Dawn till Dusk - Simai's Saalbach

Dec 9, 2014
by Nathan Hughes  





On the backside of a mountain bathed in three years of World Cup glory, is another bathed in golden light. Behind the infamous Leogang battle ground lies Saalbach Hinterglemm and a valley in which any visiting mountain biker should aim to wear their brake pads down to the rim. Pick up the trail at sunrise and put it down after last light as resort ambassador, Tibor Simai, leads us across the Pinzgau mountains one last time before the blizzards come to fill the ruts with snow and ice. This will be the final tour on two wheels before the great Austrian bike mecca succumbs to the grip of winter and buries itself under the pistes for a long hibernation from the world of bikes.





Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach
ridge hike


In pitch darkness we gather up our riding gear, prepared the night before in the comfort of a cozy hotel room when this seemed like a good idea. The air is so fresh it bites and the streets are soaking with dew. We don't hesitate to stack our bikes and get in the truck idling roughly in the cold. This far ahead of first lifts a shuttle is the only way to reach the top of the mountain. That and a good friend to make the drive. Even from the Schattberg summit there's still ways to go and Tibor makes the last climb to perfectly coincide with the sun crowning over the peaks of the horizon. There's just enough space below a thick band of cloud to illuminate an inaugural descent, his bike making the first noises of the day.





Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach
6am ridge
Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach



bigquotesIt seems insane to wake up before the cows are on their feet and there's no guarantees of reward with an earlybird. Then you get a flawless sunrise like this and you can be tempted to set the 5:00am alarm every day


Tibor Simai





Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach




Years spent racing BMX show through in Tibor's aggressive cornering as he rails through the terrain he's come to know so well. He'll never get back to small bikes. Mountain biking can take you places... places like this. It would be crazy to go back to a closed circuit under floodlights once you've tried roaming free. For a sizeable guy on rough terrain, Tibor's on a lightweight set up, but to really get around an area of this size it's the best way. In Saalbach you can earn all your descents... and take the lift once you've paid your dues.






Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach
Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach
Tibor helmet
Push
Avvy barriers



bigquotesSaalbach Hinterglemm is less of a bike park... more a bike kingdom! It's a rolling mountain landscape with full lift access and 400km of varied trail. Really it's topped off by the locals; they're 100% behind MTB


Tibor Simai






Steinmandl




1000 height metres over 6km, the famous 'X-line' takes no prisoners, hiding under Saalbach's longest black ski run all winter and transforming into a rock-strewn switchback special for the summer months. Diving in and out of dense forest draped in 'old man's beard' with big views and bigger moves towards the bottom.





X-line sequence


Going Pro


Tibor meets up with 'how to be a mountainbike star' Vali Höll for some afternoon laps on 'Pro Line'. She's a Saalbach local and YT's youngest athlete at just 12 years old. Vali beats the boys her age whether it's bikes or skis taking her down the mountain. Her parents, Walter and Bine have given her the best invitation to a fast-paced career in the outdoors, having always called the much loved 'Spielberghaus' hotel and restaurant tucked high up in the forest above town 'home'.





Start gate
Adidas north shore
Panner 1
Panner 2
Berm drop



bigquotesWhenever Vali and me hang out, it's good fun. She's one of the locals... a very polite girl! Together we take it to the next level haha!


Tibor Simai





Cobwebs
Thistle
Ferngully
Berm chase


Tibor ups the pace, but Vali won't be upstaged as they continue their dual for air-time supremacy. At this point it's not quite clear who's mentoring who. Pro Line could be the perfect trail for one of those spontaneous 'just messing around but actually taking it very seriously' kind of races.





Dual air front
Dual air rear
Valli in pursuit
Spielberghaus
Wallride


Little and large hit the wallride in perfect sync and disappear back into the forest. The horizontal and vertical compressions of Pro Line are a good place to test your rebound, but not quite enough for Tibor to shake his miniature pursuer.





Valli close turn
Valli air
Hi 5



bigquotesWho knows what the future holds for Vali, definitely the sky's the limit. For now, these mountains make one hell of a playground to enjoy life in the moment


Tibor Simai





Deer skull
Loading up

Tibor v peaks




With the huge triangular dagger of the Kitzsteinhorn on the horizon there's still time for one more important descent. The Hacklberg trail... jewel in the Saalbach Hinterglemm crown. Tibor's no stranger to this ribbon of tacky dirt through the heather, that much is clear.





