PART ONE: Explore the mountain bike mecca of Zermatt, Switzerland in this three part series!
Zermatt rivals many global mountain bike hotspots not just for how many kilometres of trail are available, but the variety, and the vertical drop that's possible. And there has been a lot of work going on to make sure they can really offer more riding options for a greater variety of riders. For sure, they can cater to the needs of an EWS race already – but those who want to come and watch will truly enjoy some of the new trails.
As an alpine town, Zermatt is quite high already at 1600m elevation. So the trails aren't super easy, which is why there has been a focus on making flow trails. “Right now it's more for the experienced mountain bikers, as many of the trails are difficult” says Jasmin Marti, who looks after mountain biking at the Zermatt Tourism office. “Now Zermatt is starting to make all the flow trails. When the flow trails are finished then Zermatt will be great for beginners and families.”
Zermatt Tourism states there are 150km of marked trails for mountain biking. The truth lies somewhere closer to 400km as all the trails are open for mountain biking, they're just not all marked. Add up to 45km of flow trails to this (by 2023) and it's clear Zermatt is only going to grow as a mountain bike destination. We hear there are even plans to build some more demanding technical trails, for mountain bikes only.
Like most alpine resorts, eMTBs are popular in Zermatt. As the town is car free you'll notice just about every local gets around by bike, and increasingly it is by e-bike. Sports shops are renting out eMTBs in summer, and often none are available on the weekends. Even with lifts and mountain trains, an eMTB does help riders stay out for longer, and access trails in a different way.
While our visit was to see the new trails – we also wanted to see what would be in store for the EWS next September, so we lined up a ride with some of the guides from Bike School Zermatt, who have played a key role in the event coming to Zermatt. Keep an eye out next week for the second instalment as we take a look at the trails for the upcoming Enduro World Series round!