Destination Showcase: Saalfelden Leogang, Austria

Aug 21, 2018
by Ben Winder  



Steeped in modern mountain bike history, Saalfelden Leogang, site of many memorable battles at its Out of Bounds Festival (that combines World Cup downhill) is about far more than competition.

From singletrack to massive jumps and green to black-graded runs, there’s a little of everything to keep most riders happy. When the dust had settled on 2017’s Out of Bounds, we headed back to the Austrian Alps to check out the riding on offer and sample the relaxed vibe of summertime in Saalfelden Leogang.

On arrival our small group – Pinkbike photographer Ben Winder, 2012 downhill World Champion Morgane Charre (a title won on this very hill) and hanger-on James McKnight – was greeted by the information that summer tourism now brings an almost equal number of overnight stays to a winter's ski season. Mountain biking is big.

With that to chew on, we checked-in at one of region’s convenient and not-too-pricey 'bikehotels' at the foot of the mountain and sipped a beer while looking over the pumptrack and learner trails, still bustling with riders in the early evening. (If you're on a budget there’s also plenty of cheaper accommodation in the valley, there's also abundant campervan parking and showers a stone’s throw from the hill.)



Now the niceties are over with, let’s get to the good stuff: the riding.

With one main gondola lift split into two sections (lower and upper), as well as a T-bar lift and magic carpet for learners and kids, access to Bikepark Leogang’s trails is simple. The lower main lift is open from early May until November, with full opening mid-May to mid-October. That’s a long season by any Alpine resort’s standards.

We kitted up and made our way to the very top of the hill to sample Hangman 1 and 2 – an endless descent taking in light tech, fun jumps and massive berms. Next up, Hot Shots – a wide machine-build track cut into the hillside and incorporating some fair-sized but manageable jumps, gentle gradient and more massive berms (note a theme here). Both tracks are a lot of fun and rideable for most abilities.

On the lower slopes, Speedster (the World Cup track), Flying Gangster (a mix of jumps and massive berms) and Bongo Bongo (rooty tech in the trees with a splattering of north-shore wood) provide variety and the odd tricky test for riders searching a challenge. At the very foot of the mountain, these trails converge into the arena-like bowl among the jump lines and the north shore park, the Lumberjack trail and Lumberjack line.

One main gondola lift split into lower and upper sections accesses Leogang s trails.
One main gondola lift split into lower and upper sections accesses Leogang's trails.

Leogang isn t short of backdrops.
Saalfelden Leogang isn't short of backdrops.

Morgane sheepishly approaching wild mountain animals.
Morgane sheepishly approaching wild mountain animals.

The gondola stretches to a height of over 1700m, giving a descent of nearly 1000m back to town.

Hangman 1 provides a splash of simple tech.
Hangman 1 provides a splash of simple tech.

The mellow gradients of most tracks is perfect for all levels.
The mellow gradients of most tracks is perfect for all levels.

Morgane getting among the optional tech along Hangman 1.
Morgane getting among the optional tech along Hangman 1.

A karate professional attempting mountain biking. 1 10 for thigh gap.
A karate professional attempting mountain biking. 1/10 for thigh gap.

Morgane making the most of a last lift run in the late summer sun.
Morgane making the most of the last lift run in the late summer sun.

For a ride a little less machine-built hit Hangman 1.
For a ride a little less machine-built, hit Hangman 1.

What do you mean you ve run out of coffee
What do you mean you've run out of coffee?

A late-afternoon last dash down Hot Shots.
A late-afternoon last dash down Hot Shots.

Morgane hitting up one of the many tabletops on Hot Shots.
Morgane hitting up one of the many tabletops on Hot Shots.

Deep in the Austrian forest you ll find a very fun bike park track Hot Shots.
Deep in the Austrian forest you'll find... a very fun bike park track - Hot Shots.

Berms and jumps. Quite a common theme at Bikepark Leogang. While easy enough for most levels, it's still a lot of fun for more experienced riders.

Hot Shots is an easy trail full of tabletop jumps and big berms.
Hot Shots is an easy trail full of tabletop jumps and big berms.

Morgane getting rowdy over the fun rollers on Hot Shots.
Morgane getting rowdy over the fun rollers on Hot Shots.

James tweaking it on Flying Gangster.
James tweaking it on Flying Gangster.

James getting off line during a failed bar-turn.
James getting off line during a failed bar-turn.


Morgane putting in a run on a course she knows well she won the World Champs here in 2012.
Morgane putting in a run on a course she knows well - she won the World Champs here in 2012.

