TUTTI FRUITTI EPIC
WITH HANS REY & BRIAN LOPES
Join mountain bike legends Hans Rey and Brian Lopes as they take you on an actionpacked ride along a stunning new trail in the hills above the picturesque town of Livigno in Italy.
The “Tutti Frutti Epic” MTB Tour is a one day bucketlist ride that includes most of the new and existing trails at the Carosello 3000 Mountain Park in the resort town Livigno, Italy.
Starting from 2017 this will be a permanently marked tour that everybody can ride at their own pace. The 45km long tour includes only a few hundred metres of uphill pedalling, since all the trails can be accessed by gondolas and chairlifts. Riders don’t have to be as qualififififififififififififififififififified qualified as my partner for this maiden tour, Brian Lopes. All of the trails are either red or blue (intermediate or beginner), suitable for most skill levels and perfect for Cross-Country, All-Mountain and Enduro bikes.
The local trail crew has so far built over 25 kilometres of purpose-built flow trails in the past years, according to a master-plan that I had provided with trail designer Diddie Schneider seven years ago. Add to this the already existing network of natural trails and you have over 3500 metres of vertical descent. Livigno’s slogan “Feel the Alps” is now unofficially “Feel the Flow”.
After working with Livigno for the past 10 years and building the first ever Flow Country test trail there with Diddie Schneider in 2010, we slowly developed the “Flow Trail Center” on the Carosello 3000 Mountain Park. This is not a hard core bike park as Livigno already offers that on the other side of the valley, but is more like a trail centre where everybody can ride. Beginners can share the same trails with experts and pros - and don’t be mistaken in thinking that trails for families and novice riders will be boring for experts, not if they are built properly.
My riding buddy for this initial ride was no other than my long time friend and mountain biking icon Brian Lopes, a former World Champion and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, just like yours truly. Brian has a very special connection to Livigno, since it was here that he won the 2005 4 X Worlds. We both brought All-Mountain bikes, my GT had 150mm front and 130mm rear and Brian’s Intense had 160mm front and rear.
The Tutti Frutti Epic starts and ends in town at the ‘Livigno Centro’ gondola station. A bike day pass from Carosello 3000 will allow you to use all the uphill assistance needed to complete this epic. The entire route is marked with check points in numeric order and maps and apps are available .
The first gondola will give you beautiful views of the remote mountain village of Livigno and its lake, situated in the heart of the Alps and located just east of Switzerland. The first trail starts at the Costaccia restaurant and is one of my favorites – ‘Roller Coaster’ is a red trail and is the only full length Flow Country Trail in Italy with 4km of berms, woops and incredible views before heading up again, this time even higher with the Vetta Chairlift. The next section will include a number of trails, including ‘Coast To Coast’, ‘S-Way’ and the last part of ‘H-Dream’ before
A short gondola ride and cappuccino later and we cruise down the newest trail on the map, called ‘Bikers United’. In fact, we were the very first people to ride this trail. It is always fun to follow Brian, his skills are so incredible, and even on a beginner trail he can link up new and interesting lines - some of them I have never seen anybody else ride or jump before, like linking two innocent rollers into a burly double jump. After a quick selfie photo with the Scottish Highland Cattle which roam these mountains, we are back in the gondola for an overdue Instagram update and to give our arms a rest.
The next stage will be twice as long, taking about 18 minutes if you don’t stop much. It combines the upper part of ‘Coast To Coast’ trail with ‘H-Dream’, which is a red trail with some bigger jumps, but all of them can be rolled and there are no surprises. The key to
great trails are three pillars: Sustainability, Safety and Predictability. That applies for expert trails the same as for beginner trails. At the end of ‘H-Dream’ is a short transition from Carosello Mid Station to ‘Blueberry Line’, another super fun and flowy red trail. This trail will spit you out at one of the many mountain huts and restaurants along the tour where one can get refreshments and typical local homemade foods. Livigno has, as part of its extensive trail network, the 30km Panoramica XC trail that contours the entire valley. At this point of our tour we jump on the Panoramica trail for the next 3km, before we pedal back on the ‘Ciclabile’ bike path along the river Spöl to the Carosello 3000 bottom station.
Now we are about half way through the Tutti Frutti Epic, but the grins on our faces are already in full extension. Next stop is 1200 metres above, on top of Carosello 3000 Peak at 3000m - just as the name implies. Here we stop for lunch and relax in a sun chair for a moment. The views are incredible, Switzerland to the immediate west and to the east we have clear sight of some of Italy’s tallest mountains, the Ortles-Cevedale, Gran Zebru and Stelvio glacier.
The charismatic mountain town of Livigno lays quietly far below us with all its beautiful hotels and shops. In the old days Livigno was cut off from the rest of the world during the winter months - due to the snow fall none of the passes could be crossed and the residents, mostly farmers, were on their own. Nowadays things have changed. Livigno is accessible all year round and the town has been awarded duty-free status by the European Union, which means it is also a shopping destination, besides being a ski and mountain biking El Dorado.
Next checkpoint on the Tutti Frutti itinerary is ‘Madonon’, which is a 25 minute pedal for a good rider, but it’s a worthwhile trip and one of the highlights of the tour. For me this spot is extra special. The first time I rode there in 2008 I proposed to my future wife Carmen at this very spot. To my surprise, since I had never been there before, I found a charming little mountain hut overlooking the entire valley as well as the glaciers of the Bernina Massif. Huts like this one are scattered around Livigno high up in the mountains as shelters and are open for everyone. You can even sleep there as they often come with a stove and provide simple shelter in case of bad weather. If you are lucky, like I was when I first came there with Carmen, I found a bottle wine there left by the last visitors. Even more fortunately, there was also some vino when myself and Brian arrived!
This point of the trail is marked by a statue of the virgin Madonna that is lit up at night and is one of the landmarks high above the village. Nearby is also a toilet with a million dollar open air view. From here we backtracked the singletrail to the tiny Lac Salin Lake, from where we head to the backside of the Carosello 3000 Mountain and descend on a natural trail in the Val Federia valley. This descent is a long time classic for mountain bikers in Livigno and drops into one of the most beautiful and remote valleys you can imagine. Half way down we stop at Alpe Federia - this is the place where all the cows of Livigno (and one farm family) spend their summers. They offer home cooking and since it’s almost the end of our ride, we toast with a beer. Thirty minutes later we arrive back in Livigno and Brian insists to stop by the lake for a swim while I have the Gelateria Talgliede in mind, knowing that the owner has already created a new ice cream flavor called “TuttiFrutti”.
The whole tour took us about four-and-a-half hours, including lunch, coffee and ice-cream.
Tutti frutti, oh rutti Wop bop a loo bop a lop bom bom! Tutti frutti, oh rutti
Now it’s your turn to ride this epic.
arriving on the far side of the mountain by the other gondola, the Carosello 3000 Mid Station.