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MTB destination: The Savognin in the Swiss Alps

Sabrina V. 11. October 2017

Barry and I set off with our MTBs to explore the All-Mountain and XC trails around Savognin in south-eastern Switzerland and enjoy the comfort of a specialized bike hotel.

The area around Savognin

Savognin is situated in Parc Ela, a nature park in Switzerland. While intended to protect nature, it is also meant to promote sustainable use and boost the economy. Hence, it features 800 km of marked MTB trails and in addition, mountain bikers are permitted to use all hiking trails. No wonder that we had no problem finding suitable routes with great descents, challenging climbs and spectacular panoramic Alpine views.

The Cube Hotel

Apart from the beautiful surroundings, we were also drawn to Savognin because of our accommodation called the Cube, a specialised bike hotel featured by our partner Mountain Bike Holidays.  Specialised is maybe an understatement. Guests can take their bikes up to their rooms on special ramps built for that purpose. Everything is designed with bikers in mind. There is space to hang the bikes up, dry your gear and so forth. The meals are prepared with understanding for the needs of endurance sports and there is a sauna and fitness area as well as game rooms and a climbing gym for the time spent off the bike. While the rooms could be a little larger, they have all the modern features one could desire.

The rooms could be larger, but the interior is modern and nice.

The rooms could be larger, but the interior is modern and nice.

The bikes are placed on "display" in front of the rooms.

The bikes are placed on "display" in front of the rooms.

The Cube Hotel offers all kinds of apres-bike activities.

The Cube Hotel offers all kinds of apres-bike activities.

Barry making use of the bike wash.

Barry making use of the bike wash.

The location of the hotel is ideal, right by the main gondola station. You can basically roll right in. Cube guests can use all the gondolas and lifts for free.

Savognin is surrounded by Alpine peaks.

Savognin is surrounded by Alpine peaks.

The rides

As mentioned before, the ride options in Savognin are seemingly endless. Many trails and two-tracks are similar to unpaved, but smooth northern-European forest roads. This is great for XC and All-Mountain riding. If you are expecting Enduro and DH style terrain, or shaped bike park quality tracks with berms and jumps, you are in the wrong place.  On the flip side, after every turn you are rewarded with breath-taking Alpine views.

Mountain Bike Holidays already offers a lot of information on their website, which we used beforehand to inform ourselves. Once there, you can either download the tracks onto your GPS device or simply followed the well-marked trails. The Cube also offers printed route maps and can even provide GPS devices for rent.

Mountain bikers have a lot of ride choices.

Mountain bikers have a lot of ride choices.

Time to hit the trails

On our first day, we rode the gondola up to 2150 meters above sea level and selected the “Downhill Trail” that took us straight back to Savognin. The name is a little misleading, It was a great choice for warming up and not too technical or difficult, even for beginners. Afterwards we set off on the Capricorn Tour. It included 1050 vertical meters of uphill and also involved a few gondolas. The climbs on the bike were well worth the suffering as we were rewarded with fantastic views of the surrounding Alps. In regards to the trails: pure fun and a great mix of fire roads and smooth trails. In the end of the day we recorded a total of 60 km ridden and about 4000 vertical meters of descending. Wow!

The chair lift rides are a chance to rest and take in the views.

The chair lift rides are a chance to rest and take in the views.

Rest stop with Alpine backdrop.

Rest stop with Alpine backdrop.

Who said climbing is no fun?

Who said climbing is no fun?

The second day

On the second day we were surprised by snow fall and a solid blanket on the trails higher up, which made us adapt our plans due to the weather as the use of the gondola was not possible. We finally decided on the Viva la Grischa, a 17 km loop with 550 vertical meters of climbing. The route took us along a river and past a beautiful lake before it sloped uphill, first on paved surface and then a fire road. The following descents continued of two tracks, but offered some great views. Of course, it would have been nicer to have more trail fun, but we still had a great day out riding and then we had the Cube and its sauna for post ride fun.

Where is the pot of gold?

Where is the pot of gold?

The summit views are spectacular.

The summit views are spectacular.

Shot taken on the 2nd day's ride.

Shot taken on the 2nd day's ride.

There is always a view.

There is always a view.

Leaving the Savognin and the Cube

The concept of the Cube as a specialised hotel for cyclists won us over. Its offer, tailor-made for bikers maximizes fun on and off the bike. The Savognin and its trail selection is great for All-Mountain and XC riding in front of a spectacular Alpine backdrop.

Do you have questions about the Savognin or the Cube hotel? Shoot away in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!

Sabrina

Sabrina V.

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