- The laid-back 3
3 coolest trails II…
Many people are already familiar with the name Angie Hohenwarter – freeride queen and practically a native of Saalbach. After the presentation of the best trails for beginners, we now move on to part two, with trails for freeriders. Naturally, our first question is: What is freeriding? There are many definitions, but “freeride” means riding to where you want in the way that you want. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to ride downhill. No, for that there are specified trails. It’s all about the individual deciding on the style, the speed and time they take. What is also different from downhill riding is that with freeriding, or Enduro, one can additionally ride uphill on the trails.
So much for the theory. In practice it is tricky even for Angie to distinguish which trial is suitable for freeriders, beginners or downhillers. An easy-going downhill trail is appropriate for freeriders as well as beginners. There are three trails which are simply perfect for freeriders: The legendary Hackelbergtrail, the Wurzeltrail and the Z-Line, which is also popular with downhill riders. The same rules apply for the freeriders and beginners. Namely: Always wear a helmet along with protectors and gloves. Don’t forget to pack some provisions and water in your rucksack. So we’re ready to set off and take a closer look at the first trail: The Hacklbergtrail on the Westgipfel, followed by the Wurzeltrail and lastly we test the Z-Line on the Zwölferkogel.
After the journey up to the Schattberg Ostgipfel, we have to pedal for a good 20 minutes before we reach the Westgipfel and are able to take in the views of the Glemmtal and surrounding peaks. The trail continues from the top station of the Westgipfel lift along a broad ridge to the Hacklbergalm (from which the name of the trail originates) and on to the Westgipfel middle station. It is here that the Hacklbergtrail ends, but not the fun factor! From here I ride along the Buchegg-Trail back down into the valley. We have completed a total of 10 kilometres of biking fun and covered 1,000 metres in altitude. The trail starts at the summit and meanders across a wide ridge down to the Hackelbergalm. We take the many curves at full speed, and Angie has some fun on the numerous kickers which adorn the trail. After a short stop at the Hackelbergalm we continue along the second part of the trail, over North-Shore elements and forest trails with plenty of twists and turns to the Bergstadl. From here we enjoy a fun-packed ride with an altitude difference of 1,000 metres down into the valley: “No more words needed!”
We continue to the Wurzeltrail. The trail leads from the Schönleiten lift to the Kohlmais which during the summer of 2019 is the only possibility to reach the Milka Line and Panorama-Trail. We ride over pastures and meadows and then disappear into the woods. The trail is somewhat technical, and the many roots ensure that our bike shock absorbers are working overtime.
From the Wurzeltrail in Saalbach, we head back to Hinterglemm. The Z-Line on the Zwölferkogel is located right next to the World Cup piste. We take the gondola to the middle station where the trail starts. The many banked curves with a sprinkling of North Shore elements ensure the trial is a biker’s playground. Our highlight is the Wallride at the end of the trail. Angie takes the wall with full speed and heads off in the direction of the Pumptrack. The rest of the day is casually spent at the Pumptrack.
(5.5 km, 170 metres elevation uphill, 600 metres downhill, intermediate)
Take the Schattberg lift to reach the start of the trail. From the top station, there is a short downhill section, before a 170-metre increase in altitude. You have then arrived at the summit of the Westgipfel and the start of the Hacklbergtrail. From here the trail continues along a flat Ridgeway in the direction of the Hacklbergalm. The trail is not steep and includes some sections where you can increase your speed with banked curves, jumps and some undulating terrain. Even for freeride novices, the Hackelberg trail is easy enough to attain experience in riding downhill. But beware, the trail is heavily used, and one should always keep an eye open for other freeride bikers. From the starting point, you will have a good overview of the whole trail. You will be enthralled by the picture-perfect landscape. After the initial flat part, the trail becomes steeper, and the first jumps appear in the direction of the Hackelbergalm. The kickers have been fabricated in a way that they can be easily avoided by those who don’t want to tackle them. The terrain alternates between undulating and flat. You will also pass a small Alpine lake which stands out amidst the blueberry bushes. After the Hacklbergalm the trail is dotted with technical highlights as it meanders towards the middle station of the Westgipfel. From here the Buchegg-Trail takes you back down to the valley.
(3.4 km, 100 metres elevation uphill, 100 metres downhill, intermediate)
The Wurzeltrail runs just below a ridge from the Kohlmais top station to the Schönleitenhütte. From this point on you are now on the tracks and downhill trials of Leogang. The trail is predominately flat with a couple of short passages where you need to pedal. The complexity of the trail is due to the many root passages, which require good navigation skills.
(3.7 km, 450 m downhill, intermediate)
The Z-Line is situated on the Zwölferkogel and is suitable for freeriders as well as downhill novices. Those who would like to can also ride up to the middle station by bike. At the start, the trail continues over some North-Shore passages, tables and small drops down to the Zwölferkogel valley station. All obstacles can also be avoided! A highlight is the Wallride on the lower part of the trail, with perfect background scenery. It is also possible to make a stopover at the adjacent Pumptrack.