December 6 was the day when hoards of frothing mountain bikers joined those who were already in town for the Australian Mountain Bike Summit to ride the Epic first. It was a real unknown, not even the locals had ridden it, anyone who found their way onto it or snuck in a ride before the open date were spotted on the surveillance cameras and busted custard accordingly. We even tried to pay the trail builders a visit earlier in the year when the trail was under construction, but the talk of being blindfolded and walking through the bush scared us off, so we eagerly awaited what was in store of this massive project.
To date, the project has received $125,000 in federal funding through T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants, $375,000 in state funding through Regional Development Victoria. Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management has contributed $225,000 and the Mansfield Shire Council a further $25,000.
World Trail began construction in November 2013 a 40km trail that takes riders from the Mt Buller Village all the way down to the valley floor at Mirimbah via some old favourite trails and the recently completed linkages. You begin by riding some of the existing network toward the top of the well-loved Stonefly track, and it heads even further into the wilderness along ridge lines and mountain tops with a mixture of old and new trails. The juiciest bit is the 7km descent that throws you down the mountain in the finest flowing singletrack you will ever ride. Then you cruise a 2.7km undulating trail along the Delatite river to Mirimbah where an uplift shuttle awaits (if you’re organised) to return you back to Buller. It’s a mind bending ride, a real tough undertaking and is not for the faint hearted. A lot of climbing is rewarded with fun descending, so expect some highs and lows, cursing and hotting, it’s a real epic day ride.
Mount Buller threw one hell of a party for the riders to celebrate the Epic opening, whilst the weather didn’t like to party as much, the day was a real blast. This is how it unfolded.
The Australian Alpine Epic is open, get to it people!
Stay tuned for a complete story, and a seriously amazing video of Ryan from World Trail shredding the Epic soon.
And what about if one weekend every year, all the trails chairlifts opened up to a big ‘grand fondo’ style event, with no timing or racing, just a wristband that gets you food, drink and chairlift access.
It gets even better. Imagine doing a 30 minute flat out descent and arriving at a big tent, with cheese fondue, cold meats, beer, wine, chocolate, bread… Oh yes this does exist!
This may be impossible to happen in Australia, but this goes on in France and Switzerland, and is called the Passportes du Soleil and Flow was there again this year, basking in the sunshine of the alps with a myriad of trails at our glove tips.
80 km – 15 ski-lifts – 6000m of total downhill!
9 different resorts to start from :
– In France: Avoriaz, Châtel, Les Gets, Morzine and Montriond-Les Lindarets. – In Switzerland: Champéry, Morgins, Torgon and Les Crosets. 1000 m of total uphill climb
8 refreshment points. Start at any time between 7.30 a.m. and 9 a.m. from each resort.
Our start point was Les Gets, France and we made it back there as the last lift closes after hours and hours of descending. A truly life changing experience with the highest speeds, biggest views and cherries Euro dudes ever.
The two main centres; Chatel and Les Gets turn into a mountain biking festival with a huge bike demo system, night racing, expo’s, trials demos and live music. It’s a real buzz!
Flow’s tips for Passportes success:
– Set up your bike with meaty tubeless tyres.
– Take a real camera, it’s eye boggling out there.
Do you remember when you were a child and would walk into your best friends house – the one with the perfect family? Everyone would greet you with open arms, happy faces were everywhere, there was always a dog on the couch, everyone would take the time to ask how you were and what you day was like, and Mum (the traditional model of Mum), would be baking something that smelt like heaven.
That’s how it felt when Flow recently visited the Moots factory in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. No, there wasn’t anything baking in the oven (but there was a box of lovely donuts on offer), but the aroma of titanium being cut and welded wafted through this home. Within minutes we were made to feel like one of the family.
If that’s not enough and you’re even more interested in the factory and their manufacturing process, then check out this video.