Against a backdrop of stunning mountains, blue lakes and alpine meadows a new trend is engulfing the likes of resorts like Morzine and Les Gets. Because of the crystal clear waters, the challenging cols and the fantastic mountain trails, the Portes du Soleil is quickly becoming the training place of choice for triathletes both at beginner level and also at the top end of the sport.
Needing easy access to challenging cycling routes, tough running tracks and safe outdoor swimming lakes and pools – triathletes need a specific landscape to train effectively and Morzine has just that.
Amelia Pearson is used to standing on podiums. Competing in triathlons from the age of 15 she’s raced at all levels – including winning and competing in numerous Ironman distances. She now lives and trains in Morzine because in her words, Morzine has been one of the best places she’s ever been for training. “Morzine has great facilities and training options - the pool, Lac Montriond, running trails and [the village being located] at 1000m is a good altitude”.
She continues to compete around the Portes du Soleil and still retains her titles. Last month she finished first in the sprint triathlon in Machilly racing alongside a number of other people from the resort all who have recently followed the trend and joined the triathlon community. Amelia isn’t the only top athlete choosing Morzine as a training base. Jodie Stimpson, who is ranked at the top of the sport by the ITU (International Triathlon Union), can often be found swimming lengths at Lac Montriond, cycling up the Joux Plane to Avoriaz or running the banks of the Dereche, in training for her next race.
Alongside her own personal gruelling training schedule, Amelia runs Tri4theAlps with her husband Joe, a company that runs triathlon holidays in Morzine. She also trains a number of expats and locals who are all hoping to successfully complete and compete in triathlons around the region. Tri4theAlps has been running for 4 years and Amelia says they’ve been getting busier each year. They run training camps for all abilities, guiding athletes around the mountains and along the best trails whilst offering expert advice on how to improve your times and technique. “The number of triathletes visiting the area is increasing each summer. We now have a good percentage of returning guests too”.
Another reason Amelia gives for the popularity of the Portes du Soleil amongst triathletes is the easy access to the rest of Europe. With the rest of the continent either a short drive or quick flight away, it makes an ideal base for the busy and demanding training plans that triathletes have to work around. Last month some of the worlds best triathletes descended on Geneva for the European Triathlon championships: One of the biggest competitions in the sport taking place just an hour away from Morzine.
Alongside the top competitions there’s also an extensive timetable of events for people just starting out in the sport around the region. The Machilly triathlon allowed beginners to compete against semi-pros and also allowed teams to take part in a relay competition. I ran the running leg of the race and it has to be said the atmosphere was electric. Everyone supported each other, helped out where it was needed and you can see why participating in the sport becomes quite addictive. Next month the Triathlon de Mont Blanc takes place down the road in Passy. It will allow people to compete in a combination of sprint, Olympic and Ironman competitions. A massive Morzine contingent is attending this event, including Amelia and some of the people she has been training. We wish them luck!
It’s easy to see why Morzine is becoming the top training base for triathletes: it has it all. When you see the blue waters of Lac Montriond, why wouldn’t you want to jump in? When you see the beautiful alpine tracks surrounding the resort, why wouldn’t you want to run along them? If this hasn’t tempted you to join the addictive world of triathlons, then nothing will!