When you think of a summer holiday in the Alps, you might imagine getting in touch with nature. Calming walks through the mountains, relaxing by a tranquil lake and deeply breathing in the fresh air and scent of wildflowers and conifers.
Although the peace and quiet might be the norm in places like Morzine, it's not always the case and from September 1st to 3rd, visitors to this alpine village might notice the smell of petrol in the air and the sound of revving engines. That's because it's the annual Mont Blanc Rally.
For the last 20 years, rally drivers have come to the resort as part of the French Automobile Championships. The total distance of this stage is more than 200 km, but the across the entire competition, the cars and their drivers will have travelled more than 500 km.
During the Mont Blanc Rally, drivers race around Morzine and Les Gets, then along the Joux Verte and Joux Plane passes, before heading to the Cote d'Abroz. The race is said to be one of the finest mountain rallies around and it's sure to offer some great fun and excitement for spectators, as well as the drivers themselves.
Visitors wishing to watch the race will have plenty of options for safe viewing areas, and these will be well marked so they're easy to find. It's recommended that you aim to arrive early since the event is expected to be popular and getting around can become difficult once the race begins. There will also be pit areas scattered around the town, which will give you the opportunity to see the cars up close or maybe even speak to the drivers and their teams.
Meanwhile, those who want to see the most dramatic part of rally racing - the spin-outs and crashes - should try to pick a viewing spot where these are more likely to occur. Look out for locations near sharp corners, places where the track goes downhill and areas of uneven road surface or loose gravel. But remember to stay safe and stick to the recommended viewing areas.
If you love water sports, you've probably already tried things like white water rafting, kayaking and water skiing. While those are wonderful activities that offer an adrenaline rush, as well as a chance to get out and enjoy nature, you're probably also always on the lookout for something new. So maybe it's time to try hydrospeeding.
Hydrospeeding is the latest craze in white water sports. Think of it as the water version of skeleton - those taking part in the activity have a big flotation board to lay on and they wear fins on their feet for propulsion and steering.
Most people wear wetsuits, life jackets and helmets for safety. Shin guards, gloves, knee pads, thigh pads and elbow pads can also be a good idea. Once they're kitted out, hydrospeeders are ready to take off down the river, travelling along the water headfirst on their stomachs, and being sure to dodge rocks and shallow spots while riding the rapids at top speed. Passing through the calmer parts of the river provides an opportunity to relax, enjoy the mountain scenery and recover from the excitement, before taking off again through the white water.
Also known as riverboarding, hydrospeeding isn't actually a new sport. In fact, it's believed to have originated in the 1970s in France, but in recent years it has really gained popularity and now it can be enjoyed around the world - including at the Evolution 2 Activity Park in Morzine.
Once your hydrospeeding session is over, the Evolution 2 park has plenty of other activities available - meaning a trip to this activity centre can provide you with a complete day out. For example, you could stick to the water with some canyoning, kayaking or rafting, or you could move to dry land for climbing, caving, horse riding or mountain biking. And if none of that is enough to quench your thirst for adventure, Evolution 2 also offers aerial adventures like skydiving and paragliding.
It encompasses three days of mountain biking across 80 km of this area of the French Alps, which includes 7,000 m of downhill terrain and 1,000 m of uphill travel. Cyclists of all levels of ability are welcome to give this race a go and the route should take just one day, meaning you can enter on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday - it's completely up to you. If you feel up to it, you can do the course on all three days, but you'll need to have a serious level of fitness to be able to do that! There are refreshment points throughout the course to make sure you don't get dehydrated at any point and marshals are on hand to ensure that everything runs smoothly, so you don't have to worry about how safe taking part will be. All you really have to do is train and get ready to get seriously muddy.
Although the trails start in France, you're going to be travelling through to Switzerland too. If you want, you can stop and get off to explore the different places, as the race gives you access to different resorts via chairlifts that are usually reserved for the winter season. One thing that takes some of the extra challenge out of the race is that you can actually take the chairlifts up to the top of the course, so all you have to concentrate on is riding downhill. For those who are tackling the full 80 km circuit, you'll be rewarded with a massive 6,500 m of descent! It's up to you which route you take however, as you can earn the right to an easy downhill cycle by riding uphill the whole way.
You can take part in this great event from 25th June and each day the chairlifts will be open from 7:30 am to 6 pm, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the day.
If you're a cycling fanatic and you fancy taking a summer trip to the Alps then you're in luck, as there are dozens of biking events throughout many areas of France and the rest of the skiing regions. Often, these can be heavily attended by men, but this is where Morzine can help you out, as it is running a girl's-only nighttime ride event. So, if you're a girl who's looking for some expert advice, then you'll want to make sure you are going to the Girls Night Ride with Tahnee Seagrave this weekend, starting on 18th June. Those who are big cycling fans will know that Tahnee is the British MTB star in the downhill mountain biking world. Morznet even goes so far as to point out her championship credentials and a deserving one she is!
This is one thing that makes this event even more special, because you're literally in the hands of a professional. If you're a bit nervous, you have nothing to worry about, because Tahnee is on hand to give you tips and guidance, and you'll even have the chance to enjoy some food and drinks afterwards. Your evening descent will begin after 5 pm and you'll be equipped with headlamps on the tracks at Les Gets' bike park. Although everyone - who is female - is welcome to join in the fun, it's recommended that you are a confident rider so you don't cause harm to yourself or anyone else. It costs €45 (£35.70) per person, which includes your food and drinks, and you'll need to book ahead, as this is a popular activity in Morzine this year and you don't want to miss out! Register through the Crankworx website, which is running the session in association with the famous mountain resort.
L'Ecole du Ski Francais (ESF) is one of the most prestigious ski schools throughout the whole of Europe. Although there are many others that provide excellent instruction, it's the ESF that is known for turning out excellent skiers thanks to their highly skilled instructors.
There are 250 different ESF schools throughout Europe, most of which are located in the French Alps. You'll find them in the Three Valleys, the Espace Killy and in Chamonix, which is of course one of the most popular places for snowsports. The school boasts a total of 17,000 instructors who, the ESF website says, are ready and waiting to teach you the essential techniques of skiing, while they make it fun for you too.
Not only is ESF known for its training, it and its members are also known for their widely attended skiing displays. Ceremonial and impressive, they make a real spectacle to watch when you're on your skiing holiday. Two of these such displays are coming to Morzine, and you'll be able to watch both for free, which will make for a great activity that all the family will enjoy.
On Wednesday 24th February and Wednesday 2nd March, come along to the Front de neige du Pleney to see the Descente aux Flambeaux des Enfants, or the Torchlit Descent by the ESF Children. These kids are ESF students and will be keen to have an audience as they display their skills in a nighttime run down the slopes of Morzine. As there are two dates for this event, you'll be able to pick which one you'd like to see or, if you enjoy it that much, you can go twice!
ESF instructors will be following in the tracks of their students by doing their own torchlit descent down the same slope of Morzine. This is a traditional show by the instructors and you'll be able to watch it on Wednesday 24th February and then every Tuesday from 1st to 29th March. You can particularly enjoy the firework display at the end of each evening and a nice, hot cup of mulled wine to keep you cosy while you watch the action.