Video: Hans No Way Rey & Flying Brian Lopes Tackle Livigno's Highest Trails

Aug 1, 2018 at 3:30
by Carosello3000  
Views: 5,603    Faves: 15    Comments: 0


Written by: Hans Rey
Photos by: Markus Greber
Bikers: Hans Rey & Brian Lopes

The Tutti Frutti Epic MTB Tour is a one-day bucket-list ride that includes most of the new and existing trails at the Carosello 3000 Mountain Park in the resort town Livigno, Italy.

The 45km long tour includes only a few hundred meters of uphill pedalling since all the trails can be accessed by gondolas and chairlifts. Riders don’t have to be as qualified as my partner for this maiden tour, Brian Lopes. All of the trails are either red or blue (intermediate or beginner), suitable for most skill levels and perfect for Cross Country, All Mountain and Enduro bikes.

The local trail crew has so far built over 25 kilometres of purpose-built flow trails in the past years, according to a master-plan that I had provided with Trail designer Diddie Schneider 7 years ago. Add to this the already existing network of natural trails and you have over 3500 meters/ 11,500ft of vertical descent. Livigno’s slogan Feel the Alps is now unofficially Feel the Flow.

Photo Markus Greber

After working with Livigno for the past 10 years and after building the first ever Flow Country test trail there with Diddie Schneider in 2010, we slowly developed the “Flow Trail Center” on the Carosello 3000 Mountain Park. This is not a hardcore Bike Park as Livigno already offers on the other side of the valley, but this is more like a trail center, where everybody can ride, beginners can share the same trails with experts and pros, and don’t be mistaken by thinking trails for families and novice riders will be boring for experts, not if they are built properly.

My riding buddy for this initial ride was no other than my longtime friend and mountain biking icon Brian Lopes, a former World Champion and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, just like yours truly. Brian has a very special connection to Livigno, since he won here the 2005 4X Worlds. We both brought All Mountain bikes, my GT had 150mm front / 130mm rear and Brian’s Intense had 160mm front and rear.

Photo Markus Greber

The Tutti Frutti Epic starts and ends in town at the ‘Livigno Centro’ gondola station. A bike day pass from Carosello 3000 will allow you to use all the uphill assistance needed to complete this epic. The entire route will be marked with checkpoints in numeric order and maps and apps will be available.

The first gondola will give you beautiful views of the remote mountain village of Livigno and its lake, situated in the heart of the Alps and located just east of Switzerland. The first trail starts at the Costaccia restaurant and is one of my favourites, Roller Coaster is a red trail and is the only full-length Flow Country Trail in Italy, 4kms of berms, whoops and incredible views before heading up again, this time even higher with the Vetta chairlift.

Photo Markus Greber

The next section will include a number of trails, including Coast To Coast, S-Way and the last part of H-Dream before arriving on the far side of the mountain by the other gondola, the Carosello 3000 mid-station.

A short gondola ride and cappuccino later and we cruise down the newest trail on the map, its called Bikers United and we were the first to ride this trail. It is always fun to follow Brian, his skills are so incredible, even on a beginner trail he can link up new and interesting lines, some of them I have never seen anybody else ride or jump before, like linking two innocent rollers into a burly double jump.

After a quick selfie photo with the Scottish Highland cattle, which roam these mountains, we are back in the Gondola for an overdue Instagram update and to give our arms a rest.

Photo Markus Greber

The next stage will be twice as long, taking about 18 minutes, if you don’t stop much, it combines the upper part of Coast To Coast trail, H-Dream which is a red trail with some bigger jumps, but all of them can be rolled and there are no surprises. The key to great trails are three pillars: Sustainability, Safety and Predictability. That applies for expert trails the same as for beginner trails.

Photo Markus Greber

At the end of H-Dream is a short transition from Carosello Mid Station to Blueberry Line another super fun and flowy red trail. This trail will spit you out at one of the many mountain huts and restaurants along the tour, Tea Borch, where one can get refreshments and typical local homemade foods. Livigno has, as part of its extensive trail network the 30km Panoramica XC trail, that contours the entire valley. At this point of our tour we jump on the “Panoramica” Trail for a the next 3km, before we pedal back on the “Ciclabile” bike path along the river Spöl to the Carosello 3000 bottom station.

Photo Markus Greber

Now we are about half way through the Tutti Frutti Epic, but the grins on our faces are already in full extension. Next stop is 1200 meters above on top of Carosello 3000 Peak at 3000 meters, just as the name implies. Here we stop for lunch and relax in a sun chair for a moment. The views are incredible, Switzerland to the immediate West and to the East we have clear views of some of Italy’s tallest mountains, the Ortles-Cevedale, Gran Zebru and Stelvio glacier.

