The Enduro World Series is not only the pinnacle of the sport of enduro, it's also a brilliant guide and resource for riding destinations. Much like the World Cup, the EWS is paid by resorts to feature on their calendar. The races act as a marketing tool and the partnership works, you get to see world class racing in new destinations and racers get to experience fresh and challenging terrain every round. There's a reason Sam Hill and many other athletes switch from downhill, there's only so many times you can race Fort William's DH track before getting bored maybe....
The beauty of an enduro race is even when you return to a venue on multiple occasions, the tracks will be different, variety is key to an EWS, as the resorts that hold them want to show off their best or most unique trails, often building new trails for an event. It's not an exaggeration to say resorts like Finale Ligure, La Thuile, Val di Fassa and Punta Alta exist in their current form because of the series.
|Val di Fassa #1||Italy||23rd June|
|Val di Fassa #2||Italy||26th June|
|La Thuile #1||Italy||8th July|
|La Thuile #2||Italy||10th July|
|Loudenvielle #1||France||2nd September|
|Loudenvielle #2||France||4th September|
|Pietra Ligure||Italy||18th September|
|Finale Ligure (Trophy of Nations)||Italy||26th September|
|Tweed Valley||Scotland||2nd October|
Our second home and if we're honest, probably our favourite place to ride a bike. Finale Ligure is more than just a place to ride your bike. The mix of a cool, historic town, beach and bustling bar and restaurant culture that is busy enough to bring atmosphere but not so busy you can't find a seat in the square at the end of a day in the hills.
Finale Ligure is the spiritual home of Italian enduro. The EWS has been held here every year since 2013 and it's a rider favourite, gelato, Aperol Spritz (red medicine), a dunk or surf in the sea mixed with some of the best mountain biking in Europe. It has been a controversial round for many years, with some trail inclusions being janky, awkward and there being some really long liaisons. Having operated here since 2016 we know why they do it, and to us the variety is what makes Finale so good!
Clementz, Oton, Graves, Rude, Mosely, Chausson, Barel, Maes, Ravanel and Melamed have all won here. All different riders and all winning after some close battles. Being the last race of the season it's often a dramatic event, with the overall winners crowned in the town square. It will now become the Trophy of Nations, the pseudo Enduro team World Championships and a great way to finish the season in style.
Tracks such as Ingenere, Cromagnon, Ca Bianca, Roller Coaster, Super Groppo, Crestino, Mao Crest and DH Men, to name but afew, trails you will see on an MTB Beds tour in Finale Ligure, and so many more. The entire region is a treasure trove of mountain biking. Finale Ligure is a must ride location and it's testament to this that so many clients return for more year on year.
La Thuile, our little Aosta Valley jewel. Steep, gnarly and awesome fun. This resort nestled just below Mont Blanc is chairlift assisted and another must visit for any mountain biker. In reality many of the trails here are as demanding as any downhill track on the World Cup circuit, maybe why Sam Hill is almost unbeatable here.
There are afew blue runs, and there are flat sections of trail that make the long travel enduro bike the the king in La Thuile rather than the DH bike. Bring a full face helmet and a well maintained bike, because this is all about natural, raw descents littered with rocks, roots and all that the mountain can throw at you.
Winners here have included Hill, Rude and Mosely, all riders that crossed over from downhill, which the rest of the podiums in 2014, 2016 and 2018, which all included riders that either left downhill or take part in enduros when they can in between World Cups.
Lupin, Cambogia, Superkappa, La Tour. all epic descents and some of the trails you'll see on an Aosta Valley Epic Tour, a custom package to La Thuile or on possibly on a day trip from Morzine. La Thuile may not have the sheer scope of riding you'll find in Finale Ligure or Morzine, but it's more than enough for afew days riding, especially when you get yourself out of the bike park, by shuttling or pedalling, something we can arrange with our guide partner in Aosta.
Pietra Ligure has been in the shadow of Finale for too long. The trails here are awesome, and run differently to it's better known neighbour. There is a simple reason why, uplifts. You cannot upift Pietra Ligure easily. You need a 4x4 to tackle the steep fireroads and due to these roads being tight in many places only afew companies will be able to shuttle here.
Though we can and do arrange shuttles in Pietra Ligure, it makes up part of our Exclusive tour package, we actually ride here every week without shuttling, an uplift in the morning and pedal around the hillside from Finale Ligure actually gets you to the top of the trails in Pietra Ligure as fast as shuttle, and the 40 minutes of effort you put in makes the descents all the more worth while.
The first Pietra Ligure Enduro World Series round held in 2020 was a last minute addition to the calendar straight after Finale Ligure. A physical day for the riders involved with Jesse Melamed taking home the victory.
The riding here is more technical than Finale Ligure but not as challenging. The trails are by and large not as fast, have less rock and pitch to the descents. There is awesome flow to be found here, plenty of corkscrew, roller coaster, up and down, in and out trail descriptions apply when guides talk through the upcoming trail. The pedal tour over here works so well because the trails drop very little vertically, without having to do any pedalling to keep your speed the effort vs reward is very high in Pietra!
Quiet trails, EWS pedigree and backed up by Ligurian culture, hospitality and the beach at the end of the day. Win. Win. Win.
Just over the hill from Morzine. Samoens appeared on the EWS calender in 2015, only the once. It was a hit then and It's been a hit with everyone who has ridden there over the years, you can get to Samoens from Morzine using the lift system, but you would have to ride back home. Booking a shuttle home with MTB Beds gets you back home in comfort, even dropping you off at the top of Les Gets if you like for a home run back through the bike park.
Samoens is a cute, small town at the end of a valley system with one gondola and chairlift operating in the summer season. Though it is not a bike park per se, it has some of the best trails in the region with it's natural network of long descents, some marked with berms and jumps in places, others left to the mountain to decide the route.
With Samoens not being a bike focused resort, they have chosen not to re-apply to host EWS events, despite the success of the round they held. Richie Rude took his first win here, with the Kiwi Matt Walker taking a top 20 on DH bike with dropper post, you know this place is all about the descents.
Samoens descents are long and gnarly!
We are always excited to take the trip over to Samoens. With a day trip there from Morzine costing as little as €15 per person, we know it is an absolutely mint day on the bike, a perfect get away from Morzine. A guide isn't a bad idea to get to know the trails there, and is also advised if you do not know the epic descent down from the Morzine side of the valley. We can arrange a guide for a day or even half day in Samoens.
Is there enough riding in Samoens for a weeks holiday? Depends on the rider. If you want chairlift access only, no. A couple of days at best. If you want to use Samoens as a base to explore the region, using some pedal power and maybe a vehicle, then sure, there is is plenty to explore.
Of course we are bias, but using Morzine as a base to explore the region on a mountain bike is a better option, with the Portes du Soleil at your finger tips and some of the best riding in the world within an hours drive of your front door.
Any questions about our destinations or simply looking for accommodation for your next Enduro World Series event?
Hit us up and we'll be sure to hook you up with everything you need.