If you’re a mountain biker in search of paradise, look no further than Leogang, a mountain resort town in Salzburg, Austria.
Known as a winter-sport destination, the region is bustling with ski-jacket wearing, goggle-clad tourists during the colder months. But when the snow melts, it reveals its other face: a spectacular mountainous landscape jam-packed with zig-zagging, nearly-empty mountain bike trails.
Inspired by the natural slopes and obstacles presented by the mountain, some bike-obsessed riders set about building a bike park to rival all others. The Leogang Bike Park boasts an eye-watering array of trails for all abilities. So good are they that they regularly host world mtb champions and events. It is no lie to say that Leogang is home to some truly world-class mountain biking. That’s why we decided to treat our UK mtb Pioneers to a trip here.
For Hamish, Connor, and Dan it was a weekend of charging – gaining altitude, sometimes by pedal power, sometimes with a gondola ride, and then letting gravity do its work as they sped down the slopes on purpose-built trails. They were in the saddle for 90% of the weekend, and when not on the bike, they were drinking beer, enjoying gourmet meals and hobnobbing with other komoot mtb Pioneers who happened to show up at the bike park.
It’s a good thing all three are experienced riders: Hamish, the young gun of the group, brought the full force of his Australian enthusiasm to the weekend, soaring fearlessly down the singletracks, over jumps, and diving into conversations with gusto.
Dan was his foil. An experienced rider, his style on and off the bike was low key and controlled, testament to his skill – the result of years on the bike.
Connor was yet a different character, in the game of pushing his comfort zone. He displayed plenty of grit over the weekend and proved a positive force. Even when the uphill pushes got testing, and the downhill sections got gnarly, Connor could be counted on to look up with a smile. That was a blessing because we had some big rides in store for our Pioneers.
If you’re a mountain biking nut familiar with the mtb scene in Europe, you will have heard of Leogang’s Big 5: an epic mountain bike Tour connecting Leogang and the resort town of Saalbach Hinterglemm via five peaks. They had to ride up some serious hills because even the gondola couldn’t save them from some ascents. But luckily what comes up must go down and they were rewarded with some world-class downhill trails, some of them proving exceptionally challenging!
By the time they hit Leogang after the fifth downhill section, it was beer o’clock! The trip coincided with the Leogang Bike Festival, so at the invitation of the Leogang Tourism Board, the komoot group made their way to the Leogang stand. There were snacks, beer, and good old fashioned Austrian entertainment waiting for them. At the stand the group met up with Beat (from the Ischgl mtb Pioneer trip) and fellow mountain bike Pioneer, Peter. After a beer or two to wind them down from the epic ride, someone produced a hammer.
It was time for Hammerschlagen, the traditional drinking game where contestants try and hammer a nail into a stump of wood using the small side of the hammer’s head. To everyone’s surprise (and some people’s shame), the UK Pioneers were much better at the game than the Germans and Austrians present. In other words, those who’d been playing it since they could remember.
After a big ride, followed by a few beers and an excellent five-course meal served at the hotel restaurant (hotel Puradies), Hamish, Dan and Connor were ready for bed. In the morning they would be hitting one of Europe’s oldest and best-established bike parks.
Even though the second day was more chilled, they still managed to squeeze a lot in. The schedule allowed for a good few hours of bike park shredding, in which the group rode every single trail in the park – flow trails, technical trails and everything in between, including the four brand new tracks. The afternoon was free for more rides, sauna visits, and naps.
Their last day together brought more bike park riding, with Hamish, Connor, and Dan perfecting their techniques for specific runs, and revisiting their favorite trails in the park.
Our mountain bike Pioneers love mtb riding, so that’s what we gave them. Turns out Paradise is a pretty nice place
You can see the full Leogang Pioneer trip Collection here.
Want to become a komoot Pioneer? Read all about how you can get involved here.