The charismatic mountain town of Livigno lays quietly far below us with all its beautiful hotels and shops. In the old days Livigno was cut off from the rest of the world during the winter months, due to the snow fall none of the passes could be crossed and the residents, mostly farmers, were on their own and cut off from the rest of the world. Nowadays things have changed, Livigno is accessible year around, the town was awarded duty-free status by the European Union, therefore it is also a shopping destination, besides being a ski and biking Eldorado.

Photo Markus Greber

Next Checkpoint on the Tutti Frutti itinerary is Madonon, it’s a pedal to get there and takes a good rider about 25 minutes, but its worthwhile the ride and one of the highlights of the tour. For me, this spot is extra special, the first time I rode there in 2008 I proposed to my wife Carmen at this very spot. To my surprise, since I had never been there before, I found a charming little mountain hut overlooking the entire valley as well as the glaciers of the Bernina Massif.

Photo Markus Greber

Huts like this one are spread scattered around Livigno high up in the mountains as shelters and are open for everyone, you can even sleep there, they often come with a stove and provide simple shelter in case of bad weather. If you are lucky, Iike I was when I first came there with my to-be–wife Carmen, as well as this time with Brian, I found a bottle wine there left by the last visitors. This point is marked by a Madonna statue that is lit up at night and is one of the landmarks high above the village. Nearby is also a toilet with a million dollars open air view.

Photo Markus Greber

From here we backtracked the single trail to the tiny Lac Salin Lake, from where we head to the backside of the Carosello 3000 Mountain and descent on a natural trail in the Val Federia valley. This descent is a long time classic for mountain bikers in Livigno, it drops into one of the most beautiful and remote valleys you can imagine. Halfway down we stop at Alpe Federia, this is the place where all the cows of Livigno (and one farm family) spend their summers. They offer home cooking and since it’s almost the end of our ride, we toast with a beer.

Photo Markus Greber

Thirty minutes later we arrive back in Livigno, Brian insists to stop by the lake for a swim while I have the Gelateria Talgliede in mind, knowing that the owner has already created a new ice cream flavour called TuttiFrutti.

The whole tour took us about 4:30 hours, including lunch, coffee and ice-cream.

Photo Markus Greber

Tutti frutti, oh rutti
Wop bop a loo bop a lop bom bom!
Tutti frutti, oh rutti
Now it’s your turn to ride this epic.


34 Comments

  • + 36
 I was lucky enough to ride Livigno last year. It was my first trip to Europe. One red-eye flight from NYC, 5 trains, 1 bus, and 20 hours later, I was in the Alps! On my very first run, I stopped at an intersection and spotted Hans himself. "No way" I said, and his whole group started cracking up. They invited me on their run, which I nervously accepted. I had a nice embarrassing otb crash in front of Hans shortly after, but kept on trucking. They invited me to ride with them the rest of the day, at which point I questioned if I was jet-lag dreaming and still tucked in to my tiny Italian hotel bed. I wasn't!

We shot over the backside of the mountain, drank some beers and shared some stories. We rode a bit more, and paraded down into town feeling good. They invited me to dinner with their group that night. I giggle out, "absolutely". I show up to dinner a few hours later and sat down directly across from the man himself. Many bottles of good Italian wine were shared. I remember being overly star-struck, and searching for words, but he seemed used to that. What a legend. We talked at length about his charity; Wheels4Life, and talked trials bikes and motorcycles until the bottles were gone.

