Photography & Words: Samantha Saskia Dugon
Above the realms of Lenzerheide bike park is a whole new world full of all-mountain enduro riding taking you from a barren moonscape at the top of the lift, down to a Martian looking peak and into luscious green hills with freezing alpine lakes at every turn. From techy natural single-track to fast, fun and smooth flow trails, Lenzerheide showed us every option.
We rolled in the day before we were due to start riding and shooting and was instantly in awe at the lake at the bottom of the valley. After a sweaty drive across Europe, we checked into our hotel and had a freshen up before heading for a walk around the lake to see what the town of Lenzerheide had to offer. Walking along the lake and through the forest path, there was plenty of fun to be had before we’d even thought of getting on the bikes. With windsurfing, pedalos, SUP and more available at the lake.
We kept walking and popped out of the woods next to a freshly opened Velosolutions pump track, we immediately were asking why on earth we didn’t bring a jump bike with us! We were definitely going to have to source one from somewhere to have a go on the fresh tarmac. After we’d gone full tourist we headed back to prepare bikes and cameras and sample some swiss food and more importantly some local beer before heading to bed and setting the alarms ready for an early start.
Day 1 / Alplisee Trail
We met our local guides Annina and Nicola at the bottom of the bike park with the aim of getting on the first lift. After taking the Rothorn 1 lift to the top of the bike park, we jumped straight out of one Gondola and onto another as we were heading right to the top of the mountain; a refreshing 2800m.
The landscape straight out of the lift was incredibly lunar with grey rocks and dust everywhere with the aptly named trail “Dark Side of the Moon” running straight through the middle of it. There was still a number of snow patches at the top of the trail after a long and fruitful winter which made parts of the trail interesting as all you could hear was the sound of laughter from all the riders trying to make their way through the snow without stopping or falling off. The Dark Side of the Moon was a good warm-up trail before we headed through a tunnel that threw us out into another valley that provided a whole new landscape. The rock had changed from grey to red making the tunnel feel like a wormhole onto another planet. It was here that we spotted the Alplisee trail traversing all the across the mountainside in front of us and down the valley as far as the eyes could see, to say we were excited to bomb down it would have been an understatement.
With over 6km and 690m of vertical descent to be had, the Alplisee trail is packed full of fun single-track with techy and flowy sections that always keep you on your toes. The views also keep attempting to distract you with its rocky peaks and luscious greenery wherever you look, but thankfully there are plenty of places to stop, have a break and take it all in.
After getting a few shots at the beginning I chucked my camera bag on my back and enjoyed the trail all the way down to a very cold Alpine lake that felt seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We took the opportunity to stop here for some more photos and more importantly, some late morning snacks.
After a quick refresh we headed back on the trail it was straight into rocky singletrack that just flowed and flowed always keeping you wanting more. As we came to the end of the trail the number of tight switchbacks increased giving you plenty of opportunities to practice stoppie turns. After a short ride towards the final section of the Hornli flow trail that would take us to the Hornli Express lift, we passed a mountain restaurant where the smell of lunch got all of our stomachs rumbling. We decided to go refuel before heading back up and over to the other side of the mountain. Parking our bikes up next to some chickens, we found some shade, ordered and had what tasted like the best Beef skewer and chips I’d ever come across. If there is one thing I’d already learned is that the Swiss know how to do great food.
After stocking up on meat and carbs we hopped on the last part of the Hornli Trail where we got a taste of Arosas 6.8km flow trail. Being one of the longest in Europe, it was perfectly smooth with fun berms, rollers and jumps the entire way down weaving underneath the lift with nearly 700m of vertical descent. To do this track in one hit would require an awful lot of brainpower, stamina but would be worth it for the feeling of endless flow.
Back at the top of the lift, we caught the Urdenbahn lift that crosses the valley back towards Lenzerheide, from here we jumped on the new trail, yet to be named back to the lift at the top of the bike park. This new trail, yet to be named has only recently opened and is a good mix of man-made flow and tech trail with fresh dark reddish-brown dirt that seemed to always hold grip.
