Moonbiking in La Plagne
9th March 2022 | Jane Peel, La Plagne, France
Last modified on March 13th, 2022
They’re fully electric so there are no emissions and no noise. The Moonbike has arrived in La Plagne in the French Alps this winter season. Apparently, anyone can ride one. Er, apparently not.
The problem is in the name.
Or rather the second half of the name.
PlanetSKI readers may have read of my exploits on an electric mountain bike in Switzerland a few years back.
The experience was not a happy one.
I was down on the gravel with the bike on top of me almost as much as I was sitting on the saddle.
So, as I meet our friendly instructor, Kamel from the Oxygene Ski School in La Plagne, I utter a few words of warning.
“If it’s possible to fall off this, I will,” I tell him. “I can’t ride a bike.”
Kamel looks unbelieving.
But I’m not being defeatist – it’s a simple fact.
I really want to do this but me and anything with handlebars just don’t get on.
“Can you ski? Can you drive?” Kamel asks.
“Yes,” I reply, thinking perhaps it’s not so difficult after all.
It is. For me, anyway.
The Moonbike has a single ski on the front and a mini track at the back, just like on the piste grooming machines.
It has a throttle on the right handlebar and a brake on the left.
“The brake is only for emergency,” Kamel says. “To slow down just release the throttle.”
The seat is a bit like one you see on a motorbike and our group is told to start out with our feet out wide and straight on the snow and our chest up and proud.
Steering is achieved by leaning your body and the bike and turning your head in the direction you want go to edge the ski while gently moving the handlebars.
The key is to look far ahead and not down at the snow.
Sounds simple enough, but the fact that my arms are rigid and I’m gripping onto the handlebars too tight means it’s all a bit of a struggle.
Eventually I sort-of crack turning left but not right. I don’t feel anywhere near 100% secure.
Although the Moonbike is three times lighter than a snowmobile, I don’t fancy falling off and it falling on top of me.
By this stage it’s a little nippy. It’s around 7pm, completely dark and I would guess around minus 8 Celsius.
I opt to go pillion and find out how it’s really done.
For over an hour, we climb and descend tracks with only the occasional grooming machine and a few noisy snowmobilers for company.
It’s easy to see how this would be a fantastic experience for anyone who loves biking or motorbiking.
We go “off-piste” for an extra thrill.
It beats going round in circles on the snowfront at Plagne Centre, which is what I’d be doing on my own.
It’s something I would recommend to do as an alternative to the traditional après ski – unless you’re as incompetent a rider as I am.
Oxygene runs Moonbiking sessions from €90 an hour for anyone aged 16 or over.
And if you’re interested to know more about the machines….
- They have a top speed of 42kph
- They can go through 30cm of powder
- They can climb 40% slopes
- They will ride for 1.5 hrs with a single battery
- To buy one, the price starts at $8,500 exc VAT
- They take 5hrs 45mins to charge with a standard charger (3 hours with a fast charger)
Moonbiking is not all I’ve been up to in La Plagne.
I’ve been skiing – of course – and doing some of this….
More to follow ……