Race Preview: Zermatterhorn - EWS Zermatt 2019

Sep 19, 2019
by Dave Trumpore  



It’s the first time the series has crowned its World Champions somewhere other than Finale Ligure in Italy – and where better than in the shadow of one of Europe’s most famous mountains, the Matterhorn? With a growing reputation for its expanding trail network and flanked by incredible mountain scenery, Zermatt is the perfect location for this historic race. From what we have seen so far it has more than lived up to the hype. The trails are long and rough, the views simply mind-blowing from every angle, and the auto-free town offers a change of pace from the usual bustle of car traffic that we accept as normal everywhere else.

With five stages being raced in one day and with over 3000m of descending, this race is going to be brutal on bikes and bodies. Add in the altitude and any physical effort will just be that much more draining. And with the amount of rock on some stages or switchbacks on others, things are as tricky and as technical as they come.

On the racing side of things, Isabeau Courdurier has the women's title locked up, so she can have a little fun out there this weekend. Will she let her guard down a bit, or will she finish out with a perfect season? Only time will tell. The men's race is quite the opposite as Florian Nicolai just barely holds the lead over Sam Hill. Sam has the momentum of good results from the previous rounds in his favor and if he wins this weekend, Florian will have to be within just a few spots. That is, of course, before you count the final stage of the year which will be Zermatt's Queen Stage, and with it, an added points haul. If either Florian or Sam was to win that final stage, the points get even more complicated. You can be sure the team managers have all the variables worked out and will be at the finish line Saturday with their calculators to see just what their riders will need to do.

Check back in tomorrow as riders will put tires to the dirt on the race stages for the first time, taking their obligatory one practice run. As always, we will be there to bring you all the action and, in this case, all the epic views from the final EWS race of the 2019 season.

The Matterhorn in all it s glory. Expect to see a lot of pics through the weekend of this famous mountain peak.
The Matterhorn in all its glory. Expect to see a lot of pics through the weekend of this famous mountain peak.

Touristing 101.
Touristing 101.

Big peaks surround Zermatt. It s hard not to find an amazing view anywhere you look.
Big peaks surround Zermatt. It's hard not to find an amazing view anywhere you look.

Stage is the highest of the weekend and sits just under a glacier
Stage three is the highest of the weekend and sits just under a glacier.

Some of the quite villages above Zermatt run parallel to stage 1
Some of the quiet villages above Zermatt run parallel to stage one.

The views above town are spectacular but if you look closely there is plenty of beauty in town as well
The views above town are spectacular, but if you look closely there is plenty of beauty in town as well.

Lots of history in the old mountain town
Lots of history in the old mountain town.

Fall is coming you can feel it in the morning air and see it in the colors up high.
Fall is coming, you can feel it in the morning air and see it in the colors up high.

Chris Ball and Ric McLaughlin look forward to a big day of riding bikes.
Chris Ball and Ric McLaughlin look forward to a big day of riding bikes.

Squids were chomping at the bit to get going this morning.
Squids were chomping at the bit to get going this morning.

The morning started high in the mountains and in heavy fog. Thankfully after the completion of stage 1 things began to burn off and the epic views became more apparent
The morning started high in the mountains and in a heavy fog. Thankfully, after the completion of stage one, clouds began to burn off and epic views became more apparent.

Stage one had epic views of the matterhorn but with all of the fog that rolled in Thursday morning you will just have to wait another day or tow to see it
Stage one had epic views of the Matterhorn, but with all of the fog, we will just have to wait another day or two to see it.

Middle stage one. A little ribbon of single track studded with rock.
Middle, stage one. A little ribbon of single track studded with rock.

Stage one spills out onto a small lake at the finish.
Stage one spills out onto a small lake at the finish.

Just casually tweaking it through a mountain Village.
Just casually tweaking it through a mountain Village.

Matt Delorme taking the scenic routs through a mountain village on the liaison between stages 1 and 2
Matt Delorme taking the scenic route through a mountain village on the liaison between stages one and two.

The inversion broke up just enough to let us peak down into Zermatt from the top of stage 3
The inversion broke up just enough to let us peek down into Zermatt from the top of stage three.

Rocking out above the clouds on stage 3
Rocking out above the clouds on stage three.

There are a few patches of dirt on stage 3 but for the most part it really just one massive rock from top to bottom
There are a few patches of dirt on the third stage, but for the most part, it's really just one massive rock from top to bottom.

The Matterhorn goes in and out of cloud cover through the day but is a very present backdrop to many of the stages
The Matterhorn goes in and out of cloud cover through the day - a very present backdrop to many of the stages.

