Heaven on two wheels
The bike trails in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena are a paradise for mountain bikers, e-bikers, and anyone else on two wheels. Thomas Koch, infrastructure manager for the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, tells us what’s so special here and how much work goes into developing the cycling infrastructure.
Cycling enthusiasts can enjoy several hundred kilometres of mountain bike routes, covering all difficulty levels, in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. ‘Our nature trails are especially popular,’ says Thomas Koch, and as the infrastructure manager for the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, he should know. As their name suggests, these trails have been largely left as nature intended them, which is what gives them their special charm. Bikers can of course also look forward to taking in all the surrounding scenery and some of the loveliest spots in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. ‘You’re always guaranteed magnificent panoramas. The Blindsee Trail, for example, with its views of the turquoise lake, is particularly beautiful,’ says Koch. The Blindsee Trail, difficulty level S3, has even been chosen as one of the ‘5 Great Trails’ in Tyrol.
Visitors to the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena who may not have the confidence to attempt one of the difficult single trails can get a taster at the Skill Area in Lermoos. ‘It’s like a simulation of difficulty levels S1, S2, and S3 where anyone can try out their biking skills,’ says Koch, who is a passionate mountain biker himself. Beyond the bike trails and opportunities to improve your skills, another good reason to try a biking holiday in the region is the excellent cycling infrastructure. From free bike transport on buses and mountain railways to bike guides and the many bike rental and service points – also for e-bikes – you won’t want for anything. Thomas Koch succinctly sums it up: ‘We’ve got it all here.’
Many visitors to the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena will be unaware of just how much work and planning, sometimes lasting years, goes into creating this cycling paradise. ‘Maintenance is a big issue, especially on the nature trails,’ says Koch. A trail keeper works all through the summer, maintaining order with a shovel and pickaxe. To be able to deal with the specifics of bike trails, it’s important that the trail keeper be a good mountain biker themselves. ‘Water management and maintenance following erosion is far more difficult than on hiking trails or new trails,’ explains Koch.
Beyond maintenance, building new bike trails in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena requires a certain amount of precision and flair. And sometimes also a good deal of patience. Land use areas need to be defined, landowner relationships clarified, and forestry and nature conservation requirements met, all of which costs time and money. ‘It can take two years before you even start the building work. It’s an immense effort all round,’ says Koch.
The real work out in the terrain only starts once the planning is complete and the authorities have signed off. The trail builders endeavour to find a route that is not only scenic but also offers the right terrain conditions. ‘It’s a bit like running the gauntlet through the woods,’ says Koch with a smile. Visitors to the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena will soon be able to try out two new, flowing bike trails – one in Lermoos and one in Biberwier. ‘We want to do even more for beginners and families. Right now we’re in the middle of the planning and development phase.’ Building work is due to start next spring, with the bike trails ready to go by the end of the summer. For even more biking fun.
Want more tips on biking in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena? Then take a look here, where a real pro tells us what really matters.