Destination Showcase - Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Aug 15, 2019 at 13:07
by Samantha Saskia Dugon  
LENZERHEIDE, SWITZERLAND
Photography & Words: Samantha Saskia Dugon
Presented by Arosa Lenzerheide


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 sunrise peeking over the mountains as we get on the first lift to the top.

The view from 2800m
Snow patches on the trail and five tens made for some interesting shapes in my pedals.

Dark Side of the Moon providing the riding goods and the backdrop.

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.

Riding through the rocky and arid landscape.

The first section of "Dark Side of the Moon"
Walking down a loose rock face after getting a 360 view of the valley.

Looking at the moon from earth's version of a moonscape.

Through the tunnel
And out into the open.

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.

There was such a variety of landscape, from massive rocks to loose gravel to rolling green grass hills.

Riding down to the lake.

created by dji camera
Two views of the same lake
created by dji camera
One side green and grassy, the other littered with grey boulders.

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.

Practicing tight switchback turns

One of many chickens roaming around the restaurant.
One very good, yet sleepy, dog.

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.

The new, yet to be named trail down to the top of the bike park.

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.

The afternoon started off with a very steep and very very loose rock section.

The lower we go, the more greenery that appeared.

The views were constantly breathtaking
2nd Lake refresh of the day

Lake, trails, and landscapes. I couldn't wish for anymore.

created by dji camera
Behind the scenes drone action.
Any guesses on what he's saying?

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.


2nd day, 2nd first lift.
Waiting for our bikes to catch up.

We may have been lower down than the day before but the views didn't falter as we rode overlooking the town.

Early morning runs.
Narrow and techy straight off the lift.

More lakes, more trails, and more beautiful backdrops. There's a theme here isn't there?

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.

Into the trees!

This just looks like a rollercoaster for bikes endlessly weaving.

Checking out the trail stats and start on Trailforks before he heads off.
The light patches kept things interesting and your eyes refocusing.

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.

Lake number...I don't know, I've lost count.

To the pump track!
The perfect way to cool down at the end of the day.

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.

Local Knowledge

Getting 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

Lenzerheide mountain biking trails

Älpliseetrail

Alp Sanaspans

Alp Statz


Pinkbike would like to thank:
Lenzerheide Arosa
Hotel Dieschen


15 Comments

  • 2 0
 If you're going to Lenzerheide definitely also check out the riding in Davos/Klosters, St. Moritz, and Flims, all of which are about an hour drive from Lenzerheide. A great bike hotel in Lenzerheide is 'Revier mountain lodge', which is right next to the lift for the bikepark and overlooks the big lake in town. Less than $100/night plus discounted lift tix are a pretty good deal for Switzerland. You can also get free lift tix in Davos and St.Moritz in most hotels if you stay one or two nights.
  • 2 1
 Was there last year...Lenzerheide and Switzerland as a country are much more expensive than Whistler. For us Americans the exchange rate is what makes Canada much less expensive as the Swiss Franc and USD are nearly pegged at 1:1.
  • 2 0
 Camp and buy food and beer at the supermarked. Then this trips are doable without spending a lot of money. I am from Norway where the prices are sky high too. Get a nice tent, that saves you a lot of money.
  • 2 0
 What we always hear: Oh its so beautiful ..... and expensive. Right, but you can get some god deals in Flims/Laax, Davos or Lenzerheide. Free tickets or half the price.
  • 2 0
 Plus you often get lift tickets if you stay in a hotel.
  • 1 0
 plus exceptional postal busses that carry bikes, almost everywhere. included in most hotel deals.
  • 3 0
 Places like these look amazing. Europe knows how to do it.
  • 6 4
 Rad place, just bring your trust fun. Switzerland is insanely expensive.
  • 6 0
 IDK man, It was way cheaper than Whistler for me. 40CHF a day gets you a modern clean place to sleep, breakfast, and a lift ticket for the day. Figure out lunch and dinner and its much less expensive than a accommodation+ breakfast/lunch/dinner+Vail ticket prices.
  • 6 2
 @bicyclelifestyle: I'm not sure "cheaper than Whistler" is the standard by which affordable places should be judged. 99.9% of the planet is cheaper than Whistler. Of course, 99.8% of the planet is cheaper than Lenzerheide.
  • 6 0
 @toast2266: it really isn't that expensive if you're even remotely prudent. Supermarkets are much the same prices as most other places in the developed world, accommodation is not crazy, lift prices are cheaper than North America, Australia or NZ. Bike parts are $$$ though, so come prepared with a few basic spares like brake pads, tyres, hangers. In CH you CAN go nuts spending money if you want full luxury everything but complaining about the price is just complaining about your own laziness. It's such a sick place that it SHOULD be more expensive than anywhere else anyway.
  • 6 0
 @Socket: you are so right... We live in Whistler and just spent a week in Arosa riding and watching the UCI races in Lenzerheide. We cooked for ourselves and it was probably the same cost as going to somewhere like Moab or Bend. Scenery and riding are unbelievable and so different than what we get at home. If all you want to do is save money why travel at all?
  • 2 0
 I'm in the area quite often so this is super helpful!
  • 1 0
 Best guide in the area www.epic-bike.ch
  • 1 0
 I agree with you. Best guide in the city

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