Damn Zermatt you have some epic trails. This one will be good.
Damn, Zermatt, you have some epic trails. This one will be good.

Dave Trumpore dives into stage three while the Matterhorn looms in the distance.
Dave Trumpore dives into stage three while the Matterhorn looms in the distance.

Now matter where you look on stage three the views are epic.
Now matter where you look on stage three, the views are epic.

Big views at the top of stage 4. But really there are big views just about everywhere in Zermatt.
Big views at the top of stage four. But really there are big views just about everywhere in Zermatt.

Place a big boulder in a trail and Jesse Melamed will find a way to huck himself off of it
Place a big boulder in a trail and Jesse Melamed will find a way to huck himself off of it.

Stage 4 starts off with some massive rock gardens followed by some steep and tight switchbacks
Four starts off with some massive rock gardens, followed by steep and tight switchbacks.

Series leader Florian Nicolai sampling some of the local trails away from the the race stages in the lead up for this weekend s big race
Series leader Florian Nicolai sampling some of the local trails away from the race stages. He's in the lead up for this weekend's big race.

There are a few corners up high to make shapes on.
There are a few corners up high to make shapes on.

The Mad Dog takes the inside line on one of the many slabs on stage three.
The Mad Dog takes the inside line on one of the many slabs on stage three.

Louis Para getting rowdy on stage three.
Louis Para getting rowdy on stage three.

Robin Wallner testing out his nose manual skills on some tight switchbacks. The race stages are closed until Friday but most riders have been sampling the other trails in Zermatt to get a bit more familiar with the terrain here
Robin Wallner testing out his nose manual skills on some tight switchbacks. The race stages are closed until Friday but most riders have been sampling the other trails in Zermatt to get a bit more familiar with the terrain.

Stage 2 is the only stage that is primarily below the tree line. With lots of roots as opposed to rock it is very much unlike the other 4 stages on offer
Stage two is the only stage that is primarily below the tree line. With lots of roots opposed to rock, it is very much unlike the other four stages this week.

James Parkin enjoying a bit of root action on stage two.
James Parkin enjoying a bit of root action on stage two.

Dave gets to the root of it on stage two.
Dave gets to the root of it on stage two.

Awaiting our ride to the top of stage three.
Awaiting our ride to the top of stage three.

Carved by ice.
Carved by ice.

A lone refugio in the back country overlooking Monte Rosa.
A lone Refugio in the backcountry overlooking Monte Rosa.

Water always finds a way. Twisting and turning through ages old ice.
Water always finds a way. Twisting and turning through ages-old ice.

The textures are like abstract paintings.
The textures are like abstract paintings.

Another Matterhorn shot. Simply just because
Another Matterhorn shot. Just because.

Josh Carlson shreds one of the open public trails ahead of tomorrows official practice session
Josh Carlson shreds one of the open public trails ahead of tomorrows official practice session.

It may have been gloomy looking down in town but high up on the mountain it was a beautiful day
It may have been gloomy-looking down in town, but high up on the mountain it was a beautiful day.

Can you spot the rider
Can you spot the rider?

First few hours on the ground and it was impossible not to fall in love with this place.
First few hours on the ground and it was impossible not to fall in love with this place.

The light shows are pretty good around here too.
The light shows are pretty good around here too.

The finals sunset over the Matterhorn before practice gets underway tomorrow for the final round of the 2019 Enduro World Series
The final sunset over the Matterhorn before practice gets underway tomorrow for the final round of the 2019 Enduro World Series.

Cheers to what is going to be an amazing final round.
Cheers to what is going to be an amazing final round.