We ended up at the top of the bike park and got back on the Rothorn 2 lift back up to 2800m for the 2nd time that day. Once at the top we looked over the trail we’d spent the morning doing, before turning ride and heading down the other side of the mountain on the Alp Sanaspans trail back down into the Lenzerheide valley.
One thing to mention about the riding we did would be; be prepared. It was a full day of high alpine mountain exposure. No trees, shrubs or anything to take shelter from the sun (or potential rain and wind) from, so be prepared with the correct clothing and don’t do what I did and forget sun cream.
After a long day of alpine mountain exposure, it was nice to get back down into the forest and be under cover of the trees and riding on loam back to the hotel where we refreshed and fuelled up ready for another big mountain ride.
Day 2 / Scalottas and Alp Statz
2 days, 2 lots of first lifts to get on. We met nice and early outside the Dieschen hotel and cycled through Lenzerheide to get the Tgantieni and Scalottas lift. The plan for the day was to traverse across the mountain riding the Upper Hohenweg Alp Statz to reach the black Alp Statz trail that would take us back down into the valley through a rooty and rocky forest section.
The long day of sun exposure from the previous day had somewhat taken its toll on me and as a result, my pace was quite a bit slower, but we made it across the 2 natural flow trails and under the cover of the woods to descend down the more familiar to me Alp Statz trail.
Alp Statz was reminiscent of riding some South Wales goodness in the height of summer where loam is in abundance and the roots are no longer all conspiring against you the moment you see them.
With an early finish on the trails, we headed to the Heidsee to grab an ice cream and cool down after a warm morning traversing the mountain. After a bit of a chill-out we headed over to the pump track where Annina had a jump bike that we all shared to get some tarmac laps in.
Despite only having 2 days here to get to know the area and ride a snippet of what's available, I have completely fallen in love with Lenzerheide. I've done a few trips to Switzerland and the cycling infrastructure available means that anything is possible. Whether it be bike park laps, or large enduro days going from peak to peak, the lift system available means that you can seamlessly travel between valleys and ride everything in between, Lenzerheide and Arosa being a perfect example of this. I'll be back, and next time, with sun cream.
Lenzerheide mountain biking trailsÄlpliseetrailAlp SanaspansAlp Statz
Local KnowledgeGetting Here
Even though Lenzerheide lays in the middle of the Swiss Alps you’ll get here super easy. As public transportation is a huge thing in Switzerland, trains, and buses get you directly from the airport right to Lenzerheide. Once you reach Chur by train, there is a direct bus all the way up to Lenzerheide. The same obviously goes for cars.Bike Shops and Repairs
There’s no shortage of shops and rentals in Lenzerheide. If you wreck your bike, there is no excuse for not going all in the next day. Lessons & Tours
Lenzerheide has plenty of trails and most of them are easily accessible. If you want to fully focus on the trails and landscape and not worry about maps and directions, there are various guiding offers, either with or without shuttle service.Food & Drink
There are tons of restaurants, bakeries, and bars. On the mountain, various huts will get you sorted out with food. Always make sure you have some cash with you. On most of the mountain huts you’re not able to pay by card.Where to Stay
For the best treatment during your stay, the best accommodation you could choose is a bikehotel. Their offer is specifically for mountain bikers. They’ve got you covered with a nutritious breakfast, a workbench and tools to wrench on your bike. Most of the staff are bikers themselves and therefore know a thing or two about the local riding.Non-Bike Activities Water Sports Center
at the Heidsee has a lot of things to offer. Wakeboard lifts, pedalos, SUP, or simply taking a swim. Fancy some water and Spa if it’s bad weather? The sports center
has a huge pool and wellness area. Hiking in the mountains obviously is never a bad choice and if you travel with kids, there is almost as much to explore as with the bike.
For more information, visit arosalenzerheide.swiss
Pinkbike would like to thank:Lenzerheide ArosaHotel Dieschen