Words by Kathi Kuypers
Photos by Anton Brey
This may sound like a suspicious marketing email. That’s what mountain lovers Luise and Alex from Innsbruck were worried about when they read the email newsletter and clicked on the “participate” button. But it was actually a great opportunity to attend a perfectly organized mountain bike adventure weekend.
12 more mountain bike enthusiasts joined them on Friday afternoon in Kramsach. The car for the baggage was ready to drive up to the cabin but this biking crew had to work up a sweat to get to the cabin. It was 700 meters to climb and 25 degrees in humid air. The uphill terrain was typical for Rofan – a steep mountainous gravel road to Toni’s Pletzach cabin.
Toni and Tine, the owners, ski fanatics and skill coaches eagerly awaited their guests with delicious food. Waiting with them are the two professional mountain bikers and Norrøna ambassadors, Kathi Kuypers and Armin Beeli.
The menu consists of Käsespätzle to load up on carbohydrates. Beer and Gin and Tonic loosen up the atmosphere and Alex and Luise begin to feel quite at home.
Before everyone leaves for a night’s rest in their sleeping bags, Tine announces the plan for the next day’s MTB tour.
There are skeptical faces when the bikers hear it’ll be “easy“ 1400 meters of climbing. Soon everybody understands that Tine’s “easy” actually means “quite tough”.
It’s 8am and all participants treat themselves to a substantial breakfast. The first uphill is in a class of its own, and when the participants carry their bikes, it causes beads of sweat on their foreheads.
Luckily, the panoramic trail through the early morning mist makes it all worthwhile. Toni guides the group from Unnütz peak to the famous Achensee lake trail. But once again, you have to earn a dip into the refreshing water.
“No pain, no gain” looks as if it’s going to be the motto of the weekend.
But the crew was lucky and “Enter cabin“ had some freshly baked apple cake. From there, you could see the 2259 meter high “Rofanspitze“. Stunning!
With a renewed energy level after the break, the crew pedals uphill across the “Schönbach Alm“ towards Achenkirch and at the highest point, they have another break to eat their packed lunches.
Some of the guests snack on the Käsespätzle from the night before. This crew loves a good view, and it seems as if they would pedal almost anywhere to enjoy some of the Alp’s finest.
Even though there is some bike-carrying involved, it is all worth it for the best downhill trail experience afterwards.
After a quick dip in the Achensee lake, the crew cycles to Maurach to catch the shuttle which brings them back up to the Pletzach cabin. “Those who pedal hard, need to eat properly”, preaches Kathi’s father often.
The catering crew, Teuber, performs magic on the BBQ. The delicious spread includes parmesan cheese dumplings, avocados, veggies rolled in banana leaves, all sorts of dips and mouth watering steaks on the grill. In addition, the wellness program offers a hotpot with drinks at the end of the evening. What a day!
The icing on the cake was brought by the mountain fires which are lit to celebrate the summer solstice- When the longest day meets the shortest night.
On Sunday, the crew climbs up to the Sonnwendjoch mountain hut again alongside the famous ski touring route which is at 1800 meters of altitude. The view is gorgeous and the beers are ice cold, what else could anyone need?
On the downhill portion, Armin and Kathi show off some mountain biking skills. There are some super tight corners, so Armin pulls the front brake and hops around the corner with his back wheel. He makes it look so easy.
Kathi follows him. Both of them are big mountain lovers. Armin resides in the Flims/Laax mountains in Switzerland and Kathi calls the region of the Chiemgauer Alps in Germany home. Mountain biking is their life and they love to influence others with their MTB-fever.
The tour through the Rofan mountains inspired all the participants to keep riding. Luckily for them, summer is still young.