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Video: Building a Dream Riding Destination in Norway

Sep 30, 2021 at 4:48
by hallingdalrides  
Views: 6,846    Faves: 35    Comments: 2

We met up with mountain bike legend Glen Jacobs in Flå (pronounced "Flow"), in Hallingdal, Norway. Right now, some of the best trail builders in the world are working on what will be one of Europe's largest trail centers for mountain biking.

What is the secret behind creating a world-leading mountain bike destination? And will the new trails live up to sky-high expectations?

bigquotesPeople will fall in love with this place ...

Flagging and tagging the trail corridor.
Matthew hard at work
Glen Jacobs and the World Trail crew hard at work.

Ethan leading the trail builder train
Ethan, Matthew and Millie test riding their latest creation!

Beautiful retainer walls and drainage.
Crashing on a green trail - all good.
Beautiful drainage and retainer walls. We had to take a closer look at some of the features.

Author Info:
hallingdalrides avatar

Member since Aug 5, 2017
5 articles

  • 41 18
 So the consensus seems to be that blue and red trails should not contain any roots, rocks and have to be smooth and/or have tons of gravel on them? These trails look like you could ride a cross/gravel bike on them not that much slower than a mountain bike. Glad we have these ultra slack and low 29er enduro bikes, otherwise these trails would be totally unridable. ;-)
Why would anyone travel all the way to Norway to ride machine build flow trails like those that you can find everywhere? Sure, the views and nature are nice, but lodging and dining is insanely expensive.
  • 29 8
 You know why dining us expensive? Because local wages makes for a decent living across the population which means the potential for inland tourism is huge.

This really is simple Keynesian economics, give Jeff Bezos a couple of billions of tax relief, and it is going to accumulate in paper economy in the Cayman islands. Tax Jeff and make for a decent living for Joe and Jane, and the thousands of Joes and Janes are going to put their dollars back into the local economy.
Hard to fathom across the big pond…
  • 24 7
 This area already has a lot of very steep and knarly tracks, but the riders who ride those don’t bring that much revenue to an area.
A massive blue run that you do a couple of times with the whole family will bring much more revenue to an area.
This area has something for everyone, except angry entitled dicks on slack, low 29er enduro rigs. Please stay away xx
  • 16 1
 The thing is, we have very few flow trails in Norway. There is in total counting all the trails in the larger Oslo area, maybe 10 jumps in that are good. In total. On the other hand, the number of great natural trails, just in the larger Oslo area is countless. Flow trails are welcome here, and I bet there are 100s of natural trails that are awesome in Høgevarde
  • 5 0
 @Ynotgorilla: You have seen where I am located, or? Besides that our economy and wealth are not heavily relying on the fossile fuel industry, there are strong similarities in our social wellfare states.
  • 6 0
 @Almostredbike: Then why not advertise it as well? For a true mountain biker, this flow trail should not be the standout feature making you want to visit the area.
FWIW: I do not ride a low 29er enduro rig, but still can be a d!ck. ;-)
  • 4 0
 @bengtleon: Awesome, try to keep it like that! Too many good trails get the flow treatment, or, to word it better, they get dumbed down!
  • 3 0
 @iRiderPB: well, kinda. Since there are so few trails that are built sustainably. The best trails get ridden in all weather conditions, and gets rutted quickly. The numbers of riders grow exponentially. All I am saying is that you need volume trails to be ridden in bad weather and jumping is fun, I want to jump on my trail rides as well.
  • 5 2
 @iRiderPB: i think being a male genital is a prerequisite for pinkbike posting Smile . Trust us, a nice easy flow trail is a good thing here.
  • 1 3
 @Ynotgorilla: If the earning base makes more, they will spend more (inflation will make everything cost more). Not THAT is simple economics.
  • 2 1
 Sadly all people want now are machined trails. Any new person to the sport thinks that is what all bike parks are.
  • 9 1
 @iRiderPB: I suspect you may not be acquainted with the terrain in that area. Pay a look at their maps. Steep, lots of elevation change, what is flat has tundra. Almost certainly roots, technical and not easy.