To Hans, Birger, and the rest of the guys from Denmark, thanks again for the most surreal and memorable mountain biking day of my life.
  • + 21
 Well, it's a nice video, and a beautiful place. But these look like the most boring trails imaginable. Barely a hint of a natural feature anywhere. I'll never understand the urge to take a rugged, rocky mountainside and make trails so smooth there's barely any need for suspension. Will we ever recover from the flow trail obsession?
  • + 2
 I see your point. But Livigno really is one of the best places to ride. You have Carosello on one side of the valley and the Mottolino bike park on the other. Since last year you can buy tickets for both lifts.
We always went to Carosello for the first runs and to Mottolino in the afternoon. This way you get the best of both worlds: endless flow trails with stunning view over the tree limit and rugged, steep trails and enormous jumps on the other side.
And if the flow trail is too boring for you, you're not fast enough. Wink
  • + 2
 I can see why you may think that from some of these photos, but remember how steepness/grade never really shows up in pictures. The trails are flat-out amazing. Some are high speed / warp speed, with a good amount of exposure, some are more chill, but all of them are 100% fun. Not boring at all.
  • + 3
 Hard tail Heaven....yawn. The food looks good.
  • + 2
 The outdoor toilet looks pretty janky though
  • + 2
 @seppo5000: Agree with this comment, all you have to do is ride 10 min across the road to Mottolino for some great tech trails. Carosello is fun, fast, and flowy, which some people really like. The stuff off the back is also fun and ends with some tech trail options. Overall Livigno is a really fun place to ride for a few days.
  • + 3
 @djyosh: I think it's a jab at Gwinn for the crapper that's being built in his new house. PB had a video up a month or 2 back with Gwinn talking about his life, his new house... Aaaand his crapper with a view LoL
  • + 7
 That's funny, I'll never understand why some people refuse to enjoy both tech and flow trails. Dumb!
  • + 1
 @rip8569: same...variety is key! So much fun to be had on just about any trail with pitch
  • + 1
 Guess it depends on where you live. In Middle Tennessee seems all we have is natural trail with no flow. Any machine built flow is always welcome.
  • + 1
 The trails may look a bit boring and some of them are, but there are a lot of superfast sections with huge berms, short technical parts, some nice jumps etc. But the most important thing is this is one of the most beautiful spots in the European mountains. Period. You can have an amazing time there just setting and scanning views around you. Epic. At nearly 3000m above sea level (at the top of Carosello) this is even more enjoyable – a bit lack of oxygen will definitely calm you down Smile If you prefer superhardoce tracks, on the other side of the valley (500m from the lift) you’ll fang some old WC tracks, 10m drops and jumps, and crazy steep sections with rock and roots all around.
  • + 4
 Livigno/etc is on my list for September. Question for locals: for one day riding what trails should we hit for a mix of flow & tech, park & natural? Really worth doing this featured circuit? Most of it looked flowy but not too exciting.
  • + 2
 @Lornholio for just a one day ride I'll stick with Mottolino (or morning in Carosello + afternoon in Mottolino if you want) but if you fancy some pedalling involved in your ride (and you have the right fit) Livigno offer some great all-day (or more than one day) epics.
Check out some:
itinerari.mtb-mag.com/tours/view/17563
itinerari.mtb-mag.com/tours/view/12861
itinerari.mtb-mag.com/tours/view/10607
itinerari.mtb-mag.com/tours/view/13867
itinerari.mtb-mag.com/tours/view/12832
  • + 1
 Thanks!
  • + 1
 @Becciu: I am heading over to Italy for 2 weeks and plan to come by Livigno and Bormio for a couple of days. I want to ride both up to get my down. Are there any 'must do' loops? No worries on fitness, so the longer the better. Thanks.
  • + 1
 @Supermoo: DISCLAIMER
I've spent my holydays in Livigno several times but I'm NOT a local (last time there was actually 2 years ago), so seek confirmation to my advice from actual locals or professionals.

If you're looking for a real epic ride you might be up for something like this:
itinerari.mtb-mag.com/tours/view/14718
WARNING
This almost 90 km, almost 3000mt+ ride include at least an hour of high altitude hike-a-bike.
Cheers
  • + 6
 Mottolino on the other side is so much better place for riding. But the views from Carosello and the Blueberry line are worth the whole day ticket. Smile
  • + 1
 Hi
  • + 2
 This looks perfect to take my wife for a day out. I know it's "sanitised" but she'd enjoy the view and the trails would be challenging for her in certain places and a hella lot of fun for me to blast without thinking. If you want rugged trails, just head to the other side - there's something for everyone!
  • + 3
 Lopes looks like PC Principal Smile
  • + 3
 dudes still shredding - gotta love it - keep it roll Hans!
  • + 2
 @AutumnMedia: Hans has done so much for cycling over the course of his life. I can recall my buds and I watching vids of his in the early '90s and then going out and trying to emulate what we had just witnessed LoL

To see the man still contributing/inspiring, doing what he loves, is absolutely awesome! I hope he continues to ride for another 30 years Smile

m.youtube.com/watch?v=e9PcqgPZ75w&t=1201s If only I was as good as the chimp HaHa
  • + 3
 This would make the perfect big ride with kids!
  • + 3
 No Way Rey - with an ‘e’
  • + 2
 Legends! TOP! I want to go there!
  • + 1
 Epic pooping. The epic views would sure make you poop easier.
  • + 1
 Surprising no Lopes hater comments, yet. Haha.
  • + 1
 I thought Lopes was riding for Ibis now... He sure gets around.
  • + 3
 Likely a video that was filmed a while ago with different sponsors.
  • + 1
 @GTscoob: yeah, this video did the rounds about a year ago
  • + 1
 Worlds longest bmx track
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