Destination Showcase - Sölden, Austria

Jun 9, 2020
by Samantha Saskia Dugon  

SÖLDEN, AUSTRIA
Photography & Words: Samantha Saskia Dugon
Presented by Bike Republic Sölden


Driving into Sölden we were welcomed with an evening thunderstorm, but despite the pouring rain, the streets were filled with happy mountain bikers enjoying a beer after a long day on the trails. It was easy to see that the Sölden area is a paradise for outdoor lovers with an abundance of sport shops selling kit for cyclists, hikers, and climbers.

After settling into our hotel and prepping the bikes, we headed down for food and met up with Manuela from the Sölden Bike Republic to talk about our plans for the next few days and what we could expect from the trail in Sölden.

After dinner, we headed out for a quick wander along the river, which after the storm, was in full flow and looking intimidating with the amount of power and speed it was moving at.

A miniature model of the mountainscape around the valley.

Day 1 / Bikepark


Rising early, we were ready for first lifts and headed over to the Gaislachkoglbahn. From the top of this lift, we rode down the Eebme line to get to the Langegg lift where we would reach the top of the Ollweite line at over 2600m altitude where you were treated to a view over the Otztal Glacier as you rode around a crystal blue lake before descending down back into the valley.

Up we go!

About to drop in for the first run of the day.
The top of the Eebme line down to the other lift.

Snow and lake reflections, perfect!

The rocky descent

The Ollweite line is a manmade trail that is red graded, however the trail grade systems in Sölden are closer to UK trail centre grading systems than alpine ones. The trail is nearly 7km long with over 700m of altitude to descend and features rock gardens and smooth berms along with plenty of places to jump and hop around. There is also a large rock feature halfway down the trail that is situated at the perfect place to stop and look at the view once you’ve gotten over the rocks.

About to drop in for the first run of the day.
The top of the Eebme line down to the other lift.

The trails here are fast, flowy, and perfect for getting airborne.

Otztal Glacier backdrops.

The infamous rock garden.
More views and more rocks.

Once we finished the Ollweite trail we rode down a short piece of fireroad and onto the blue graded Gahe Line. This trail was full of smooth berms with well-built jump after jump, perfect for honing your skills and building your confidence. The jumps increased in size the further you got down the track making it the perfect progression track.

The Gahe Line is perfect for practicing jumps and tricks.

An entire line of jumps.

One of the funnest tracks on the mountain
In fast flow mode.

Jumping and trying not to get distracted by the views.

After dropping back down into the valley we got the Gaislachkoglbahn lift again and left our bikes there as we got the Gaislachkoglbahn II lift to the very top of the mountain at 3000m for some risotto and tiramisu before heading back down to finish the afternoon off with some more riding and shooting.

Lunch at the top of the mountain
No, there wasn't any alcohol, we saved that for the beers at the end of the day.

In the afternoon we hit the red bike park trail, Teare, before splitting off onto the black Zaahe line for some big jumps.

The Teare line had a great mix of flowy corners and nicely built jumps that left you with a beaming smile the whole way down and wanting more the moment you got over the last jump.

Round and round we go.

Sending the Zaahe line.

The fast, smooth and high berms mean you can hit into them at high speeds.
Just go left.

Making the most of the fire road back down to town at the end of the day's riding

Post laps pumptrack.
Sölden's very own Biker Beer

Day 2 / Klebe Alm

All the trails on the bike park side of the hill are all very similarly built, with smooth hardpack man-made terrain. The main difference between the trails is how many jumps, rocks, drops or gaps they may have meaning that a red trail will be a bigger version of a blue you’ve just ridden which is perfect for honing your skills and going bigger and faster with the confidence that you build.

But away from the flowy trails, on the other side of the valley you’ll find a variety of trails which are steeper, more technical, natural and loamy than the bike park side of the valley. Fewer people rode these trails which made them feel raw and fresh and the perfect place to have a chilled enduro ride out. These trails also add variety to the terrain found in Sölden so you do not get complacent with bike park and man-made laps.

With a gradual fire road climb to the top, it’s easy to lap sections of the trail as it is broken into segments dropping in from and out onto the fire road all the way down the hill. We rode the Klebe Alm Trail which despite being only 1.6km long, packs in a hefty amount of vertical descent dropping 500m in that distance. The track provided a nice challenge to get down but it can be attacked at any speed, making it a great trail for many confident riders.

