On the sunny south side of the Mont Blanc massif, by the cozy village of Entréves, the Aosta Valley spreads south into the rolling meadows north of Turin.
Like many destinations in the Alps, the trails of the Aosta Valley were developed for transportation and trade long before anyone considered using them for recreation. Where once they connected people, they now connect experiences. Climbers began to explore these mountains in the mid-1800s, and, over time, the modern tourism destination took shape.
Massimo Ferro left a steady job to pursue his dream of becoming a mountain-bike guide. His drive to share Aosta’s trails with the world has helped create what is arguably one of the most successful guiding companies in the Alps — Aosta Valley Freeride.
Although Aosta Valley Freeride started as a hobby project for Massimo and partner Fabrizio Troilo, it has been instrumental in building Aosta’s reputation as a bike destination.
Almost every village in the Alps has access to excellent hiking trails, hut systems, and infrastructure, purpose-built mountain bike trails are now common as well. I’ve ridden across much of the Alps over the past 20 years, but Aosta is one place I keep coming back to.
Finding a good place to mountain bike in the Alps is a bit like fishing in Alaska: cast your bait, and the fish will bite.
There is a great variety of riding in the Aosta Valley, but a growing number of international visitors are coming to make longer, more demanding tours —adventures that include lots of uphill, some hike-a-bike, and big descents through old villages and castles. Add to this the culture, food, and generosity of its people, and one quickly learns why there’s no better place than the Aosta Valley to live the sweet life.