The French Alps, been there, done that, got the scars to prove it. As amazing as its resorts are, you’re missing out on a whole heap of riding if you only head to the same old trails this summer. One venue you should keep an eye on as the next big Alpine destination for mountain bikers is Innsbruck in Austria, here’s why we reckon you should check them out.
Crankworx is coming to Innsbruck for the first time this year. It’s not too late to go out to the festival itself on June 21-25 to party with the pros and watch five top events including slopestyle and downhill action but even if you miss it, the tracks they use will remain in place for the rest of the season. We’ve already had a sneak peak of the downhill track and it looks old school, flat-out and awesome.
Innsbruck has had racing pedigree for years thanks to the Nordkette single trail. Truth be told this is a real Marmite trail – steep techy, switchback-y and taking nearly ten minutes for the fastest pros to complete, it’s not your usual bike park run. It’s well worth testing yourself against though as we reckon it’s one of Europe’s most technical trails. The Nordkette mountain offers further trails like the Hungerburg and the Alzer Alm trail that go directly to the city.
3) Bikepark Innsbruck
The rest of the Innsbruck bike park, the location of Crankworx, is well worth an explore too. It has a great mix of singletrack and bikepark style trails to get the adrenaline flowing. Currently under construction is a 7.4km flow trail – we can’t wait to see how that pans out! And all Crankworx event locations like the pumptrack and even the slopestyle will remain there and can be used after the event throughout the season.
4) Austrian hospitality
Innsbruck is a huge university city and on top of the 130,000 inhabitants it has 30,000 students. This creates an international and young vibe with great bars and events. You'll be more than welcome here and won't be short of some apres-shred entertainment.
5) It's easy to get to
Yes, it may seem a bit further than you're used to but there aren’t many bike parks you can actually fly to. No long transfers, negotiating with taxi drivers or trying to work out foreign trains as you can fly in straight from Gatwick on Easy Jet or Heathrow with BA – just make sure you pack your bike well!
6) They actually want bikers to come!
Some recent controversies in the Alps have started to make Brits feel a bit unwelcome there, no such worries in Innsbruck where they’re actively encouraging mountain bikers to the area. Check out their bike friendly hotels here.