Mountain Biking in the Alps
APi has written a lot about summer in the Alps and the huge increase in mountain biking which is attracting more and more visitors in the warmer months. The Alps are home to some of the best mountain biking trails, anywhere.
Today, every ski resort offers mountain biking facilities. Hop on the lift with your bike, the mountain restaurants are open, or pack a picnic, the stunning scenery of the great alpine outdoors beckons.
E-bikes are very much part of the trend. They are now available to rent everywhere. More of the mountain is accessible by E-bike, including where the lifts don’t go. APi can testify, you can cover huge distances and be out on the mountain all day on one charge, so long as you are careful with power usage.
But which resort to choose, whether you are a mountain bike expert, with the family, or a beginner looking to try it out?
APi has assembled the key data covering the resorts where we have properties. We look at the distance and types of trails available, how many lifts serve the network and the number of grade levels (the biking equivalent to blue, red and black runs for skiers). Is there E-bike charging on the mountain? And many of the resorts are host to some of the top world events, these are fantastic to watch and a good guide to the quality of the trails.
France has become a Mountain Biking superpower
The big beast is the Portes du Soleil with no less than 600km of trails all under one lift pass and 5 bikeparks. Morzine is as popular in the summer as the winter and has hosted the French National Championships. Les Gets shares this network, the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is held here in 2021 and the village comes alive with spectators, families and participants. The rolling hills and endless views of Mont-Blanc are on offer in Megève and neighbouring Val d’Arly. Chamonix has always attracted a large number of visitors in the summer; many trails are restricted for hiking only in the summer months, but the valley still manages to offer trails for all levels, and plenty of challenging itineraries from Les Houches all the way to Argentière and beyond. The MB Race runs from Megève, through the Pays du Mont-Blanc to Les Houches, it is said to be the most difficult MTB race worldwide and attracts thousands of spectators. The Val d’Isère and Tignes network with 40 tracks stretches all the way to Les Brevières, and as high as Borsat at 2800m. The vast 3 Vallées mountain biking range stretches from the Courchevel valley, over to Méribel and via Saint-Martin-de-Belleville right over to Val Thorens, with bikes parks and dozens of well-maintained trails for all levels.
Swiss ski resorts have fully embraced the Mountain Biking momentum
The Valais is a region of endless choices for summer visitors, with a diversity of mountain biking trails for all levels served by over 100 lifts. Regular visitors to the area can take advantage of the Magic Pass, offering lift access to 40 resorts and over 1,000km of bike itineraries under one pass, alongside many other facilities in the summer months. Verbier offers top quality mountain biking and hosts the annual E-Bike Festival; it is the starting point for the challenging Grand Raid race, the largest in Europe, all the way to Grimentz. Les 4 Vallées is linked to Verbier in the summer too, here you will find no less than 22 itineraries right across to La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and beyond. The Tour du Mont-Fort covers nearly 50km with a lunch break at the top of Col des Gentianes (2894m); it’s a big day in the saddle, but not as scary as it sounds, your 12 year old can do the easier version. The enduro and cross-country tracks at Crans-Montana are equipped for all levels, with 11 routes through vineyards, forests, nine lakes, four waterfalls, pastures and a glacier. Across the valley, the Grimentz region has 49 mountain biking trails to explore up to the Lac de Moiry, you will never tire of those views of the Imperial Crown peaks. Champéry is a joy in the summer, from here you can access the 600km Portes du Soleil network. The mountains around Villars have a wealth of choices for mountain and E-bikers: downhill trails, technical and family-friendly routes, all with the panoramic views for which the area is renowned.
Austria is covered mostly by mountains; it has world class Mountain Biking terrain
That means plenty of choice, more than enough to keep you amused on two wheels for weeks on end. Our survey of the Austrian mountain biking scene starts in the giant Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn region. Known as Skicircus to skiers, it becomes ‘Bike Circus’ in the summer, with around 200km of marked trails and no less than 750km across the region. The legendary Bikepark Leogang is one of the most popular in Europe, here you can brush up your skills at the Bikeschule Le-Guide. One of the top destinations for Alpine activities, the Kitzbühel area is part of the biggest linked E-bike region worldwide, with extensive network of battery exchange stations. Among the 800 km of cycle routes, the Ehrenbach Freeride Trail comes highly recommended and the new Hahnenkamm Bike Trail is a beautiful run the whole family can enjoy. Kirchberg in Tirol hosted the fifth stage of the International Specialized Enduro Series, testament to how good the mountain biking is; put Fleckalm on the ‘to do list’, it drops 1000 vertical metres over 7km. At the foothills of the Wilder Kaiser, Ellmau and Going are excellent starting points for the dozens of short and multi-day tours possible in this area; wherever you go, mountain restaurants are open for a well-earned meal. And over in Salzburger Land, Zell am See shares its trail network with Kaprun, meaning access to Maiskogel and the Kitzsteinhorn glacier, alonside a huge range of tours on forest paths with lake and mountain views, sporty XC tracks and spectacular single trails for all levels.