Looking over at where we were the previous day, this time, covered in cloud and rain

One of the perks of pedalling up to the trails on the other side of the valley is the little mountain hut serving beautiful coffee and cakes. We stopped for some quick energy before heading down the rest of the Klebe Alm trail.

Morning coffee stop
Cake and Coffee!


Straight into the techy stuff on the first track of the day.

Wheelies through the bushes
Rooty, rocky narrow and slick, completely different to day 1.

Loam!

Wizzing through the forest.


To finish off the second day of riding we headed back over to the bike park side of the valley and took the Giggijochbahn to the top of the mountain and rode the Leiterberg trail. This trail was more natural and techy than the usual tracks at the bike park, with natural root and rock features with slippery mud after the rain all the way down as well as some pedally trail sections to keep you on your toes as you dodge the rocks.

Back in the woods again.

Out from the trees and out into the rain.
Rooty, rocky narrow and slick, completely different to day 1.


Despite our trip only being short, we managed to pack in a lot of riding and a hell of a lot of fun in that time. Being a growing destination for mountain biking, the number of trails is constantly on the rise with the Bike Republic constantly wanting to add more variety. Talking to Manuela, she shared some of the plans that the area has to add to the growing array of mountain biking trails they have, saying that they were in the midst of creating a long, technical and natural singletrack trail perfect for enduro lovers which would help balance out the number of flow trails that they're already excelling at.


***Sölden will be operating daily from June 11 to September 27, 2020.


Pinkbike would like to thank:
Bike Republic Sölden
Baeckelar Wirt Hotel

Bike Republic Sölden mountain biking trails








MENTIONS: @pinkbikeoriginals @saskiad



Regions in Article
Sölden

Posted In:
Travel Sponsored



79 Comments

  • 46 0
 I suggest taking a stop at the "Kitzloch" in Ischgl.

To be honest: Austria ist overall very bad for mtbing- youre only accepted in bike-ghettos like Sölden, otherwise the huntsmen hate and AS they have such a huge impact on politics, nothing will Change soon.

Go to Switzerland or Slovenia/ Cezch R. where youre more happily accepted and not an "invader"
  • 22 0
 So much this! Austria is probably one of the mtb-unfriendliest countries in the planet. In some areas you aren't even allowed to ride fireroads. You also will get fined if you park your campervan anywhere outside of the overcrowded campsites.
  • 15 1
 @KalkhoffKiller: "In some areas you aren't even allowed to ride fireroads" – Even worse! It is generally forbidden to ride on fireroads, exept, where it's explicitly allowed.
  • 5 2
 still better than Wisconsin
  • 4 0
 @KalkhoffKiller: After living in Austria on and off for the past year, I was really sad to discover this. As a BC native, it was depressing to see all these awesome hills and mountains everywhere and find out that you're basically a criminal if you ride your mountain bike outside of a bike park. I pretty much only ride my road bike now when I'm there. Glad I've been stuck back in BC due to the pandemic.
  • 1 0
 @DaFreerider44: Levis Mounds!
  • 5 1
 This. Same exact situation in the south of Germany. Despite lots of sanctioned trails you can legally ride, lots of hikers, land owners, forest owners and other angry and miserable people will attempt to stop you and sometimes even threaten you with legal action or even physical violence. There is just literally no acceptance in the general populace towards mountainbiking. It's just because their lives are probably miserable so by their logic they won't allow you to have fun either.
  • 3 0
 youtu.be/F6jGlEnBNIY

Tirol... Proper shit.

Luckily Italy is just over the border. The coffee is better, too!
  • 1 0
 @SvenNorske: Great thing that's in the middle of butt f*ck nowhere lmao. Generally, Wisco is terrible unless you drive 3+ hours to get somewhere like Switz bike park or Camrock.
  • 1 0
 @benmoosmann: When I was in Germany it seemed like they liked skateboarders more than MTBers.
  • 34 6
 The Photographer did an amazing job, most of the trails are so boring in reallife
  • 5 8
 Disagree, I love the trails and the variety.
They don´t have gnarly old school DH Tracks but you can find some in other bike parks of the Alps
  • 7 0
 I've been there some time ago... beautiful views, nice & long flow trails, but nothing exciting for more advanced riders... only Zaahe line was really cool, but it's sooo shooort... and allowing bikes to ride hiking trails is the worst idea ever :/

I'd really want to come back there, but for now it's on my very last choice...
  • 5 0
 Indeed an amazing photojob! What looks like a romantic mountain lake in reality is just a big water reservoir for artificial snow Smile

