A unique trip that includes Chamonix, the world's trail running hotspot, and the quiet Alps village of Champéry, where we'll learn from elite trail runners Rob Krar and Brian Tinder. You'll have a chance to run in the iconic DDM race, too!
September 11 - 17, 2017
7 days, 6 nights
$3,495 per person, $300 single supplement
Six nights at village hotels in Chamonix, France, and Champéry, Switzerland, all breakfasts, trail snacks, 5 dinners, guided runs daily, Geneva-Chamonix and Champéry-Geneva transfers, all transfers to and from trailheads, and a special clinic with Rob Krar and Brian Tinder. DDM Trail race is an additional fee.
This fall we have a unique trip that features Chamonix, the Alps hotspot for trail running and proclaimed “Vallée du Trail,” then a visit to a quaint village high in the Swiss Alps and a special opportunity to learn from two of the best ultrarunners in the world. At the trip’s end, there will be the opportunity to take part in the DDM Trail or relay, one of the oldest trail races in the Alps.
Our trip starts in Chamonix, France, the world’s epicenter of trail running. We’ll run the high-elevation Balcon Sud, in full view of the impressive Mont Blanc massif and the towering Aiguilles, or needles, that dot the range. After, we’ll wander through town, taking in the sights in this village where modern-day alpinism began. Climbers still fill the streets, testing themselves against demanding rock and ice climbs. Our second day will feature a ridge run to the Aiguilles des Houches, and we’ll descend through pastures and forests back to Chamonix.
Next, we’ll take French and Swiss trains over the high border and into the Swiss wine-growing Rhône valley. From there, it’s on to a cog railway up a side valley to tranquil Champéry, a small village nestled under the seven craggy peaks of the Dents du Midi range. We’ll be joined for dinner by noted ultrarunners Rob Krar and Brian Tinder. The next morning, they’ll share their tips for trail running amid the Alps’ dramatic terrain. In the afternoon, we’ll all have a chance to practice our new-found skills, high above town.
For those who wish to take part in an Alps trail race, we’ll have entries available to DDM Trail, a challenging 57-km race with 12,000 feet of climbing. DDM Trail is an authentic Alps trail race, with a history dating back decades. In fact, 2017 will mark the 46th running of this iconic course! If you’d like something a bit less challenging, you can take part in the two-person relay. For those who prefer not to race, we’ll provide trail run options for the day, and there’s always the chance to cheer on runners and watch the race unfold from a number of beautiful mountain huts and cafes.
September is our favorite time of year in the Alps. The trails are quieter, and cooler temperatures prevail. The chance to join Rob Krar and Brian Tinder in this quiet and dramatic setting will make for a memorable experience!
Arrive in Geneva, and transfer to Chamonix, France, the world’s home for Alpinism and trail running. An airport pickup is included, making this an easy and relaxing hour and a half journey. Enjoy your first impressive views of Mont Blanc, with time to relax at the pool and outdoor patio of our charming Chamonix hotel before joining the group for our trip meeting, followed by dinner.
Today we’ll enjoy a few of the hundreds of kilometers of trails in the Chamonix valley, as we get oriented to the Alps. We’ll run one of Chamonix’s dramatic “balconies,” with views of Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles Rouges natural preserve.
We’ll run up into the Aiguilles Rouges preserve high above Chamonix, then run the dramatic Aiguillette des Houches ridge, followed by pastures and wooded trails back to town. Throughout the run, the Mont Blanc massif will loom across the valley. Dinner is on your own tonight, giving you a chance to roam the streets of Chamonix and select from one of the many great restaurants that line Chamonix’s Rue Paccard.
Today is a rest day, as we travel by train to the Swiss border, taking a cog railway train high through the Alps, descending to the Swiss city of Martigny, in the wine-making Rhône valley. We’ll finish with a train ride up to the mountain village of Champéry. An optional short run along the popular Gallerie allows us to stretch our legs before settling into the charming Art.Boutique.Hotel Beau-Séjour, where we’ll have dinner with 2013 and 2014 Ultrarunner of the Year Rob Krar and Adidas-sponsored Brian Tinder, a past winner of the DDM Trail race.
Today we’ll take the tram up to scenic Croix-de-Culet and take part in a trail running clinic with Rob and Brian, focussed on running technique for hilly terrain. After lunch high in the mountains, we’ll take some time to practice what we learned in the morning.
Today is race day! You’ll have the choice of running the full ultra-distance DDM Trail, take part in the relay, or enjoy cheering on the runners from town or at a mountain hut or cafe. You can read more about the DDM experience via the Run the Alps blog.
Today we’ll say “Au Revoir” to Rob, Brian, and the other Run the Alps guests. Transfer to Geneva airport via train is included in the tour package price.
Plan to arrive the day your tour starts at the latest (flights from the US usually depart the day before). Geneva is the closest airport to Chamonix. Zurich will work as well, but requires an additional half-day of train travel.
Plan your departure for the day after your tour ends, at the earliest, from either Geneva or Zurich. (Geneva is preferable.) Plan on one night at a hotel in your departure city—we can help with these arrangements, and an option exists to arrive earlier or stay on longer, to extend your trail running or vacation time. This tour includes a Swiss rail pass for arrival and departure.