Snowboard in Morzine The Pepsi Max
Without doubt their are many
sweet spots for riding or skiing throughout the French Alps.
Most of these dreamed of powder runs are accessible without
too much exertion to the untrained weekly snowboarder and
skier, others, however do require a larger degree of commitment,
physical and mental to achieve your goal.
One such place can be found
in the Portes de Soliel area, the "Pepsi Max" a
decent from the Pointe de Vorlax, at 2346 metres ( the second
highest peak over looking the resorts of Avoriaz and Morzine)
to the village of Lecherette at an altitude of 1480m. This
off piste beauty will take you from the windswept heights
to the protected tree covered valley below.
Portes de Soliel area
For those of you who find this place a decision
will have to be made on reaching the summit; which bowl to
Stuart, a fellow seasonaire had decided on the
right hand bowl, mainly due to the majestic beauty of it when
viewed from the bottom for our first descent. A classic, the
natural form of the mountain pushing us away from the 50 metre
cliff face which straddles the bowl. The open faces to either
side a paradise for snowboarding, the descent awesome as we
dropped off into the valley below.
Arriving at the bottom, we had agreed to not
revisiting the Pepsi Max again this season.
24 hours later, I was on my way again, with Rollo and Robbie,
the need for the second bowl had got to me. This time, I knew
what the ascent had in for us and unlike the first time, I
had armed myself with an ice axe.
Nothing in life is free, the Pepsi Max is no
exception. To reach the summit, the hike will take you up
to 40 minutes if the trail is already broken.
On your way to the top; a trail of nearly 2 km rising through
300 metres has to be negotiated. Beginning with a rising traverse
across mixed ground. Turning right and upwards at the rock
face will lock you onto the knife edge ridge and the half
way marker. If your timing is good, here is a good place for
a rest. So chill out and check out the spectacular views of
the Dents Blanches and Les Hauts Forts in the distance.
Panoramic Views of the Haute Savoie
The physical part, although not over, makes
it way to a more mental requirement. The remainder of the
trek takes you along the precarious knife edge ridge, the
drop offs either side, keeping the adrenaline flowing, the
only thought, that if the snow gives, I must jump right..(
left is over a 150m rock wall).
On reaching the summit many emotions are felt,
achievement is the sensation that pushes its way to the top
of the stack. Lower down the fear and anxiety rise up as you
reflect through the last hour. The Pepsi Max is all about
the feeling and not just the ride down.
To the first timers the view is mouth watering,
the 360' panoramic of Morzine and the Haute Savoie is at its best.
To increase your appetite; a 3000m run with 900m of vertical
will wet your palette. If you get it on a "blue bird
powder" day. It will be the ride of your life...