I repeat what others said. There is very little for beginner, or for kids or for pleasant strolls. This is true in big towns (Oslo, Trondheim) or even for medium or small towns. It seems to be a problem for most of Norway.
  • 7 0
 If you're looking to build high traffic trails for a diverse group of rider abilities, you'd be a fool to build anything but a flow trail. Glen Jacobs definitely knows how to sneak in some doubles and side hits for the experienced riders that bother to look for them, but the aim is to accommodate as many riders as possible. The goal is to build mountain bike trails that nearly all mountain bikers will enjoy and come for, not some low key super steep tech trails for locals only. Given that there are existing tech trails in the area, if the aim is for tourist dollars, a diverse providing of trails isn't going to hurt. Regarding the gravel, The trail runs straight through one of Norway's many bogs, making sustainable construction of the surface impossible without a trail surface that can maintain strength while wet.
  • 1 0
 did ye aye?
  • 12 1
 Half of Scandinavia is going to vacate in Hallingdal next year, and half of Northern Europe the following summer, and it is going to put all of those tens of millions spent on golf courses across the country’s rural areas to shame! Everybody has a bicycle, only grandpa has a golf bag
  • 10 1
 Aaah grandpa has a bicycle, so watch your tongue!!!
  • 4 0
 @Stickyson: I think when they said "everyone" has a bike grampa was included in that but they just pointed out sarcastically, that only grampa has golf clubs.
  • 6 0
 And I, good sir, will be ready here in Nesbyen to guide them all! In all seriousness though, there has been a huge increase in visitors here in the last two years and I'm quite sure it will continue which is awesome for the area. One small positive from Covid.
  • 1 0
 Stickin with Hafjell and Kvitfjell. Got some of the best mountains just outside my doorstep. Big Grin
  • 3 0
 This is exactly what I'd be a bit cautious about.

Increased visitation is going to put a heavier load on the natural "local-gems" as well, and those don't have an army of maintenance folk. Just in the past two years with the 'rona we've seen an uptick of new riders on ebikes at our local trails and suddenly short-cuts start popping up, obstacles are removed and erosion increases because people are tearing up the trails after heavy rains has gone up.

I don't want to sound elitest, but it bugs the heck outta me when established local trails start getting wrecked beacuse people want to save a half second on their strava time, or they can't clear a log that has been a part of the trail for the past 7 years so they cut it up and drag it off the trail.
  • 2 0
 @Tjomball: How is biking around Kvitfjell? I've got a friend with a cabin there but have only been snowboarding.
  • 2 0
 @st-lupo: It's awesome. Lots of steep natural tech.
Some of the best riding terrain I've ever ridden.
I have no regrets moving there.
Check out Værfast in Ringebu if you get a chance.
  • 1 0
 @Tjomball: Cool, thanks! I'll have to beg for a weekend up there next summer!
  • 12 1
 Respectfully most of the commenters here ( with exception of the locals) misunderstand what the MAJORITY (emphasis) people to travel to bike want. You as commenters are not the majority. You are also not the target market. The dentists on Yetis are the target market.

Or in the case of Norway, the Germans on Canyons, the Brits, the Danes, the Swedes.....
  • 3 2
 I have 2 Yeti’s and i’m not a dentist and I don’t ride flow trails…i do have dentist’s to change me tires Wink
  • 1 2
 I do get it, but not every trail has to be a flow trail. If the trails are newly build, then I am OK with also building flow trails. However, locally a lot of the more challenging trails have been dumbed down by adding berms in every corner, pump track-like bumps, roots and rocks were filled in to smooth them out, and the trails were resurfaced with this bike park gravel sh!t.
Sure, you make the sport more accessible for more people, however, you insult the volunteers that for years put time and effort into building and maintaining the orginal trails. I will not help maintaining any of this and will put my trail building/maintaining efforts elsewhere. Let us see how quick they will be chopped up and I do not think any of these newly atracted riders help with keeping them running. ;-)

Regarding your comment that we on PB are the wrong audience: then why was this article posted here with a title "dream riding destination"? Why not say "Dream riding destinations with tons of natural trails now has also a flow trail, so you can bring your whole family for a vacation."?
  • 6 0
 I had the same reaction as some of the other anoraks. I'm not very much into machine-built "trails" (let's call them tracks), parks etc.

I have been riding in Nesbyen. And there's like a zillion kilometers of raw, natural trails, with more gnar, steeps, roots, rocks, highspeed airtime and death possibilities than you can shake a stick at.

