Next stop on the trip was Crans Montana which was just under 2 hours away. The rain was heavy when we arrived that evening and continued all through the night as I curled up in my bunk bed in the back of the camper listening to the hammering of rain on the roof, dreading the wet and muddy experiences we were in for the next day.
I woke up next morning and the rain hadn’t let off at all. We opted for a day of relaxing and walked round the bike shops in Crans Montana talking to the locals and asking about the tracks. We were expecting very muddy and wet tracks the next day but were told that dust was a common “problem” here so the rain was welcomed. For us UK riders dust has and never will be a problem so we were excited when we checked the forecast and were promised sunshine the next day.
The weather report was not very accurate, because as Thomas and I sat in the gondola, grateful of the fact that it wasn’t a chairlift, the wind whistled past our little plastic bubble causing it to sway dangerously from side to side. As we neared the top, we discovered that the fog had been hiding patches of snow on the top parts of the tracks. At that point I very much wished I had taken my thermals with me. I wasn’t expecting to see winter’s first snow at the beginning of September.
The first run down was very cold and the track was cover in patches of snow. Despite the awful weather, the track got us working with its big built up corners and fun doubles and hips. By the time we got to the treeline we had warmed up a treat and were ready for the remainder of what was turning out to be an awesome track turning our chattering teeth into grins of excitement. With hardly any breaking bumps and the fog being blown away, the sun shone through as we got to the bottom and readied ourselves for the next run on this massive hill.
The other riders who were wearing ski-clothes suggesting that they were locals who had expected this weather, recommended that we try out the DH track as the one we had just ridden was considered the freeride track. So we decided to give it a go and were blown away. We thought that the first track was good. This one was even better: Switchbacks, rockgardens, gully runs and roots proved to be the vital ingredients in the making of an amazing DH track. With the Kona Bikepark at the bottom of the track, we could finish the run with some big airs and drifts on the well sculpted jump track at the bottom.
After a cold day on the hill I was so glad that I could have a hot shower in the campervan. With a built-in heating system, gas stove, fridge, running water and lots of lighting, if road tripping in a tent is an argos mountain bike, then our campervan was a carbon V10. Its benefits really showed that first day when it was raining cats and dogs and we stayed in, chilled and played cards. I was sad to leave Crans Montana but our schedule was tight and we had places to go. We were only going down the road though, this time to Verbier.
Also, check out the Northbound and Down Blog