The Greatest Rides In The Alps, MTB Verbier promises that. And yes, they are right. We are not here for the first time. Last year we also visited Verbier in October with a Trailaddicts Weekend as well. This year our group is even bigger, with only acquaintances from previous Trailrides. October where to be a fantastic month in Verbier. The trails are quiet, it’s not hot and the weather is good. Erik, from MTB Verbier, explains that the proximity of the Mont Blanc massif to Verbier lies in a “protected valley”. Bad weather sticks to the highest mountain (Mont Blanc) and it doesn’t get over it.
Day 1: warm up
This Thursday is the day with the least weather forecasts. Cloudy and rain at the end of the day. In the mountains, that means: a rain jacket anyway! With a large group of 16 people + 3 guides (Erik, Ben and Jessica) it is important to find a place in the group on the first descent. The guests with EWS competition experience (okay, that’s 1: Martijn) are quickly diving into the first trail. Little craziness, but deep drainage channels that you can’t easily get through.
A split into two groups is easily made. One half forms the faster group, the other half feels more comfortable with a group with slightly less rapid descents. But both experience the same amount of FUN! Today we mainly ride bike park trails. The two groups measured again at the espresso stop. Everyone is still happy with their group choice. It is amazing that the bike park trails are now (at the end of the season) really in fantastic condition. Not completely broken, but just delicious!
When the dark clouds present themselves at the end of the day, I – and a few others – are already quite up. The Wouaiy trail (bike park: red, Trailforks: black) demands a lot from my arms and a few hundred meters before the end I wave off. The junction to the chalet. Due to the rain, we still descend 900 meters. And as it turns out, we do that on a section with super-tight switchbacks that we will ride later this week.
Day 2: above the clouds
After a fantastic evening meal from Lee, everyone is going in to bed. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was tired. After breakfast with the tastiest bread in Switzerland, we take the shuttle from MTB Verbier to a place even higher than the bike park lift (2,200m +). It is a little further climbing on the bike. We spot the summit of Mont Blanc in the distance, but every few minutes a cloud moves in front of it. We stay in the clouds until we take the last turn towards the trail. Above the clouds we see white tops. The trail that is coming (Vallon d’Arbi) is one of the coolest of the trip! And I am not alone, because behind me I hear someone who I almost can’t get shocked 🙂 Yes, the fast group has a new member!
The vegetation goes from dry grass, to autumn yellow larches, to green conifers. And the trail also goes from mega-rocky to more and more roots. Great! In the shuttle we go up again where we have a hike-and-bike credit. But because the cloud cover is closed, we decide not to. Or ….. If we have descended something it will clear up anyway. We decide to go for it with guide Erik. The hike-and-bike is now of course a little longer but oh so worth it! Lunch in the sun. A beautiful 360 degree view. And we dive into the technical trail via a ridgeline. Really technical! Steep, narrow and zero room for errors. Everyone walks a single switchback. But that doesn’t make the trail less; this is another gem in Verbier!
Because we end up quite a few kilometers from the chalet and we have to take the shuttle back, we drive a little further. Up another mountain for a fast downhill track to the chalet. Arriving on the bike (and fifteen minutes earlier than the bus!) Remains the best.
Redbull Rampage starts at dinner. And of course everyone wants to see that. Where all other evenings are fun with a glass of wine and a chat, we are now glued to screens. Of course this is also possible together! Erik and Jessica set up Rampage on a large screen. Good for some inspiration?
Day 3: bikepark shreddin’
Today is “Stache Day”. The closing day of Verbier Bikepark. The dress code = dungarees, buff, mustache and a 69 sign on your bike. Erik is already shining in this outfit. Wondering if he will get through a switchback in those tight dungarees …
In total we are coming down to almost 6,000 altitude meters today. With long enduro runs, lunch in the gondola and doorrrr! The black trails require considerable concentration and precision. And it’s good to keep some distance as the trails are already dry and dusty! Of course we end up in the bike park, where there is also the jumpline contest. Here come some good riders today! Thick whips. And a train of riders who both do a backflip on two tables. That didn’t go well at Rampage at Andreu Lacondeguy. Here it is.
Substantially inspired, we also hit the blue jumpline in the bike park twice. Those turns run so well. We chase after each other! Downstairs at the elevator beer and hamburgers are waiting for us. Bikepark Verbier treats!
Day 4: The last an most beautiful
Sunday departure day. Those who want to be home for dinner, already leave, but we are still left with a group of 9 men to ride one last trail. The shuttle goes today to Bruson, on the opposite side of all other days. There is still a climb of 500 meters left to do on their own, and with some conviction everyone knows how to get involved.
We climb to the trailhead over traversing single tracks. We look at a glacier edge and towards the ski village of Verbier. The trail starts on a ridgeline and we are looking forward to it! According to Erik and Ben, this is (actually) the most beautiful trail in the area. We are the last trip of the season, so this is also a great ending for bike junkies Erik and Ben. Everyone enjoys it to the full. The trail is long and has everything! Views, rockgardens, switchbacks, highspeed pieces, carrot packs, flow. We are stoked to come to MTB Verbier again next year! And we secretly toast that when we open a glass of bubbles at Erik and Jessica’s chalet to celebrate the end of the season …