Hitting the mountains on two wheels might sound like a lot of hard work, but when you realise that the ski lifts take you to the top so all you have to do is cycle downhill then the proposition becomes a whole lot more exciting! Adrenaline junkies should know that Vallnord has hosted World Cup and World Championship downhill events, so fantastic courses to ride, but there are also gentle introductions to this addictive sport, in both Vallnord and Grandvalira.
Vallnord Bike Park (Pal)
Over the past few years the bike park of Pal has gained a reputation for providing high quality and challenging courses, annually hosting World Cup events, and back in 2015 hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
It’s most definitely not just about the professional riders though, with 25 marked trails of varying difficulty, which include 18 downhill, two enduro, three cross-country, one modular pump track plus one mini park especially for children.
If you’re a beginner don’t worry as four of the bike circuits are classified “green” (for beginners) plus you can join bike school – and just like with skiing you can choose between group or private lessons, either with or without equipment included, so you have flexibility to do what suits you best. The “beginners pack” starts at just €50 for two hours including your lift pass, bike rental and two-hour group lesson.
To access the bike park from La Massana you take the gondola up to Pal (La Caubella), then there are two chairlifts taking you up as high as 2,350 metres.
Grandvalira Bike Park Soldeu
Bike Park Soldeu offers a slopestyle course plus 15 enduro routes and a modular pump track circuit (new for 2017), at altitudes of between 1,800 and 2,450 metres. As well as the gondola from Soldeu village there are two chairlifts operating to take you to the highest points, and the bike circuits are graded to make sure there is something for every ability as you progress.
Also new for summer 2017 is Obac 2, which is a 100% natural difficult trail, which even includes having to navigate a river crossing! Families can also enjoy mountain biking with several of the trails marked as family friendly and have sections adapted for all types of users – just consult the trail map before setting off.
Mountain Bike Equipment
If you don’t have your own moutain bike, or if you don’t want the hassle (or cost) of flying it out with you, then don’t worry as you have various options for renting a mountain bike when you arrive. You can rent from the official stores (either at the bottom of Soldeu gondola, or at the top of the La Massana gondola), or there are other sports stores nearby who offer bike rental.
Bike rental prices start from €25 per day in Vallnord, and from €57 per day in Grandvalira.