#StoryBase2017 was an event held by Saalbach inviting a group of collectives from around the world to come and share stories of their time in the region. For me of course it was going to be all about mountain biking but for others, it was photography, blogging or hiking, it brought together an amazing mix of different perspectives to show off the area during the summer season.
I travelled from Edinburgh to Munich, a relatively quick, easy and cheap flight, hopped in a transfer from Munich airport and arrived in Saalbach in time to build my new bike and watch the sunset at almost 2000m above sea level.
Awakening the next day, I was excited to get on the bike, greeted by blue skies, my plan was to take the Schattberg express to the top of X-Line and start with the famous Hacklberg trail. It descends around 1000m over 10 km, this would be would be the perfect way to introduce the new bike to Alpine riding. Leaving the top you’re greeted with flowing singletrack, sweeping turns and panoramic views, it truly is a perfect alpine trail. As you make your way down, it gradually steepens with small jumps and tighter switchbacks. Parts of the trails were built almost 60 years ago by farmers from the Hacklberg Alm – where you can stop mid run for a snack or if you’re feeling thirsty a beer.
Feeling comfortable on the bike, I headed back to the Blackriver Lodge to fine tune a couple of settings, remove a little pressure from the new 2018 Fox 36’s (back to 77psi) and check everything over – it’s safe to say at this point I had a big grin on my face, a new bike and out in the Alps, what more could you want?
Back at the lodge, I met Thomas, a landscape photographer was keen to come for a ride, bringing his camera and a DJI Mavic to shoot with we caught the last lift and rode down the Hacklberg trail grabbing shots as we worked down the trail. I put together the clips we got to give you an impression of just how stunning the scenery is…
Unfortunately whilst we were out filming I crashed hard when transitioning from one section to another, ripping some spokes out and banging my shoulder up, we finished all the filming though but I decided to have a rest the following day and opt out of racing the IXS Rookies Cup on Pro-Line (maybe next year). A rest day meant I could explore the area in a different sense, take some of the lifts that are accessible to hikers and eat some traditional food in one of the many mountain Alms.
Feeling refreshed the following day, I headed back up the lifts to explore more of the area. Starting the day with another Hacklberg run before heading over to the Z-Line. Things were going better today, I was finding my flow and felt more comfortable on the bike. The Z-Line was similar to a UK trail centre, long meandering straights with switchbacks, flowing jumps and turns dropped you back into Saalbach. I headed back to the lodge through the Glemmride festival, checking out some of the stands and catching up with friends from the industry but I wasn’t done yet. I finished the day off by a lap of X-Line. This is one of the steeper trails in the valley, rugged, rocky and a real challenge to get down on a shorter travel bike but it made for a lot of fun.
Monday was unfortunately my last day in the valley but a late evening flight meant I could ride for most of the day. I met with my buddy Christian and we decided to do a pre breakfast ride. We started with the Hacklberg trail and would divert down the Bergstadl Trail. This trail was different to everything in the valley, it was rugged, raw, less maintained but we had struck gold with some seriously amazing singletrack, found loam and slipped around in the roots. It was one RAD trail and the best part? Well, it took you straight to the Bergstadl Alm where we had our breakfast, eggs, fresh bread and Buttermilk.
I finished the day off with lunch, my final Apple Strudel of the trip and made my way to Munich airport. It was an awesome 4 days in Saalbach and I can’t wait to make my return to explore the region further. Thanks for making #StoryBase2017 happen, it was rad…