Speedster the World Cup DH track is open to the public and popular for folk wanting to pit themselves against the famous track.
Speedster - the World Cup DH track - is open to the public and popular for folk wanting to pit themselves against the famous track.

A magic carpet lift center gives kids the same chance to lap out the bike park while parents look-on from the nearby bars.
A magic carpet lift gives kids the same chance to lap out the bike park while parents look-on from the nearby bars.

Those bars have seen one too many hucks
Those bars have seen one too many hucks!
Kids get to experience the fun of a day at the bike park too with this safe and simple magic carpet lift.
Kids get to experience the fun of a day at the bike park too, with this safe and simple magic carpet lift.

Aside from the main slopes a T-bar gives access to a fun learner track in town.
Aside from the main slopes, a T-bar gives access to a fun learner track in town.
Insert rude comment here.
There are fantastic views from the learner slopes too.

The learner track is good fun Morgane shows James a thing or two about turns.
The learner track is good fun! Morgane shows James a thing or two about turns.

The pumptrack is a great place to finish off a day s riding.
The pumptrack is a great place to finish off a day's riding.


Most of the riding is machine-built but there are some nice singletracks too.
Most of the riding is machine-built, but there are some nice singletracks too. Like the Matzalm Trail, opened in 2017.

There are plans for more official singletrack in the future.
There are plans for more official singletrack in the future.

Morgane wall-riding in a fun gulley ride.
Morgane wall-riding in a fun gulley ride.

Away from the bike park there are some decent singletrack rides to be had.
Away from the bike park there are some decent singletrack rides to be had.

We stayed busy for a good few days and greatly appreciated the ease of rolling out of the (bike friendly) hotel onto a lift, cruising back for snack and water stops and spectating the endless energy of the kids riding until after sunset. This very reasoning makes Saalfelden Leogang a great family resort too – mum and dad can take turns at laps of the bike park while the other looks over the kids shredding their own mini bike park aptly known as the 'Riders Playground'.

While it doesn’t have the sheer number of trails or difficulty level of some Alpine alternatives, as a road trip stop-off or a weeklong family vacation there are few destinations as relaxed and well prepared as Leogang.

Quickcheck Leogang

• Adult day pass €41 (decent discounts on multi-day passes). Four-hour passes, teen and kids rates also available
• Open May 10 to Nov 04 (full opening May 19-Oct 14)
• Lift hours 9am-4.30pm
• Tickets are already valid from 3pm on the previous day
• Fly to Munich, Salzburg or Innsbruck
• Bike rental, repairs, shop and coaching available at Sport Mitterer
• Small supermarket near lift and hotels. Short drive to bigger shop
• Saalfelden (10 mins drive form Leogang) has a range of shops, cafés and restaurants
• Main trails: Hangman 1; Hangman 2; Hot Shots; Speedster; Flying Gangster; Bongo Bongo; several beginner trails at foot of mountain in the riders playground
• Range of accommodation bike specific 'bikehotels' from budget to luxury
• Camping in campervans permitted in main parking area
• Nightlife can get rowdy on World Cup weekend… otherwise calm, fun, friendly resort

Morgane sending it on Flying Gangster.
With that we're out of Leogang, a fantastic few days exploring what Leogang has to offer outside of the World Cup weekend.



51 Comments

  • + 29
 Home of braking bumps, so big that kids can get lost in there...
  • + 5
 I was there two weeks ago with a younger rider, he was really excited, because this was the park he dreamt of.
In the End it was the biggest disappointment ever!

After two Laps we went over the mountain to Saalbach for the Hackelbergtrail and a good beer Wink
  • + 1
 Was there last week: braking bumps were bad enough that my hands were cooked after two runs, which is fine, because realistically, that's all the trails. Also didn't help that the top-end 'Enduro bike' rental was a friggen plus bike with Rekons on it...

That said, compared to our lowly Angel Fire resort in Northern New Mexico, this place is really fancy, but is about 10% as good in terms of actual trail riding.
  • + 7
 How about you guys try road cycling, no bumps at all!
  • + 8
 @tstaudte: If im Pasing over 40€ I want atleast some trail shaping happening.

Planai is nearely 10€ less and way less breaking bumps.
And just over there in Saalbach youve got more trails.for less Money
  • + 2
 @tstaudte: *spending over
  • + 1
 Instead of bitching about breaking bumps, people should bitch about their form/bike setup/age. And start calling them doubles when they reach a certain size.

