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Discovering Italy's Val Gardena

David G. & Jan 10. August 2017

bc’s Jan and David explored the trails around Sella Ronda during an epic 3-day mountain bike trip.

At the end of June, we had the chance to spend a long weekend in the Val Gardena in the Dolomites of Northern Italy. The destination is especially popular among roadies for the Sella Ronda Bike Day when the spectacular alpine roads are blocked for motorists and cyclists freely roll. Few know however, that this region has much to offer for mountain bikers as well.

The Linder Hotel: By cyclists for cyclists

Through our partner, Mountain Bike Holidays, we had selected the Linder Hotel, which won us over with its special focus on cycling tourists. A lockable bike garage, a bike cleaning station, high-end rental bikes and a quick laundry service are just a few examples of the available amenities. The hotel’s modern rooms with balconies and great Alpine views make for a very comfortable stay.

The Hotel Linder

The Hotel Linder

The Linder hotel counts 6 MTB guides among its staff who offer tours for all skill levels every day but Sunday. These guided rides can be booked individually or as part of a package. Every evening, the hotel owner Günther presents the next day’s rides with a slideshow. According to him it’s easy to find difficult trails in the Val Gardena and difficult to find easy ones.  Don’t be concerned though, that’s where the guides come in, there is something for everybody and every skill level.

It’s easy to find difficult trails in Val Gardena and difficult to find easy ones.

Günther (Director - Hotel Linder)

Talking outstanding service, we should not forget to mention here that all the guides are trained photographers and take pictures during the rides. The day’s visual harvest is then shown at night at the hotel over cold beers and are also available for free download later. Can’t beat that.

Perfectly shaped trails with a panoramic view.

Perfectly shaped trails with a panoramic view.

Day 1 - Val Gardena Enduro Tour

We were on our own on the first day and followed a GPS track called “Val Gardena Enduro Tour” that featured great alpine panoramas, awesome trails and a lunch stop at beautiful Val d’Anna Hütte. The stats for the record: 35.5 km, 150 vertical meters of climbing and a 3650 meters down, all made possible by the use of 4 gondolas. Believe us, the energy saved uphill is needed on the singletrack descents.

Priceless views.

Priceless views.

Our room at Hotel Linder.

Our room at Hotel Linder.

We brought our own bc Liteville bikes.

We brought our own bc Liteville bikes.

Nice view.

Nice view.

Oh yes, we did find some mud.

Oh yes, we did find some mud.

Cir Flow Trail

Cir Flow Trail

The Geisler Peaks.

The Geisler Peaks.

Day 2 – Sella Ronda

On the second day, we joined a guided Enduro tour that would lead us around the Sella Mountains and included 4 mountain passes. Parallel, an All-mountain tour followed a similar route, hence it would have been possible to switch during the day as the tours shared the same rest stops. This is great for riders that are unsure about their abilities. Of course, the guides assist in the process.

One of the Sella Ronda trails.

One of the Sella Ronda trails.

One of the Sella Ronda trails.

One of the Sella Ronda trails.

We were a pretty homogenous bunch though and stayed together all day. By the way, the Val Gardena region is popular all over the place, hence our international group included 2 Spaniards, 2 Italians and us two Germans. Nothing unites like cycling!

Some trails have a lot of flow.

One of the Sella Ronda trails.

The Sella Ronda first led us down the newly built Cir Flow Trail and then the Fara Trail with its perfectly shaped berms and tables. Later we followed a series of natural and built trails. It never got boring. The views of Marmolada Glacier from on top of Porta Vescovo were breath-taking. Our guide Daniele knew all the best spots and even challenged us at times, all with good measure for our skill levels. Lunch of Italian pasta was served at a Refugio, where we also met with the All-Mountain group and happily exchanged experiences.

Some trails are trickier than they look from afar.

Some trails are trickier than they look from afar.

The views make it hard

The views make it hard

The second part of the day featured more great trails that alternated between gnarly, rock covered Enduro World Series material and flowy paths through Alpine meadows. Back at the hotel, my Strava showed 63 km and 4635 vertical meters uphill – most of it by gondola though.

We all had a big smile painted on our faces and toasted with the hotel’s proprietary “Ride the Dolomites” beer.

We will be back at Val Gardena soon and certainly stay again at Hotel Linder.

Jan & David
Ride the Dolomites has its own beer! Cheers to that.

Ride the Dolomites has its own beer! Cheers to that.

Day 3 – Cir-Flow and Frara Trail

On day three, we returned to the Cir-Flow and Fara Trail from the previous day, but this time without a guide. Italian Espresso at the top with spectacular Alpine views rounded out the experience.

After that we said our farewells. Thanks to Mountain Bike Holidays and Hotel Linder for such a perfect bike holiday. The Dolomites form part UNESCO’s World Heritage List for a reason, they are some of the most beautiful mountains on the planet and they are packed with awesome trails. We will be back!

La Dolce Vita.

La Dolce Vita.

A few video impressions from the Val Gardena trails.

Video

Have you done any rides in the Dolomites? Tell us about your experiences.

David G.

David G.

Blog comments are published with first name and first letter of surname.
Blog comments are published with first name and first letter of surname.