We have a cabin in another town which is a "natural trail" nirvana. I love the place, but - again - the place lacks those flowy trails that draw the crowds. They opened the ski-lifts for bikes in one of the mountains for a day - and the trails were pretty much flogged. So, yes, we need so much more of this in Norway.

And btw, the one that set this building off in Nesbyen - "Den Ravinde" is just magic. Somehow they've managed to build a track that is just brilliant for any rider - kids or seasoned pros. You bet I'll be going next season!
  • 4 0
 Høgevarde is aiming to be the preferred place to go for MTBers. That is what's going to set us apart from most other MTB destinations in development in Norway and Europe. Most other destinations are building resorts for family's to enjoy MTB, not necessarily for MTBers to come and enjoy. Some of the trail footage isn't necessarily what some would prefer (grey "highway"), but that isn't a part of the future, nor was it built by World Trail....that being said it does have it's uses specially for recruitment(you still need something for everyone). I can confidently say we looked around the whole world to find the best expertise on making sustainable, but exciting and naturally beautiful trails....and we're sure we found a good partner. If you prefer rougher single trail that wasn't specifically made for biking, we have some awesome ones around....but they can sadly never be a volume product since they deteriorate with every rider on them. Come summer '22 we'll have more to show and drool about
  • 5 0
 Flå will be Derby on steroids, trail skill replications, growth patterns and competitive overlays. Exciting few years ahead.
  • 3 10
flag FoesKnows (Oct 2, 2021 at 11:39) (Below Threshold)
 Derby will never achieve its potential as per Tasmania in general, and Australia holistically due to its massive overreach on Covid impacts, its removal on peoples rights to movement, association, protest formerly enshrined in the Constitution. What a lost opportunity for the country trying to recover from Covid, already suffering being so far from anywhere in terms potential. The common thread here is the rise in Socialism.
  • 2 0
 I’m really glad that I watched this video for a few reasons. Mainly I’ve been struggling to progress my trails on the farm. I think I now know some of where I’ve been going wrong. It can be tough to do well drained trails that don’t wash away when your budget is low. Some of my drainage experiments are showing how they wear over a very wet winter (by Perth standards). I think I know the right direction to go to rebuild my latest trails properly so they won’t become rivers or disappear after heavy downpours. I also like the idea of the gnarly bits being side features. I hadn’t really considered doing it the other way round before. I will try it out.

It’s also awesome to see Glenn after all these years. He was one of my MTB idols when I was a kid.
  • 2 0
 I don't consider myself an expert rider but if a trail is rated a black, it's probably too easy. That's true of most bigger places I've ridden lately. Hope that is understood by this saying a black must be a black.
  • 1 0
 Awesome trails being made in Flå?
Wait wha?

If i could just get that little å circle thingy
to disappear
Pocus aaand,
a bunch of other magic stuff n words n whatever
And bring all the trails to Florida Ha ha ha haaaa
Please n thank you in advance
  • 2 0
 This looks awesome. Interesting info on building as well. Can't wait to pop over the border into Norway next summer. :-)
  • 1 0
 Looks awesome! A great way to start a new MTB destination with planning and infrastructure like that. Looks like a spot with plenty of options for future growth.
  • 3 0
 Why do Norwegians have Australian accents?
  • 6 2
 Most have had sex with Nicole Kidman at some point, she insists on an Australian ascent for make her feel more at home
  • 2 0
 One hour from my front door to Flå, next summer gonna be good!
  • 2 0
 I know where I'mma spend my weekends next year Cool Glad I moved here.
  • 2 0
 I gotta mention Værfast in Ringebu.
  • 1 0
 Ringebu has a really nice network. A bit further north though
  • 1 0
 Is this the 16km trail in Nesbyen?
  • 2 0
 No, this is a whole other project in Flå. Hallingspranget is the one in Nesbyen and will be open next spring Smile
  • 1 0
 So is this nesbyen or a rival too it?
  • 1 0
 It's located 30 min from Nesbyen, so rival or addition depends Who you ask i would say
  • 2 0
 Not Nesbyen, bust just down the road, Flå. It's another town in Hallingdal. With Geilo, Ål, Hemsedal, Nesbyen and Flå all building it makes Hallingdal a place you could spend a whole week riding now.
  • 3 2
 Building the great Autobahn…
  • 1 1
 Sad that there’s no mention of environmental sustainability.
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