Last week Christian and I visited the first Mountain Biking Congress in Austria. It took place in the very vibrant destination of Saalbach. For those who missed it, don’t worry, the second edition is coming up in September 2017 ...
The three-day event was one of the best events regarding mountain biking tourism that I have ever been to. The organizing committee around Hari, Sabine and Saalbach's tourism board with Birgit, Andrea and Wolfgang managed to include a broad variety of hot topics, presented by great speakers and all embedded in a very relaxed but professional mountain biking atmosphere.
Between sessions, presentations and networking breaks, there were two stories that really inspired me.
- The bike park in Serfaus has been known for many years as an attraction for downhill bikers and families. However, this past summer the trail crew around Stefan Falkeis had to build a new feature I have thought of but never seen before. A hiking trail that leads to the start of the bike park caused traffic jams, as hikers would stop and enjoy watching bike park riders. So Stefan and his crew had to build a new look out point (including benches) in order for hikers to enjoy the bike park action without disturbing other hikers. Maybe we should think of the positive effects that biking can have on hiking and vice versa and recognize the potential for synergies more often, instead of focusin on potential conflicts.
- Karl and Philipp from the Familienarena (Family Arena) in St. Corona am Wechsel, a small destination South of Vienna, blew my mind with a single picture. Opened on October 1st, they have planned and built two short, easy and fun little mountain biking trails that are accessed through a magic carpet. More is on its way. And kids already love to cruise over the 2% steep trail. There will hopefully be more destinations to promote mountain biking on a toddler friendly level, because that part of the market has not been catered to yet. I would love to bring my kids to these trails.
After the summit is before the summit
As we have learned a lot at the event in Austria, we are already preparing for the Ride Kongress in Chur, from October 20 to October 21. This year's edition will be all about Bikeonomics. Registration for the RideKongress in Chur is still open and we warmly recommend to visit the event, if mountain biking is a strategic priority in your business or in your destination. See you in Chur.