Regions in Article
Zermatt


83 Comments

  • 98 0
 Mountain biking is awesome
  • 39 0
 That's not a real place. Must be CGI
  • 63 0
 The graphics in Zermatt are incredible.
  • 35 0
 @brianpark: Bob Ross really did a great job with the murals here
  • 5 0
 Can't imagine a more epic spot for the final throw down. Wish I was out there.
  • 2 0
 The pics are amazing but seeing it in person is very humbling. Zermatt is such a beautiful place!!
  • 2 0
 @nyhc00: Ya I would likely ride off a cliff looking at the scenery instead of the trail.
  • 2 0
 @jorgeposada: I missed theist gondola down trying to get close to the Matterhorn and had to hike it back to town. Haha
  • 2 0
 @nyhc00: Daymmm know the feeling sort of but mostly backcountry skiing. That must be a hell of a hike.
  • 25 0
 Props to Chris Ball and the EWS crew for putting together the most unbelievable set of races this year. It’s like Mr. Ball consulted Dave Trumpmore asking “where should we ride that will make the best photos”? Unreal planning, execution and certainly unreal photos. I wish I was faster/younger so I could experience it first hand by racing! High fives.
  • 12 0
 Holy shit guys you outdid yourself again with these pics. Such an amazing landscape, love the color palette. Only a 5 hour drive for me, might have to go there for a weekend or so this year before all the snow comes in, but Switzerland is soo expensive.
  • 2 0
 Only "cheap" way to go there is camping.
  • 1 0
 @FloImSchnee: true. However, there are damage limitations,if you don't eat out in the evening like here:
hotelcollina.ch/pauschalen
  • 14 0
 The third photo down took me a long time to understand.
  • 5 0
 It's a reflection I'm guessing? The problem is, if the full frame is a perfect reelection, what's the difference between it and an upside-down photo?
  • 2 0
 the angle was so perfect that you need to look at it for a long time. amazing shot!
  • 8 0
 Crazy they made a mountain look like the cover of that chocolate toblerone!

I'm here too, randomly on holiday(girlfriend doesn't think it's random), and it really is this beautiful.
  • 7 2
 The local hikers are going to love this (sarcasm). Most of the time I rode Zermatt, it was fine but every so often, the local hikers on the MULTI-USE trails (which I would always yield to) would ask why I wasn't on the flow trail that had just been built (which is just a very nice dirt sidewalk). Beautiful place to ride if you can get away from humanity.
  • 17 1
 Sooo many hikers out the past few days sharing tails with bikes. All have been friendly and supportive. No one asked about flow trails.
  • 5 1
 @davetrumpore: Glad to hear that. Chalk it up under good race day vibes. I lived in Switzerland for 3 years so I guess my results do vary...
  • 9 1
 @Chadimac22: I hear ya... Had an older gentleman stand in a trail and not let us pass in Lenzerheide one year, shouting and making a scene. We just ended up riding off trail around him. Kooks like that everywhere, but so far in Zermatt everyone I've come across has been cordial.
  • 1 0
 Certain trails (e.g. Gornergrat) definitely are much more fun early in the morning or late in the evening, before hikers arrive or after hikers are gone.
  • 7 1
 So new Ibis HD5 is rumoured to make its official appearance here. No close-ups yet?
  • 6 0
 It seems pretty unlikely for racers to make big changes this late in the season, but if it breaks cover publicly we'll show you.
  • 3 0
 It's at least a different color. I think it's a revised bike that Lew and Bex were riding at Whistler EWS.
  • 1 0
 peep the colorway on lewis's "HD4" possibly the new HD5
  • 1 0
 Appears to be production updated HD4/5?
  • 6 0
 Wait - they copied Disneyland?!
  • 4 1
 lol They always had a ride called the Matterhorn at Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire. Never knew there was a real one as a kid haha
  • 2 1
 Actually in the Engadin they copied Disneyland
  • 1 0
 @NoriDori: hahahah Mickey Mouse would have sued already
  • 1 0
 Copied and Photoshop'ed
  • 5 0
 Expedia open in 2nd tab now...
  • 1 0
 I've been to Zermatt once, it was the end of Chamonix-Zermatt crossing. Incredible place, and the descent from the Gornergrat to the village is easily in my top3 memories. Technical, steep, not too exposed and stunning views. I'm sure it will be a fitting backdrop for the last EWS of the year.
  • 2 0
 Kind of a shame that I've only been there once years ago and without a bike. These awesome shots really want me to go on a little trip to the other end of our country!
  • 3 0
 Every stop we comment on how great the photos are, but this is unreal. Amazing job Dave and Matt.
  • 1 0
 Zermatt and the surrounding area has some of the most epic views on the planet. I spent a few weeks in the region as a youngster and however much the weather changed the awe increased. tup
  • 4 2
 3000m of descending doesntvsound like much for a day in the alps
  • 10 0
 There's another 1600m of descending that's just in the liasons. Racing 5 stages/3000m in a day on these rough trails is not going to be easy by any means
  • 5 4
 Refugio, what you mean is rifugio, but Zermatt is actually German. Thus it is Hütte.
  • 13 2
 Nah bro. Zermatt is in Switzerland not Germany ;-)
  • 9 2
 @davetrumpore: But what if I told you that in Switzerland they speak French, Italian and German and that Zermatt is actually in German speaking Switzerland?
  • 8 1
 @EliasFritzen: well aware, and you forgot Swiss-German (in addition addition to standard German), amd Romansh... But it's still not German. It's Swiss ;-)... Pretty sure the locals would agree if you tried to tell them they were German
  • 6 1
 @davetrumpore: you are all a bit insulting mixing Swiss-German and Ober-Walliser German.
  • 6 2
 @inversedotch: how about we just call it a cabin since we are all writing in English here... Because yeah that's the language of this site after all ;-)

Sweet cabin.
  • 5 0
 @davetrumpore Cabin sounds a little too French it might not please my fellow neighbors from the left of the Rhone Valley. Can we settle on Hut? Sounds more German. Smile
  • 4 0
 @inversedotch: on second thought it's more of a shack.

