Originally from Issue #016, we gave ourselves one day to discover the trails around Kirchberg in the Kitzbühel Alps and well, it was truly stunning. Check out what we thought below or head to the article in our last issue.


Kirchberg is home to a ski slope that everyone knows, Austria’s legendary ‘Streif’ (or Hahnenkamm) ski run: steep, fast, dangerous, and only conquerable at race­pace by the world’s top skiers. But, despite this irrefutable focus on racing, the Kitzbühel Alps still have masses on offer for more regular skiers, or do they? As this winter sport hotspot has been creating a name for itself within the world of competitive mountain biking over the past few years, we wondered whether non­racers could still have fun or does life exclusively revolve around podiums here?

Stories were swapped and the past five years were discussed in­depth by Kerstin and Lukas on our trip to Tyrol’s Kirchberg. As two former marathon racers, they spent years lining up side by side, but it has now been half a decade since they last met. Interestingly though, it quickly transpired that they had both already ridden here, and neither hesitated when I invited them along with Samuel and myself. While Kitzbühel had enticed Lukas to explore its mass of trails during one of his countless weekend riding breaks, Kerstin had battled her competitors on this Austrian soil as the region hosted a round of the Specialized SRAM Enduro Series.

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Late arrival – early start

As is so often the case, we had big ambitions but limited time, so getting up early was crucial to obtain the maximum experience. Lazily hitting the breakfast buffet at 9 AM would constitute a waste of three hours that could have been spent riding – so we checked in the night before at Hotel Klausen, located directly opposite the Fleckalm cable car.

We were already on the trail as the sun rose, our tyres clawing into the dewy ground while the warmth of the autumnal sun began to beat down through the trees. Thanks to a kind soul, we’d hitched a shuttle up the first climb, saving our legs for later. It wasn’t really necessary though, as the ascent in question follows the well­maintained fire road up to Kreuzjöchl Lake and can easily be done even if you’re out of shape.


From the lake, you’re not only treated to a stunning panorama that spreads far and wide, but you’ve also got a super fun descent along the Wiegalm trail ahead. After a short stop for the local Tyrolese specialty of bacon and cheese dumplings, we sped down towards the valley.

Super flowing, the trail initially weaves its way across bright green Alpine pastures before dipping down into a forest where high speeds are easily maintained; there are very few (if any) unpleasant surprises, so everyone can enjoy the downhill. Once back down in the valley, we cruised along to the Gaisberg cable car – opting for a different type of mechanized assistance to overcome the day’s second climb.

If you’ve got the choice…

Once at the top, there are two MTB­specific trails for your enjoyment: head right for the Gaisberg trail, and left for the Lisi Osl trail, which – as the name suggests – was built in honour of the Kitzbühl­born rider who took the overall victory for XC in the 2009 World Cup. We took the easy option and rode both trails.

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As we were nearing the end of the season and the trails had seen some heavy use, they were bombed out with deep ruts. Nonetheless, we still had loads of fun. Swift berms, drops, and small jumps meant we descended rapidly and we soon stood in the queue for the chairlift to repeat the trail once more. Up, down, up, down – the speedy lift meant the fun was quickly repeated.

One of Kirchberg’s genuine highlights was still on our to­do list: the 7km­long Fleckalm trail, which – although created in 2013 for the European Marathon Championships – certainly includes some techy sections too. Dropping around 1,000 metres in altitude, the trail has a bit of everything to tempt any rider: high­speed sections, roots, small jumps, and an incredible view over the Wilden Kaiser peak on the other side of the valley. Kerstin, Lukas, Samuel, and I all agreed – this trail was sick! We couldn’t stop raving about the textbook blend of natural elements with the constructed parts which massively boosted the trail’s flow. No sooner do you come off a berm before you’re picking your line over a wet and tangled root garden. Boring? No chance!

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It’s all in the mix

Once back at our hotel, which stood exactly where the trail ended, we agreed that Kirchberg has just as much to offer in the summer as it does in the winter. The mix of constructed trails and natural sections combine to create the complete package for any rider. Whether it’s for a race or an easy ride, we’ll definitely pay another visit to Kirchberg.

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Travel tips:

Arriving: Best reached by car, Kirchberg is 1h 30 minutes from Munich. After leaving the Inn Valley motorway at Wörgl, you’ll hit Kirchberg within 25 km.

Cable cars: The Fleckalm and Gaisberg cable cars are the best options for mountain bikes. Both lifts are equipped to carry bikes and end close to the trails.

Accommodation: On the website kitzbuehler­alpen.com you’ll find a comprehensive guide to bike­friendly hotels, campsites, and holiday rental homes.

Guides/Bike schools: Kitzbühel is home to the Kurz Exenberger bike academy, which offers regular daily tours and courses. Personal guides or rental bikes can be booked online at bikeacademy.at

Route tips: You can find a huge selection of routes at maps.brixental.com – Our recommendations include: 261, 218, and 209.

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

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