Preview: The Nordkette Downhill

Aug 26, 2015
by Trail Solutions  
On the Nordkette singletrack high above the roofs of Innsbruck you can experience action-packed downhill riding up-close-and-personal on August 29th. The Raiffeisen Club Nordkette Downhill.PRO will see track-hardened local heroes put their Innsbruck home trail under their tires along with international top riders from the Downhill World Cup – fastest biker take all. Local legends as well as professionals will be giving it their everything in the tough long distance race on one of the steepest and most demanding downhill trails in Europe: 4.2 km, 1,030 metres of elevation, and a slope of up to 36 degrees - the trail, for good reason, has a reputation of a steep, demanding and enormously exhausting ride.

Markus Pekoll of AUT races down the 4.2km track on the Nordkette Singletrail Nordkette Downhill.Pro-Innsbruck Invitational in Innsbruck Austria on July 20th 2013. Free image for editorial usage only Photo by Felix Schueller

Markus Pekoll of Austria at the Finish Jump during the Nordkette Downhill.Pro.

The Colombian Marcelo Gutierrez already knows the demands of the infamous Nordkette singletrack from last years’ experience and returns to Innsbruck on August 29th as the defending champion. Everyone this year, however, will face a track re-organization: seeing the full distance of the track in the race. Direct from the Crankworx MTB Festival in Whistler, Canada, the winner ‘Sik Mik’ Mick Hannah (AUS) is just as set on victory as the best ‘urban’ downhill rider in the world Filip "Polcster" Polc (SK), the Australian Downhill professional Wyn Masters, and the most successful Austrian in the Downhill World Cup, Markus Pekoll. Beyond the race, they are all after Sam Hill’s (AUS) track record of 9 minutes, 21 seconds. Defending their local track, armed with their detailed knowledge, the local heroes will be racing right alongside the World Cup downhill pros. Leading the locals is Benedikt Purner, who was able to take victory two years ago against the squad of professionals.

Casey Brown of Canada during free practice of the Nordkette Downhill.Pro - Innsbruck Invitational in Innsbruck Austria on September 7th 2012. Free image for editorial usage only Photo by Felix Schueller

Casey Brown of Canada races down the "Start-Section" of the Nordkette Downhill.Pro - Innsbruck Invitational in Innsbruck.

The arena for the race, above the alpine city of Innsbruck, Austria, is the Nordkette Singletrail. A ten-minute downhill freeride over roots, steps, North-Shores and drops must be conquered before crossing the finish line on the Hungerburg, guaranteeing a spectacular downhill adventure - on as off the track. The challenging trail has been modified slightly for safety which also adds more of a flow, but it will nevertheless maintain its reputation is a merciless and enormously demanding route.

Emmeline Ragot of France races down the 4.2km track on the Nordkette Singletrail Nordkette Downhill.Pro - Innsbruck Invitational in Innsbruck Austria on September 8th 2012. Free image for editorial usage only Photo by Felix Schueller

Emmeline Ragot of France jumps down the Road Gap.

The most technically demanding part comes just after the start. Steep terrain, narrow switchbacks, loose ground, and large drops – some the many obstacles of the ‘3er-Stützen-Albtraum‘ [3-Props Nightmare] that challenge both the body and gear. The following ‘Mischwaldsession‘ [Mixed Forest Session] provides varied conditions from soft forest floor to poor-grip track, and includes the ‘Panorama-Gap’, a challenging jump looking down on the city. Now the riders, already strained to their limits, will to come to the ‘Lawinenkegel‘ [Avalanche Path], which also includes a combination step-up, North-Shore and step down. Shortly after, a spectacular road gap promises plenty of action and airtime, it was completely rebuilt through the year, and this year again is sure to be a spectator hotspot! After nearly 1,000 metres of downhill elevation, the bikers then link into the ‘Little North Shore’ with a final high-speed section towards the finish line. Lastly they will finish with a jump into the finish area – where all eyes will rise from the competitor to check the time on the scoreboard!

Filip POLC of Slovakia races during the Nordkette Downhill.PRO on the 3.5km track of the Nordkette Singltrail in Innsbruck Austria on August 30 2014 Free image for editorial usage only Photo by Felix Sch ller.