Funny how multiple words mean the same thing... But someone will still complain ;-)
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: You mean a mountain dwelling? Wink
  • 2 0
 @inversedotch: you mean a Swiss-French Cabane ? Because the one in the photo looks more like the a French-French Cabane...
  • 2 0
 @juliopedro @davetrumpore Looking at this shack again from another angle, i'm not sure if it was a cabin once. It might just be some wood covered shed.
Take a look here: bit.ly/2ktzZNZ
#shackgate
  • 2 0
 @davetrumpore: Fair post, but being German myself born and lived there for 9 years (kiwi flag because I live in NZ now) I think its fair to say that Swiss-german and German are very similar, a different dialect, with a few unique words but easily understandable. But good to see your are well informed about the places you are taking photos of!
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: It's a mansion, mate. Smile
  • 1 0
 @inversedotch: yeah looks like a sheep shed.

Monte-Rosa-Hütte is a true Zermatt Swiss mountain Hütte.

www.sac-cas.ch/en/huts-and-tours/sac-route-portal/2147000182
  • 2 0
 @davetrumpore: of course it is Switzerland. (I live in the country next to it and have been there numerous times)
What I meant is "German speaking".

(not Italian, what "rifugio" would be)
  • 1 0
 (and bloody amazing photos, btw!)
  • 1 0
 @EliasFritzen: And Portuguese
  • 1 0
 some incredible golden hour phots there. amazing. really makes me wanna go.
  • 2 0
 Amazing photos. In person though, the Matterhorn is mesmerizing.
  • 3 4
 With all these beautiful photo's of the matterhorn and the surrounding area it would have been nice to read some captions with geographic and or historical information; not just "hey, this looks pretty!"
  • 2 0
 Hoooly crap. Gorgeous much?
  • 1 0
 damn, you guys do good photos. that is all.
  • 1 0
 Fantastic photos and locations, as always with EWS!
  • 2 4
 With all these beautiful photos of the matterhorn and the surrounding area, it would have been nice to read some captions with geographic and or historical information... not just "hey, this looks pretty!"
  • 7 0
 Geographical: 5th photo from the bottom, you have the Zinalrothorn on your left and the Weisshorn on your right. After that you can play a game of "find the rock" in each and every picture.

Historical: first record of the name Zermatt is around 1495 but the old settlement might have been there in the 12th century already. While you can find many wooden buildings from the 15th and 16th century in the upper parts of the Valais/Wallis valley, i'm not sure the hamlet pictured here is that old. Maybe at least older than your country?

TLDR: "But hey this looks pretty!"
  • 10 2
 @inversedotch: We provide the photos... And we encourage self discovery and self learning for those who are intrigued by what they see.

Also reread article a few times and still can't see where we wrote "hey this looks pretty"

Glad you used the resources at your fingertips to look up some facts to copy and paste though :-)
  • 3 0
 @davetrumpore: Ahaha! That bit of sarcasm was for @paulysheer. As you pointed rightfully wiki is always a click away. Wink
  • 5 1
 @inversedotch: @inversedotch: haha yup. We can only provide so much information from a day out shooting. But no matter what, it's never enough to please everyone. Luckily more is just a click away
  • 3 1
 @davetrumpore: I know the feeling. Great work tho (on the pictures not the pleasing part)!
  • 1 0
 Fourth from last photo is incredible
  • 1 0
 best nature photos i ve seen in a while! mindblowing scenery
  • 1 0
 “Is that the Matterhorn?” ????
  • 1 0
 WOW
  • 1 0
 Witcher 3 - MTB DLC
  • 1 0
 Amazing photos!
  • 1 0
 jesus christ
  • 2 5
 looks boring.
  • 3 0
 Dont look in the mirror Razz
  • 3 0
 @a-m-c Orillia ON
  • 1 0
 @leelau: Best butter tarts around.
  • 1 0
 @a-m-c: I'm intrigued by butter tarts
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