With the news that the EWS had found a new home for their final in Zermatt - we had to visit to see what lies ahead for 2019.
Earlier this year it was announced that the Enduro World Series (EWS) had found a new home for the final round for 2019. With Finale Ligure having hosted the final rounds with much success - the Italian town will now be hosting the Trophy of Nations in late September 2019. More riders, more party, by the sounds of it!
We have visited Zermatt before - twice actually - looking at the trails for the pages of AMB. The first visit in 2014 revealed raw trails, huge views, and valleys covered with mountain transport. The scale of the riding was hard to comprehend, with trails from over 3000m that connected to towns not even in sight, and as low as 400m.
Visiting in August just gone, the changes on the slopes above this mountain town are impressive. There are now two purpose-built flow trails, with a 3rd being built and plans for more. And you still have open access to 400km of trails already in place. Trails that range from easy paths through to demanding natural trails right up close to huge mountains and glaciers. The trails pass from the high alpine, through the meadows and into the deep larch forests.
Nick and Adrian from Bike School Zermatt are instrumental in the event, and know the trails like the back of their hands. They showed is around for a couple of days and talked us through the plans.
So far we hear there are 6 stages planned for 2019, relying heavily on the mountain transport in Zermatt - although one liaison is likely to involve a 500m vertical climb starting at 2500m.
We rode a mix of trails that should feature, and spent some time on the flow trails which you'd be crazy not to ride on a visit - although they won't be part of the race.
That is probably the best thing about the EWS in Zermatt - there are so many trails that you won't be so restricted if you're there to watch. The town is big, with great restaurants and mountain restaurants - and even with high mountain huts you could ride to to stay the night! This is what will make the event so good - being not exclusively for the racers, but for any mountain biker who makes the trip to the car-free town in the Valais.
Stay tuned for our full feature on what's new in Zermatt in our first Alpine Issue for summer - out in December.