I really liked the natural trails in Sölden. Sadly it seems, that every year there is one advanced trail less and one family fowtrail more. Gets more and more uninterresting besides from not being the cheapest option to ride. I recommend Reschenpass!
  • 7 0
 @WannagobacktoBC: Great Thing about Reschenpass is your close to Latsch to in SouthTyrol which has some great Trails to offer that can be reached with Shuttle Services or by pedaling
  • 1 0
 Come to Romania my friend, iz a lot better hereSmile )))))))
  • 3 0
 Yup... Carry on over into Italy. Paganella tops Sölden.
  • 2 0
 @giorgiomtb: Cam you recommend some spots?
  • 23 5
 Sölden sucks
  • 5 0
 every year these adverts come up and "praise" the location, still what I hear (never been there in person) it´s the most commercially oriented place in the place - or in a shorter versrion C.R.E.A.M.
  • 4 1
 totally agree...and borings trails af
  • 5 0
 Sölden is such a horrifingly ugly place, they have to do those adverts otherwise nobody would go there for summer holidays.

In winter the road over the Timmelsjoch is blocked and is not a racetrack for motorists in their superbikes and expensive cabriolets with open exhausts , and the snow will cover all these eyewatering ugly buildings and pistes. Even to that little mountain hut over at the other side of the valley, where you get typical Austrian convenient dishes and have a panoramic view over all of this uglyness, has its own bus going up there in a twolane gravelroad.
  • 11 0
 The Reschenpass area is just around the corner (half of it in Itlay), with the exact positive opposite from Soelden....
Natural, fast, rough everything you need for one of those "enduro" bike parks.


Spoiler: New tracks in Mutters (crankworx area) near Innsbruck are even worse than Soelden, except the old DH.

Austria sucks if it comes to man made trails.....
  • 9 3
 I don't get it. Bikepark gets presented on Pinkbike, all the comments:
"too easy", "too flowy", "too busy", "boring" etc.
Yet when you ride the black lines in any given bikepark (my samples Livigno, Leogang, Saalbach, Schladming, Sölden, Schöckl...) you're all by yourself for the hole run.
  • 6 0
 this! Biking is like skiing - people complain about resorts and when you see them on the slopes or the trails I always ask mayself - where are they all, the self-declared semi-professionals?

Obviously Sölden wants to atract a wider audience and not the hardcore - downhill - crowd and they are doing a pretty good job there! And the scenery, although it's a skiresort, is just stunning.
  • 3 0
 @baph3: I think they need to update the trail grading for these people:

Green, blue, red - Don't bother. They are an insult to your superior talent.

Black - "This would be a blue in my local park"

Double black - "This has everything i complained the other trails don't have and i don't like it"

You are right though, they need to cater to the wider audience. These places are business enterprises after all and need to make money.

It doesn't mean that other people need to be excluded, just that things need to be done in a certain order:

Prioritise the demographic that bring in the most money --> make profit ---> use the profit to develop facillities further to also cater for less profitable demographics.
  • 8 2
 Problem with these countries (Austria, Switzerland) : everything is very expensive ! If you are not Swiss, the trips are so expensive (hotel, food, activities...).
  • 5 1
 Not in Austria, you can sleep for less than 10€ in a camping or 50 in a Hotel. And food is not expensive.
Okay 45€ For a day pass is horrible, but bike park is nice.
  • 2 0
 I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and thought the lodging was comparable to other nearby areas, though slightly higher. Food and drink on the other hand, those things which you need to survive, are incredibly expensive!
  • 2 0
 Visit Slovenia instead, it is way cheaper
  • 1 0
 @JordanHuschard:

Davos.... 60€ hotel & bike lift pass.. Plus a lunch bag with sandwich and fruit.

Natural riding.
  • 1 0
 @jay-me: 60€ one hotel in Davos, it’s the price of the camping in Switzerland ???????? are you sure ?
  • 2 0
 @easyslorider: We rode in Slovenia in September, 2018 for 3 weeks. Had a blast! Especially around Kranjska Gora. Great trails and fire roads, beautiful mountains, Super friendly locals, great food and drink! Cheap(for us Aussies). What more can I say? Did I mention great riding? Get yourself over there!
  • 2 0
 @easyslorider: man I would 10 times go to Slovenia rather than Austria Smile
  • 4 0
 I gave sölden two chances, because on paper sölden Looks really good.
But in reality it is just a place for joeys that don't even realize that all the flow Trails they are on aren't even flowy.
It helps to get the joeys away from the good places in the alpes, this is the only benefit out of sölden
  • 4 0
 As a seemingly contrary opinion, I went to Solden last year having been a regular to Morzine for five or six years. For me, for my riding, Solden was way more enjoyable than Morzine, so much so we were due to go back on 1st July. Gutted that it isn’t going to happen.

