Col de Joux Plane: Cycle Up and Cross-Country Ski


This has become one of my favourite annual traditions – the 5th straight year. Bike up one of the great climbs of the north French Alps and cross-country ski at the summit.

It’s surprising that they often keep the famous Samoëns side of Col de Joux Plane open in winter. But it gets lots of sun and the cross-country skiing at the summit is beautiful.

The Morzine side of Joux Plane will be closed probably until May. It’s a ski slope.

Fermé? Don’t believe every sign you read:

I always wait until there have been a few consecutive days of sun without any fresh snow so the roads aren’t too slick. I brought my mountain bike just in case, but a road bike would have been fine.

Lots of Mont Blanc views all day long:

Another of my silly traditions, standing on the col sign:

Some previous visits:

Exactly at the col is a little hut that will rent cross-country skis. There are green, blue, and red trails. It’s not a big center, but so beautiful.

I’ve also cycled up and XC skied at Le Semnoz.

The best trail heads to the Croix de Mapellet (marked on the map).

There is a nice restaurant at the col with stunning views. So I stopped for a drink before bracing myself for a chilly descent on the bike. For me, combining cycling, sun, Alps, and cross-country skiing is about as fun as it gets. Highly recommended but wait for a sunny day.

See here for 14 cycling climbs with cross-country skiing at the summit – all within an hour or so of Geneva.

Cycling Footnote:

Summer Cycling:

  • See here for one of the best north French Alps loops. Four cols including Joux Plane.
  • See here for a brilliant unpaved route up Joux Plane via Montagne de Loëx, plus an extension to Croix de Mapellet.
  • See here for another unpaved way up from Lesgets.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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