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Austria’s Summer Version of Skiing: Bike Park Mountain Biking

If you miss the mountain scenery, the Viennese schnitzel, and getting from A to B by lifts, fear not: there is a possibility of experiencing this outside the skiing season as well. More and more Ski Resorts are using their lifts to carry mountain bikers up to the top of the mountains. In summer the ski slopes are exchanged for smoothly paved winding paths. Getting to these so-called “Bike parks“ for Mountain Biking is as convenient as when you want to go skiing in winter.

Trails

Banked curves and steep slopes are featured in the most liked trails of the Bike parks in Austria. To ride those flow trails you should have a full-suspension mountain bike (front and rear suspension). These bikes have an optimal system for shock absorption, which you will need while riding the flow trails.

There is a big variety of flow trails ranging from trails with no jumps to those with really big ones. Just like in winter there are blue, red, and black trails. Blue trails are smooth, pretty flat trails and have no tree roots and jumps. On the other hand, the black trails are steep, rocky, full of roots, and feature lots of jumps.

An overview of the available trails can be found at https://www.bikeundski.at/.

Dirt and Snow

How much dirt and snow are on the tracks is subject to the weather. After some sunny days at the bike park, the dirt on the ground will become dry and powdery and you’ll notice a slightly brown cloud of dust behind you as you ride. This phenomenon is similar to when you turn on a skiing slope and lift up the snow behind you.

In March 2022 there was a big amount of Sahara dust in the ski resorts of the Alps. Everything was covered in brown sand and when you made the first turn on the trail you saw the snow again. This is the opposite of what people in Arabia call “tiramisu” when they make a footprint into the desert when it snowed before and the brown sand can be seen below the layer of snow.

Getting Up the Mountain

Before the bike parks opened, many skiing resorts would close their ski lifts outside of the peak seasons, when the mountains are covered in snow. Nowadays, resorts open their ski lifts for mountain bikers looking to reach the flow trails on top of the mountains. Ski lifts take you and your bike as far as the lift goes.

However, the top station of the lift is not the limit. Getting somewhere where no lift brings you, is much easier with an e-bike. More and more e-bikes are in use at the bike parks and they have similar riding quality as the normal bike. The low center of gravity makes the bike very stable on the trail–additional weight makes it feel more sluggish.

Learn Mountain Biking

Knowing how you should set up your mountain bike and improving your riding technique helps to stay safe and confident on the trail. It is recommended to hire a private guide, for example, at bike&ski bike school, situated in four different resorts in Austria. A bike school is your partner if you are totally new and not familiar with the bike parks. You will be guided, receive the right equipment, and be housed in a conveniently located accommodation. Learning to bike on unfamiliar trails is always easier with a local guide.

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