninges).
Col de la Joux Verte is one of our favourites. The ascent is 15.2 km long, you climb 876 meters with an average percentage of 5.8 %. The climb is predominantly through trees with the occasional open views down the valley and the lake. Once you get to Linderet (the goat village) the climb becomes much more gentle allowing a bit of recovery before the final push to the col. We recommend you climb this route and descend the traditional route back to Morzine, its fast with lots of switchbacks!
Col de Joux Plane is a deceptively tough (but not too hard) climb but it starts with a real kick from Morzine town centre. Starting from Morzine, the ascent is 10.9 km long; you climb 711 meters with an average percentage of 6.5 %. The maximum slope is 11-12 %. Really the top of the climb is the Col de Ranfolly which is about 2km from the Col de Joux Plane. There is a steep hairpin before the top of the Ranfolly but after that it is a nice descent with a little kick before you hit the Col de Joux Plane. For a real challenge, turn around in Samoens and come back the somewhat harder reverse way.
Col du Corbier is only 6 km long but you gain 517 meters in that distance, so the average gradient is 8.6 %. Used in the Dauphine Critérium a couple of times, you can tackle it from Le Biot or go a little further down the valley and take if from the village of Seytroux where the initial gradient is slightly less steep. There is a new restaurant at the top to get a well deserved coffee. You can return the same way or go over the top and into the Chatel Abondance Valley, the descent has some lovely switchbacks and you can take a left and climb back into the Morzine Valley via Col du Grande Taillet and climb to the top of La Forclaz for some spectacular views.
Col de la Ramaz is a tough climb. Starting from Taninges, the ascent is 16 km long; you climb 970 meters with an average percentage of 6.1 %. The first 3-4 km are steep but then you sidehill for a couple of km until the ‘real’ climb begins. It's tough, lots of 9-10 percent sections with no real break. With 4 km to go the road levels out through Pras des Lys and you can catch your breath looking at pretty village, the last km has a nice surprise. You can combine this climb with a loop including Col de Joux Plane, passing our favourite boulangerie in Taninges, where they do great framboise and myrtle tart, nom, nom.
Avoriaz via Morzine this is an iconic Alpine set of switchbacks. Starting from Morzine, the Avoriaz ascent is 14 km long. Over this distance, you climb 840 meters. The average percentage is 6 %. It marries up with the top of the Col de la Joux Verte and then there is another moderate climb of 1km to Avoriaz proper. The views are breathtaking and you often look down on the cloud in the valley below (see the picture above). The descent is woohooo because the road is super-smooth as you descend one switchback after another into Morzine for a well-deserved pint of beer. Failing that go and do the Col de la Joux Verte straight after for giggles.