Singletrack Shangri-La

Mattias Fredrikkson on his love affair with the trails and scenery around the Swiss town of Zermatt.

The Swiss canton Valais is world renowned for excellent wine and in some circles also for amazing mountain biking.  By the foot of the iconic Matterhorn, riders from across the world find their fix in the singletrack Shangri-La that is Zermatt.

A few valleys over you have the ski resort Verbier which turns into a great bike destination during the summer months. The trails around these two beautiful mountain towns in the Swiss Alps are endless, flowy and simply perfect. Check out this photo essay by Mattias Fredriksson and get pumped for a visit this summer.

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Train takes the strain

Train takes the strain

If you want go for a road trip in Switzerland, skip the rental car and go by train between the mountain towns. The railway system is impressive and on time which makes it easy, even if you bring your bike and lots of bags.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Cabane de Chanrion

Cabane de Chanrion

Wade Simmons, Matt Hunter and local ripper Ludo May riding on a ridge just below Cabane de Chanrion (2462m above sea level) in the Val de Bagnes not far from the town of Le Chable, below Verbier.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Matt and the Matterhorn

Matt and the Matterhorn

A legendary rider and a legendary mountain in a great combo; Matt Hunter corners in perfect balance in front of the Matterhorn in Zermatt. This epic trail is called The Mark Twain Trail, which is a tribute to the well-known author from Mississippi who walked right here more than 100 years ago. 

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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The two Matt's

The two Matt's

The new generation of all mountain bikes allows us to go faster and harder. Matt Hunter is one of the new generation of all mountain rippers that pushes the boundaries much further on the trails. Here he's going full throttle in front of the Matterhorn.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Snowy caps

Snowy caps

In Zermatt winter meets summer and creates a fantastic contrast. Right before when we showed up in the beginning of August a bit of fresh snow had made the peaks extra white and fluffy, so when the sun came out, it looked amazing. Janne Tjärnström on route down to Riffelalp.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Mont Blanc watches on

Mont Blanc watches on

The real reason why you should go to Verbier to ride is the singletracks. They are long, smooth and fun. I am sure Janne Tjärnström agrees after riding trails like this all the time during his visit. In the background you can see the Mont Blanc massif.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Ridge line

Ridge line

On a misty and moody afternoon I captured Janne Tjärnström ripping down this ridge trail in Verbier with the Mont Blanc Massif behind him. Verbier is such a rad place, but make sure you have a local guide so you find the best trails.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Gornergrat

Gornergrat

Things get put into perspective in Zermatt. On a clear day you can see 40 mountain peaks over 4000m from Gornergrat station, that is unique in the Alps. Here Holger Meyer rides close to Gornergrat with Pollux (4092m), Castor (4228 m) and parts of the Gornergratgletscher in the background. 

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Easy access

Easy access

The train up to Gornergrat (3131m) goes up on the sides of the steep mountains above Zermatt (1616 m). There is no problem to bring your bike on board. Matt Hunter and Wade Simmons are pleased. Soon they will ride some of the best singletracks in the world back down to Zermatt. 

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Panoramic views

Panoramic views

A number of trails lead down the valley in different directions from the train station. At all times you have a fantastic panorama in front of your handlebars. It is like being right in the middle of a postcard. In this shot you can see the Matterhorn (4478m) and Breithorn (4165 m).

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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On the edge of the glacier

On the edge of the glacier

Holger Meyer and Karen Eller enjoy an amazing August evening close to Riffelalp, one of several areas in Zermatt with epic mountainbiking. One train up to about 2500m and then almost 1000 vertical metres down on winding, super-flowy singletrack.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Chris Winter dodges winter

Chris Winter dodges winter

Chris Winter from Vancouver, British Columbia runs Big Mountain Bike Adventures and guide groups of mountain bike lovers all over the world. He returns to Zermatt every year and loves the place. Here I have photographed him during an amazing evening on a trail close to Riffelberg.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Wade Simmons getting loose

Wade Simmons getting loose

Wade Simmons is a legend in mountain biking. The Canadian gentleman has been riding all over the world and when he loves the trails, you know it is good. I got the chance to photograph him in Zermatt when he was filming for the Anthill movie Strength In Numbers a couple of years ago.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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There are worse climbs...

There are worse climbs...

The vistas over the Gornergratgletscher and all the majestic peaks around are breath taking. Here Holger Meyer, Karen Eller and Janne Tjärnström climb up on amazing singletrack before a massive descent towards the town of Zermatt.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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Home time

Home time

Janne Tjärnström is ready to go home after the successful riding trip in Zermatt. You are not allowed to drive your car up to Zermatt (without a special permit) and the town itself is car free so the train is the way to go.

© Mattias Fredrikkson
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