Switzerland #1

 Domat/Ems Pumptrack


En route to Lenzerheide we stopped off at the pretty newly built pumptrack in Domat/Ems. Don’t be confused by the name, it is in fact one place there’s just some history to it!  It was a pretty sweet set-up and had facilities that we are not used to, a cold little water fountain and a cute little wooden shed with a fully functioning toilet. It was mega busy, which was awesome to see, filled with loads of kids having a wicked time. The track itself was incredible! The best track the two of us had ever ridden, and Aiken was blown away by it.
It featured the longest straight in any pumptrack worldwide (apparently), amongst scores of other transfers and options. Sods law unfortunately meant we had a fairly gusty headwind for the first straight, but it didn’t bum us out too much as the sheer size of the track meant lots of other fun could be had. After an unreal session and a track-side van dinner, we left Domat/Ems and headed to Lenzerheide.

https://vimeo.com/230401538

 
 

Lenzerheide

We arrived in Lenzerheide close to midnight, and we struggled to park initially due to all the car parks having restrictions and NO MOTORHOME/overnight signs (so mean). The temptation is just to park up and risk it, but we eventually found a carpark in Valbella, up high just before the town that we’d driven past on our way in. There were a couple of other vans in there, which is usually a good sign and gives us the green light!

Early AM we found the chairlift at the bottom of Piz Scalottas and made our way up to see Emmie and Phil who had stayed at the top of the mountain the night before.

The chairlift ride was dreamy and we saw lots of whistling Marmots chilling on the rocks on the way up. We had a coffee and croissant at the top and admired the unbelievable view.


The first descent we chose took us off down some fun switchbacks through some cows and (surprisingly) people and then dropped us down onto a fire road (eurgh). 
Other routes were available down the mountain, however we wanted a direct route down to warm up our legs. That being said though the badly signed fire-roads we could take back down to the lift station were pretty rubbish, loose and fast so we opted for a rough bit of single-track directly under the lift that we’d spotted on the way up. Once reaching the bottom, much more awake we headed back up for a second attempt. This descent had far more flow and luckily fairly hiker free, apart from a woman pedaling up…!
After the trail ran out into yet more fire-road, we did a quick time check and realised we’d have to be quick about getting back to the van to make the most of our day-pass for the lifts.
 

Bikepark

With our chairlift pass (45chf which includes 3 lifts) we sprinted to the Bikepark-only a short ride from where we had parked thankfully. Not surprisingly, it was pretty busy, but nice to see so many people enjoying the park. The lifts were super quick and almost no queuing so we got plenty of runs in.
Aiken did the world cup trail whilst I stuck with the reds and blues, which were filled with big berms and tables, and a healthy dose of braking bumps.
Due to the chairlifts closing at 4.30 we hadn’t stopped for lunch, to further make the most out of our passes (why do they close so early?!) so we were ready for food and a lie down.

We stopped at the top of our last run down the park, and bumped into Emmie and Phil who persuaded us to take one final lift up to the top of the Rothorn at over 2800m. Phil had just (at a very fast pace) run down from it and couldn’t recommend it enough.
 

Rothorn


Holy Moly, what a mountain. The view was incredible. Endless peaks, glaciers and all sorts.
The initial descent was super loose but good fun, it then flattened out a touch, but we turned onto a different mixed use trail, away from the ‘proper’ one which takes you to the top of the bike park. Now this trail was hard. (I was worried Aiken was trying to kill me).
I’ll be honest, I had to concentrate a lot, and tried to not think about how far away we were from the bottom and maybe how unprepared I was for this last minute deviation.
When I stopped for a breather and took a look around, we really were in the middle of nowhere and very, very far from civilization way down in the valley below. This was an awesome experience but equally quite nerve racking for me. Mixed emotions from smiles for miles, to OMG I’M GOING TO DIE, but mainly just filled with stoke as we smashed it down the 1300m drop! Half way down though we came across a very cool small mountain hut and took a well earned break (thank god) for some ice cream- yummy.
The remainder of the descent was via fire-roads and gravel tracks due to a mechanical (Aiken had all but destroyed his rear wheel so had to nurse it down)- which was a relief for me. I was toast!
In total we did nearly 4500m of descending, and 10 (or so) chairlifts, so it was a bit of a monster day for me and my little trail bike. 

https://www.strava.com/activities/1133332685/shareable_images/map_based?hl=en-US&v=1502726174

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