“The air is clear, the sky is blue…Plumes of white dust kick up…and warm, dry air feeds into your lungs…jump after jump, berm after berm…in to any of the multiple dusty, rocky, techy and flowy main trails and you have yourself a lot of options…everyone is having a great time on a perfectly graded, well maintained & modern mountainside.” Dirt Magazine on Vallnord Bike Park
Descent 1050m / 12km approx
Uplift: 1050m Climb: DH trail
You simply won’t believe reality when you ride this trail – it’s graded blue, but don’t let that fool you – it’s incredible fun if you are a more advance rider too! Yes, Vallnord has a track that will entertain absolutely any rider who hits it….it’s a masterpiece of design.
The blue grading doesn’t tell you the whole picture – you can take it gently and it feels like a smooth rollercoaster down the mountain, with stunning views and no rocks or roots. But hit it fast and enthisiastically and you will spend most of your time airborne at high speed!
This trail was added in 2016 and was an instant hit – these photos are of our buddy Cedric Gracia (who now also sponsors Singletrack Safari) for a photoshoot with Mountain Biking UK – and it featured on the cover. Yep, that there is a blue trail!
Lower down you hit the steeper section where it enters the treeline and drops to town – and it’s fast, furious and very, very long – most people have to stop for a break. Tabletops, step-ups, rollers, booters…it’s all here if you want it – or can be rolled if you don’t.
Descent 600m / 2.5km
Uplift: 600m Climb: DH trail
A few seasons ago, for the 2015 World Championships, a brand-new, full-tilt and highly challenging DH track was commissioned, with the intention of being one of the toughest pro-level trails ever conceived. And they did it. Boy, did they do it…
Featuring enormous road gaps, huge bridges, doubles, incredibly steep and technical areas, enormous jump lines (CG’s Airtime was Cedric Gracia’s contribution) and insane rock gardens it’s no surprise that Claudio Caluori (he of TV course preview and commentating fame) screamed his way down it on camera when he first rode it!
Sure, good riders will pick their way down it in sections, but only the very best riders will really ever be able to attack it properly – it really is incredibly challenging. We have spoken to many top riders over the years and many of the top pros in the World list the World Cup track at Vallnord as their favourite and most challenging track anywhere.
Descent 388m / 2.5km
Uplift: 388m Climb: DH Trail
Cubil was the first of the trails which Vallnord built when they extended the park to the top of the mountain a few years ago (we must be old to remember this!) and, frankly, its an absolute ripper of a track. You head off the top lift at 2358m and it starts off fairly gently…depending on how much speed you dare gain. Seriously, this trail absolutely sucks you down the mountain at warp speed!
It’s not steep – it’s just so….open! You can see miles infront of yourself a very long way – there’s not a tree in sight at the start; just long, gently sweeping berms that build more and more speed – there’s no need to hit the brakes – other than to calm your nerves. Thing is, you have to be careful, as very quickly you start hitting big tables that can launch you seriously high and long – be wary of crosswinds; we’ve seen people land miles off the track in gusty weather.
Lower down you’ll find a *huge* step up, optional gap lines, doubles, step-downs…and on one corner, if you dare attempt it there’s a very tough step-up/gap onto a harshly angled wallride with a step-down/gap to finish…most people stick to the main trail – it’s scary looking!
Descent 270m / 2km
Uplift: 270m Climb: DH Trail
Starting from the mid-point of the park, this trail may not drop a huge amount of height, but it twists backwards and forwards as it drops through the trees – and it’s narrow, natural-feeling and definitely a very “dark” blue grade!
We have always been surprised that this isn’t a red trail – so for improving riders who have found the other blues great fun, but are unsure about the red trails this is a great step up. And if you are a more experienced rider then you’ll find te option lines are actually pretty full on – there’s a long gap jump, several kickers and drops through the trees and even a pretty challenging mini road gap. All of these are optional lines – all have easier routes arond them which avoid the features if you aren’t reaady to hit it hard…
Descent 1058m / 12.5km
Uplift: 1058m Climb: DH Trail
The Avalanche Cup mass-start races are infamous; none more so than the Megavalanche at Alpe D’Huez. However the second-biggest and most established sister race is the Maxiavalanche here at Vallnord. It holds the first round every June, and has done for many years – it is the event which heralds the launch weekend for Vallnord each summer.
Oh, and it is an absolute *monster* trail – fast and flowing at the top of the mountain (the trail starts at 2358m) and flows backwards and forwards across the meadows following the same basic route as Cubil – keep your eyes open for the wallride as this is where the route splits. Below this point things have an extensively natural feel – you are going to hit just as many rock gardens and roots as you will find berms and drops.
This natural feel becomes more and more predominant after you drop below the road – the Maxi actually follows the same secton of the mountain as the World Cup – in fact you will spend brief periods on that trail, before flicking back into the dark, rooty, rocky forest gulleys which lead you all the way back to town 1058m below the top. The lower section is graded black – but this is due to its natural, technical nature…it’s defintely not your average, bermed, bike park machine-built trail!
Descent 270m / 3km approx
Uplift: 270m Climb: DH Trail
Vallnord has 3 “shore” trails – Wood Parks I&II, plus the Cedric Gracia-designed Project One. These have multiple line choices leading you through various features – the “Wood Parks” both have chicken-run lines around the major features, and in many places you can choose different-ability lines too. Just don’t ride in blind without checking where you are going first – one section for example has an elevated bridge which is not too tough for most riders…but it splits – turn right and you go down a ramp back to the forest floor – easy. However, go left and you will find a 15 foot high road gap that drops into a super-steep slope of roots!!
There’s some great areas on the Wood Parks for developing skills too – if you want to learn how to ride drops there’s a section with 4 different lines leading to a wooden landing ramp – the drop on the left being the largest, whilst the right hand line is a kerb-height option which can be rolled…
Ready for the next level? Wood Park I leads you to the entrance of “Project One” – this is where things suddenly get real! This suddenly feels entirely different – instead of feeling man-made, this feels like an augmented reality trail – very natural, full of rocks, loam, steep gulleys and trees, all linked together by ladders, drops and features that require some real commitment – proper Shore!
"the land of huge mountains, beautiful singletrack, naughty switchbacks, burgers and beer!"
Shaun SimmonsRead more reviews