There are no massive hucks or skinnys, no pure DH trails but I thought the flow lines were incredible, really enjoyable, fast running and exhilarating. One of our group summed it up as the greatest day of riding in his life. Maybe that reflects him, rather than the place, but I don’t think it warrants the trashing.

Horses for courses...
  • 3 0
 I was there last year.
I'd point as a pros:
- really state of art flow lines - great trail bulding job! - much better than in Saalbach
- exeptionally well maintained
Cons:
- crowds on trails, none is willing to pass you, even when u are faster ... so u have to be really lucky to ride whole trial at one shot
- very few natural trails
- far behind Saalbach in term of 'Joker card' solution
  • 9 0
 ... unfortunately the Joker Card is no longer what it used to be...
  • 1 0
 @Mooka: what changed?
  • 4 0
 @GZMS: No more lift pass included with the joker card, I think instead you get a 30% discount now when you buy a pass.
  • 5 2
 Just go to Freiburg - there are plenty or trails, men made, natrural trails lift access to the main mountain with a vertical drop in total of 1300m.
they even have a free camping area beside the trail.
And it is COVID-free for now Wink
  • 2 0
 What is the camping area called?
  • 1 0
 I would also like to know where this free camping area is. I've been paying for my campsite!
  • 3 0
 I tried to like Sölden, but it's too artificial for my taste. The Teäre Line is a hundred curves... there are only 3 natural trails now that you can reach by lift access. One fell victim to the opening of another flowtrail last year. On a positive note, you'll be nearly the only rider on the natural trails - plus some hikers. Great for families and beginners though, even the red lines.
  • 6 3
 I'd love to go to Austria, but I will skip the mountain biking. My father was born in Vienna. My grandfather took the family to the USA after Kristallnacht in 1938. My father returned to Europe, via Africa, with the US Infantry in 1944. It's a "Greatest Generation" tale straight from "The Sound of Music."

Historical note: Kristallnacht was widely condemned by the German (and Austrian) public. Obviously, this condemnation did not prevent the Holocaust. Today, we must stay the course. EIGHT MINUTES AND FORTY-SIX SECONDS. NEVER AGAIN.
  • 3 0
 Reschen, Vinschgau, Paganella, Kronplatz.... All better than Sölden. All in Italy.

You can park your van overnight for 10€ at each spot. In fact I've never had to pay at Kronplatz....

The rest of Tirol is shit for mtb. Only allowed to ride in designated areas (on official mtb trails) most of which are shit compared to the lift assisted riding in Italy, France or Switzerland.
  • 2 0
 moved to Austria and yes, there are some conflicts with landowners. this is not different, to other countries. but there are the alps, which is really crazy, when it comes to trails and vastness to ride, climb or ski. Innsbruck is doing better then before. There are "Elfer Lifte" in Stubai valley, etc etc. People are complaining about Sölden. Actually it is good fun. And not everyone is a gnary shredder. #sickofcomplainingabouteverything
  • 5 1
 Definitely worth a visit. I'm really into the technical hiking trails that are open for bikers within the lift area.
  • 8 1
 just go to switzerland
  • 7 0
 @jonaslp1: yes indeed. Although Switzerland is quite expensive it is worth it. Share epic hiking trails with bikers and hikers and no one gets angry. Try this in Austria or Germany. Good luck. I am definitely not a fan of these big flow trails because the have such a high impact on the environment but can't replace the riding on alpine hiking tracks
  • 7 0
 You could also try out the Bikepark Reschenpass which has some great rough Enduro Tracks to offer or the Dolomiti Bikepark in Andalo which consists of three different Areas and has some nice rough Dowhill Tracks and Flow Tracks
  • 1 0
 On my bucket list! Did an Alpcross from Garmisch to Lake Garda a few years ago and want to get back to the Alps ASAP. For me riding in the Alps is all about the supporting infrastructure. In BC we have amazing trails, but bring on the beer gardens, alpine huts and easy transportation options and you have an amazing mtb vacation.
  • 4 0
 Austria is a really beautiful country. Enjoyed my time there very much.
  • 1 0
 My trip to Munich got pushed back to next year due to covid. What would be the best place to go ride? Or should I get the mountain biking idea out of my head? BC boy used to Whistler and BC riding.
  • 2 0
 Don't expect what we have here. It's cool because you're riding in a foreign country but you'll be disappointed if you compare it to BC. We're so spoiled.
  • 1 0
 @lissimorephoto: Unfair! You really can't expect anywhere else to look good when compared to BC.
  • 2 0
 @wolfe1027
Never been to BC, unfortunately...