Peak drift
Grip n rip
old school air
Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach
portrait



bigquotesThe one and only Hacklberg trail with its new jumps is not to be missed. Best enjoyed in the golden hour, as it soaks up the last light


Tibor Simai


Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach
Dawn till Dusk - Simai s Saalbach



bigquotesStealing a ride like this before the snow comes in and shuts everything down is really something. All the mountains are on fire with red and gold heather, lit up in this Indian summer we're so lucky to have. It's Saalbach's final stand against winter


Tibor Simai





Gone in 60 seconds
heather
sunset sky
sundown manual

Sun down and the last rays of ride-able light for the 2014 season at Saalbach Hinterglemm. See you all when the snow melts...

http://www.bike-circus.at/en.html




Article: Nathan Hughes



MENTIONS: @Saalbach-Hinterglemm @bikecircus @tiborsimai @bikehotelconrad @ski'n'soul @spielberghaus @pinkbike @trailforks




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51 Comments

  • + 47
 This new format is tits!
  • + 19
 My pc doesnt support this format... Maybe a different bra size would be good?
  • + 2
 It's actually adapting to the screen. What resolution do you have and which browser do you use?
  • + 7
 @HutchJR Can you give me more details about what isn't working? I'd like to get this fixed for you!
  • + 1
 just 32A -_-
  • + 1
 haha just kidding... i had some weird setting on @bentomas
  • + 5
 This article is so rich with amazing photography!
  • + 6
 I've been riding here for the past four years, and every year I'm like, "Let's ride somewhere new next year". And then you go and post an article like this. I'll be back (again).
  • + 3
 Was lucky to ride these tracks this summer. So sick riding, endless singletracks and a great lift system. Also we used the bus to bring our bikes. We found a local trail when scouting lines and then ended up in a smaller town on the other side of Salbach, then we just went to the bus stop and bought a ticket to Salbach busride was maybee 15 minutes and we stopped right in front of the lift up again Big Grin AWESOME
  • + 2
 Checl out my pov of that same track! Its such an amzing trail Big Grin www.pinkbike.com/video/385122
  • + 4
 I lived there for the summer, was freaking awesome. The Hacklberg is an amazing trail, although its best enjoyed when earnt. This time of year with no lifts its a 1000m climb... but 10km of descent is soo worth it.
  • + 6
 Saalbach + Leogangbang ❤
  • + 2
 My first bike park holiday was there in september, i cant stress enough how awesome this place is, and hackelberg trail definitely the best trail i've ever ridden. Can't wait to be back there.
  • + 3
 This is just awesome and I'll move close to the area next year which makes it even better.
  • + 1
 definitely one of the best spots in the alps. especially due to the Joker Card system. Just missing a lift connection to the Hacklberg Trail, that uphill is always killing me Smile
  • + 3
 I already love Saalbach in the winter, if this is what its like in the summer I think I'm just going to have to move there.
  • + 4
 breathtaking
  • + 3
 Awesome images and presentation!
  • + 4
 Awesome pics!
  • + 3
 Are they Ergon knee pads?
  • + 1
 I hate to admit that that's the first thing I noticed...
  • + 2
 it's an Ergon prototype kneepad... will see what the future brings.!
  • + 2
 multiple pod oppurtunities in here
  • + 3
 Why weren't I born here?
  • + 2
 Stunning photos, all time light.
  • + 3
 sick pix and riding !!
  • + 3
 I love Saalbach
  • + 3
 Awesome photos!
  • + 2
 nice work @natedh9 some sweet pics
  • + 2
 Awesome pics Nathan!!
  • + 1
 Amazing photos, loved every one. And that young lady has some style!
  • + 1
 @Honzo: Why the heck do you want to leave AUS???
  • + 4
 Snakes? Spiders?
  • + 1
 because everything there tries to kill you?
  • + 1
 Because mountains?
  • + 1
 I think lack of mountains is more on point. Quite flat here down under, my local trails have a total elevation change of 14 metres... :/
  • + 1
 Lack of mountains and I am German which makes is easy to live in Austria.
  • + 1
 trails need to be built.
  • + 2
 There's plenty of trails in Oz it just depends on where you libe and how willing you are to drive. We don't have as much as some places but its certainly getting better
  • + 1
 Yep thats true DJR. Where do you live?
  • + 1
 @Honzo15 - Blue mountains NSW
  • + 1
 Nice one @DJR9000 I live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney
  • + 1
 How can you post in this format ???
  • + 1
 Absolutely stunning photography Nathan! Awesome photo essay!
  • + 1
 Pink YT Capra! Sad it won´t be available until Valentines day.. Wink
  • + 1
 Nathan Hughes...Fantastic photos!
  • + 1
 great picts
  • + 1
 EPIC photos.
  • + 1
 wo o,nice
  • + 1
 Pictures are next level.
  • + 1
 What is with his arm?

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