18 November 2013

New IMBA Ride Centers and Epic in Europe. And the awards go to……

IMBA is pleased to announce this year’s class of Model Trails, all of which pay homage to the best a region has to offer. We are confident that these awardees should go on your short list of riding destinations. These are the trails worth traveling to, the best places to introduce someone to the sport we all love and are the facilities builders and advocates should look to for inspiration. They vary from gorgeous adventures in the backcountry to innovative trail systems located amidst population centers. 

This year, three European model trail projects are added  to your bucket list. Livigno, Italy, became a silver level IMBA Ride Center where  Rychlebské Stezky, Černá Voda, Czech Republic was rewarded the bronze level status.  Alps Trail Davos, Switzerland, was rewarded as a new IMBA Epic. 

Ride Centers

The Ride Center designation represents IMBA's recognition of large-scale mountain bike destinations that offer a wide range of great trails for every riding style. Ride Centers not only invite you to plan a multi-day trip with your full quiver of mountain bikes and the whole family, they take care of you both on and off the trail by being places where mountain bikers are welcomed.


Situated in the Northern Italian Alps, the ski resort town of Livigno is sometimes called "Little Tibet" because of its mountainous setting near the Swiss border, in the heart of the Alta Rezia region. Livigno has a long history with mountain biking, including organizing the 2005 World Championships, and is known for its diverse, naturally-flowing trails, and cycling infrastructure. Livigno has more than 15 bike hotels that specifically cater to riders' needs, two big ski lift operations on two separate mountains, and one of Europe's top bike parks: the Mottolino Bike Park, which offers flow trails, jumps, downhill trails, a skills park, an air bag and North Shore-style features.

Long known has a highlight on trans-Alps routes, Livigno and the surrounding area has more than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) of mapped trails — it's possible to ride for weeks without even scratching the surface. In 2009, Livigno built the first IMBA-designated "Flow Country" trail, and plans are underway to build many more such purpose-built bike trails in upcoming years. The small town offers shopping (duty free), diverse accommodations and plenty of other activities. Trail maps, guided tours, retail and rental bike shops, bike instruction schools, a pump track, circuits for kids, and shuttle service to nearby rides, such as the IMBA Epic Bernina Express.

Many pro riders live and train in Livigno to take advantage of the altitude of 6,000 feet (1,800 meters). Regardless of your preferred style of riding — cross-country, trans-Alps, all-mountain, enduro, freeride or downhill — you will find unique and excellent riding opportunities. It is no wonder that IMBA honorary board member Hans Rey has said, "They are doing everything right at Livigno."More info at Livignobike.it 

Rychleby Trails

The region of the Czech Republic known as Moravia is covered in rolling green hills and quaint little villages that would be easy to miss if you blinked your eyes while driving through them. Yet it's here in one of the smallest towns, called Černá Voda that you can find the headquarters of Rychlebské Stezky (Rychleby Trails) and it's frontman Pavel Hornik. I call him the "Mayor of Trail Town" because well…he is the mayor of Černá Voda! He and his partners have created some of the best mountain bike trails in the world here. He began as a forester, walking through the dense timber and surrounding the village and found a network of trails that lay hidden for decades. As he began to open these routes and ride them he realized that he wanted to share them, with his family, his countrymen, and the world. He found inspiration in the work of famed Welsh trail builder Dafydd Davis and used his trail building techniques and the concepts behind the successful Trail Centre program to create an amazing system of flowy all-weather sustainable mountain bicycle trails. The system of nearly 60 kilometers follows streams, passes an old castle, winds through meadows and eventually climbs over 470 meters to a mountain top overlooking the town. From here you can choose from a number of rocky descents and even one butter smooth Flow Trail that is almost finished!

Trail Specialist Shane Wilson spent three days exploring the trails that Pavel Hornik has created here. He was accompanied by Fadri Cazin of Allegra Tourismus and Patrick Koller, the creator of the new Corviglia Flow Trail in St. Moritz, Switzerland. With an eye towards designating Rychlebské as a Ride Center for 2013 they were amazed to see such a polished and world class trail center in the rural Czech countryside. 

IMBA Epic – Alps Trail Davos

With the addition of new Model Trail classifications in recent years, IMBA has returned the Epics to the original intent of the designation—demanding, singletrack adventures in a natural setting. The 2013 class of Epics celebrates true backcountry riding experiences that are technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length. 

The 45 km ride of the Alps Trail Davos takes you across Sound-of-Music landscapes. Mostly singletrack, you’ll ride through alpine meadows, forested valleys and idyllic farmland. It all begins with a trip up the lift in Davos to the top of Jakobshorn Peak. From there, you’ll descend into the valley where you can enjoy free, fresh milk from a dairy farm and sample local cheeses.

Pick up speed on a flow trail through the valley before climbing gently to Rinerhorn Mountain. From there, descend into the village of Monstein and visit its brewery, which claims to be the highest in the Alps. The final bit of trail—the “Via Romantica” segment—delivers you to Filisur, where a cappuccino and a train ride back to Davos awaits.