SkiBike Tour 2015-16 - Leogang

Posted: Tuesday, 12 January 2016 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

This morning Wayne headed back home and poor Stephane claimed his right to a duvet day leaving myself and Thierry to explore Leogang another resort in spitting distance of Zell am SeeLeogang is as well known for its bike park as for its ski resort, so it should come as no surprise to find that it is a skibike friendly destination too.
Our starting point was the Steinbergbahn cable car station at just up the road from Leogang village and about 20 minutes from Zell am See. The Steinbergbahn was to all appearances totally brand new this season, there has clearly been massive investment in this area, if only we had the drive and confidence to do the same in Scotland how different it would be.
We found ourselves at the summit of the Kniestichkogel with the option of following the 88 blue run for an easy warm up. Disappointingly this turned out to be yet another icy mess, so we hastily sought some uplift via our first chairlift. I tentatively asked the operator if this would be OK and his quick witted reply was "Just so long as you have paid for a lift pass". Clearly there were going to be no issues with skibikes on chairlifts at Leogang.

We found a much better run down through the trees on pistes 87 & 92; then the heavens opened  and there was plentiful fresh snow everywhere. After so many days of wrestling my skibike for control, skittering and grinding across boiler plate hard ice, it was pure joy to get back that floating sensation, gliding silently across grippy snow. Unfortunately there was insufficient cover to go the whole way down to the valley floor. Assuming winter arrives at some point in 2016, later in the season this run is going to be something special.

Die Alte Schmeide - The Old Blacksmiths at Kniestichkogel

We stopped for lunch at Die Alte Schmeide a quirky museum restaurant full of ancient artefacts. Thierry was no doubt precisely aware of the; name, purpose and function of each and every one of the blacksmiths tool on display. Unfortunately he was a bit too distracted for discourse thanks to the view of all the waitresses wandering around in Lederhosen. French may be the language of love, but Austrian German is most definitely the language of sexy.


After lunch there was a tiny break in the weather with the odd glimpse of blue sky that allowed us to head further across the ridge. On the chairlift we held on to our skibikes grimly, as the wind tried its hardest to wrench them from our grasp and allow the mountain to claim them as its own. I normally find the skibike leash a bit of a faff, but now regretted not having it on me.
Our perseverance gave us the opportunity to head into a glorious powder bowl between the Grosse Asitz and Kleiner Asitz. With the temperature at -9 degrees and with massive wind chill, I managed to grab this hasty snap of his Lordship waist deep powder; but then couldn't get the camera back in my pocket or blue fingers back in their gloves. This 30 second moment was going to cost me three days of frost bitten fingers.

Powder at last - this hasty snap would cost me three days of frost bite

With the light failing rapidly, the wind rising and the weather generally closing in we headed back to the sanctuary of the Steinbergerbahn lift station.

Leogang proved to be as skibike friendly as its reputation, there were no issues at any of the chairlifts including one of the old ones which the operator dutifully slowed for us to allow easier loading. It is on the edge of the circuit that connects with Saalbach & Hinterglemm giving the option of huge touring potential, all be it in more clement conditions.