300 out of 365 days of sunshine a year is a treat not to be missed. For sticklers for statistics, that’s around 82.2 %! The logical consequence of this is that less rain falls and the countryside stays dry. And what did farmers do with their arid fields in centuries gone by? That’s right, they used irrigation. This lack of water is not a problem in the valley, with the Etsch river flowing through it, but in the mountains, mile after mile of so-called ‘Waals’, or irrigation channels, had to be dug on the slopes. This is where mountain bikers come in. The higher-lying channels are no longer in use and have dried up, whilst the former service paths running alongside these ‘Waals’ now make fantastic winding single trails. Are you itching to get on your bike?
But how? In April? At high altitude? Yes, why not! The warm sunny slopes are just right for mountain biking from March (at the latest) until November – that’s 9 months out of 12! And when it gets too hot up on the Sonnenberg in summer, there’s the Nördersberg across the valley to try. Mountain bikers can make their way up to the mountain pastures amidst tall, dark fir trees and spruces and enjoy the views of the Sonnenberg and the Ötztaler Alps beyond them (yes, that’s where Ötzi the Ice Man was discovered).
Highs and Lows
Markus Gluderer, mountain bike guide and keen mountain biker for 10 years, has been up and down Sonnenberg and Nörderberg hundreds of times. He knows every single metre. His favourite tour goes from the village of Laas to the marble quarry at Göflan (Göflaner Marmorbruch). After a stop for refreshments on the mountain pasture at Göflan Alm experienced mountain bikers do the Holy Hansen Trail , others might prefer the way back down in a more leisurely fashion via the access road to Haslhof.
Stay with the mountain bike guide and get tips straight from the horse’s mouth
Markus rents out rooms, too , and guests are welcome to stay in one of 5 holiday flats, where they can get daily tips for their next tour or engage him as their guide.
If Markus is fully booked, there are similar guided tours at Matzes Vinschgaubike with special conditions for all partner accommodation businesses.
3 days on isolated mountain slopes: Vinschgau Cross is a challenge in terms of technique, fitness and stamina. The 6th June 2015 is a more sociable occasion, with the first edition of the Ortler Bike Marathon taking place! There’s an air of international competition from 29th to 31st May at TrailTrophy. Trail days, from 14th to 17th May, is sure to be a more lighthearted event: trails, bikes, fun and music are promised at this premiere. The Freeride Shuttle Service and St. Martin cable car and Tarscher Alm chair lift will provide a welcome means of transport for collectors of downhill meters.
We apologise for some of the links not being available in English, but you can still find downloadable maps and GPX data or email contacts. We hope that English links for the events will be available in subsequent years.