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Biking

Hail to the Bike Republic Sölden!

Sölden from a Biker’s Point of View

Glacier skiing, James Bond scenery and venue of the unrivaled Alpine Ski World Cup Opening yearly held in October. Sölden is well known for all these things. But there is something many do not know yet: The small village in the Ötztal also makes a real paradise for mountain bike fans and downhill professionals. The ultimate BIKE REPUBLIC SÖLDEN attracts hundreds of mountain bikers to the valley every year. Phil, Stefan, Andreas, Dom and myself (Tom) from the Ridersclub have tested the trails in the Republic and they were particularly enchanted by the “Silent Part of Sölden”.

Unique trail shaping specimen

“Downhill”, “over and over again”, “not easy to conquer” or “headstrong”. This is how the Ötztal locals call their trails in the Bike Republic. The names also represent the valley’s unique natural landscape.

Although this mountain world is especially beautiful, it cannot be tamed or influenced. Nature has its own rhythm. The eight Shaped Lines in Sölden (3 new ones in the 2018 season) fit perfectly and unobtrusively into the Alpine landscape – promising this wild nature feeling.

Trailbau an der
New in the 2018 season: the quite playful LETTN LINE – during construction period
© Leslie Kehmeier / Ötztal Tourismus
Biketransport - Bike Republic Sölden
On the way to Sölden: the anticipation increases with every kilometer covered
© Ridersclub

Old hands, young trails

Okay, here we are. Ready for a high dose of “flow”. Already during the journey towards the valley we can’t wait for this ultimate bike weekend in a group of five.

After a short check-in at Alpengasthof Grüner we take our bike gear and get ready for the first downhill ride. Our hotel is a partner lodging of the Ötztal Premium Card, so we can start directly from the base station of Gaislachkogl mountain gondola. Straight up!

As we enjoy a panoramic ride on the gondola, a dream comes true for every flow trail biker. Waves, steep turns, banked curves, wall rides and some “snails” – we have to get on the bike right away!

It’s nice to see how this sport is growing.”

Stefan, Ridersclub

From the gondola we can make out many families with children on the trails. So there is something for everyone, not only for old hands like us.

Ride fast or die tryin’

Tor zur Bike Republic Sölden - Bike Republic Sölden
Ready to rumble: the gate to the Bike Republic Sölden, in the true sense of the word © Ridersclub

After a short discussion we decide to try the Bike Republic’s classic Teäre Line (Ötztal dialect for stubborn). We leave the Gaislachkogl gondola at the middle station where the trail starts. Covering more than 5.2 kilometers, it is one of the longest and most legendary routes in the whole Republic. It features 130 bends, a wall ride and a wooden snail – an endless playground for trail bikers.

A downhill adventure on the Teäre Line takes between 10 and 15 minutes and is well suited for beginners and advanced. We ride the trail several times. We try to improve our ride on the banked turns constantly and to beat our personal record. Other material was installed only in a few spots. A big part of the Teäre Line is made of real earth and therefore offers plenty of grip.

But even the best day comes to an end. After thrilling hours on the Teäre Line and the more demanding Zaahe Line (Ötztal dialect for not easy to conquer), we look forward to a fabulous dinner at the Alpengasthof.

Pasaporte, por favor

Since the 2017 season, every visitor to the Bike Republic has its own citizen’s pass. It is free of charge for holders of a valid mountain bike ticket.

Bikers can collect a stamp on each trail, which represents a visa. For six, twelve or 18 collected trail visas you will get cool goodies at the Freizeit Arena Sölden. In addition, a Digital Citizens’ Assembly is held every year: bikers will be informed about the Republic’s future plans and can give their input to improve the service. You can register for the passport already in advance by downloading the map with all stamp sites. Visit the virtual registration office HERE.

Stempelstelle in der Bike Republic Sölden - Bike Republic Sölden
Get your passport and become a real Bike Republican! © Leslie Kehmeier / Ötztal Tourismus

Sölden’s Silent Part

On the scenic “Kleble Alm Trail” in Sölden’s Silent Part © Leslie Kehmeier / Ötztal Tourismus

The second day of our trip starts just in the same way the first one ended: with incredibly good food and a breakfast where even the laziest guy becomes an early bird! We empty the third cup of coffee quickly and head for the mountains. Checking the brakes. Pumping up the tires. Adjusting the handlebar. We are ready to rock the trails – let’s ride!

Today it’s not on the Shaped Lines but on Sölden’s Silent Part without mountain lifts and gondolas. So we take the shuttle bus to reach the routes quickly. The special feature of Natural Trails is that they were not built with the help of machines. These natural trails are used and loved by bikers and hikers alike. The fact that they are not “shaped” makes them technically demanding. Tree roots, rocks, stones and switchbacks force bikers to ride one behind the other – hence “Single Trails”.

The area on the eastern side of the valley is worth seeing! Deep green pine and larch forests with naturally shaped trails. Rushing mountain brooks accentuating the biker’s downhill flow. Lush meadows and picture-book views of the valley. It puts a permanent grin on every rider’s face! 😉

The names of the routes also differ from those of the Shaped Lines. Names like “Route Brunnenbergalm”, “Windachtal Trail”, “Klebe Alm Trail” and “Lochle Alm Trail” make it easy to exactly locate the trails. As we left early in the morning, we decide to take the longest of all trails: “Route Brunnenbergalm”. The natural trail from Brunnenbergalm down to the village center of Sölden covers 14.5 kilometers. Just perfect: lunch is already waiting on the valley floor – pizza and beer. What a tough biker’s life!

Biker auf der Harbe Line - Bike Republic Sölden
In an inclined position on the Harbe Line, Giggijoch top station in the background
© Rudi Wyhlidal / Ötztal Tourismus

Again and again

After lunch we take the second mountain railway, Giggijoch gondola. From the top station there is a great, newly built trail on the very first stretch: Harbe Line (Ötztal dialect for again and again). Don’t miss out on the fantastic panoramic view.

The 2.2 kilometer long blue Line was opened in the summer of 2017, and boasts a picture-book location. It is the first route above the tree line, built in very steep and exposed terrain. Very demanding but strongly recommended.

All in all, our short trip to Sölden was a really superb experience! Beautiful nature, hospitable people and a huge variety of mountain bike trails that cannot be conquered on a single weekend. The Ötztal has won our biker’s heart. We’ll be back for sure!

With this in mind: Ride on 🚵 and enjoy the trails 😎! (Cover image: © Ridersclub)

All important details about the BIKE REPUBLIC SÖLDEN can be found HERE on the official website.

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Gastautor

Author Gastautor

... varied guest authors write about their adventures and experiences in the Ötztal / in Sölden / in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl.

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