Nothing is more liberating than riding a bike Cycling pro René Wildhaber develops trails on Flumserberg.
Idyllic farms, green meadows, spectacular views of the Walensee and Churfirsten: all of this is sure to have once provided Johanna Spyri with inspiration for her novel “Heidi”. Now, more than 100 years later, we are witnessing the beginning of a new chapter: Flumserberg as a cyclists’ destination.
Flumserberg lies high above the southern shore of the Walensee facing the magnificent and geologically fascinating Churfirsten chain. This family-friendly resort is surrounded by varied walking country and offers many attractions for children. In winter, Flumserberg is the biggest winter sports’ region in eastern Switzerland.
This is how René Wildhaber describes his fascination for cycling. He flies across trails with barely a touch on the brakes and with barely any hesitation. The trails snake down the mountain, carving back and forth down the valley. The routes that cycling pro René Wildhaber develops on Flumserberg “flow”. Everyone – whether competitive or a beginner – should be able to feel the magic of a rapid descent.
René Wildhaber knows what he’s doing. He took part in his first cross-country competitions at the age of 16, going on later to become an internationally renowned Enduro specialist: he has since won races on every continent, cycling to victory again and again, in long-distance downhill races in particular. He has also made a name for himself with his film and photo projects.
The bike has become the door to the world
It was partly luck that got René Wildhaber’s cycling career off to a start. Because the son of a farmer found his first bike on the scrap heap – without a chain. “This meant that I was forced to enjoy riding downhill at an early age,” he says with a smile. And as his family didn’t have a car, he had no other option but to explore the world on two wheels.
Today René Wildhaber spends nearly six months of the year abroad. He is also interested in the world that lies beyond the racing routes and enjoys exploring foreign countries and cultures. Remaining true to his roots, which are important to him, he often helps his brother at home with the haymaking and driving the cattle from one place to the next.
“I can put my own ideas into building bike trails.”
To be able to develop trails for the “BikerBerg Flumserberg” project is a long-cherished dream of René Wildhaber. For him it’s important not to have too great an impact on the countryside. “Cyclists should be able to feel that they are in the great outdoors,” he stresses.
The mountains around the Walensee have long figured high up on René Wildhaber’s cycling itinerary. In winter he works as a ski instructor, goes ice climbing, mountaineering, paragliding or on ski tours. He is planning his future where he grew up.
René Wildhaber would like to set up his own cycling school one day. He is already training junior cyclists as part of the “Wildi’s Foxes” training programme: “I’m fascinated by the energy and carefree nature of young talented cyclists, even when they have to make a hundred attempts at something until it works.”
41-year-old René Wildhaber started out his career as a cross-country cyclist and was a member of the Swiss U23 national team. He specialised early on in downhill, which was a new discipline back in those days. At the age of 23, René Wildhaber became Vice European Champion in this discipline. He later won races worldwide. His greatest successes were multiple victories in long-distance downhill races such as the “Megavalanche” on Alpe d’Huez. The Red Bull athlete was Enduro European Champion of the Men’s Masters in 2015 and he still participates successfully in the Enduro World Series. He is also known for his cycling films and photo shoots.
A mountain with new and exciting trails: the Prodalp-Express 12-seater cable car makes it easy for cyclists to reach the start of the flowing BlueSalamander Trail. The eight-seater Prodkamm chair lift then takes them to the start of the new RedFox trail. Panorama Bike No. 470 and Alp Fursch Bike No. 478 are also available as signposted SwitzerlandMobility routes.