To mark Les Gets Bikepark opening non-stop from Friday 18th June, we met the team of shapers that have been working for the past few weeks to build the trails and ramps in your favourite playground.
While they took a break from digging, they explained to us how they’ve prepared the Bikepark this year.
What are the preparation days like before the opening of the Bikepark?
The first major part of the work is rebuilding the ramps that were taken apart as well as restoring the trails that were damaged during the winter. There are trails to rake, trees in the way that need to be moved, and ground that needs to be smoothed out to make space for the trails. It takes about 10 to 15 days to do all of that! Placing the markers in the forest and on the trails is another important part of our work. If we have the time, like we did today, we design in new areas.
After that, we start working on the mini jump park, according to specific guidelines. There needs to be a green line, a blue line and a more complex line, so that everyone can ride. We change the ramps from year to year so that it stays interesting for the clients that visit each year. That’s why we try to consider the opinions of our customers, be it onsite or via social media. Lots of people give us feedback.
This year, we had to adapt to the rubbish weather in May. We worked in real time, between the downpours, going out into the field as soon as there was a clear window. The problem is that when it rains, we can’t pack the soil down properly. Rain isn’t compatible with shaping 😉
Mini jump park before/after
How is the shapers team organised?
We’re a team of bike loving seasonal workers: 3 excavators, 3 patrols and 2 shapers that finish off by hand. We take turns depending on the work to be done. We started the work at the beginning of May in order to open the Bikepark at the end of May.
What makes a good shaper?
Number one: love biking. You also need to like to work outdoors and to not be afraid of physical work.
What’s the work that you like doing the most?
Designing is the most interesting aspect for us. Letting our imagination and creativity run free on an untouched slope, designing ramps and so on. We must, however, respect the trail charter. For example, when we’re preparing a green trail, we can’t just put in any type of ramp with any degree of slope angle; we must comply with the trail category. We must also adapt to our customer base. Since there are lots of beginners that come here, we can’t only have complex trails.
How do you balance shaping while also respecting the environment?
The team has a passion for nature and the mountains, and we want it to stay that way. What is more, we follow strict guidelines in terms of the Bikepark’s layout. We take precautions with the local flora and vegetation and we never go into protected areas. We make it a point of honour to not leave traces of our passing, to visually integrate the trails into the scenery and to respect nature.
What are for you the assets of Les Gets Bikepark?
In Les Gets, we have a pretty large area (80 miles of trails and 22 chairlifts) which means that you can ride for several days without getting bored. From year to year, the trails change, and it becomes more and more enjoyable to ride here.
The other major advantage is being in the heart of the Portes du Soleil! From Les Gets, you can get to lots of different areas. With the Portes du Soleil lift pass, you can easily ride for a week, maybe even two, without taking the same trail twice.
Les Gets and Portes du Soleil at the pace of e-bike
You can see it everywhere… On the roads, the forest paths and the mountain trails, the electrically-assisted bicycle has really exploded these past few years. Wondering why ? The best way to find out would be to try !
Luckily, Les Gets and the Portes du Soleil have set up routes suitable for the practice of e-biking.
Are you ready to power up ? We’ll take you on a tour to discover this on-trend discipline.