For skiers the greatest joy is half a meter of fresh powder, but in the middle of January a mountain biker’s dream is a southern slope almost totally free of snow. At the start of last year we were out for a ride with Tibor Simai and discovered just such a jewel surrounded by snow and ice.

The snow crunches under our tires, our breath freezes in the icy air. Again and again during the climb we have to get through sections of trail which are completely iced over. Under these conditions it is hard to believe that just a few hundred meters on a trail awaits us which is almost free of snow.

Steil geht es die letzten Meter bergauf, im Sommer hasse ich diesen Uphill, jetzt im Winter kämpfe ich zusätzlich um Traktion was die Sache nicht weniger unangenehm macht. Dennoch gibt es einen Vorteil, dank der hohen Anstrengung friere ich nicht.
The last few meters are a steep climb. This uphill is torture even in summer; in winter you have to fight for traction as well, which doesn’t exactly make it less unpleasant. There is one plus though: all the exertion stops you from freezing!
Kalte Temperaturen, Schnee und Eis haben die Region fest im Griff. Auf den gegenüberliegenden Hängen tummeln sich Menschenmassen auf den Skipisten. Wir jedoch arbeiten uns ganz allein den Berg hinauf.
Cold temperatures, snow and ice have the region in their grip. On the slopes opposite, the crowds cavort on the ski slopes while we make our lonely way up the mountain.
Zähne zusammenbeißen! Der im Sommer bereits anspruchsvolle Anstieg wird im Winter noch anstrengender und fordernder.
Grit your teeth! The slope is challenging enough in summer. In winter it becomes even more tiring and demanding.
Südhänge Tibor Simai (5 von 15)
Irgendwann war es dann endlich soweit: Die Sonne strahlt durch die Äste, wir sind am Traileinstieg.
At last we had finally made it. The sun was shining through the branches and we were at the start of the trail.
Tibor hat gut lachen, gleich beginnt der Abfahrtsspaß
No wonder Tibor is laughing: the downhill fun is about to begin
Der Begriff schneefrei war wohl doch etwas hochgegriffen.
The term snow-free was probably a little bit of an exaggeration
Wen interessiert schon der Schnee bei blauem Himmel und Sonnenschein?
Who cares about the snow when you’ve got clear blue skies and sunshine?
Ellenbogen raus, Oberkörper runter, das Jagdgeschader Simai fliegt tief
Elbows out, chest down, Fighter Group Simai flying low
Bang boom bang! Stylegranate Tibor überfliegt kleinere Stufen einfach
Bang boom bang! Style King Tibor just flies over small steps
Voll fokussiert bis zum Schluss
No time to rest: on the trail you have to stay focused all the way down.

At the bottom of the trail we look down at ourselves- all clean. What a difference compared to the muddy Fall! High Five! Now it’s time to get back in the car quickly to get back home before the skiers start blocking the roads after the lifts close. Driving home, we all agree: even in winter there are days when it is better to leave the skis at home and take the bike.

Words & Pictures: Christoph Bayer

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