Col de Joux Plane – snow ride

Col de Joux Plane

A few years back I was skiing at Lesgets/Morzine and when looking over a cliff noticed that the classic south side of Col de Joux Plane was surprisingly cleared (they sometimes groom some XC-Ski trails). Since then it’s become a once-a-winter tradition to climb it.

We skied at Lesgets 4 days ago and I took the photo below of the summit of Joux Plane from high above at the top of a chairlift:

Col de Joux Plane summit

So after seeing that view I was highly motivated to climb it again. It was O Celsius at the start, but a beautiful, sunny day. I had lots of layers on and a couple of spare jackets – so I wasn’t too worried about the cold. I decided to also go with the Sorel boots to ensure cozy feet.

One key to cycling an alp in winter is to choose something south-west facing so it gets plenty of sun …. it makes a huge difference both in terms of warmth and road conditions.

This is a hard climb, in large part due to the ever changing grade. The two steepest parts are the very beginning just above Samoens and then perhaps half way up. The first half of the climb winds up open slopes past little farms and a few chalets:

 Col de Joux Plane summit Col de Joux Plane

A little more than half way up the road was closed to cars. But the surface was still fairly good. The views are fantastic the entire way up – with some great photo opportunities:

Col de Joux Plane summit

Lots of snow at the top, so I tried to stand on the Col sign but fell before the timer clicked:

Col de Joux Plane

View from the top:

Col de Joux Plane

Even with sun and fairly clear roads, I took the descent VERY slowly and carefully. And shivered as I neared the bottom.

With the right amount of prudence, these snow climbs can be unbelievably beautiful and fun.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Kevin, it’s just a cheap Trek hybrid with un-special tires.

    I try and rely on caution rather than technology for these winter descents. 🙂
    If more snow, a VTT would be better.

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