MTB Region Review: Lermoos in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena

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The Grubigstein mountain is known first and foremost in the mountainbike scene for its excellent circular rides. But in recent years it has also gained a reputation as a small but perfectly formed destination for trailriding. With a new trail added in recent years, I thought it was time to take a look myself.

Patrick

A passionate climber, ski tourer and mountain biker, Patrick feels... View author

Getting there

The village of Lermoos is situated on to the road leading over the Fernpass connecting Austria and Germany, so it can be busy with holidaymakers at certain times of the year. When the roads are clear, the journey to and from Lermoos is quick and easy – and there were even some excellent signposts showing us the way to a large car park.

Arrival: 4 chainrings (out of 5)

Trails

With our bikes assembled and lift tickets purchased ,it was time to get riding. In recent years the trail known as “Forest One” or “ Forest Thunder”, which starts at the mid-way station of the lift, has been expanded  to include “Forest Two” or “Forest Aisle”, which starts at the Grubigalm mountain hut. At the time of visiting, the new trail was still a little loose because of the heavy rain in June – but the friendly staff at the lift nevertheless let us take a look at the last section of the new trail, which seems to have been designed for maximum flow.

Forest Thunder Trail: downhill deluxe

The Tiroler Zugspitz Arena recommends freeride mountainbikes for riding the Forest Thunder Trail – and they are right. Most of the natural trail is definitely not designed for beginners. With plenty of roots and a few rock gardens thrown in for good measure, this trail is a good place to test whether your suspension is dialled in. I would definitely recommend this trail for fans of challenging downhill runs who find monsters such as the Nordkette Trail a little too hard. The main different between this trail and the Nordkette Trail to the north of Innsbruck is that it is significantly less steep.

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Forest Thunder – the clue’s in the name.

Riders can always see what’s coming up ahead, keeping nasty surprises to a minimum. One section worth taking a look at first is the area with the two drop-offs. Depending on which line you choose, these can catapult you into a washed out root section which is difficult for braking – and the wallride immediately after leaves you little time to think. In wet conditions the trail is even more interesting. The Forest One Trail is divided into three sections rating according to their difficulty level (black, red, blue), with the blue section most appropriate for inexperienced riders.

The final highlight, just before you reach the bottom of the trail, is a drop-off perfect for spectacular photos – great motivation for the next descent!

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Blindsee Trail: water, water everywhere!

On hot days the Blindsee Trail offers the perfect place to cool off: the final section of the trail passes by a lake. The ride can also be extended using the Marienbergbahn lift. Riders with a little more time on their hands and wishing to take on a challenge will be interested to know that the Blindsee Trail is part of the Tirol Mountain Bike Safari – Stage 5 (singletrack variation) from Lermoos to Seefeld.

Overall verdict on the trails

The Zugspitz Arena offers plenty of options for mountainbikers. Trailriding enthusiasts wishing to combine fun on the bike with a dip in some of the local swimming lakes should definitely pay a visit.

My overall trail rating:
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Price

The prices on the Grubigstein mountain are fair. A day ticket costs €24, while a four-hour ticket costs €18.40 and a two-hour ticket €12.50. That means there is a ticket for everyone, even those who want to stay only for a couple of hours. The lifts give access not only to “Forest One&Two” but also to the Blindsee Trail.

There are a number of huts and restaurants on the mountain, such as the Grubigalm, serving hearty food at reasonable prices. Riders who wish to explore the wider region using several lifts and cable cars should check if their pass is valid on all the lifts they plan to use. For example, riders need two different passes for the Grubigstein and Marienberg mountains.

Overall price rating: 4 chainrings
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Accommodation & service

The region has clearly specialised in bike tourism. There are several dedicated bike hotels featuring facilities such as a small workshop or a lockable overnight storage room. The sport shops in the region offer a selection of hardtails, full-suspension bikes and, of course, all the necessary protective equipment.

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One thing particularly worth mentioning is the wide selection of rides which can be accessed using lifts and cable cars. All of the lifts and cable cars listed below in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena transport bikes free of charge for riders with a valid lift pass:

Maps are available at the local tourism offices. Another great option is the Z Ticket, which offers holders access to many lifts as well as a selection of further activities and highlights. The Z Ticket can be purchased. Guests staying in partner hotels in the region receive the Z Ticket free of charge. This option is particularly interesting for riders who wish to cover as much ground as possible. For more information on mountainbiking in the region visit the digital route planner on the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena website.

My rating for accommodation & service:

Events

SAAC offer a number of bike camps in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. These cater for a range of abilities, including beginners. However, there is still definitely room for improvement when it comes to events.

My event rating:

Conclusion:

Experienced trailriders will particularly enjoy the black-rated section of the Forest Thunder Trail, though this trail is also a good place for beginners to learn – provided they have a little patience and well-maintained material. Freeride is definitely the right word to describe this trail. The combination of the new section and the old section will be a lot of fun, especially the tricky transition from the fast and flowy first part to the more technical section in the forest.

Overall rating:

Test conditions:

Weather: light drizzle
Bike: Canyon Strive/ Cube Hanzz

Bike recommendation: Fast riders should use a stable freeride bike, but those who are willing to take things a little slower will also have fun on a good all-mountain full-suspension bike with at least 130mm of travel.

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