Filip POLC of Slovakia races down the "Red Corner" Section.

All the details about the race and registration can be found at


Friday, August 28, 2015:
- 8am-3pm: Racing bibs distributed at the race office at the NordkettenBahn
- 1pm-5pm: Training on Nordkette Singletrail

Saturday, 29 August 2015:
- 9am-12pm: Training on Nordkette Singletrail
- 12:30pm: Nordkette Downhill.PRO – Main Race
- 3pm: Big Trial Show by Tom Öhler | Hungerburg Terrace
- 3:30pm: Award Ceremony on the Hungerburg | Hungerburg Terrace

Photos by Felix Schueller

MENTIONS: @TrailSolutions

Posted In:


  • 38 0
  • 8 0
  • 6 1
 Dear Santa, I would like you to convince the UCI to swap the Nordkette with the south-african beach racing style track, or making the downhill season one round longer. Anyhow, you must include the nordkette in the UCI DH world cup !!
  • 6 0
 and dans hardline
  • 8 1
 the australian wyn masters? He is kiwi!
  • 3 1
 theres heaps of Māori's in straya
  • 6 3
 New Zealand is a state of Australia.
  • 3 2
 Goldcoast NZ capital city
  • 6 0
 You are dreaming mate^^^^
  • 1 0
 that would be more of a nightmare tbh kiwifamilyman best place in the world right here
  • 5 0
 First we claim Crowded House, then Russell Crowe, now WynTV!
  • 2 1
 If THIS...
is what PB's talking about, then to say they're 'over-hyping' it just a tad, would be a HUGE understatement, to say the least.
The first 3/4 of it is simply a bunch of low-speed switch-backs, connected to one-another via pedaling UP a short distance on fire-roads. There's ONE road-gap, but since you land down-hill I don't see where a DH bike is necessary here.
Heck, with all the pedaling(especially uphill), you'd be MUCH better off using an Enduro bike, or even a short-travel trail bike.
  • 9 0
 you should never judge a trail you've never riden just by watching a gopro run..
you dont get any idea how steep the trail is. and there is definitely not a single meter where you have to pedal uphill..

but in the end you're right, there are many switchbacks and the trail is more the technical old school style.
so there is no chance to ever see it in the UCI cup Wink
  • 1 0
 The video I posted sure as heck shows dude pedaling.
And 'steep' doesn't require 200mm suspension travel.
It looked more like an "easier" EWS run. Long, but none of the more hairball type shit(nasty rock gardens, drops etc.) found on WCDH runs.
  • 3 0
 Just ride it YoKev. I totally underestimated it once. Boy, was I wrong. Smile It's indeed kind of enduro-vertride like in some sections rather rather freeriding and carrying speed. It's a different beast. You just have to try it to get a feel for it. Big Grin
  • 2 0
 YoKev, I live in Innsbruck and trust me, the trail is steep as hell. The video you posted doesn't do it justice. Just look at this section:

I respect everyone who races down that trail.
  • 1 0
 So take your Enduro and show the Pros (with Downhillbikes) how to ride the track fast...
  • 2 3
 So once again, a rational conversation is over-taken by a basement-dwelling pussy, who at 30 y/o has amounted to nothing, thus lashes out at others on the internet safely behind his keyboard.
So Tomato- don't you have a neighbor's cat to go pump?
  • 1 0
 @YoKev This trail is definitely steep and technical. Come and ride it...

But yes they are over hyping it : this trail sucks, there is literally no flow, and people who likes to ride switchbacks prefer riding hiking trails which are way better.
But since there is no good official trail with lift access around Innsbruck (sorry mutteralm, your trail suck as much as the opening hour of the cable car), it's the only way for trail solution to bring some international mtb stuff in Innsbruck.
  • 3 0
 Can someone tell me which track is steeper and tighter?

"one of the steepest and most demanding downhill trails in Europe"
  • 1 0
 Wish I wasn't busy this weekend would of loved to go and watch that.
Is there many locals that hit this track regularly?
I'm only 1.5 hours away would like to give it a go but all my friends are gay and don't ride dh.
  • 1 0
 no rain this year, schade
  • 1 0
 Thanks for showing photos of women too!
  • 1 0
 live feed ??

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