Shane Wilson and Mark McClure from IMBA’s Trail Solutions program spent three weeks developing a Mountain Bicycle Trails Master Plan for the area surrounding Andermatt, Switzerland. They travelled to the furthest points of the Urserental valley, using the local public transport systems of Post Bus, trains and cable cars to explore the Furka pass, Gotthard pass and Oberalp pass both by bike and on foot.
The team found endless vistas, great food, efficient transport systems and amazing terrain but unfortunately not many great mountain bicycle trails.
'Some of the toughest riding I've ever done in my life' – Mark McClure
The often snow covered, rock strewn trails hang precariously close to chasm like drops. More goat track than single track, many of the trails lead you deep into remote almost hidden corners of the valley. This is not riding for the faint of heart. Jagged yet grippy blocks of granite and uneven surfaces require trials rider like balance skills whilst steep gradients ensure riders need to be able to both climb and descend with aplomb. However the reward for traversing these treacherous routes are mind-blowing views of mountains, glaciers, lakes and meadows.
Andermatt has the potential to create an amazing new trail network for mountain bikers. The community can use their amazing terrain to create a 4-season destination. One that attracts a wide variety of riders to experience purpose built trails as well as the classic alpine mountain bicycling that Switzerland is already so well known for.
Coupling the terrain with the creation of new tourism infrastructure in the way of modern lifts, hotels, restaurants and a destination trail system; Andermatt has the potential to become one of the top destinations for mountain bikers in the Alps.
The planning documents produced by IMBA Trail Solutions are the first step in the process of creating a mountain bicycle specific trail network in the Ursental valley.
This project was conducted in partnership with Allegra Tourismus, Switzerland's foremost leader in Mountain Bike Tourism Development.