Ludo May and his SCOR teammates went on their first road trip. These two iconic destinations were on the hit list.
When it comes to epic destinations, Bettmeralp and Zermatt are definitely on the list. The iconic Swiss alpine town has been the scene of many movies, races and photoshoots, and the Aletsch Glacier has turned into the classic photo op for hikers and bikers. When asked to put together a road trip for the SCOR Collective, adding these destinations was an easy choice.
Launching a new brand is a lot of work, besides the obvious design of the products there are a lot of hurdles to take and stuff to organise. In the final stages, there are the team riders to be picked and some media to be created. With team riders Fannie Burkhardt, Kasi Schmidt, Thomas Del Gatto and myself squeezed in a van with some brand new SCOR bikes, we headed into the Swiss Alps to have Jérémie Reuiller create some bangers.
October is a tricky month, but I think it is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The first snow has already hit the high peaks but the trails are still running smooth. With the trees in all colours of the rainbow, we’re bound to get some good pictures. Another plus is that it is out of tourist season, so we’re practically alone in heaven.
Our escapade started in Fiesch in the Upper Valais, not far from Brig. For this first day and as a warm up, we chose to take the gondola to the mountain station of Bettmeralp to put our wheels down in front of the great Aletsch glacier, the longest glacier in the Alps. I'm always blown away by this prestigious ice giant, even though I'm sadly aware that these glaciers are rapidly losing mass year after year due to climate change.
From the top of the Bettmerhorn gondola, a very technical and alpine path takes us along the ridge and offers us a breathtaking view of the Aletsch glacier. It is difficult to look up from the handlebars on such a technical and rocky path but we still take advantage of a few stops to admire the beauty of the site and take some pictures.
The trail then descends towards the resort of Bettmeralp on a more flowy terrain. Once in the village, we choose another exposed path to return to the valley: a natural trail with a multitude of hairpins; everything we like! For this first day, the little group is in heaven with more than 1600m of descending to return to the car park at night. We start on good bases for the continuation of the adventures!
After a good breakfast, we left for Zermatt and kicked the day off with a ride on the side of Trockener Steg. This was one of the special stages used during the 2019 Enduro World Series. Unfortunately our photographer friend had a little indigestion and had to swap this morning riding session for a toilet session. Good thing about this is we got to enjoy riding without stopping and walking back for pictures too much. I love this trail with its nice rock slabs; we’re having a blast razzing down but we can't help it and have to stop and take some pictures with our smartphones.
No need to say, riding with the Matterhorn is really nice! We even meet the local fauna, chamois and ibexes, who look at us a bit perplexed. The day continues with a tourist excursion (with our bikes of course!) to the top of the Gornergrat. If you plan heading up there yourself, please note that it is now mandatory to book the train in advance and that bikers are only allowed early in the morning or after 4pm.
Jérémie, our photographer, recovered enough to join us for this late day session and the whole crew will keep a nice souvenir of this alpine escapade despite the slightly cool temperatures. All these cool pictures don’t come easy though. Jérémie asks us countless times to walk back up, jump a little higher and look a little faster. This is the part you don’t see on the image!
The conditions were epic, and although it was quite chilly all the walking back up warmed us up for the descent. Great light, alpine scenery, some 1450m of descending on technical and flow trails, what more could you ask for!
As we got off the train, we chatted with some local riders who were quite admiring of our new bikes and invited us to share an after-bike beer in their bike shop in Zermatt. I love these easy meetings on a bike! Of course who are we to say no to an after bike beer?
The next day, we woke up almost under the snow! We leave Zermatt, but not without a little stress (and laughter) when we buy the train tickets to go back down to the valley. Indeed, when you have to buy eight different train tickets for the whole crew plus the bikes with all the gear on your back, while the train is about to leave, it's better to laugh (and take the next train with extra tickets!).
After missing the first train, we did manage to get on the next one and headed back to the valley floor. A bunch of good memories created, lots of SD cards filled and a ton of memories made. Not bad for a first team trip! Can’t wait for the summer to return and explore the rest of Europe with this crew.