Sorry, not sorry. TBF I've never been to this mountain, or whistler, just an old moto racer with few thoughts.
  • + 2
 I do get your sentiment, but having ridden other resorts where braking bumps can literally destroy your arms in a few runs, it sucks without them you could ride all day, but you miss out or at least can’t pin everything as you’re cooked halfway through the day.
  • + 4
 @MeisterLampe : Could be worse, you could be in America home of zero World Cup DH races.
  • + 5
 @skerby: maybe you should go try a few days on some bad breaking bumps and then talk, also when a place charges a lot of money and has a lot of customers then they should keep up the trails
sorry not sorry
  • + 0
 @Klainmeister: Its actual science that plus bikes are faster than regular 27.5 bikes and way more fun to ride. so its ok if your too cool for them.. don't hate the ride love it no matter what
  • + 4
 Home of braking bumps if you stay on flow trails...
The World Cup track and Hangman are super nice. Flow trails are shit anyway 90% of the time...
  • + 2
 @NotNamed: I don´t mind braking bumps too much, but I tend to agree with this one, 40€ is too much for a day
  • + 3
 @robG413: I routinely pay money to ride braking bumps, although Im sure I've never experienced the worst bumps the world has to offer.

Anyone who goes to a bike park and expects any trail to be smooth is out of their mind. The whole idea is to get as many people to the top of the hill as fast as possible which creates braking bumps. It costs money to operate an uplift, this is what the riders are paying for. It would take an enormous trail crew to keep braking bumps from forming as well as access to water, which is a little difficult on top of a lot of mountains.
  • + 4
 @rockchomper: I'm willing to bet it won't be long before Windrock hosts a round
  • + 1
 @Klainmeister: Angel Fire rocks! Best bike park I've been too...just little in terms of hospitality, bars, etc.
  • + 4
 @nicklesterrides: This guy! get this guy and his crystal ball a medal !!! #WINDROCKWORLDCUP
  • + 2
 @skerby: expecting it to be smooth and expecting it to be enjoyable are two very different things. In fairness I road leogang in the early season and it was absolutely fine. My guess is they haven't maintained it since.

On the track work front. Most bike parks I've ridden over here have full time trail crews maintaining the tracks. Some places better than others. On the water front. It's not that dry in the Alps in summer tends to rain enough to work on the tracks and water access isn't an issue. They pump millions of litres of water a year onto these resorts every winter.
  • + 2
 Rode 2nd weekend it was open for 3 days...thought my fingers would fall off...but it is a pretty fun park.
  • + 8
 The size of the park(s) and the ability to link them is certainly nice, but I don't really like the kind of machine built trails that are prevalent there. I had far more fun at Schladming and and preferred the more familiar feeling at Wagrain to the bustle at Leogang.
  • + 1
 The last year for Schladming track....next year new lift building....so this is the end of famous track, next some E-bike trails :-(
  • + 1
 @artoBP: So next year the track will be closed as they are building a new lift. Is the track really not reopening?
  • + 4
 @artoBP: hopefully not, i hope they let the old and AWESOME DH track be, and add some big jumps rollercoaster, because big jumps, hi speeds and brutal roots is why i still riding there, for now best DH track in Austria! (many lines, big roots, nice berms etc, it still has some bad spots, but overal is awesome...)
Leogang is fancy expensive bullkrep, braking bumps everywhere, low berms , i dont know why they didnt finally learn, after 20years of digging that park, how to do it properly... like the last trail, green - HotShots, somebody wants do an A-line, but it went horibly wrong, too steep to too small berms, bad tablejumps, brakebumps everywhere AGAIN! why??? oh god why Frown
TrailCrew Guys, just book vacantion in France, in Morzine Zore and Chatel, and LEARN HOW TO TRAILS SHOULD BE BUILT!
  • + 4
 Leogang is quite steep, resulting in the shitload of breaking bumps mentioned. Difficult for the trail crew to keep up. Still, was fun enough to visit once a year. Been to the Saalbach side this year for the first time and really fell in love with it, especially the Hacklberg trail. Two seasons ago the new Steinbergbahn Gondola opened on the Leogang side close to the old Asitz Gondola. From what I saw during snowboarding, the area could lend itself to some nice natural singletrails. Hope Leogang will make that happen.
  • + 3
 It not the worst park ever but its also not whistler. yes some bad brake bumps there and yes lots of loose pack gravel , yes its not a huge area where you can ride all day and never do the same part twice. but its pretty good for intermediate riders. I was near there on business and got a average hire bike (scott or kona i cant remember) with low tread and a pretty good time. But i am a 45 year old bloke who has not raced DH in 10 years and manage to lived the first 25 years without bike parks soo i probably dont represent most of the riders here. If you are near by its worth a ride.
  • + 5
 41€ for a day.............
  • + 1
 But the kids are forced free.
And you van swap the card between you and your spousWink
  • + 1
 For free....
  • + 9
 Almost Whistler prices but for a park that's about 13% as good.
  • + 0
 @colincolin: maybe, but with the jokercard you get free lift access: do you have that in Whistler?
  • + 2
 @wittereus: how much is it?
  • + 4
 @wittereus: With the Joker you get One Uplift per day in Leogang, it's mostly for Saalbach.
  • + 1
 @colincolin: It comes with most Joker-partner accommodation providers in Saalbach-Hinterglemm
  • + 4
 @colincolin:
The Joker Card is included at selected/participating accommodations in Saalbach. You get a day of free lift riding with your bike at Saalbach for each overnight stay. This makes your vacation quite cheap, because you pay like 120€ a day for a 2 person room at decent hotel, breakfast and lift ticket are included. However, this includes only one ride per day with the lift at Bikepark Leogang (Asitz). Check Saalbach.com for more information.
  • + 1
 @Stizzl: awesome
  • + 1
 @colincolin: Exactly like Stizzl said. If you want to ride the Leogang park though while staying in Saalbach, its worth paying the day ticket. You´d have to drive by car to the park or get over the top of the mountain from one of the other Joker-Card-included gondolas in the Saalbach region, which takes up about an hour over a very nice rooty trail each way, so you can plan >3h for a single ride down Leogang.