For natural trails with lift access try out 3 Länder Enduro www.3-laenderendurotrails.com/en
Best place i ve been so far and about 3 hours from Munich.

Not as big as the 3 Länder Enduro, there is a small Bikepark in Southern Germany not far from Munich www.bikepark-oberammergau.de
If you stay in Munich for a while it is def worth a visit.
  • 1 0
 @HannesBa: awsome thanks so much. We will be staying in shaftlac about 45min south of Munich. Cant wait to try these out.
  • 1 0
 Spicak and Geiskopf come to mind.
  • 2 0
 @wolfe1027: do you mean Schaftlach?

Ignoring the obvious question of why you would stay there(?!) this happened near there recently....

www.merkur.de/lokales/region-holzkirchen/warngau-ort66932/taubenberg-bayern-mountainbiker-muenchner-verfolgungsjagd-ausfluegler-video-angriff-13775630.html

It used to be a nice low key generally local trail network, now it's overrun with outsiders and the locals have had enough.

Just south of there bikes have been banned from another popular trail as well since the start of June.

I think Strava has a lot to answer for in both cases.
  • 1 0
 @Riggbeck:

People seem to not realize that Corona has the biggest impact. Closed borders, no flights, social distancing with all its consequences (no team sports, no restaurants etc), home office.

All this leads to people hitting their local spots. Plus then there are effects who show now like the dense population in europe and ancient laws that cater to the interests of hikers and hunters defended by politicians who need to cather to these groups because of demographics.
  • 1 0
 @KalkhoffKiller: Geiskopf lift.... You have enough time to roll a joint and smoke it before you reach the top. So f*cking slow it is painful.
  • 2 0
 @KalkhoffKiller: I think the situation in Warngau was building long before corona came along, that is private land as well so the sight of 50+ bikers on a weekend is unlikely to be welcomed and now the police are controlling the bikers. The trail closures south of there are harder to justify, it's an area already overrun by a ski resort and destructive cattle grazing. Relatively, bikes were not harming anything, I guess mutual respect and civility were missing on some bike/walker encounters. I've seen some real ****ends with and without bikes so again I'm not surprised.

Looking ahead, now the Austrian border is open and the weather is **** the Bavarian mountains are empty! (Except for all the toilet tissue walkers leave on the path sides. A German hobby I've always found odd.)
  • 2 0
 Had planned a vacation in Austria this summer with a day or two booked out for riding. This would have been a great location....damned covid
  • 2 0
 the trails over there are the most boring trails I have ever seen. I have been there once, but never ever again...
  • 2 0
 Bored on Nene trail?
  • 1 0
 @bok-CZ: Yes! On Nene trail there are maybe only 5-10% technical, but the rest is just straight down. But you are right, this 5-10% are really nice.
  • 2 0
 @domko: I'm pretty sure it will get better soon, there should be enough of family trails at the moment so hopefully dh one (promised in the beginnings) and more technical trails will show up.
  • 1 0
 I would love to be able to go but I don’t think we are allowed to travel that far and be allowed home afterwards in our van
  • 3 1
 I love that place. I've really enjoyed the summer of building the trails there. Shout out loud to my crew at Bike Republic!
  • 1 0
 Only ever been there in the winter.. Erm.... 20 years ago. Looks like I should be heading there in the summer months at some point... Post pandemic of course
  • 1 0
 Coming from Austria I generally cannot recommend any vacation in Austria this year. Due to the COVID lock-down prices for accommodations have risen enormously.
  • 3 0
 better go to reschenpass or paganella if you want natural trails
  • 1 0
 Home of Jerry 2.0 ????
this place sucks, if you plan trips, put reschenpass on your bucketlist ????
  • 2 0
 Vinschgau is the better Sölden.
  • 2 0
 The only thing you can get in Austrian ski resorts is Corna.
  • 1 0
 with the current plandemic restrictions it's to much of a hustle....

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2020. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.018770
Mobile Version of Website