Video: Mountaintop Adventure in Switzerland

May 1, 2019 at 8:44
by Big Mountain  
Views: 7,701    Faves: 68    Comments: 2


The train rocks slightly as we cruise at deceptively high-speed along the shore of Lake Geneva. Like a postcard, the water is calm like glass while a cluster of white swans bob along under a swooping willow tree while Montreux’s medieval Chillion castle and vineyards blur past. People chat on the train in civilized quiet voices. We eventually leave the lake and head up the Rhone Valley, the mountains out the window of the train grow bigger along with our anticipation as we cross into the Canton of Valais. Like a giant bike park with lifts and roads sprinkled everywhere and seemingly endless singletrack, this special region of the Alps begs to be explored. After nearly 20 years of running guided trips here, it still remains one of our favourite places to mountain bike on the planet. A recorded voice comes on the speaker as the train begins to slow down, "prochaine arrêt Martigny, Il prossimo fermare Martigny, nächster halt Martigny, next stop Martigny." We pull into the station, drag our bikes and jet-lagged bodies onto the platform and breath in the mountain air. It's on.

Chris Winter and Stephen Matthews waiting for the train in Val D Anniviers Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
In Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Railways will publicly apologize if a train is two minutes late. You'll never be late to shred singletrack in the Valais. Stoke level high upon our arrival to Martigny.

Stephen Matthews and Ludo May riding in Verbier Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Local rider Ludo May following Stephen Matthews high above Verbier in the beautiful Val de Bagnes with the 4314m Grand Combin looming in the distance.

Dinner on high altitude cooked over open fire. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Local raclette cheese heated over a fire at Jean-Marc's mountain hut with family & friends does not get much better. Far below, via rugged and steep singletrack is his hotel, the cosy Hotel La Vallée.

Julia Hofmann and Chris Winter mountain biking in Val D Anniviers Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
The Valais' extensive web of hiking trails are everywhere. Some are great for bikes while other trails are hike-a-bikes in both directions. Julia Hoffmann & Chris Winter in the Val d'Anniviers.

Traditionall swiss hut in Crans Montana Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Mountain huts like the Cabane des Violettes perched high above Crans Montana at 2208m are dotted throughout the Valais. Always with singletrack and a massive descent at the doorstep. If you look closely at treeline across the valley slightly left and below a ridgeline, you'll see a small white dot, tomorrow night's accommodation.

Hotel Weisshorn at 2337 m. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
The historic Hotel Weisshorn at 2337m and constructed in 1882 by Italian Francesco Mosoni as it sits today. Creaky wood floors, a sweet bar, a few stuffed animals and killer views from every window.

Mike Gamble at Hotel Weisshorn in Val D Anniviers Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Artist, cinematographer, taxidermist and bon-vivant Mike Gamble contemplating life's deepest secrets.

Stephen Matthews mountain biking in Val D Anniviers Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
On your left, hikers. Stephen Matthews laying it over on another section of amazing trail.

Chris Winter Stephen Matthews and Ludo May on a bus station in Val D Anniviers Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Off the airplane onto the train onto the bus onto a lift to the high-alpine...Switzerland's mountain transportation system is like nowhere else on the planet. And very bike-friendly.

Chris Winter mountain biking in Zinal in Val D Anniviers Switzerland. Dent Blanche in the background 4 357 meter . Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Big Mountain Bike Adventures' owner Chris Winter on a quintessentially perfect trail near the village of Zinal with the 4357m Dent Blanche towering in the distance.

Stephen Matthews Julia Hofmann and Chris Winter on a train station in Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Next stop, the Matterhorn.

Julia Hofmann riding in Zermatt Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
With nearly 400km of hiking trails and 52 lifts up to 3883m, Zermatt is pretty close to perfect for mountain biking. Just bring your wallet as it's not at all cheap, but worth every Swiss franc as Julia Hoffman finds out.

Julia Hofmann Chris Winter and Stephen Matthews hanging out on the train in Zermatt Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Another ride, another train shuttle. This time coming up the Matter Valley, surrounded by massive peaks.

Stephen Matthews Julia Hofmann and Chris Winter on the Sunegga - Rothorn tram valley station in Zermatt Valais Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
The Standseilbahn, a three-minute shuttle bombing through the mountain at three meters per second.Efficient!

Stephen Matthews riding in Zermatt Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
With 38 mountains over 4000m surrounding Zermatt, the views are impressive, to say the least. Stephen Matthews taming the rugged landscape with mad style.

Julia Hofmann and Stephen Matthews riding near Fluhalp Hut 2620 meters above sea level above Zermatt Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Where else in the world can you find three-star digs at 2606m?

Local train in Le Chable below Verbier Valais Switzerland. Photo Mattias Fredriksson.
Starting the trek home from beautiful Le Chable. 'Til next time Switzerland!

More info, check out Big Mountain Bike Adventures.
Video by Mike Gamble.
Photos: Mattias Fredriksson.


8 Comments

  • + 4
 Great video! If you plan to visit Valais/Wallis, don't forget to check (and re-check) Trailforks (www.trailforks.com/region/valais).

The Swiss Federal Railway is late quite often in our little valley, especially with train coming from Italy via the Simplon tunnel. If you travel to Geneva Airport, be sure to check for delays on the free CFF/SBB application.
  • + 4
 From Martigny I’ve taking trains to Chamonix, Les Diablerets and Verbier and the Post buses to Champex Lac and Crana Montana. Just the most amazing system of public transport, thanks Switzerland!
  • + 2
 10 years since I found the Zinal trail from the Weisshorn hotel. Blue bird day, no wind. Absolutely brilliant. Have to give credit to my running friends that raced it for the tip.
  • + 2
 The best of the best ! From weisshorn you Can go down Pretty straight to St Luc !
  • + 1
 Stunning Vista's, I have always wanted to go to Switzerland even before taking up mountain biking and this video has reaffirmed my desire to go
  • + 2
 That was simply awesome. Please do much more of this, cheers for sharing. Defo must go there.
  • + 3
 Music by Microsoft.
  • + 1
 Best Video Ever!! Thanks for sharing. Do you have a YouTube Channel?

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