The other trails in the Saalbach region are so good though! Mix of natural and built stuff, not difficult but so fun. Especially X-Line is incredibly varied. Very worth a visit and if you stick to the Joker Card incredibly cheap. You can find accomodation easily (not hotel) for less than 30€/night.
  • + 4
 The worst Park ever. Dont go there.
  • + 1
 why? Can you explain?
  • + 2
 ....great, stay home.....less braking bumps
  • + 6
 @kislyi: I'm not the original poster, but in my opinion it is overrated and overprized. The tracks aren't well enough maintained to justify the price. Compared to an area like Portes du Soleil Leogang / Saalbach lacks diversity. Most of the trails are machine built flowtrails consisting of berms with braking bumps in between. Notable exceptions are Hacklberg trail and Bergstadl trail in Saalbach, Bongo Bongo and Hangman in Leogang, which are all mostly natural trails. And of course the DH in Leogang if you like that style. Apart from that most tracks cater to intermediate riders and beginners. It's like a ski hill with some black runs and lots of blue runs and the atmosphere also feels like that. Too many people, too much built stuff and overall it feels somewhat "industrialized". Trails are not really integrated into the landscape if that makes sense...
  • + 5
 @kislyi: ITS not whole bad, but for biggest park in Austria, you want some propper conditions, not bombed out turns, sometimes traps (jump on superfast track to superlow berm with brakebumps and if you fall and roll behind, there is 5m gap Big Grin ) its good for explore for 1 day, but definitely not for more... Schladming DH, Semmering FR and DH, Graz pure natural awesome DH, or maybe even Innsbruck are more enjoyable.... i spendimg most of my DH time in Geisskopf (2hr drive), Graz, Maribor, Sschladming, Morzine, CHATEL! but... JUST KEEP EXPLORING! Smile
  • + 1
 Best bike park in Austria so far has to be serfaus mixed with a bit of Drei Länder that is only half an hour up the road.
  • + 4
 It's true. Leogang is a brake bump ocean.
  • + 1
 Parks are industrialized mountainbike ghettos - we all know that. If one likes mainstream mountainbiking here we go. Truly free you are elsewhere.
  • + 1
 Wanted to go there this summer but couldnt find any campsites close to the lifts to stay at
  • + 5
 you can stay right at the Parking Lot, everyone camps there mate. With Vans or Tents
  • + 1
 We've been in Hochfilzen, about 15min away from Leogang, at the Maurerhäusl Wink
And about 20min in Fieberbrunn (Freeride-Paradise in Winter) there is another big campsite.
  • + 1
 You can also check Zell Am See which has a very nice campsite on the lake. It’s ca. 15min. drive from Saalbach. You also get free access to the city swimming pool when camping there.
  • + 1
 Love photos from natural trails, away from the park.. Smile
  • + 3
 which are forbiden for MTB!! Big Grin my friend rode it 2 weeks ago, first time ok, second time local police/forest guards waiting for him on ending of the "trail" ...

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