Continuing their work in Europe Shane Wilson and Mark McClure from IMBA's Trail Solutions program were able to visit a new pump track facility in Pontresina, Switzerland.
Designed and constructed by Velosolutions the 350 m pump track opened officially on Saturday 5th October 2013. It is located conveniently close to the train station and close to the center of town. The all concrete construction was chosen by the local government for its hard wearing characteristics, the pump track will require virtually no maintenance and must endure the Swiss winters for many years to come.
As we drove into town we could see the pump track laid out below us, the yellow coloured concrete looked just like dirt from a distance and as we got closer we could see groups of kids ripping around the track.
Excited to ride we parked the car in front of Bike School Pontresina , just 50 meters from the pump track. Receiving a warm welcome at the bike store and rental center we were provided with hard tail dirt jump bikes, perfect for riding the tight berms and transitions of the track.
Joining us were Lukas Hausler, a local trail builder who has worked on the nearby Corviglia Flow Trail in St Moritz and Niculin Bazzell from Bike School Pontresina. A short pedal from the store took us over a historic bridge dating from the early 1800s and soon we were at the pump track.
The infrastructure surrounding the track was well thought out with car parking, bicycle parking and an information panel explaining safety to the users of the facility.
The entrance to the pump track is at a high point giving riders a view over the whole facility. Waiting for some of the local kids to clear the track we dropped in for the first time. There are multiple options of line to explore and soon we were getting creative, transferring between berms and manualing and doubling the rollers. The shear scale of the pump track provided many opportunities to hit a variety of lines in one run...although after a lap or two of the physically demanding circuit we were beginning to get tired! The concrete surface grips well and is fast rolling, making it easy to build speed with confidence, it was hard to tell the difference between this surface and a well compacted dirt pump track.
The designer, Claudio Caluori has put a lot of thought into progressive gaps and transfer lines, sections at the tops of the berms had varying degrees of lip, allowing riders to launch into the air enabling a multitude of lines, giving the rider limitless options. The team from Velo Solutions spent five weeks constructing the pump track. First building in a drainage system and electrical cables for flood lighting before laying down insulating material to protect the riding surface from the harsh winter conditions. The final step was laying and shaping the concrete by hand.
We were having lots of fun and although our small group was made up of fairly proficient riders the many local kids who were hitting the pump track seemed to be having as much, if not more fun than we were!
The pump track at Pontresina provides a fun and progressive facility for riders of all ages and skill levels, with low maintenance costs making it a perfect solution for the municipality. It will be instrumental in growing the riding scene in the area, allowing riders to learn the techniques to hit the flow trails on the nearby mountains across the valley.