TUTTI FRUITTI EPIC

WITH HANS REY & BRIAN LOPES

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - TEXT: HANS REY PHOTOS: MARKUS GREBER

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.

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