If you follow the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup the resort of Leogang is a household name. It seems every race in Leogang has brought incredibly tight racing and some drama, Stevie Smith winning the overall on the last run of season, Josh Bryceland's first World Cup win, Aaron Gwin's chainless performance, or when he blew minds riding faster than any of us without a tyre? Safe to say, this part of the world has some history.
Why Ride Leogang?
Leogang, an infamous name in the mountain bike scene. A location many are quick to judge having not ridden there, it's a bike park that is perhaps showing more direct focus on mountain bike than any other in Europe and now counts itself among the top echelon of ‘must ride’ destinations.
It's worth acknowledging that Leogang is a resort that has taken it's fair share of flack over the years for being too bike park. Though this should be taken with a pinch of salt as most of those comments have come from racers. No doubt, Leogang is a bike park, a very good one, to race here means tracks with minimal line choice and insane speeds to get a good result. But what the cameras don't show is how much fun riders are having here during practice, it's a great place to come and get loose and wild.
The majority of the riding is based from Bad Leogang, a short distance from the main town itself and in a small hamlet of purpose built high end hotels, restaurants and one huge bike shop that surround the Asitzbahn lift complex. At the base of the mountain you will find several jump lines, an airbag, drops of various sizes and without doubt one of the finest pump tracks known to man, built by VeloSolutions. All of this can be accessed at anytime with a short push, so you can sit out on the terrace of our partner hotel and enjoy the evenings entertainment with a beer or take part until the sun drops down.
Leogang has been a regular stop on the UCI World Cup circuit since 2012. The World Cup track, known as Speedster, is rideable all season with exception of the very start. The jumps remain as they are for the race, as does taping and the line itself. There's something special about shredding a trail as you see it on the TV, you do feel like a bit of a hero, zip tie race plate on and beep yourself in at the start for extra stokens! Despite what certain racers may say, it's a helluva fun track to ride. It's flat out, with plenty of flow and a decent amount of tech. You won't ride your bike faster than you can on this trail.
There are several flow lines of varying difficulty from the red trails Hot Shots and Hang Man 1, to the flow trails of Hang Man 2 and the Steinberg Line. It’s not all about berms and jumps here. There are several more natural lines with plenty of tech such the new Antonius and Matzalm Trails aswell as the more established roots of lines like Bongo Bongo. It’s fair to say the Leogang has riding for all abilities.
The flow trails suit the novice and even the harder trails can be tackled in by someone who hasn’t got years of experience under their belt. This doesn’t mean there’s not enough on offer for the seasoned shredder, the trails have multiple line choice options with jumps often graded with two lips and landings depending on how confident you are feeling. Of course this is all extra to the Speedster World Cup track.
There are epic views of the mountains everywhere
Saalbach and Hinterglemm
Saalbach and Hinterglemm are two neighbouring resorts that offer something similar and at once very different to Leogang bike park. If riding from Leogang you should take the Asitzbahn bubble to the very top and begin the long climb and traverse to Saalbach. It’s a long old ride and quite mentally challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort. This is also part of completing the Big Five Challenge, an enduro loop that covers all of the big peaks in the area and some amazing single track and bike park trails.
The riding in Saalbach is a mix of bike park turns and jumps, with a good amount of wooden features aswell as some outstanding technical singletrack, trails such as the Bergstadt being a highlight. In Hinterglemm you’ll find more downhill orientated bike park runs such as the Pro Line. The level of riding in Saalbach and Hinterglemm requires a higher level of skill than Leogang to enjoy, the trails exist for most levels but they are more limited and you may often find yourself out of your comfort zone if you aren’t comfortable on equivalent red runs in UK bike parks.
Post riding the scene in Leogang is a mellow affair. Hotel Bacher on the front of the piste has an awesome infinity pool open to guests with views to the mountains, jump lines and pump tracks. There is also as a solid bar with friendly staff, offering a decent selection of drinks and good food. The outstanding hotel bar and restaurant in Mama Thresl is a great way to spend the evening, with superb staff, welcoming atmosphere and a food and drink offering that wouldn’t be out of place in a major city.
If you are looking for a big night out, you'll probably be disappointed as Leogang is built for sports, not the night life. The main town 5 minutes down the road is similarly a quiet town though it is a traditional village. Saafelden is a 5 minute cab ride away and has more atmosphere and just 15 minutes further is Zell am See, a mountain town packed with culture.
Flow trails and Pump Tracks!
The Big 5 Challenge and The Gravity Card
Leogang & Saalbach Hinterglemm teamed up to create the 'Big 5' challenge, an all day 68km tour of the region encompassing 5 mountains and five cable cars to show you the whole region in one day. It's a big old mission, with several ways of completing the task depending on where you start, it's a similar deal to the Passportes route in the Portes du Soleil.
The Gravity Card is an incredible piece of kit to have if you are touring the region with your bike in the summer months. Covering an incredible 6 countries and 21 bike parks it's the gateway to gravity mountain biking in Austria, Germany and Slovenia. It saves you time and money as all you'll need to do is rock up to your bike park of choice for the day and off you go, no queuing and no day ticket price, WIN!
MTB Beds Leogang & Schladming Research Trip
To get your mountain bike holiday in Austria & Leogang & Saalbach Hinterglemm booked check out our tours on offer below!